How to get the most out of your day in Glacier Bay
Take advantage of onboard information. Invaluable tools to prepare for your visit are the daily onboard schedule of events and Glacier Bay National Park map. These will be delivered to your stateroom the night before you arrive in Glacier Bay. There will also be an information desk, staffed by Rangers, in a lounge onboard. Stop by to meet the rangers, ask questions, and get oriented. Find out when the Ranger programs are scheduled and where they will be. Encourage youngsters to join the scheduled junior ranger program in the youth center.
At some point in your day, your ship will stop in front of a tidewater glacier for approximately one hour. What appears to be simply a wall of ice around 200 ft tall and a mile wide is actually the end of a tremendous river of ice, many miles long. It is likely that there will be a considerable amount of ice in the water. There also may be harbor seals laying on the ice. Be sure you know the approximate time your ship will be at the glacier so you do not miss these extraordinary sights.
Investigate the ship
Soon after you board, find good viewing locations. Get outside on the open decks, especially during the time near the glaciers. Nothing can compare to the sense of scale and magnificence of the huge ice wall, and the incredible sounds that it often makes when it calves. If you want to be outside, find the places without glass between you and the view. Don’t forget to try the covered promenade deck. This deck is ideal for viewing, and has the added benefits of bringing you closer to the water, and keeping you out of the rain.
While you are at the glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park, the Rangers will be outside, roving the decks. Join them!
Prepare for the weather
Southeast Alaska has a maritime climate. Moist air from the Pacific Ocean graces the shores of Glacier Bay with over 80 inches of rain a year. In an average year, Southeast Alaska receives about 4 sunny days per month. All this precipitation keeps this coastline moist, builds glaciers in the mountains, and moderates the temperature. Be sure to bring rain gear. The average temperature is around 55º F (13º C). The moisture and cool temperatures may make it seem colder than you expect. While you may be one of the lucky few who see the sun, bring plenty of warm layers. You will want to be outside as much as possible to take in the sights of Glacier Bay, be prepared so you can be comfortable. Check out the current weather.
Will I spot wildlife?
Glacier Bay Ranger Audio Series
Enjoy these exclusive interviews with park employees on a wide range of fascinating topics. Bears, birds, glaciers, whales, wilderness, science, etc.
Last updated: May 26, 2021