We really enjoyed Anchorage because the ship was in port long enough (until 11 pm) to allow time for a train trip to the Spencer Glacier Whistlestop where we planned to go rafting in the vicinity of the Spencer Glacier. Unfortunately, rain in the area caused the side trips (rafting and hiking) to cancel but we opted to continue with the rail portion.We were glad that we did as the train trip out to Grandview lived up to its promise of "Grand Views!"
Although we booked this tour with HAL, we considered booking this directly with the railroad. However, by the time we arranged for transportation from the ship to the train station the price was essentially the same. We had heard that "better seats" (all seats are assigned; it's not "pick a seat") went to train-direct passengers but this didn't seem to be the case. We could freely sit in the upper level club car (although we were encouraged to return to our seats before scheduled stops no one enforced this) and move about among the many empty seats to see other sights, get better photos, etc. The ship's tour price included a box lunch which was handed to us as we boarded the train. It was a very ample lunch with enough food in it to serve both as lunch and snacks for later. We had enough time at the Fairview stop along the way (where local passengers boarded or exited the train) to explore a bit, purchase other food, take photos, etc.
For the scenic portion of the trip up to Grandview an interpreter came aboard.
The final portion of the trip was a transfer from the train that was continuing on (not returning to Anchorage) to a very comfortable bus which returned us to the ship via the train station for those who were not cruise passengers.
Even with the late departure time there isn't time on this itinerary to arrange a trip out to Denali from this cruise port but we enjoyed the sights and wildlife that we saw very much.