Cruising Glacier Bay has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. Glacier Bay is one of those places I have always wanted to visit.
I was so enthralled with the scenery as we cruised along Glacier Bay. I was also frozen and would have paid a lot of money for a scarf and warmer jacket. If you are planning on cruising Glacier Bay please pack more warm clothes than you think you will need. I did not pack appropriately for this day on the water.
At the last minute as we were leaving the house I threw in a set of woven gloves and a hat for me and some gloves and a hat for John. I did not think to grab a scarf or really warm clothing. I knew we were going to be in Alaska but I was thinking it was June and so I had images of warm weather. OOOPS I was so wrong! It was downright cold and frigid on our cruise along Glacier Bay.
The day starts really bright and early! We were told that the best places to spot Humpback Whales was in the early morning as we entered the bay.
So John and I got up bright and early as the sun was rising and headed out to see if we could spot any whales. 2 hours of sitting with our faces pressed against the window and we saw an otter but no whales. The scenery along the way is breathtaking. It is so hard to describe the grandeur of the scenery you pass.
As we cruised up to the first glacier we headed to the front of the boat and pressed ourselves up against a railing so we could get a great photo. This was an unbelievable vantage point for the photo but there is nothing to protect you from the ice cold wind that comes off the glacier. Did I mention I would have paid dearly for a scarf and ski jacket? At this point I was so cold that I just kept taking pictures. It was worth being cold for the photos but dang it is cold!
The cruise into Glacier Bay is a full day event. One of the highlights for us was the National Park Service Rangers that boarded the boat as we entered Glacier Bay. They set up a miniature visitor center on the boat. They had books, t-shirts and videos available for sale. I was incredibly excited to get my Glacier Bay stamp for our National Park book. The Rangers provided commentary during the day of the sites we were seeing. They were really friendly and incredibly knowledgeable.
Watching and hearing the glacier calf is one of those moments you never forget. I wish I could even describe the sound that it makes. It starts with this eerie creaking sound and then cracking before you hear it rush into the water. Depending on the size of ice that is breaking off the glacier it can sound thunderous and echo through the bay.
The great thing with being on the cruise ship is the boat does an almost 360 degree turn so everyone has a chance to see the glacier. The boat turned really slowly so you could see the glacier from any vantage point.
On our way out of Glacier Bay we saw humpbacks off in the distance. We could see them breathing and their mist hanging in the air. We did see a pair of bear on the side of hill as we cruised out of the bay. The bear were huge and you could see them without binoculars as we cruised by. I was happy to be on the boat looking at them from a distance and not right up next to them.
My best tip for cruising Glacier Bay is to pack lots of layers. That way you are prepared for whatever weather you find in the bay. We have met people who were able to wear t-shirts and jeans on their cruise and we wished we had ski jackets and scarves. I also suggest bringing multiple camera batteries. The cold weather made our camera batteries run lower faster than they normally would. I was able to put them in my pocket and warm them up as we went along the glacier.