by Amy Mutscher

Spend a Day in Glacier Bay

Deepen your connection to the Alaskan wilderness with a cruise itinerary that spends a day in Glacier Bay. Most cruise lines bypass this National Park on their trips along the Inside Passage because they haven’t secured the permits to sail there. If your trip to Alaska might be a once-in-a-lifetime event, then you should seriously consider booking your cruise with one of the privileged few lines authorized to bring guests into this 25-million-acre wilderness preserve.


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View Johns Hopkins Glacier

Glacier Calving

One of the world’s largest international protected areas, Glacier Bay is the ideal place to cruise the fjords and visit spectacular mile-wide tidewater glaciers. The usual stops along the route include Margerie Glacier, one of the most active in the bay, and Johns Hopkins Glacier with its arctic-blue face. By spending an entire day in Glacier Bay National Park, you’ll have the opportunity to view several glaciers with the intention of witnessing an ice calving, a dramatic breakage of ice that plunges into the depths, dispersing the birds and creating a ripple effect on the water’s surface. As you close your eyes to focus on the sounds, you’ll hear the cracks, creaks and grumbles of the arctic ice as it splits from the mass and ultimately disappears into the depths. Join your fellow passengers on the viewing deck or retreat to the privacy and comfort of your balcony cabin.

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Learn more about native Alaskan culture

Native Culture

Holland America Line has been sailing these waters since the days before this pristine glacial wilderness was a National Park. With more permits to visit Glacier Bay than any other cruise line, part of the experience is the addition of expert guides brought aboard for the day to share their knowledge and understanding with passengers. Holland America Line brings Huna Native Cultural Heritage Guides that provide broad insights to this remarkable ecosystem and share their personal experiences as well as clan and family traditions. The Huna Tlingit people refer to the sound of ice plunging from glaciers into the bay as "white thunder" and may share their songs about the whales that were once so abundant. Gain a greater appreciation for the Great Land with expert-led talks, cooking demonstrations and innovative performances.

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Spot bears on a Cruisetour to Denali National Park

Wildlife Viewing 

While there are many cruise lines that travel the Alaskan coastline, a rare few can show you the real Alaska. National Park Service rangers board Holland America Line ships early on the morning of “Glacier Bay day” to provide commentary about the variety of wildlife that guests may spot just over the railing. Pack your binoculars and be ready for the chance to catch the splash of a breaching humpback whale, a brown bear along the shoreline or bald eagles as they dodge a fallen chunk of ice. Because this area is so isolated, this day might be your best chance to see mountain goats grazing along the rocky ridges just feet from where you stand. Rangers give informative presentations about the park, coordinate activities for children and answer all of your questions. Holland America Line has a long-standing tradition of serving hot Dutch Pea Soup on deck throughout the day in Glacier Bay to keep you fortified for the duration of this extraordinary event. Ask one of our agents for advice on whether to book a week-long cruise or a combination Cruisetour journey and make sure to select a Glacier Bay itinerary.


This is a great time to book your Alaskan cruise.  Call one of our travel agents today!

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