I took this on our last cruise, we were on the NCL Spirit so I do not know what the sail to Sawyer glacier is. The Tracy Arm Explorer leaves 1 hour before the trip, plenty of snacks are served abord, there is a viewing deck below and above, plenty of windows, or you can stand outside on deck. The boat stops and takes time to view eagles, dolphins, whales, killer wales, and sea lions, although you do not get very close since these animals are shy and try to avoid people/boats. The captain said that the calmer the water the better chance of finding these are, he also said they do not always see them all, it depends on the conditions. You wind your way up Tracy Arm stopping on the way for photo opportunities, (water falls, animal life, etc). The tour ends at two glaciers, the boat gets as close as what is safe, we were lucky and one of the glaciers was calving, we drove through the icebergs (lots of ice in the water) for photo opportunities of the glacier and sea lions laying on the floating icebergs. The ship then "catches up" to you and you pull along side and board the ship. The ship actually takes the same route as this explorer does, the difference is that the explorer gets much closer to wild life, it takes time to stop for viewing, there is plenty of time for photo opportunities and it is fully narrated. The glacier viewing is the highligh and you get much closer than your ship does. You will have to decided if all this closer extended viewing is worth the extra $. We enjoyed it and were glad we took it.