Direct-to-the-Wilderness® rail service

Princess Cruises exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness service allows you to step off your cruise ship in Whittier onto your unique Princess rail service and arrive at your Princess wilderness lodge that same afternoon. Or, on southbound itineraries, leave the Denali area and enjoy a direct link to your awaiting cruise ship in Whittier. Because fewer transfers and less time waiting makes for a more relaxing and hassle-free trip.

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Princess Cruisetours


Denali Explorer & On Your Own Cruisetours

Denali Explorer cruisetours include up to four nights at Princess wilderness lodges at Denali.


Most tours include exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness® rail service and all include the Natural History Tour into Denali National Park. ( Optional Tundra Wilderness Tour Upgrade )


On Your Own options have no scheduled activities so you can customize how you want to spend your free time.  3 days on land from just $299 more than a 7-day cruise!* With no sightseeing activities included, you’ll have the flexibility to create your own adventure with optional land excursions.

Find out More About Denali Explorer and On Your Own Cruisetours


Off The Beaten Path Cruisetours

These cruisetours include key benefits of the Denali Explorer itineraries, plus visits to less-frequented regions like Copper River and Wrangell–St. Elias National Park, and the Kenai Peninsula.

Find Out More About Off The Beaten Path Cruisetours


Connoisseur Escorted Cruisetours

These deluxe escorted cruisetours represent the highest level of service with a tour director on land and most meals included. They include up to four nights at a combination of both Mt. McKinley and Denali Princess wilderness lodges, with enhanced sightseeing experiences, such as the longer Tundra Wilderness Tour into Denali National Park. Plus, there are options to visit the Kenai Peninsula and Wrangell–St. Elias National Park. 


Find out More About Connoisseur Cruisetours


Princess Cruises® Alaska  

Alaska Cruises Direct



Direct-to-the-Wilderness® Alaska Rail Service

Everything You Need To Know About Princess Direct-to-the-Wilderness® Alaska Rail Service

Princess rail service travels through some of Alaska's most spectacular scenery. Enjoy our exclusive Denali Express and McKinley Express service, both, which take you directly from your cruise ship to a Princess wilderness lodge. So you can enjoy more of your time at Denali National Park and less time en route.

Breathtaking Alaska Scenery

Wrap-around glass domed ceilings ensure unobstructed views of Alaska's spectacular scenery while you relax and enjoy the food and beverage service and informative commentary provided by our onboard rail guides.

Direct-to-the-Wilderness® rail service

Featuring glass-domed railcars, onboard narration and delicious snacks and beverages, this Princess  Cruises exclusive gets you to the Alaska wilderness faster for more time exploring the Great Land.


Princess Cruises Exclusive*

Open-air viewing platforms allow you to step outdoors for the perfect snapshot or breath of fresh air. Dining choices include an elegant dining salon with picture windows and a menu of tasty Alaskan specialties or a club car serving delicious snacks and beverages in a more casual setting. Add reserved seating, plenty of legroom and friendly, attentive service and the number one choice for an Alaska cruisetour is Princess Cruises.

*Amenities vary by individual rail car.

Princess Cruises exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness service allows you to step off your cruise ship in Whittier onto your unique Princess rail service and arrive at your Princess wilderness lodge that same afternoon. Or, on southbound itineraries, leave the Denali area and enjoy a direct link to your awaiting cruise ship in Whittier. Because fewer transfers and less time waiting makes for a more relaxing and hassle-free trip.

Cruise Ship to Train to Denali — All in One Day

Our exclusive cruise ship-rail-lodge connection takes you straight to Denali National Park. While others are still in transit, you'll be enjoying more time at one of our two Denali area lodges where fabulous Princess service meets the real Alaskan wilderness.


Fewer Transfers, Less Time Waiting

Disembark while you're still in the glow of your Alaska cruise. Then step directly from your ship onto your waiting railcar. Sit back, read, chat, dine and marvel at the panoramic vistas from the domed observation lounge. Arrive at Denali that same day ready to experience the wonders you've traveled so far to see.


More Time at Denali

Wake up to the sights and sounds of Denali National Park. You'll bask in the pleasure of knowing you've reached your destination nearly a full day earlier than with any other cruisetour company. That means more time to sit by the fire, linger over grilled salmon and soak up the comfort and luxury of the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge.


A Princess Cruises Exclusive

Our new luxury rail service direct to Denali will make all the difference in your Alaska cruise vacation. It's one of the many reasons Princess Cruises is the leader in Alaska.

Princess Alaska Lodges
& Direct to the Wilderness Rail Service Brochure

Download Now »

Military and Vets Save on Alaska Cruises

Princess honors our United States. and Canadian Active Military and Veterans with up to $250 onboard credit which can be applied to just about every cruise, even discounted ones! Call us at 800.365-1445 for all the details.

Princess Rail Service Overview

General Information
Princess Rail Service "Direct to the Wilderness": Rail service featuring Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge

Princess offers luxury rail service nonstop from the ship to our Mt. McKinley Princess and Denali Princess Wilderness Lodges. Only Princess passengers may disembark their ship in the morning and be at our Wilderness lodges by afternoon (Southbound itineraries leave the Denali area and are able to get to the ship that same afternoon).

Denali Express - rail direct to the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. Sightsee from Whittier to the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge in inimitable Princess style. Indulge in Alaskan inspired cuisine and take in the passing views from the open-air platform. The cars are purpose-built to provide for maximum viewing in the UltraDome.

McKinley Express - rail direct to Talkeetna, then 1 hour by motorcoach to the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. Travel elegantly between Whittier and historic Talkeetna lingering over snacks and beverages in the inviting club car. Venture on to the unforgettable Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. Fewer transfers, less time waiting. This enables us to offer 2-nights in the Denali area on every cruisetour itinerary!

Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge - Located minutes from the park entrance, this lodge is the perfect base camp for an endless array of optional park excursions. Our day lodge features a Great Room with spectacular views and a relaxing atmosphere.

Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge - Tucked away on the south side of Denali Park, this lodge features breathtaking views of its namesake, Mt. McKinley. This wilderness retreat features a variety of optional outdoor activities to choose from, many of which are not offered from the north side of the park.

Princess Rail Service

Princess offers exclusive Princess Rail Tours in Alaska. These rail tours can be purchased separately, or as part of a Cruisetour package after disembarking Northbound Alaskan voyages, or prior to embarking Southbound Alaskan voyages. The cost of this transfer is 89 per person (subject to change).

The McKinley Express will have passengers embarking (Northbound) or disembarking (Southbound) at the pier in Whittier. Passengers will be boarding Alaska Railroad rail cars that are chartered exclusively for Princess passengers. Cruisetour packages that include the McKinley Express provide rail service between Whittier and Talkeetna with additional one hour motorcoach travel between the Talkeetna rail depot and the Mt. McKinley Wilderness Lodge.

Rail tours can also be purchased separately; however, if passengers choose to purchase rail tours independent of a cruisetour package, motorcoach transfers to and from the railway stations are not included.


  • Full-view, large domed windows
  • Princess Staffed - Alaskan Outfitters
  • Onboard Narration
  • Tableside snack/beverage service

Differentiating features:

  • Traditional Cars 
  • Dining salon for sit-down meals
  • Open-air viewing platforms 

New Cars

  • Club Car featuring light fare and beverages

All Cruisetours feature at least one leg on our traditional cars. Many itineraries feature legs on both!

Princess Rail Service Schedules

Rail Car Whittier Anchorage Talkeetna Denali Fairbanks
Denali Express 8:15 am
11:05 am
3:45 pm
8 pm
Denali Express 8:15 am
Rail Car Whittier Talkeetna
McKinley Express 7:15 am
12:45 pm


Rail Car Fairbanks Denali Talkeetna Anchorage Whittier
Denali Express 8:15 am
12 pm
4:40 pm
8 pm
Denali Express 8:15 am
5:30 pm
Rail Car Talkeetna Whittier
McKinley Express 1:30 pm
6:30 pm


  • Times are approximate and could vary by 15 minutes
  • Rail and rail packages operate May 14th - Sep. 21st
  • The Rail does NOT run on Saturdays and Mondays

Rail Luggage Guidelines

Rail Luggage Guidelines
Passengers are limited to one piece of checked baggage, not to exceed 50 pounds, that will be checked with the Alaska Railroad.  Each guest may also bring one carry-on, not to exceed 17x14x4, which will be stored under the guests seat on the viewing level.  Travel documents, passports, identification , medication, cameras, binoculars and /or valuables should be packed in this carry-on. 

Wheeled carry on cases that are often used as airline carry-ons are too large and not suitable as hand-carried luggage on the train.

McKinley Express
There is no checked baggage on the McKinley Express, only carry-ons (same size as above).  Cruisetour guests will be given specific instructions on how to accommodate larger checked pieces, while in Alaska.

Denali Express
There is no checked baggage on the Denali Express, only carry-ons (same size as above). Cruisetour guests will be given specific instructions on how to accommodate larger checked pieces, while in Alaska.

This information can be seen on the itinerary in the Cruise Personalizer.

Denali Express - Dimensions Per Rail Car

General Information
Denali Express - Dimensions Per Rail Car

Dome Lounge capacity: 88 Passengers
Size of Booths:  22.5 Inches between seat back and Table
Size of Carry on Allowed: 17"x14"x4"
Stair Case Width: 25 Inches
Restrooms:  3 per car 4'5�x3'3"smallest, 7'x3'3" handicap "C"
Car seats: Not available onboard, the seats can accommodate them.
Wheelchair Lifts:  Yes
Dining Car Size:  30' X 10'
Dining room Capacity: 32 passengers
Dining Booths Size:  18.5 Inches between seat back and table 
Height: 17 feet, 5 inches
Width: 10 feet
Length:  85 feet
Weight:  175,000 pounds
Headroom each level: 6 feet, 6 inches 
Observation Platform: 18 feet X 10 feet, "C" Car Only 
Windows � Upper level: 6'8" X 6' panels
Lower level: 5' X 3' panels
Built:  1987 in Tillamook, Oregon
 Series II 1994 - Denver, Colorado
 Series III 1996 - Denver, Colorado
 Series IV 1999 - Ft. Lupton, Colorado

Series II E (Two Cars) Series III A (Two Cars) Series IV D (Two Cars)

Dome Lounge capacity: 88 passengers
Size of Booths:  22.5 Inches between seat back and Table
Size of Carry on Allowed:  17"x14"x4"
Stair Case Width:  25 Inches
Restrooms: 3 per car, 4'5" x 3'3" smallest, 7'x3'3" handicap in "A & D" Cars
Car seats: Not available onboard, the seats can accommodate them
Wheelchair Lifts:  Yes, "A & D" Cars Only
Dining Car Size:  30 feet X 10 Feet
Dining Room Capacity: 32 passengers
Dining Booths Size: 18.5 Inches from seat to table
Height:  17 feet, 5 inches
Width:  10 feet
Length:  85 feet
Weight:  184,000-189,000 pounds
Headroom each level: 6 feet, 4 inches
Observation Platform:  6 feet X 10 feet
Windows � Upper level: 6'8" X 6'
Windows � Lower level: 5' x 3' panels
Built: Series II 1994 - Denver, Colorado
Series III 1996 - Denver, Colorado
Series IV 1999 - Ft.Lupton, Colorado

McKinley Express - Dimensions Per Rail Car

McKinley Express - Dimensions Per Rail Car

Dome Lounge capacity: 76 Passengers
Size of Booths:  19.5 Inches between seat back and table
Size of Carry on Allowed: 17"x14"x4"
Restrooms:  2 per car � 43in. x 51in smallest, 43 in. x 7ft handicap
Car seats: Not available onboard, seats can accommodate them.
Wheelchair Lifts:  No, lift available at depots
Height: 12 ft 11 in
Length:  85 feet
Window: 6ft x 7ft

Princess Rail Information

Phone Numbers and Rail Depot Information
Phone: 800-426-0500
To transfer a call from Santa Clarita, dial ext. 16105

Anchorage Rail Depot:
411 West 1st Avenue
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Ph# (907) 265-2688

Fairbanks Rail Depot:
1745 Johansen Expressway
Fairbanks, AK 99701

Denali Rail Depot:
Denali Park Road

Talkeetna Depot/Mt. McKinley
Mile 13.5 Talkeetna Spur Road

Reservations: 1-800-426-0500

Group Sales Contact: Laurie McKim, Asset Sales Manager
Princess Tours
800 5th ave Ste. 2600
Seattle, WA 98121-1299
(206) 336-5834

Please note that Lost and Found inquiries for the Princess Rail Service should be directed as follows:
Northbound (ending in Fairbanks), callers should contact the Fairbanks Motorcoach Office at 907-479-9660
Southbound (ending in Anchorage), callers should contact the Anchorage Rail Office at 907-278-8038

Princess Rail Service - Fact Sheet
Operating Dates : Mid May through Mid September

Distance between the Airport/RR : Anchorage 8 miles and Fairbanks 6 miles

Princess Rail office:
459 Ocean Dock Road

Amenities: Full Dome Panoramic View, Bar Service, Outdoor Observation Platform, Full Service Dining Room, Gift Shop ("C" Cars Only)

Accepted Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners, Discover

Minimum Age
The minimum age for a rail-only booking is 6 months.

Smoking Policy

There is no smoking allowed in the rail cars. Smoking is permitted outside on the viewing platforms. Smoking area on the McKinley Express is on the outside vestibules (one per passenger car)

Princess Rail Service Dining Information

General Information
Enjoy our casual dining with a menu of delectable entrees prepared to order by our on board chefs ranging from salads, sandwiches and our prize winning Reindeer Chili. Or you can get comfortable, stay in your seat and enjoy tableside meal and beverage service. Choose from breakfast, lunch or dinner depending on your travel time.

Princess Alaska Cruises
Journey into the pristine waters of the Great Land with Princess Cruises, voted the five consecutive years by readers of Travel Weekly. From soaring snowcapped mountain peaks to magnificent glacier-rimmed fjords and colorful marine life, you can see it all on an Alaskan cruise with Princess. Sail our breathtaking Voyage of the Glaciers cruise to the Gulf of Alaska or journey through the Inside Passage. Each cruise offers dazzling glacier-viewing opportunities and also visits charming Alaska ports, immersing you in the flavors and cultures of “America’s Last Frontier.”

Alaska Cruise & Cruise Tours

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Find Alaska Cruises and  Alaska Cruise Discounts and Deals on all major cruise lines to Alaska.  Save up to 70% off, plus onboard credits, cabin upgrades and more. Get all the help you need from Certified Alaska Travel Experts to get the best deals on your Alaska cruise or cruise tour and receive great discounted rates plus $100 onboard credit on select cruises. Discounted Alaskan Cruises From Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco and Anchorage.

Save as much as 50%  10 Day  Cruisetours from only...$399, when added to the cost of your cruise!
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Awards & Accolades: Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises voted “Best Cruise Line in Alaska”

Best for First-Timers

Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards 2015

Top Cruise Line for Group Travel

Packaged Travel Insider Readers’ Choice Awards 2015Let the Great Alaska Tour Company help you plan the perfect Alaska vacation. From planning to packing, from discount rates to departure dates, everything you need to know about Alaska. From Alaska cruises and cruise tours, to motorcoach and rail tours, to Alaska's wilderness lodges and recommendations for the best shore & land excursions. When it comes to Alaska, the Great Alaska Tour Company, part of Alaska Cruises Direct are experts in finding great Alaska cruise and land vacations.

Best Cruise Line Itineraries

Recommend Magazine Reader’s Choice Awards, 2004-2015

Top 10 Large-Ship Cruise Lines

Travel & Leisure Magazine

Cruise Line with Highest Client Satisfaction

Travel Age West Magazine

Best Cruise Line – Alaska

Travel Weekly Reader’s Choice Awards, 7 of the past 8 years

Best Cruise Line for Romance

Cruise Critic Editor’s Picks Awards

Best in Large Resort Ships

Celebrated Living Magazine

Top 10 Large Cruise Ships – Emerald Princess and Coral Princess

Condé Nast Traveler

While other companies sell cruises and other forms of travel, we focus exclusively on shore excursions. We utilize this expertise to select the highest quality shore excursions delivered by local experts in the most cost effective manner for our customers. Since we are not a large cruise line catering to thousands of customers per day, our shore excursions allow you to travel in much smaller groups offering a more personalized experience.

ALASKA Shore Excursions Sale

Save up to 50% vs cruise line prices on shore excursions. View Excursions & Hot Deals for your specific Cruise Itinerary. Get the details at The Shore Excursions Group

Skagway, Juneau, Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Ketchikan Shore Tours, Trips and Excursions

Alaska Cruises: National Parks

Possessing half of the U.S. National Parks, Alaska truly offers some of Mother Nature’s best work. Stretching across a staggering 13.2 million acres, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is the largest parcel of land, but its sister parks—Glacier Bay, Denali, Kenai Fjords, and Gates of the Arctic—share equally in beauty and natural wonders.

Alaska Cruises: Glacier Bay National Park
Set on the state's southeastern coast, this glacier-rich territory is equally abundant in snowcaps, fjords and wildlife.

Alaska Cruises: Denali National Park
Breathtaking vistas, spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities and the venerable Mt. McKinley, North American’s tallest peak, explain why this is one of Alaska’s most popular attractions. And you’ll enjoy it while staying at our two comfortable Princess wilderness lodges in the area.

Alaska Cruises: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Spectacular vistas and magnificent mountain ranges, winding rivers, glaciers and miles upon miles of forest define Wrangell-St. Elias, the nation’s largest national park.

Alaska Cruises: Kenai Fjords National Park
Known as “Alaska’s Playground,” the Kenai Peninsula in south central Alaska is rich with native flora, fauna and gorgeous ice -sculpted landscapes and fjords. It’s famous for its great sports fishing, river-rafting and more.

Alaska Cruises: Gates of the Arctic National Park
Located north of the Arctic Circle in the Brooks Range, this wide swath of tundra is unparalleled in its beauty.

For more information about Alaska's National Parks visit the National Park Service or Alaska Geographic


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See Why Princess Cruises was voted  Best Cruise Line in Alaska

Alaska Cruises: Princess Wilderness Lodges

Strategically located at Alaska’s legendary national parks, our wilderness lodges offer excellent accommodations, authentic Alaskan dining experiences, and the same warm, welcoming service that you’ve come to expect on every Princess Cruises vacation.

Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

Alaska Cruises: Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

Nestled in a prime location near the entrance to Denali National Park, this gorgeous lodge is the perfect starting point for your wilderness adventure.

Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge »

Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge

Alaska Cruises: Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge

On a bluff overlooking the largest national park, this lodge has a wall of windows featuring dramatic views of Wrangell-St. Elias.

Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge »

Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge

Alaska Cruises: Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge

North America's tallest mountain provides a stunning backdrop to the picture-perfect setting for this wilderness retreat just south of Denali National Park.

Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge »

Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge

Alaska Cruises: Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge

Top-notch salmon fishing is only steps away from this well-appointed lodge set in the mountains overlooking the beautiful Kenai River.

Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge »

Princess Alaska Lodges
& Direct to the Wilderness Rail Service Brochure

Download Now »

Did You Know: Grizzly bears have been a threatened species since 1975 in the Lower 48 states? Alaska however has over 32,000 grizzlies. Considering Alaska's population is only 670,000, that's 1 bear for every 21 people. Alaska is home to magnificent glaciers, giant halibut, hardy outdoorsmen.... and lots of moose. Alaska has 39 mountain ranges. Did you know? The larger ranges include: Alaska Range, which includes 20,320 foot Mt. McKinley, the continent's tallest peak , Aleutian Range, a volcano-ridden range on the Alaska Peninsula, Brooks Range, which is above the Arctic Circle; the Continental Divide runs through it and Boundary Ranges, along the Canadian border of the Inside Passage.

" Our trip was excellent. The room, with the upgrades, was amazing! We saw many eagles (bald and golden), one bear, many whales, including one breach, seals, one bear, one wolf, moose and carribou, and many smaller animals.. If we travelled during salmon run, we probably would have seen more bear and eagles. The scenery is to die for, the vistas spectacular. The ship was great; service, food, etc were all great. Thanks for everything. "

Larry Seidler - Island Princess

Ask an Alaska visitor about his or her trip and you'll likely hear tales about the state's exotic and awe inspiring wildlife. Chances are, you'll be regaled with stories and photos of the encounters with Alaska's wildlife. And who can blame them? Pictures of Alaska's moose, bears, caribou, bald eagles, whales and dozens of other wild species can be a trip's best (and most memorable) souvenirs. For those who cruise Alaska by sea, there's the opportunity to spot the breathtaking breach of a humpback whale or soaring seabirds such as puffins, terns, gulls, eiders and many others. Learn more about wildlife viewing in Alaska