I am looking into a cruise to Alaska next year. I read the information correctly (a big if), one cruise line always goes to Hubbard on the voyages I am considering and another always goes to Glacier Bay.
I have never been to either. Glacier Bay is famous, but I know little to nothing about Hubbard. The line that goes there calls it the most active glacier calving location available. That's a pretty good sell, but I thought I'd ask the experts here.
I think the Hubbard glacier is actually more spectacular than any of the glaciers you'd see in Glacier Bay. That's all relative of course, the Margerie Glacier in GB is awesome. We feel the scenery for Glacier bay as a whole is better and the sailing was smoother. Our next trip we'll go to Glacier Bay again.
Hubbard Glacier is spectacular. It is a very long frontage, and is indeed known for calving activity. Check out our Hubbard glacier pictures at Cruising HAL Volendam to Alaska
The day we were there we got very close to the glacier. However there are many reports of ships being unable to get very close.
That said, consider that Glacier Bay is a World Heritage site and a National Monument. There is a reason for that. It is much more than the two Glaciers at the end. The long cruise through the bay is wonderful, and the ships will bring Park Rangers on to give you a complete commentary. The contrast between the two different types of glaciers at the end is amazing. And indeed Margerie Glacier is stunningly beautiful. That is why I, and many others, always recommend Glacier Bay for a first cruise to Alaska.
Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier are very similar. The big difference is that Glacier bay is usually and all-day visit as Hubbard is less then 4 hrs. With Hubbard you get to spend an hour near the face depending on how many ship there . Depending on the season Hubbard Glacier doesn't open early enough to let ships approach the face due to ice berg bits or ice floes.
SS Ithaca , Volendam , Mariner of the Seas (x2) , Veendam , Coral Princess , Island Princess (x3) , Emerald ,Sapphire (x3)