The people on our cruise had 3 opportunities to visit and appreciate living glaciers via kayak and zodiac excursions. Most on board did at least one of these. They were very popular side trips, the highlight of the cruise for most of the passengers who ventured out. All 3 were much visited attractions well worth the price.
The first of the 3 side trips we were able to take was to Misty Fjords. All 3 were much visited attractions, a nice break from the cities visited, and a chance to see much appreciated Alaskan wildlife. Misty Fjords is a 2 million acre, National Monument experience with benefits. People on the excursions and on the boat saw glacier-gouged valleys, waterfalls cascading from hillsides, alpine highlands, and much more for an additional but worthwhile fee. People got to kayak or zodiac on salt water and see what some consider “the Yosemite of the North” while it’s still a natural landscape of sheer beauty. Just north of the port of Ketchikan about 40 miles away, Misty Fjords is where timber barons used to use float planes to see lava flows, snowcapped peaks, and enjoy natural beauty of epic size and importance. It is still so beautiful that President Jimmy Carter created Misty Fjords National Monument in 1980 so all might appreciate its grandeur and protect its wilderness status.
The 2nd excursion was to Tracy Arm. This beautiful place was 45 miles south of Juneau and the scene of 2 deep and narrow fjords called Tracy and Endicott Arms, both are still 30 miles long. At the end of Tracy are the twin Sawyer Glaciers. We saw abundant wildlife in the form of harbor seals and soaring eagles. What visitors see depends on weather and remaining ice.
Kenai is the smallest of Alaska’s 8 National Parks and quite a wonderful sight. Carved by the Harding Icefield and opened to the sea, the Kenai Fjord is a rugged arctic landscape to see from a kayak, zodiac , or ship. Most cruise ship lines do not go here, so it remains natural. We saw the Kenai Glacier carving but were too early to see bears that will later inhabit the area to get ready for winter.
The closest community to Kenai is the port of Seward.
Ruth & I consider ourselves very lucky to have experienced calving glaciers twice in our lifetimes. The other opportunity was a chance to see Glacier Bay National Park and the port of Gustavus on a previous trip.