Kenai Fjords Tour Review - Cruising With The Glaciers in Seward Alaska

Aialik Glacier

 

 After spending several days admiring the glaciers at Kenai Fjords National Park every land based way possible, our family finally decided to approach them at sea. We could have rented kayaks, but instead we decided to let someone else do the work of powering us through rough seas. Specifically, we took a day cruise via Kenai Fjords Tour.

Crusing in comfort

 

The first choice we had to make was in choosing which of the six available tours best fit our needs. Options ranged from touring the sheltered waters of Resurrection Bay to more ambitious outings that ventured to distant glaciers. In the end we decided on the eight and a half hour long National Park Tour which explored various islands within Resurrection Bay as well as the great Gulf of Alaska. Like every guided trip offered by Kenai Fjords Tour, the voyage included a stop-over at Fox Island for a wild Alaskan salmon and prime rib buffet dinner as well as a small lunch served on board the vessel.

Puffins can dive over two hundred feet in search of food. This picture was taken at the Alaska SeaLife Center (Seward, Alaska)

As good as the food was (and it was mighty tasty), the highlight of our trip was the marine life swimming, flying, and hanging around on shore. Humpback whales teased us with their dorsal fins then plunged deep in order to feed themselves. Later a trio of orcas buzzed the starboard side of the ship to go along with several otters who floated by on their back, their bodies twisting as they did so. In isolated craggy rocks stellar sea lions laid out while above dozens of puffins circled higher points. On other islands, common murres held court, their dark regal necks a clear contrast against the gray rocks. We also spotted black oystercatchers, black legged kittiwakes, and a bald eagle. The only thing distracting us from the wildlife were the glaciers which dumped epic amounts of ice directly into the sea at fairly regular intervals. Or they hid at the edges of the surrounding peaks, a white mass tinged blue hanging just at the point where sky met clouds.

Orcas swimming by the boat/ photo by Eric Sijstermans

Helping us in our quest to examine and identify as much animal life as possible was the ship captain who narrated our voyage with a sense of humor. There were plenty of crew members on board as well who did everything from setting up dramatic photo shots to serving lunch. The seas at time where a bit choppy and they also helped ease the discomfort of those experiencing sea sickness. There were more than a few people who experiencing much of the tour with their heads down on the table. In regards to my family, the twelve-year-old was thrilled with the waves but her parents felt a few small pangs of discomfort. This discomfort was completely outweighed, however, by the thrill of observing so many wild animals within their home turf.

Stellar sea lions like to "sun" themselves on rocks even on the cloudiest of days/ photo by Eric Sijstermans

Kenai Fjords Tour is based in Seward, Alaska and offers day cruises from late March to late September. Seward is an approximately two-and-a-half-hour drive from Anchorage. Tours currently range from $74 to $189 per adult with children cheaper for most excursions. For more information or to purchase a tour, go to the kenaifjords website

Photos by Noel Schecter unless otherwise credited

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