Taking the Train to a Star

Today, we rode the rails en-route from Denali to Whittier, Alaska to embark the beautiful Star Princess! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Saturday, June 20, 2015 This morning, I awoke at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge as I continued my Princess Cruises’ Denali Explorer Tour that began in Anchorage, Alaska on Tuesday and will conclude next Saturday in Vancouver, British Columbia. But today, we’d be saying goodbye to the Lodge and Denali National Park to join the spectacular 2,600-guest Star Princess. But the Star Princess is hundreds of miles to the south, docked in the sleepy little port of Whittier, Alaska. So how do we get to her? Why, we ride the train, of course!

Our Gold Star car is at the forward end of the train, directly behind the locomotive. It's also exclusive, whereas other cars can be passed through. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Our Gold Star car is at the forward end of the train, directly behind the locomotive. It’s also exclusive, whereas other cars can be passed through. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

At 7:45 a.m., we boarded a bus for the short ride to the Denali Station, where we embarked our exclusive Princess Cruises Denali Express Rail Car. Holding Gold Star tickets, we were ushered into the private car at the front of the train, smack-dab behind the powerful EMD locomotive that sat rumbling on the tracks, waiting to pull out of the station at 8:15 a.m. on the dot. Reserved for Princess’ Connoisseur Tour guests, this Gold Star car is decked out in Alaska Railroad colours and fitted with a bright and airy restaurant on the bottom level of the rail car, topped with an expansive domed observation car on the upper level. Rather than sitting in a four-facing configuration, all seats are forward-facing and feature as much legroom as a typical Business Class flight. Seating is comfortable, and the views are magnificent.

On the bottom level of our Gold Star car is the attractive dining salon, which features better food than you might expect. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

On the bottom level of our Gold Star car is the attractive dining salon, which features better food than you might expect. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Up top, the domed views from the sitting area are spectacular. Guests are assigned seats, just like on an airplane, so there's no jostling for the

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