If your dream is snapping a picture of a whale tale with the sunset in the background, or a glacier crashing into the water – A day cruise in Alaska is what you need.
Alaska has several places from which you could (and should) take one-day cruises to see exactly that. The best options are:
Seward is ש small town, about two hours south of Anchorage, is a developed tourists destination (and for good reason). Seward sits on the shore of a fjord, at the eastern side of Kenai Fjords Park (there are some amazing fjords east of Seward, but they had to draw the line somewhere). The fjords are steep and long, and many end with a glacier that is slowly crashing into the sea.
Sailing trips out of Seward usually include going into one (or more) of the fjords and stopping near a glacier for lunch (usually a pretty nice buffet). In almost all cases you can see marine animal such as seals, see lions, marine birds and various types of whales, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, even bears walking around the beach.
There are full-day trips (12 hours, a bit long if you ask us) and half-day trips. We recommend 6-8 hours. Make sure the trip includes a fjord called Aialik Bay – a beautiful bay with many animals, not too far from Seward.
Kenai Fjords Tours – One of the largest companies in Seward, offering several types of one-day cruises in the region
Major Marine Tours – Another company offering similar trips
About 45 minutes south of Anchorage, on the southern end of Portage Valley. The town is located on the shore of Prince William Sound, on of the most magnificent bays in Alaska (and perhaps the world? we’re not sure but yeah why not). The bay is full of fjords, glaciers and marine animals, and the cruises include some destinations you just don’t want to miss.
The two most famous fjords here are College Fjord and Harriman Fjord, but you can also take cruises to other areas like Blackstone Bay (adjacent to Whittier on the south) and Port Nellie Juan (pronounced Nellie One).
Major Marine Tours – the same company that offers cruises in Kenai Fjords Park also offers similar trips around Whittier, in Prince William Sound
A long glacial bay west of Juneau. This is one of Alaska’s most famous Parks, but it’s in Southeast Alaska – a region many tourists choose to skip (unless they’re on a cruise). If your trip includes Southeast Alaska, you should definitely come here as well. The bay was full of ice until 200 years ago, but the ice has begun to recede since the end of the Little Ice Age (around the 18th century). Today the bay is full of glaciers that spill into it from the sides, but the giant glacier that used to fill it has receded and disappeared.
At the entrance to the park there’s a town called Gustavus, and not far from it is Point Adolphus – one of the best whale-watching spots in Alaska, where you can see whale pods on a pretty regular basis. Most sailing trip to the Park depart from Gustavus, although some depart from Juneau. You can also take a flight from Juneau to Gustavus in the morning of the cruise and return in the evening, but there’s a chance that flights will be canceled as the local weather can be quite problematic.
Visit Glacier Bay – a website detailing sailing options in Glacier Bay