My Alaska Cruise Adventure: Glacier Bay

Posted by at 17 July, 2012, 10:20 pm

So, I’m sitting here on my balcony, trying to blog about the breathtaking beauty of Glacier Bay. But every time I start typing, a whale spouts right off starboard. Or a sea otter floats by on his back. Or flocks of birds glide overhead. It is really hard to concentrate on blogging when you’re cruising through Glacier Bay. But I will try.

No words can describe the complete silence and serenity you feel when you cruise into Glacier Bay. The only way to see this beautiful place up close is by boat. It is so remote and so pristine, you feel as if you’re the first one to explore it. As John Muir said (and my family and friends know that I can never visit a national park without quoting John Muir), “The very thought of this, my first Alaskan Glacier garden, is an exhilaration.”

We got up really early so we could go on deck to see the wildlife and the glaciers–the stars of the day. Princess Cruises has an onboard naturalist (ours was Rachel Dunham, from Portland, Oregon), who was up early to alert us to the wildlife that was visible. On our way into Glacier Bay this morning, we saw a bunch of humpback whales (unfortunately too far away for me to capture clearly on my camera), some harbor seals, sea otters and lots and lots of birds. Rachel’s commentary was piped over the intercom, so we always knew where to look. At around 9:30 am, a small skiff pulled up beside our ship, and three park rangers climbed aboard. They reported on the sights for the rest of the day, and also roamed the decks so we could ask them questions. It was great having our own personal nature guides sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm about Glacier Bay.

And then, there were the glaciers. That’s when the silence stops. You can hear the glaciers cracking and see them break off into the sea, something known as calving. And when a glacier calves, it sounds like thunder.

At 7:30 a small skiff pulled beside our ship again to bring the rangers back to their cabin on a small island in the middle of Glacier Bay. And I sat on my balcony in the never-ending Alaskan daylight and blogged…while the whales spouted…and the otters floated by…and the birds soared overhead.

It was a bit grey and overcast when we sailed into Glacier Bay.


But then, the sky brightened.


A small skiff dropped the park rangers off. They actually live on an island in the middle of Glacier Bay.


We saw many glaciers, but the most memorable was Margerie Glacier. It was enormous!


Glaciel ice is blue. it looks as if someone sprayed Windex on it.


The ice gets carved into interesting shapes.


When you see a glacier up close, you can grasp how the moving ice carved right through mountains. And they are still moving.


Our day on Glacier Bay was simply amazing.




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Meet Our Tour Guide

Glacier Bay

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Dogsledding in Skagway

Juneau’s Whales & Trails


Alaska Cruise Planning Tips

Category : Travel | Travel Writer Mom

One Response to “My Alaska Cruise Adventure: Glacier Bay”

RonC July 18, 2012

We leave in 2 days. We are even more excited after reading your blog.