I'm cruising on the Aug 13 Summit sailing and I'm wondering where the best whale watching opportunities are (would like to see orcas if possible). I've been with Capt. Larry and it was good, but i've heard that Icy Strait/Point Adolphus is also very good. For Icy Strait am I limited to doing it through the cruiseline or does anyone know of independent operators who can do it either through Icy Strait Point or Skagway? Where do you recommend booking and with who?
Also, as far as Glacier Bay is concerned are there any tour operators that could take us from either Skagway or Icy Strait Point to cruise Glacier Bay. I know there are air excursions offered, but I think you get a better grasp of the scale if you're in a boat. Is this possible?
I would appreciate any help with these topics. Thanks.
Neither area is likely to see orcas. Humpbacks are about 100% sightings with orcas only coming into Auke Bay (Juneau ) every 5-10 days. For orcas- you need Victoria BC or Friday Harbor Wa. But if you are willing to invest considerable time out on a front open deck- proper attire- sightings of orcas are possible your last sailing day back to Vancouver. Be out from late afternoon until dusk. I never fail to see them. No there are no cruise options into glacier bay unless it is included with your sailing. You just will not have the time to do so. If you choose Tracy Arm- it takes up most of the Juneau port day if going independent. What glacier is included with your cruise sailing?? Skagway is not a whale watching area.
Raheem, I noticed that the Summit is a Northbound sailing from Vancouver to Seward. Are you staying a few extra days in the Seward/Anchorage area post cruise? If so, there are several tours that you can take in the area that might give you the glacier experience that you desire. In Seward, I would recommend one of the Kenai Fjords/Resurrection Bay tours. Don't do the tour that the ship offers, though. It is only a half-day tour and doesn't take you deep enough into the fjord for good glacier viewing. The full day tour will and is about the same cost as the half day tour that you book as a post-cruise option through the ship. I booked with Major Marine Tours in Seward for a full day tour before I embark on my southbound September cruise. On the Kenai Fjords tour, there is always the chance that you will see Orcas in addition to some great glacier viewing. I had some nice sightings on the tour when I took it back in Sept 2002, but it isn't a dedicated whale watching cruise.
Major Marine also offers a Glacier viewing tour in Prince William sound and other operators out of Anchorage and Whittier offer full day tours of College Fjord. College Fjord is absolutely awesome. The Carnival cruise that I took in 2002 spent the afternoon in College Fjord. I love glacier viewing so much that my upcoming cruise has two days of glacier viewing, a morning in College Fjord and a full day in Glacier Bay.
The others are right about whale sightings in the waters around British Columbia. We had a number of sightings back in 2002, including one of a super pod of Orcas near Prince Rupert. Just be out on deck with your binoculars.
Yes, Summit is in port all day (7:00am - 9:00pm). I don't believe that we will do much touring of Juneau consider we have already been there before (Aug 2001 - we did glacier landing through coastal and capt larry whale watching)... do you recommend tracy arm? what operators do you know of?