I recently travelled with Norwegian Sun and we visited 3 port of calls, Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. Well, I was given a budget to work with so for Skagway, I decided that we do a self-drive from Skagway to Yukon instead of taking the train which is relatively cheaper for 5 of us. Doing the train will costs us about USD$600 in total. For the self-drive, we only spend about $150 for car rental. That's a huge difference of $450.
I would say that taking the train and self-driving are 2 different experiences. However, one thing for sure, self-driving though cheaper is not an inferior option. To some, it may be the better or preferred option as you get to stop as and when you like and visit the same towns(e.g. carcross, whitehorse) as when you travel by train.
For people interested in self-driving, I highly recommend Murray's Guide to South Klondike Highway.
With a minimal fee of USD$5, murray's guide is extremely detailed. With some history, background and a description of what you will see at each mile/viewpoint. There are also a list of lunch places and toilet stops. This has made my planning a whole lot easier. At first I was worried that I might get lost driving without a GPS, BUT, it is extremely easy to drive in Skagway. One road in, One road back. Very few/no cars on the road most of the time.
We made a lot of stops along the way. The highlights would be the:
1. The drive. The scenary is changing every few minutes. One minute you see snow-capped mountains, another minute you see blue lake then another minute you see green lake. It's just magnificent.
2. Emerald Lake. Emerald Lake is notable for its intense green color. The color derives from light reflecting off white deposits of marl, a mixture of clay and calcium carbonate, at the bottom of the shallow waters.
Tip: Do drop by the visitor centre to ask for recommendation on lunch places. And if you are interested in the history of carcross, you may request for a walking tour map of carcross and do the walking tour yourself. It's free and easy. The map is detailed and the town isn't really big to begin with so it's definitely doable in less than an hour.
4. Alaska/Yukon Signage. Touristy.
Tip: If you see that there's a lot of people/tour buses around the sign, do it when you return from Yukon to Alaska as the route back is the same. This goes for the other viewpoints along the way which are less likely to be touristy as there are many viewpoints to choose from.
To get an idea of what you will be able to see, do, please visit
For tips on Ketchikan,
For tips on Juneau,
Happy planning and hope this helps.
Stay tune for Glacier Bay National Park, Hubbard Glacier, Whittier, Anchorage and Seattle.
Thanks for visiting.
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Trip Report - 'Self-Drive Skagway' for Cruise Passengers