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Old July 1st, 2006, 09:32 AM
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Default Sun, Star or Pearl to Alaska

We are looking at taking our younger daughter and her beau on their first cruise next summer. They live in Seattle so we prefer to sail from SEA but could easily drive to Vancouver. DH and I have sailed from Vancouver twice and done a northbound cruise including College Fjords and Glacier Bay and a roundtrip doing the inside passage. We have sailed the Sun twice and several other NCL ships so we would like to stick to freestyle (plus I have 3,000 points on my MBNA card!).

Here's the question. The Sun and Star do the Sawyer Glacer (which we've not done) while the Pearl does Glacier Bay (which we have done). However, since the kids have never sailed they are going to be blown away whichever we do, but how does Sawyer Glacier compare to Hubbard and the others that are on the inside passage?

Thanks.
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Old July 1st, 2006, 10:03 AM
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We did the Sawyer Glacier itinerary two years ago when the Sun was in Vancouver -- I guess she'll be back there next summer. I LOVED Alaska and everything about it and Tracy Arm fjord/Sawyer Glacier was the highlight of our trip. If you search in webshots, there are several wonderful pictures of Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glacier. The day we were there was rather overcast, but it was still a wonderful day. If you do decide on the Sun, I highly recommend the catamaran excursion you can book through NCL, as it lets you get a much better "up close and personal" view. We saw whales on our way to the fjord, and literally hundreds of seals on the icebergs in front of South Sawyer glacier.

Now for the downside: Several cruises each year never get close enough to get within sight of the glaciers. Tracy Arm is very narrow and tends to get clogged up with ice. Even the day we went, and we were able to get right up close to both the twin glaciers, there was a lot of ice in the fjord. The catamaran sort of crunches through it (very Titanic like thoughts were running through my head), but even it can be iced out if there's too much ice. The passengers who stayed on the Sun on our sailing were able to see South Sawyer but couldn't get close enough to see North Sawyer.

I know the first cruise this year and for a couple of weeks after there was either no or limited viewing of the glaciers. After reading several posts on one of the other message boards , it sounds like the earlier cruises also tend to have trouble not only due to ice but because the cruise ship has to be out of the fjord before it gets too dark. If you're going either early or late in the season, that's likely to be a problem.

You might want to look at the posts on both the Alaska board and the roll-call sections of "the other board" -- I know you go there so, and do a search for Sawyer Glacier and see if you can figure out how often the ships actually get to see the glaciers. You might also post a message for budget queen and see if she knows where you can get that information. Since Sawyer Glacier is the only real "glacier viewing" on the Sun's itinerary, I would have been very bummed out if we hadn't been able to see if.

If you have any others questions, you can email me. I'm pretty sure my email address is in my profile here.
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