Sitka is a small port town located in southeast Alaska on an outer island just slightly southwest of Alaska’s capital city of Juneau. Sitka is known for its beauty – thick spruce forests line the perimeter of the coast and the water of the calm Sitka Sound glimmers under the vast Alaskan sky.
For animal lovers, Sitka is an especially exceptional port of call since it provides many opportunities to get up close to a variety of animals.
Sitka has an interesting historical aspect as well. It was controlled by Russia until the mid-1800s and you’ll see Russian influence in the architecture of the city center and through performances by local dancers and artists that pay homage to Russian culture. Long before Russia and America ever made its mark in Sitka, though, the land served as the home for the Tlingit clan. You can still find an incredible array of Tlingit culture in Sitka today, including hand-carved totem poles and traditional clan houses.
Top Sitka Things to Do: Easy to Do via Shore Excursions
Here are some ideas on what you can do during a day in port in Sitka with Celebrity Cruises.
This excursion gets you out onto the water in a thrilling way. You’ll start your day with a boat ride to a base camp and during the boat ride, you may even see whales and other sea creatures.
Once at the base camp, you’ll get situated in a two-person kayak and paddle off to explore a protected cove located near Sitka. Breathe in the fresh air and take in the scenery while you keep your eyes peeled for wildlife both under and above the sea.
See one of Alaska’s most coveted residents, the bald eagle, and learn about the cultural background of Sitka on this in-depth excursion.
You’ll first take a motor coach ride along a scenic roadway during which you can take in the rugged scenery before arriving at the Alaska Raptor Center, a sanctuary that is home to a number of bald eagles. You’ll tour the facility and learn about the rescue and rehabilitation side of the sanctuary, plus have time to tour the flight center and outside deck habitat area. After learning much more about these amazing birds, you’ll head onto the Sitka National Historical Park.
Sitka National Historical Park is on the land where the 1804 “Battle of Sitka” was fought between Russian settlers and the Tlingit clan. Today, you can see many historical and cultural sights in the park, including totem poles and carving rooms along with other cultural exhibits.
Next you’ll head to a folk dance and song performance before ending your day in downtown Sitka at St. Michael’s Cathedral, a Russian Orthodox church which is home to impressive Icon Artwork from the 16th century.
This tour also takes you to the Alaska Raptor Center, but eagles aren’t the only native Alaska wildlife you’ll see during your day in Sitka if you opt for the Sea Otters, Raptors, and Bears Oh My shore excursion. You’ll also get the fun adventure of boarding a catamaran cruise and taking it around Sitka Sound, where you’ll likely see sea otters frolicking in the water. You also may see whales, seals, porpoises, and sea lions. During the cruise you’ll also learn about Alaska’s water ecosystem from a naturalist guide.
Back on land, you’ll be introduced to the Alaskan brown bear at the Fortress of the Bear rescue center. You’ll learn interesting facts about the Alaskan brown bear while viewing orphaned bears from the observation deck.
Sitka Sound is home to a large number of salmon and sportfishing is a fun pastime to do while in port. You’ll take off in a sportfish cruiser to a prime fishing spot where you can try and reel in a fish. You can either catch and release the fish, or opt to have it professionally processed and shipped back to your home to enjoy eating after your trip.
Celebrity Cruises strives to visit the best areas of a destination. In Alaska, that means being very selective about which glaciers to visit. Glacier Bay is often considered the most well-known glacier area in Alaska, but Celebrity Cruises doesn’t sail to it. Why? Because we think our passengers will be much more impressed and have a more memorable time seeing Sawyer Glacier (via Tracy Arm Fjord) and Hubbard Glacier. Here’s what makes these towering glaciers stand out from others.
Tracy Arm Fjord and Dawes Glacier: Alaska’s Premier Fjord with Iceberg Galores
Sawyer Glacier is accessed via Tracy Arm Fjord, which is located about 45 minutes south of Juneau. The 23-miles Tracy Arm Fjord route itself is full of natural wonders and gorgeous sights, with Sawyer Glacier being the pinnacle view.
When cruising with Celebrity, you’ll visit Sawyer Glacier on board the Celebrity Solstice, the first of Celebrity’s award-winning Solstice-class of ships, which will have you navigating the waters of Alaska in stylish comfort while offering plenty of viewing platforms to see the rugged scenery you’ll be passing. Some ships go just inside Tracy Arm Fjord and then offer shore excursions to get closer to Sawyer Glacier, but Celebrity Solstice sails up as far as possible.
The icebergs by Sawyer Glacier are formed from underwater calving by Sawyer Glacier and are the most impressive in Alaska. You’ll pass hundreds as your ship makes its way to Sawyer Glacier along Tracy Arm Fjord. However, it’s often the above water calving at Sawyer Glacier that people come to gawk at.
Calving occurs when large sections of ice breaks off from the glacier. When that happens above sea level it makes for a jaw-dropping spectacle as massive pieces of white-blue ice separate from the main glacier and fall into the sea below. It’s not only an incredible sight to behold – and one that happens regularly at Sawyer Glacier — but it’s also a remarkable thing to hear. The noise made by the calving is referred to as “white thunder” which gives you a sense for just how loud it can be! The largest chunks also create huge wakes in the water after they fall.
To make sure all passengers get prime viewing of the glacier, the captain of Celebrity Solstice pivots the ship so that balconies on the left, and then on the right, have a perfect view of the glacier and calving.
You’ll also witness a multitude of waterfalls as you make your way through Tracy Arm Fjord. How many waterfalls you’ll see glistening in the daylight depends on the amount of recent rainfall.
As for wildlife, you’ll likely see a variety of animals. Celebrity Solstice crosses the bar to Tracy Arm Fjord at sunrise and often there are whales that can be spotted at the entrance. Bald eagles make their nests along Tracy Arm Fjord, which you’re more likely to see from May through July. Also from May through July you’ll get the chance to see harbor seal pups and their mothers hanging out in the water and on glaciers. When the tide goes out along Tracy Arm Fjord you’ll get the opportunity to witness animals coming down to feed on the sea critters left behind on land; you also may even see bears feeding along the mud flats.
In the event that too much ice is along Tracy Arm Fjord and prevents the cruise ship from navigating it, Celebrity Solstice visits Dawes Glacier via Endicott Arm instead of Tracy Arm Fjord and Sawyer Glacier. Like Tracy Arm Fjord, Endicott Arm is also part of the Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness. And like Sawyer Glacier, Dawes Glacier is mightily impressive.
Dawes Glacier is roughly the same size as South Sawyer Glacier (the part of Sawyer Glacier that cruise ships typically visit) and also has consistent calving that often involves large pieces of ice crashing into the frigid water below. Getting to Dawes Glacier exposes cruise passengers to the sheer beauty of narrow fjord cruising with the ultimate reward of seeing a tidewater glacier that still produces awe-inspiring iceberg formations that are hard to find anywhere else in southeast Alaska.
Here are some other reasons visiting Sawyer Glacier or Dawes Glacier on board Celebrity Solstice is such a memorable experience:
-Naturalist and ocean scientist Brent Nixon provides informative, expert commentary throughout the transit of the fjord and also provides six or seven captivating talks on Alaska’s history, diverse wildlife, glaciers, and more during the duration of your cruise.
-Weather permitting, you can watch the spectacular calving from the helipad on board, which has a prime viewing location on the front of the ship. While you gaze at the glacier, Celebrity Cruises butlers bring out hot chocolate for you to sip. How cozy does that sound?
-There are sections of the fjord that are quiet zones, so no announcements are allowed to be made so passengers can enjoy the beauty of Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness area in silence.
Whether you end up sailing to Sawyer Glacier or Dawes Glacier, you won’t be disappointed in the wild, frozen landscape that awaits you.
Hubbard Glacier: The Giant Galloping Glacier
If the calving at Sawyer Glacier sounds exciting, then you’ll definitely want an itinerary that visits Hubbard Glacier, located in Disenchantment Bay between Seward and Skagway.
Hubbard Glacier is an advancing tidal glacier, which means it is moving toward the Gulf of Alaska through Disenchantment Bay, and it is the largest tidal glacier in North America – it is as large as Rhode Island! This also means it has some truly impressive calving as glaciers calve more when they are advancing (as opposed to the ones in Glacier Bay, which are receding). Hubbard Glacier calves about every 15 minutes and at times, sheets of ice as large as 10 or 15 stories tall will break off with a thunderous crack and cascade into the sea right in front of your eyes.
Nicknamed the Galloping Glacier for how fast it’s advancing (about 33 meters a day), Hubbard Glacier is a highlight for many cruisers and is actually the biggest glacier you can see from from a cruise ship. When visiting Hubbard Glacier with Celebrity Cruises, you will spend about 90 minutes at the face of Hubbard Glacier and the ship will rotate during her time at Hubbard Glacier, providing every guest from both side of the ship’s outer decks and private verandas spectacular viewing opportunities.
Though Hubbard Glacier is the highlight, the journey to get to it through Disenchantment Bay is also memorable since nine of the sixteen tallest peaks in North America are visible on approach to Hubbard Glacier. These peaks are part of the Wrangell St. Elias mountain range, which includes the famous Mount Fairweather. From Disenchantment Bay, Mount Fairweather is even more visible than from Glacier Bay.
You can visit Hubbard Glacier with Celebrity Cruises on board Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Infinity, and Celebrity Millennium.
Here are some other “cool” facts about Hubbard Glacier:
-It takes about 400 years for ice to traverse the length of the glacier.
-Hubbard contains enough ice that it could cover all of the Los Angeles Basin in six feet of ice.
-Hubbard Glacier is 76 miles long and spans six to seven miles wide and 25 to 30 stories tall at its face.
Ready to Go?
If you’re still not swayed that Hubbard Glacier and Sawyer Glacier are the glaciers you want to see while cruising Alaska, here are some more reasons Glacier Bay is worth skipping when visiting Alaska with limited time:
-Glacier Bay is a National Park so it has restrictions on announcements and activities.
-It take six hours to get up the bay to see two glaciers, both of which are receding and will likely have little to no calving while you’re there.
-Johns Hopkins Glacier is off limits to park visitors during the summer months, so you miss great wildlife viewing.
-In the 1920s, Glacier Bay was full of ice, however, 60 miles of ice have melted in the last 10 years so there is not much left to see now.
To summarize, Glacier Bay just isn’t what it was 25 to 30 years ago, due to the fact that most glaciers in Glacier Bay are now “hanging” glaciers, which have long since receded far back into the mountainside. People still associate Glacier Bay with Inside Passage cruising due to its history, but travelers in the know seek out the wonders of Hubbard Glacier, Sawyer Glacier, and Dawes Glacier.
Alright, so now are you ready to book your cruise to see these iconic glaciers and fjords? Then visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent. Due to the limited length of the Alaska cruise season (May through September), popular sailing dates and the best cabins book up quickly so don’t delay if you’re ready to see these iconic glaciers up close.
Skagway, Alaska is located on the southeast strip of Alaska, and a cruise is a great way to visit this vibrant little city along Alaska’s famous Inside Passage water route.
Skagway is located north of Juneau, Alaska, and is a popular stop for Alaska cruise itineraries sailing the Inside Passage. Skagway is a fun town to wander in since it has an old wild west feel to it thanks to the building facades on the main street and an emphasis put on its gold rush past.
If your cruise stops there, here’s what you need to know about spending a day in this rugged port of call.
Getting into the Port of Skagway
The port of Skagway is a compact port to navigate, making it easy to get around and explore during your time in Skagway. Skagway has three docks and if cruising with Celebrity Cruises, your ship will likely pull into port at the Railroad Dock, which is an easy 10-15 minute walk from the main part of town.
Things to Do in Skagway
The Klondike Gold Rush that began in 1897 played an important part in Skagway’s history. At the Klondike Gold Rush National Park you can learn about this time period and how it influenced the town. This isn’t a typical park as it is more than just greenery – it also includes a historic building area where you can see preserved buildings from the Gold Rush era. The nature highlight of the park is Chilkoot Trail, which leads hikers to the Yukon goldfields. The entire hike is 33 miles one way, so the whole hike is not something you can achieve while in Skagway for a day, but you can explore the part of it close to the trailhead during your cruise port of call in Skagway.
Amble over to the historic train depot where you can jump on a vintage train run by the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad and take it through mass forests and up the mountainside for gorgeous views. Turn your train ride into an adventure with the White Pass Railway and Trail Camp Adventure shore excursion, which adds on a jaunt down to a historic gold rush camp where you can try your hand at panning for gold.
Skagway by Water
Skagway isn’t just known for what’s on land. The water lapping at the port town’s edge is also great for exhilarating recreational and wildlife viewing opportunities. The Eagle Preserve Rafting Wildlife Quest shore excursion gets you out onto the water via an 18-foot raft, which your guide will navigate to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. Watch for these majestic eagles flying overhead and also keep your eyes peeled on the shoreline for the chance to possibly see a bear or moose.
How You Can Visit Skagway on a Cruise
The Alaska cruise season goes from May to September. Celebrity Cruises currently has itineraries sailing to Skagway in 2018 on board the Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Millennium, and Celebrity Infinity. Itineraries depart from Seattle, Washington; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Seward, Alaska. Click here to view itineraries and find your perfect one.
The birds are starting to chirp, the days are getting longer, and the sun is peeking out from behind the clouds more each day as rain and snow subside. Yes, summer is just around the corner. Which may have you thinking of your summer vacation in addition to shorts and tank tops if you haven’t planned it yet. And this summer you may want to start thinking about heading north for your vacation to a destination that can only be easily visited in summer (and its shoulder months) via cruise. The destination? Beautiful Alaska.
Luckily, you still have time to get your last minute Alaska cruise planned and booked for this summer. Celebrity Cruises offers a number of Alaska itineraries and there is still space available for YOU – including the coveted veranda stateroom.
Top Staterooms and Suites for Alaska Cruises
Veranda staterooms are popular for Alaska cruises because it gives you a private space just your own to soak in the crisp, fresh air while you get a front row seat to the glaciers, mountains, wildlife, and other scenery your ship is sailing past.
The opulent suites on board also have verandas and often other perks, like exclusive access to Luminae Restaurant and Michael’s Club. Some even have butler service.
So which ships will be sailing to Alaska this summer on which you can relax in one of these veranda staterooms or suites? You have several to choose from. Best of all for West Coast residents, they depart from west coast ports of call: Seattle, Washington; British Columbia, Vancouver; and Seward, Alaska.
Celebrity Solstice is the first ship that debuted as part of Celebrity Cruises’ iconic Solstice-class of ships, which feature the popular real grass, open air Lawn Club. Celebrity Solstice also has a Hot Glass Show, a variety of specialty restaurants, modern staterooms and suites, Canyon Ranch SpaClub, and many other amenities that will elevate your cruise into something truly special.
Celebrity Solstice offers an Alaska Tracy Arm Fjord Cruise itinerary that is especially convenient for west coasters as it departs from Seattle. It visits Ketchikan, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, plus sails through the Alaska Inside Passage, before returning to Seattle. This itinerary has many departure dates available throughout the summer. There’s also a departure date in September that ends in Vancouver instead of Seattle for those who want to check out this iconic British Columbia city.
Seattle departures to Alaska also include a 9-night Ultimate Alaska Cruise itinerary that departs from Seattle on May 17 and includes the above mentioned ports of call plus Hubbard Glacier and Sitka, Alaska.
Celebrity Infinity is part of the Millennium Class of ships and offers a relaxing and chic ambiance that offers more modern luxury than ever after its extensive makeover in October 2015. Celebrity Infinity will be offering Hubbard Glacier Cruises this June out of Vancouver. You’ll visit Ketchikan and Juneau in Alaska, sail by Hubbard Glacier, and then either visit Icy Strait Point or Sitka, Alaska, depending on your itinerary, before sailing the Inside Passage back to Vancouver.
Celebrity Millennium is also part of the Millennium class as her name suggests and also got a stunning new makeover in 2016. Alaska sailings on Celebrity Millennium include a 7-night Northern Glacier Cruise and 7-Night Southern Glacier Cruise, plus a 5-night itinerary for those short on vacation time that departs in May.
The Northern and Southern Glacier cruises have ports of call in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier, Icy Point Strait, plus sail along the Inside Passage. Depending on which one you choose, you’ll either start your cruise journey in Vancouver and end it in Seward (Northern) or depart from Seward and end your cruise in Vancouver (Southern). There are several departure dates for both directions.
There’s also one 7-night sailing date in September that goes roundtrip from Vancouver.
Sailings are filling up fast for Alaska cruise departures this summer with Celebrity Cruises so if you read about one that sounds like the perfect fit for you, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com to find the latest deals and to book your dream Alaska vacation, or speak with your travel agent.
Want an easy way to get to your next vacation? If you live on or near the west coast of the United States, you’re in luck. Here is a list of cruise ports that do roundtrip sailings from the west coast of North America. You can drive right to the cruise port, park your car, and easily get back to it after your cruise ends. No hassle with long lines at the airport or worrying if your luggage will get lost while flying to your cruise.
Pacific Northwest residents can easily drive to this cruise port, located right in the gorgeous city of Seattle, Washington. Celebrity Solstice sails out of Seattle and does 7- to 9-night itineraries to Alaska. Sail up the Inside Passage and past Tracy Arm Fjord with Alaska ports of call in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway, plus a stop in Victoria, British Columbia.
Parking is adjacent to both Pier 61 and Pier 99 at the Port of Seattle cruise terminal (Celebrity Solstice docks at Pier 99). The cruise terminal is located in between the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, making it conveniently located for cruisers who want to explore Seattle for a bit before or after their cruise.
Just a few hours north of Seattle is another popular cruise port for Alaska, that is easy for those in the northwest USA or southwest Canada to drive to. If coming from the United States, be sure to give yourself extra time for the border crossing as it can be backed up (though it’s always good practice in general to arrive at your embarkation cruise port a few hours early before boarding begins).
The Celebrity Infinity does 7-night roundtrip cruises out of Vancouver. Similar to sailings out of Seattle, you’ll get the opportunity to see the sights of Ketchikan, Juneau, and the Inside Passage. You’ll also see Icy Strait Point and Hubbard Glacier before your ship returns to Vancouver.
Short on time? You can also take this 5-night cruise out of Vancouver that stops in Ketchikan and sails past gorgeous scenery on the way up and back down, including the Inside Passage. You’ll also have a port of call in Victoria before heading back to Vancouver.
Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Solstice also occasionally sail itineraries out of Vancouver.
Cruise ships leave from the Canada Place cruise terminal at the Port of Vancouver, which is located in downtown Vancouver — making it easy to do some sightseeing before your cruise departs! Canada Place has both short term (for those who finagled a friend or family member into dropping them off and picking them up from their cruise) and long term parking (for those leaving their car at Canada Place while they cruise).
A Pacific Coastal Cruise is a great way to see popular cities on the west coast of North America. The Celebrity Infinity sails 7-night and 8-night itineraries out of Los Angeles that stop in the California cities of Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Franciso, and Catalina Island, plus Ensenada, Mexico. Soak up the beaches and sunshine, and do some shopping and sightseeing in each port of call, before your ship returns you to the City of Angels. The 8-night itinerary also has a day at sea, which gives you a chance to spend more time checking out the wonderful amenities onboard the Celebrity Infinity, including the luxurious Canyon Ranch SpaClub and relaxing pool area.
You’ll depart on your Pacific Coastal cruise from the World Cruise Center, part of the Port of Los Angeles, which is located on the southern end of Los Angeles in the San Pedro neighborhood of LA, close to Long Beach. Overnight vehicle parking is available for the duration of your cruise near the terminal and shuttles transport passengers between the car lot and cruise terminal.
Ready to book your cruise that departs from a from a west coast city? Visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.
Ready to Plan Your 2017 Vacation? Pair up a Canadian Rockies tour with an Alaska Cruise
When you think of visiting the Canadian Rockies, a cruise probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind as a means to get there. However, a Celebrity Cruises Cruisetour that takes you through the Canadian Rockies for several days before or after sailing along the coast of Alaska may be the perfect fit for you to explore this stunningly beautiful region of the world. Here’s why.
How You’ll Travel Through the Canadian Rockies
Part of your journey through the Canadian Rockies will happen on a comfortable train with glass-domed ceilings, perfect for taking in all those gorgeous views you’ll be gliding through. In addition, you’ll dine on gourmet cuisine while on the train and even spend one night traveling through the heart of the wilderness when you’ll stay in your own private sleeper cabin. During this overnight train expedition you’ll travel along the Fraser River through the Coast Mountains and Cisco Tunnels, while enjoying canyon and water views, including Hell’s Gate Gorge and Suicide Rapids.
Where You’ll Stay & What You’ll See
When you’re not on the train, you’ll be staying overnight in luxurious Fairmont properties, which are well-known in the Canadian Rockies for their modern amenities and comfort without losing any of the traditional charm of the property where each hotel resides. During your hotel stays you’ll have to opportunity during the day to explore iconic Canadian Rockies locations. Some of these spots include:
Lake Louise: A massive turquoise lake in Alberta’s Banff National Park framed by majestic mountains. Lake Louise is an incredible spot for a boat or canoe ride.
Banff: Banff is famous for being next to the above scenic site, Lake Louise, but in addition to that natural wonder, Banff is also a charming mountain town to walk around with rustic buildings.
Calgary: Calgary, Alberta has a vast array of big city activities you can do in addition to outdoor adventures in the surrounding Canadian Rockies.
Jasper: Jasper, Alberta is nestled in the middle of Jasper National Park and is a gorgeous mountain town to explore and use as a base for hiking, kayaking, and more outdoor activities.
Victoria: The capital of British Columbia, Victoria manages to effortlessly mix city life with wilderness and water activities.
Before or after you’ve experienced the Canadian Rockies, it will be time to board a modern cruise ship and head north to explore Alaska. Take part in incredible shore excursions, such as dog sledding across a mountain, taking a helicopter ride over a glacier, fishing in the sea, or kayaking through unforgettable scenery.
Next summer, consider heading north and giving yourself a mountain vacation you’ll treasure for a lifetime. To find your ideal Alaska and Canadian Rockies cruisetour, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com or speak with your travel agent.
A cruise is an incredible way to see Alaska. It puts you right in the middle of the action when it comes to sailing through gorgeous sea passages and amidst towering glaciers.
You also get to experience the life and culture in Alaska thanks to multiple stops in different ports up and down the Alaska coastline. See the colorful understated of beauty of Ketchikan and the rustic grandeur of the state’s capital city of Juneau. Along the way, have the comfort of enjoying a state of the art cruise ship with gourmet cuisine and well-appointed staterooms (and be sure to not miss any of the wild Alaska views by staying in a balcony stateroom or suite).
Now, Make That Alaska Cruise Even More Memorable
So yes, a cruise to Alaska is a spectacular vacation. However, there is a whole other side to Alaska — the backcountry forests away from the icy sea. If you have a few extra vacation days and are interested in seeing both sides of Alaska to get the full Alaska wilderness experience from glaciers to mountains and whales to bears, an Alaska Cruisetour is an excellent choice.
Sea and Land on a Celebrity Cruisetour
A Celebrity Cruises Cruisetour in Alaska combines both a cruise and land-based travel itinerary. After your cruise you’ll depart the ship for the escorted land tour portion of your trip. You’ll explore deep into the majestic mountain woods of Alaska via a comfortable motor coach and luxurious glass-domed train cars, the latter of which is on the exclusive Wilderness Express.
You’ll stay in high-end accommodations and experience delicious Alaskan cuisine. In addition, the land portion of your cruise tour will include at least one night staying in the impressive Denali National Park.
A Knowledgeable Tour Director
All along the way you’ll be accompanied by your Tour Director, who is an expert on all things Alaska and will regale you with stories of the wilderness, history, and culture of the state. They can also help you figure out how to spend your free time during the cruise tour and book extra excursions you may want to do. They also deal with the hassle of transporting luggage and keeping track of needed tickets so you can just relax and enjoy the scenery.
One reason cruising is such a cool alternative to simply doing a land-based trip to Alaska is because of sailing to Hubbard Glacier. Located between Seward and Skagway, Hubbard Glacier soars impressively into the stark Alaskan skyline from the depths of Disenchantment Bay and is a top sight to see for many visitors traveling to Alaska. Here’s why you’ll want to see this iconic glacier while at sea on a cruise.
What You’ll See at Hubbard Glacier
Seeing Hubbard Glacier from on the water in Disenchantment Bay means you’ll be able to fully take in its large 6-mile long, 400-foot tall face – and that’s only the part you can actually see! It extends much farther underneath the water. Visiting Hubbard Glacier via a cruise ship means you’ll also be able to get close enough to get a good look at its icy blue streaked exterior and the calving that is consistently happening.
How close your cruise ship can get to Hubbard Glacier while you’re there depends on the weather and amount of ice in the bay. You also may see seals hanging out on icebergs in Disenchantment Bay while you’re sailing through it.
Hubbard Glacier Calving: A “Cool” Natural Phenomenon
Hubbard Glacier is a calving glacier. What that means is that the glacier is constantly shedding its ice from its edge in order to balance itself as it ever so slowly moves forward toward the Gulf of Alaska (yes, though not visibly noticeable, glaciers are always moving and Hubbard Glacier is one of the fastest, hence its nickname as the “Galloping Glacier”). The ice that falls does so in massive chunks that become the icebergs spotted around the sea. As you probably know (possibly from Titanic) icebergs can be incredibly large, so seeing one of those icebergs actually fall into the water is a sight to behold.
At Hubbard Glacier, calving happens several times an hour so if you’re on one of the ship’s decks or your stateroom balcony if it’s facing the right direction (a good reason to book early so you can get a stateroom on the best side for your cruise itinerary) you’ll likely get to witness this extraordinary calving event. Vibrantly blue pieces of the glacier break off and go crashing into the sea below, rippling into a wave around it. It will sound like you’re listening to a thunderous large waterfall as the ice breaks apart and descends. If you’re lucky, you’ll be there on a day when a 10-story tall piece of ice breaks off!
Celebrity Cruises Hubbard Glacier Itineraries
The Alaska cruise season runs from May to September. To see which itineraries include a day sailing to Hubbard Glacier, visit www.CelebrityCruises.com.
Did you know there are cruise itineraries that depart out of Seattle? This makes it so easy to explore a new area of Alaska (or revisit it!) as most major airports around the U.S. offer direct flights to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Or, if you live in or near the Pacific Northwest, you can even drive to your cruise ship, making for a more budget-friendly trip since you’ll save on airfare.
Not only is Seattle convenient to get to, it’s also a fun city to explore. Get into the city a couple days before your cruise leaves and explore all the sights. Here are some top things to do and see before you sail to glaciers and mountain towns.
Pike Place Market
Pike Place is a bustling market bristling with energy and seafood. You’ll find massive fish available to purchase alongside pretty knit apparel and Pacific Northwest inspired souvenirs. Keep an eye out for the fishmongers in bright orange overalls tossing fish – maybe you’ll even get to give it a try!
Seattle’s Iconic Space Needle
Looking for an epic place for dinner while in Seattle? Head to the top of the Sky Needle. You’ll get great 360-degree views – literally, since the restaurant atop the Space Needle slowly rotates on an axis while you’re dining. You can also head to the top just to see the view without dining, though the getting a meal there is a memorable way to eat; be sure to make a reservation.
Though it hasn’t quite caught up to the prestige of neighboring Portland, Seattle still has quite a prominent craft beer scene. Head to the Seattle neighborhoods of Fremont or Ballard to find some of the best breweries plus explore two towns that are rapidly growing in popularity among locals and new transplants to the city.
Take a Ferry Ride
You’ll be departing on a cruise to Alaska from Seattle so you’re probably in an ocean frame of mind. Get an early taste of being on the water by taking a ferry ride across the Puget Sound from Seattle to Bainbridge Island for lunch. The ferry ride is less than an hour and provides gorgeous views of the Seattle skyline, while the main town of Bainbridge is darling to walk around.
If you have a car and love the mountains, head 40 minutes southeast of Seattle to Snoqualmie Falls, a powerful waterfall rushing down along the base of the Cascade Mountains. You’ll also learn about how water is used for energy thanks to the helpful information boards by the viewing platform, and you can also take a moderately easy hike down to the base of the waterfall if you’re feeling more adventurous.
Green Lake Park
If you’re traveling with kids, the Green Lake neighborhood of Seattle is a great place to spend some time. You’ll find many local parents here, who frequent the hip, but child-friendly restaurants, and take leisurely walks around the pretty lake at the center of the community. This urban park and comes complete with a playground for kids plus canoes and paddleboats available to rent and use on the lake which older kids may enjoy.
Whatever you decide to do in Seattle, you’ll be able to find a fun experience before leaving from the Port of Seattle for your Alaska cruise. You’ll be all primed and ready to explore the rugged terrain of Alaska and its gorgeous icy straits.
To see which Celebrity Cruises Alaska sailings depart from Seattle, click here.
May is here and that means an exciting time in the cruise world — the Alaska cruise season is underway. Alaska cruises are becoming more and more popular every year. Some sailings for 2016 have sold out, but if you’re ready to plan your last minute Alaska cruise this summer, you’re in luck as there is still some availability. Here’s how to best go about planning your Alaska cruise.
Choose Your Embarkation Port
One nice thing about Alaska cruises, particularly for those living on the west coast, is the ease with which passengers can get to the ship. Many west coasters are just a short flight away from Seattle or Vancouver, both of which are ports Celebrity Cruises sails out of. You can also fly a bit farther north and start or end your cruise right in Alaska.
How to decide between a more south or north departure port depends on what you’re most looking to get out of the cruise. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, would you prefer to save on airfare and drive or take the train to the harbor? Then a Seattle or Vancouver departure that is roundtrip may be best for you. Do you not mind a flight, but want to spend more of your vacation time right in the heart of Alaska? Then one of the one-way itineraries may be best for you; for example, you’ll depart from the port of Vancouver and then end your cruise all the way up in Seward, Alaska.
Prioritize Alaska Cruise Ports
Have you always dreamed of seeing the capital city of Juneau, or the charming stilted main street of Ketchikan? Make sure the cruise you choose stop in the ports you most want to see. If you’re having a hard time narrowing it down, a good way to figure out what you might enjoy most is to read through some of the shore excursion descriptions for each port — which port has the ones that sound most appealing to you? Pick an itinerary that includes as many of those ports as possible.
Choosing a Stateroom
When booking a last minute Alaska cruise, it’s helpful if you can be flexible on your travel dates. One benefit of booking earlier is a better choice of stateroom locations and categories. If you dream of staying in a verandah stateroom, but they’re all sold out for the sailing you’re looking at, consider another date. (Tip: a stateroom or suite with a verandah is the way to go on an Alaska cruise for those days sailing the straits and alongside glaciers when you’ll want to soak in as much of the view as possible!)
Book When There’s a Last Minute Alaska Cruise Deal
One benefit of waiting until the last minute to book an Alaska cruise is that there are often deals to be found! Check the Celebrity Cruises Specials page for current offers.
Special events and cruise deals just for West Coast residents plus cruise and travel tips for everyone!