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Old January 18th, 2008, 04:11 AM
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Default Glacier Bay vs. Tracy Arm Fiord vs. Hubbard Glacier

Which is best for glacier viewing: Glacier Bay, Tracy Arm Fiord, or Hubbard Glacier?

I have been to Glacier Bay on Princess. How does Tracy Arm Fiord (on the Princess Seattle roundtrip cruises) compare to Glacier Bay?

How does Hubbard Glacier compare to the other two?
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Old January 18th, 2008, 12:48 PM
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There just isn't any comparison to make. If you want to see glaciers, go to a glacier (Hubbard, Malaspina, LeConte just to name a few). If you want to see a huge area (a bay, for example) that has many glaciers in or near the bay, go to Glacier Bay (although to do it justice, many feel you'll need days or weeks in Glacier Bay... it's really a HUGE area.) And, if you want to see a steep-walled, narrow fjord, go to Tracy Arm.

They're all quite different, and offer comepletely different opportunities for wildlife and ice viewing.

Oh, another difference is the best way to see each area.... Be sure to see Tracy Arm from a small boat, rather than a large ship, Glacier Bay can be experienced from most any size boat, and I don't think I'd sail to Hubbard Glacier on anything smaller than 500', unless I were in Yakutat for some reason already!

Have Fun!
-Case
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Old January 18th, 2008, 06:16 PM
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I read that Hubbard Glacier was advanceing very fast and that there was a possibility that the Cruise ships would not beable to get close to it this year..
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Old January 18th, 2008, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: Case

Quote:
Originally Posted by KellyW
I read that Hubbard Glacier was advanceing very fast and that there was a possibility that the Cruise ships would not beable to get close to it this year..
http://www.cancancase.com/forum/show...?p=317#post317
They're giving it about a 50/50 chance at contacting Gilbert Point and causing flooding. The real concern is that if it stays dammed up long enough the silty (and salty) glacial water will spill over into an old channel of the Situk River.... the Situk is a HUGE resource for the town of Yakutat, and has one of the largest remaining populations of wild steelhead anywhere in North America. Filling the river with glacial silt will literally wipe out the fish habitat.

As for cruising, it'll be up to the cruise lines and ship captains to determine how close they get. I would imagine those will be day-by-day and week-by-week decisions.

Was anyone on a cruise to Hubbard when it was doing this in 2002?

-Case
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 04:31 PM
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Hubbard Glacier is good but last year I know that most Celebrity ships were not able to get even close until July. Other cruise lines did not have as much of a problem but in early May the ice can be a problem for all cruise lines. I would recommend cruising to Glacier Bay as I never have been on a cruise where glacier viewing there has not been good.

My one and probably only try for Hubbard Glacier resulted in the ship turning back about eight miles away and even with binoculars you could see very little other than a patch of white in the distance.
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Old January 24th, 2008, 07:13 PM
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"Which is best for glacier viewing: Glacier Bay, Tracy Arm Fiord, or Hubbard Glacier?

How does Tracy Arm Fiord (on the Princess Seattle roundtrip cruises) compare to Glacier Bay?"

I have been to Tracy Arm & Glacier Bay on a HAL cruise. We were very close to a glacier in Glacier Bay, but in Tracy Arm (which was breathtaking-looked like New Zealand with the steep fjords), the ship had to turn back before we made it to the Sawyer glaciers. There was too much ice - and this was mid-July. So if you want a guarantee to see a glacier, Tracy Arm isn't your best bet. I'd love to go there on a small boat some day, perhaps they can get thru easier(?).
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Old January 24th, 2008, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmcduffy
...I have been to Tracy Arm & Glacier Bay on a HAL cruise. We were very close to a glacier in Glacier Bay, but in Tracy Arm (which was breathtaking-looked like New Zealand with the steep fjords), the ship had to turn back before we made it to the Sawyer glaciers. There was too much ice - and this was mid-July. So if you want a guarantee to see a glacier, Tracy Arm isn't your best bet. I'd love to go there on a small boat some day, perhaps they can get thru easier(?).
The small boats definitely have a better record at getting within view of the glaciers. For the cruise ships, it's basically a time issue more than anything. They have only so many hours in the area, and since it's over 30 miles each way, just in Tracy Arm, if the ship has to slow down at all (ice conditions, whales, other boat traffic, etc.) they'll generally run in until they're out of time, claim ice conditions and safety and leave. The smaller boats 1) can maneuver through and around the ice more nimbly, and 2) usually have more time to go super-slow and push farther in... (and I do literally mean "push"...)

As has been pointed out before, Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm are really such different places, I wish they would put both on an itinerary. Either that, or cruise Glacier Bay AND leave enough time in Juneau to take an excursion to Tracy Arm. As you noted, in Tracy Arm, the scenery is so spectacular, I've always been "blown away" even if we didn't get all the way to the Sawyer Glaciers.... seals, whales, bears, mountain goats and more sea-birds than you can count.

-Case
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Old January 27th, 2008, 01:33 PM
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NCL is definately superior for Tracy Arm with their add on Tracy Arm tours, which in my opinion are best just budgeted into your overall cruise cost.

These are grossly superior to any cruiseship sailing and the benefit is the ability to see some of Juneau in your half day there.

The round trip Tracy Arm boat tours need early and long port times, and take up most of it.

Overall, the small boat tours are definately the best way to experience Tracy Arm.
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Old June 20th, 2013, 04:41 PM
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Default Glacier Bay vs Tracy etc.

Just back from an NCL cruise that got with 5 miles of Hubbard and travelled well within sight distance of Sawyer.

Both were absolutely spectacular but my votes goes to Tracy Arm. Being a professional landscape scientist, I was simply amazed at what I saw! The sheer walls of the Arm are quite incredible and the scale of topography ... i.e. sea level to towering peaks etc. ... was breathtaking.

Yes, the glaciers are "genetically" different but from a visitation point of view I'd pick Tracy Arm #1.

Finally, we were so blessed weather-wise in our cruise. Sunny, warm and with light seas.

Hope this helps!

PtG
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