One of the most spectacular events that take place when traveling on an Alaskan cruise is to sail through Glacier Bay.
All on board activities are put on hold for this day, as sailing here is the star attraction of the cruise.
After enjoying our champagne breakfast in our suite, we stepped out onto the balcony just in time to view pods of humpback whales swimming by the boat as we entered Glacier Bay. We ended up seeing 3 different pods with a front row view from our suite.
The coast guard came aboard and the whales swam away, so it was time to find our seat for the afternoon show. We will be spending the day surrounded by giant glaciers as we cruise the Inside Passage of Alaska.
Most people that have a balcony can spend the day relaxing in their state rooms while enjoying the view. Princess Cruises was kind enough to put us into the Sanctuary at the back of the ship. We packed up our warm coats and hats to head outside for the afternoon.
The sanctuary is a quiet retreat for adults only with lounge chairs, swimming pool and private servers. It costs $10 for a half day or $20 for a full day. The staff even provides blankets and mp3 players loaded with relaxing music so that you can completely escape.
It also offered us unobstructed views of the Great Glaciers of Glacier Bay.
Our first stop was Marjorie Glacier. The afternoon skies were perfect. Deep blue with fluffy clouds hovering over the mountains gave a stunning contrast to the white glaciers. The weather was warm and sunny and we didn't even need to bring our jackets or sweaters. It was so warm that we changed into our shorts and t-shirts and worked on our tans as we lounged on comfy beds.
Everyone has a chance to view the glacier as the Coral Princess slowly rotates for 2 hours giving a complete panoramic view of the landscape.
It is a relaxed afternoon on the ship. Everyone spends their time on deck witnessing this once in a lifetime opportunity. These glaciers are located in the middle of the sea, the only way to view them is by cruise liner.
Once in a while we would hear a crack in the ice which warned us that a glacier was about to break off. This is called calving. Giant pieces of ice fall into the bay as the glacier shifts and moves. You can’t take your eyes off the view for even second or you may miss the event.
I remember watching video from Dave's parents Alaskan cruise. Glaciers were plunging regularly into the bay and I thought that it was a common occurrence. It wasn't until this cruise that I realized how lucky they were. I ended up missing the crashes as I was looking in the wrong direction whenever they fell.
Luckily Dave caught it on film.
The afternoon was warm and pleasant and the sanctuary kept us protected from the wind. We could walk back from side side with ease here without missing a beat. Glacier Bay was stunning from all directions, but being in the Sanctuary helped us to be able to run back and forth from side to side with ease to see what was going on on the banks of the bay.
As we sailed toward our next glacier, the park ranger announced that a brown bear was walking along the shore. It was far away from the ship and was merely a dot on the landscape, but it was true, we did manage to spot a bear in the distance which made everyone very excited.
We passed two more glaciers. Unfortunately for us, sea lions are nursing at this time of year and ships cannot enter the final glacier Rendu Glacier. This is safe haven for the sea lions to raise their pups free from the predatory whales.
It was a glorious day on Glacier Bay.
We enjoyed an unique experience with great new friends, fabulous weather and phenomenal views.