Updated 4/11/16: We still operate our four beautiful Wilderness Express cars but have had quite a few upgrades – they all now have real leather upholstered seats with power ports (the seats no longer rotate). We also feature art by Alaskan artist and each car has its own sculpture made of fossilized whale bone and walrus jawbone by a Native carver. Our menu still highlights great Alaska products including halibut, crab, potato chips from the Matanuska Valley, and even birch syrup with our breakfast pancakes or over ice cream for dessert!
The other recent change is that as part of the Premier family we have named our railcars! They have a distinct pattern – motorcoaches are named after mountains, vans after fish, mechanical shops after ocean bays, and now the railcars after glaciers, because they are large, white, and slow moving! So now 1001 is Yentna, 1002 is Kahiltna, 1003 is Eklutna, and 1004 in Tokositna!
Finally, although we continue to host guests from the Royal Caribbean family we also transport guests who are part of other tour groups or who book through tour wholesalers. It has been nice to open the cars to a broader audience and it is keeping us very busy each summer. We travel on the Denali Star Route between Anchorage and Fairbanks every day in the summer now and with Holland America and Princess operating a charter only to Denali, it is just the ARR cars and then our WEX cars at the back of the train. We really enjoy working with the railroad and having the opportunity to share Alaska with our guests.
Rail Operations Manager
History of the Wilderness Express
Move over Princess, Holland and Alaska Railroad, you've got a new room mate. Royal Celebrity Tours, a land tour division of Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd, has added another option to cruising the tundra. The Wilderness Express is comprised of two of the world's largest and most accessible domes rail cars. They were built new by Denver-based Colorado Railcar Manufacturing LLC in 2001. Each car is over 18 feet in height, 85 feet in length, and boast "the most dome glass of any double-deck rail cars in the world"
Other features include outdoor 360-degree viewing platforms, extra wide seats that recline and rotate, a music system run by three Apple iPods and onboard dining that will match the cruise ship food service. The cars are also equipped with dome-level ADA-compliant seating, allowing physically challenged travelers to access both levels which is a first in the industry.
Royal Celebrity introduced the cars to media and travel agents at events in Denver, Dallas/Fort Worth (Grapevine), Los Angeles, San Jose, Portland and Seattle in March of 2001.
The rail cars connect with Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas and Celebrity's Mercury cruise ships in Seward. The Wilderness Express cars will be positioned directly behind the ARR's own cars in the train. Their car shop (exterior view, interior view) is located next to Holland America's.
Also, check out Jody Moore's Ultradome roster for more information.
Page created 5/8/01 and last updated 4/11/16