I am traveling on the norweigian sun next week and was wondering if i should book the Tracy arm tour or if our sail to sawyer glacier is enough. Will we feel the full effect of the glacier. Do we even go up the tracy arm? Any help would be appreciated
If there is the supplemental tour- the one where you are boated out a few hours before your ship leaves and then join your ship direct, later, then I would definately book this, if you are interested in close up and extended viewing.
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.
Our favorite excursion on the Sun was the Tracy Arm tour. The Sun does go up into Tracy Arm, and there is a good view of South Sawyer Glacier. However, we also got to see North Sawyer Glacier from the catamaran, which I don't think people from the Sun saw, as well as getting much closer to the face of South Sawyer Glacier.
While we were there in June, there were LOTS of harbor seals on the floating icebergs in front of South Sawyer glacier. Apparently they go there to mate and give birth, and the icebergs protect them from the whales. We saw a couple give birth, and several slide off the icebergs and go swimming. I don't know for sure if they will still be there, or if it was more of a seasonal thing.
We also saw 3 or 4 humpback whales on our way, and as mentioned, they idle the ship so you can get as close a view as possible. We saw 2 of them dive, and got good video of the tales going into the water.
We enjoyed the trip so thoroughly that we were really puzzled by some of the other passengers who complained about the cost, when all the Sun passengers did get to see much of the same scenery, even though at more of a distance. To me it was well worth the cost, but I guess not everyone felt the same way.