August 2, 2011
The biggest attraction in Skagway is the rail trip up to White Pass, the old gold rush route. The rail line extends to the cruise ship pier. We boarded the train soon after arrival.
There were three other big cruise ships in the Skagway harbor when we arrived. These two are to the right of us and further from the town center.
The back of our ship is shown in the left part of the photo and the fourth cruise ship is shown to the right with the mountains in background.
I was curious about why this tug was alongside our cruise ship. Our understanding is that modern cruise ships have no need for tugs because their big engines can swivel and provide thrust in essentially any direction. But upon closer examination, those are the big metal luggage cases on the stern of the tug, so it is there to transfer luggage. We talked to several people who were getting off the ship at Skagway to continue by rail, and we also met some people who got onto the ship at Skagway. So luggage transfer is a new duty for tugs.
We disembarked from the Zuiderdam and walked about a hundred yards to the train cars. The yellow and green engines backed up to them and we were off toward White Pass.