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Alaska - May 2018 and Glacier Bay?

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Hello and hoping you can help.

 

I’m looking at May, 2018 Alaska Cruises and have narrowed it down to the May 27th, 7-day on the Pearl or the May 26th, 9-day on the Sun.

 

I like the idea of a 9 day cruise, but the 7-day states Glacier Bay on the itinerary.

 

What confuses me is the “map” on the 9-day shows Glacier Bay but it is not listed on the itinerary. I would think if Glacier Bay was included it would be listed.

 

This will be our first visit/cruise to Alaska and I know Glacier Bay is said to be a “not to miss” location.

 

The Norwegian rep I talked to was no help.

 

Anyone have information or suggestions to share?

 

Thanks so much - Johnette

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Once you get to the date and ship (Pearl), click on details. It give you the itinerary of the week you select. The Pearl will cruise Glacier Bay on Thurs. of that week.:)

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Thanks - yes, I can see that the Pearl will cruise Glacier Bay. What I can't tell is if the Jade will cruise Glacier Bay and if not, are the other places to see glaciers good also. The Jade itinerary shows Sawyer Glacier and Icy Point.

 

Thank you - Johnette

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We will be sailing on the Sun in May, and will get a chance to see Glacier Bay then. This will be the first time we sail GB, and am really looking forward to it. The Sawyer Glacier is impressive, but I, like you, want to visit GB. Have heard that it is the best of them all.

By the way, the Pearl is one of my favorite ships.:)

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Looking at the itinerary it is pretty clear that the 9 day does NOT go to Glacier Bay. (I'm basing this on the ports and locations, as Glacier Bay is an all day thing.) I prefer Sawyer to Glacier Bay, but that is just me, and Sawyer requires taking the small boat excursion to really get a chance to see it. IMO the glaciers that you see on day trips out of Whittier and Seward are more impressive than Glacier Bay, plus you get MUCH closer in a small boat. Unfortunately on a RT Seattle cruise you are not going to get up that way.

 

Just a thought if you really want glaciers consider another line and doing a one way Vancouver to either Whittier or Seward.

Edited by zqvol

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If you've never sailed to alaska before, glacier Bay is a must do. It takes up a full day on your itinerary, but it is well worth it. If you've been to glacier Bay before, then Sawyer it's probably good enough. But be aware, sawyer glacier means any glacier the crew ship can get close enough to. We cruised to Alaska for the past three years with Sawyer glacier on our itinerary, and haven't made it there yet.

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Glacier Bay is absolutely a must do! It will always be one of my favorite and most memorable days of all my cruises. And May is a good month to go. We have been on Alaska cruises in both May and September. Weather is of course unpredictable, but May tends to be drier. We had beautiful weather in Glacier Bay in May 2014 on the Pearl. Here are a few photos from our Glacier Bay day:

 

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NCL does not have the Bliss schedule online at this point. The Sun arrives late May and does a few RT out of Seattle before starting one-ways out of Vancouver in June.

 

According to the details of the two itineraries the Pearl will be cruising Glacier Bay on Thursday after Skagway. The Sun is going to do a few 7 day RT doing the Jewel's old route. The nine day cruise is a special one that is being done just before the Sun starts its Mon-Mon run between Vancouver BC and Seward AK - one way. On the way north it will visit Glacier Bay and Sawyer Glacier on the southbound trip.

 

We did Sawyer on our first two AK cruises in 02 and 03, then did glacier bay on our third in 12. We also did the small boat tour of Sawyer Glacier in 12. Both are separate but equal in scenic value - BTW the only time we saw calving glaciers was at Sawyer in 12.

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So if booking a balcony going to glacier bay, is there one side better? Went to Sawyer in May 2015 and we enjoyed the whole afternoon on our balcony, but also know that as far as we got to see glacier, then the ship turned so both sides could see. Just wondering if you need to know which side to book. Thank you!!!

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For Glacier bay, the narrative seems to favor the Port (left) side of the ship on the way in. However once in front of the main glacier they slow spin the ship several times so all can get a view.

 

For Sawyer, the fjord is narrow enough that either side gets a similar view. Again the ship will get as close to the glacier as possible and do a spin or two.

 

I like aft balconies or suites so you can see both sides. An alternative would be a forward suite for the same reason.

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Thank you all for your input! The one-way June itineraries look better, but as a retired school teacher I love to cruise/travel when most kids are still in school! I'll continue to research - Johnette

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Thank you all for your input! The one-way June itineraries look better, but as a retired school teacher I love to cruise/travel when most kids are still in school! I'll continue to research - Johnette

 

You are making an inaccurate assumption thinking Alaska is overloaded with kids when school is out. VERY untrue. It is no way comparable to the Caribbean, and if you have a preference- no way would a "kid issue" impact my choice.

 

 

As for glaciers, having sailed them all numerous times, I too find the boat excursion glacier trips far superior compared to anything seen from a cruise ship. Although "Glacier Bay" is claimed a "must", frankly- Alaska is a "must" and one trip just doesn't give any perspective of the possible- 10 trips doesn't either. :) So- I'd give the suggestion- to not get caught up in such narrow thinking. Look at the WHOLE itinerary- and figure out what you want to see and do- BEFORE you get into any bookings. Look at port times, budget fully for touring and see and do what you came to Alaska for. Worrying about a single day of your trip and claiming to have the "best" for that day- at the expense of others, is a poor choice in my opinion. Read trip reports- you will see rave reviews for all of the itineraries.

 

Just a suggestion.

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I was on the Pearl last summer (July) with the 7 day itinerary that includes Glacier Bay. Another 2 days would have been great, but we really enjoyed our trip (first cruise for most in our group) and Glacier Bay was incredible (even though our day started out overcast/moody).

 

I really enjoyed the Pearl and found her a comforable size--big enough to keep my boys (a tween and a teen, at the time) entertained but not so big as to be overwhelming. And despite the fact that it was July and busy family cruising time, I didn't find the ship to be too crowded at all. Getting off and on at ports was not a problem. The Garden Buffet was busy, but we could find seats. We booked our reservations at the specialty restaurants (3 nights) ahead of time--this was needed). The Spinnaker lounge at the fore of the ship was a great place to hang out, play some Bingo, relax in a comfy chair, and watch the world go by.

 

Glacier Bay could be viewed from our mini-suite's balcony. We tried other viewing spots recommended on this board (including the deck 8 bow--croweded and a high railing--not great for short people), the deck above the pool deck (nice high vantage point), and my favorite spot, the deck 7 promenade--could easily walk across from one side to the other as the ship spun).

 

Would highly recommend the Pearl. Only real downside is not as much time as I would have liked in Juneau and Ketchikan, but we made it work.

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We're on the Pearl this August in Alaska and have an aft mini suite. Hope to get some great pictures in Glacier Bay.

 

Don

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For Glacier bay, the narrative seems to favor the Port (left) side of the ship on the way in. However once in front of the main glacier they slow spin the ship several times so all can get a view.

 

For Sawyer, the fjord is narrow enough that either side gets a similar view. Again the ship will get as close to the glacier as possible and do a spin or two.

 

I like aft balconies or suites so you can see both sides. An alternative would be a forward suite for the same reason.

 

For this trip, we booked one balcony on each side so we can share views. Of course we will try to view topside, but if it's too cold or rainy and we want to head indoors, we will have access to views on both sides of the ship.

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we did the northbound sailing of the Sun in September, Vancouver to Seward. It included Glacier Bay and that ended up being our only sunny day. It was wonderful. the ship rotates around so everyone gets a view. But we basically moved when the ship did. For this sailing, we had a starboard balcony which you want for the one way sailing.

 

The glaciers area amazing, but by the time we made it to Sawyer Glacier we felt like "seen one, seen em all" since we also had done Mendenhall in Juneau.

 

the key is to see them in the afternoon. sawyer was not that great for us as we saw it at around 8am. the sun wasnt yet hitting it, therefore we saw hardly any calving. in glacier bay, since you spend the day there, you will see/hear lots of calving especially if the sun is out.

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Thanks to all of you for your help!

 

I’m continuing to read, research and look at all the options.

 

I like the idea of a one-way cruise which would give us a chance to explore on our own at both ends of the cruise.

 

I found the 7-day, June 11th 2018, Sun cruise that departs from Vancouver, cruises the inside passage, stops at 3 ports, spends a day cruising Glacier Bay, a day cruising Hubbard Glacier and arrives in Seward. Looks pretty good to me!

 

I think I’ll put down a deposit and, thanks to Budget Queen, I’ll try not to worry about the number of children on board :)

 

Johnette

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the one way northbound is the way to go if you want to tack on a week in Denali. we were not able to do that unfortunately.

 

i also highly recommend the train from the port to the airport if you are flying home vs. visiting denali or other places. that is the only excursion we booked thru NCL.

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Good evening, we have done the Pearl in the past and are planning on it for 2018. We loved glacier bay and thought that was a huge reason to do the same itinerary. Have any of you been to sawyer glacier? Any comparison?

 

 

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We're on the Pearl this August in Alaska and have an aft mini suite. Hope to get some great pictures in Glacier Bay.

 

Don

You will have spectacular views from back there. Have done the Pearl in Alaska 2 times from the same room. 11152 almost middle of the ship.. great views..!

 

Sent from my SM-G920V using Forums mobile app

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We did Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier on the Sun last September. We had an aft balcony and it was awesome. We were so close to the glaciers that if I had a football, I probably could have thrown it into the glaciers.

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We had an aft balcony booked on the May 2018 sailing of the Pearl but have just switched to the July sailing on the new Bliss. We have been to Glacier Bay and are going to miss that on the new sailing, but decided a new boat was worth it. Is there much more wildlife out in July vs May? I'm hoping we don't regret the decision.

 

 

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