Adventure Cruises in Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park Cruises are a great way to explore the beauty of Alaska’s UNESCO-listed Glacier Bay National Park. Located in the southeastern part of the state, the 65-mile stretch of national park can be found within a coastal route called the Inner Passage.

Adventure cruises to Glacier Bay National Park let you observe the local wildlife and landscapes at close range as well as joining in with a host of thrilling activities. Fuel your spirit of adventure with kayaking or paddling a skiff in the icy waters and hiking through the remote wilderness. Relax in an outdoor hot tub after an exciting day, or perhaps even sample a mud bath.

Top things to do and see in Glacier Bay National Park

Cruises to Glacier Bay National Park combine nature and wildlife, dramatic landscapes, adventure activities, relaxation, and the chance to explore remote villages and see the local way of life. Cruise itineraries generally combine a variety of experiences so that you can enjoy the very best of Glacier Bay National Park. Top things to enjoy on cruises around Glacier Bay include:

Glaciers - Stunning glaciers that are surrounded by snow-capped peaks and verdant forests are sure to take your breath away. Admire these huge natural wonders, and watch as the landscapes gradually change, with huge blocks of ice calving away and crashing into the waters. The Marjerie Glacier is a particularly exceptional spot for witnessing the majesty of nature. John Hopkins Glacier is incredibly photogenic, whilst McBride Glacier is a terrific place for kayaking.

Wildlife - An abundance of wildlife calls Glacier Bay National Park home, and small ship cruises let you get even closer to an array of fascinating creatures. Watch as whales and seals glide through the icy waters whilst sea lions and sea otters frolic nearby, look to the skies and observe eagles soaring above, and see bears, deer, wolves, and moose roaming on dry land. Other animals that populate the area include squirrels, weasels, foxes, ermines, marmots, and minks.

Guided Tours - Take a narrated guided tour of the national park to learn more about the area’s history, ecology, and biology for a greater appreciation of the glorious sights. The experienced and knowledgeable guide can answer any questions you may have for a truly fulfilling experience.

Culture - Meet the Huna Tlingit, a community that inhabited Glacier Bay for many years. Discover more about their ways of life and ancestry, as well as being fascinated by their traditions and cultural practices. Whilst the group no longer permanently lives in the area, having been forced to relocate after natural disasters, they still retain strong historic ties to the area. The Huna Tribal House provides a great overview.

Top Tips for visiting Glacier Bay National Park

  • Don’t forget to take your camera on your cruise around Glacier Bay National Park; there are so many spectacular sights that you will want to capture! Long-range lenses are ideal for snapping distant wildlife, whilst wide-angled lenses are perfect for landscape shots. You will probably also want to take a tripod.
  • Warm clothing is recommended, and dressing in layers is strongly advised. Make sure you have a change of clothing easily to hand following adventures, like kayaking and boating, on the waters.
  • Don’t forget to take rain gear on your land outings.
  • Binoculars are recommended to see wildlife from a distance.
  • Glacier Bay National Park has some excellent hiking opportunities; remember to pack sturdy and broken-in hiking boots.
  • Pack a bathing costume to enjoy hot tubs under the stars.

Best time to cruise Glacier Bay National Park

The best time to visit Glacier Bay National Park is summer, when the temperatures are slightly warmer, humpback whales return to the area after the winter, and seal pups float on blocks of ice. Summer is also when you may be lucky and glimpse the spectacular Northern Lights.

April to June are typically the driest months, whilst Glacier Bay generally experiences the most rainfall in September and October. Plan ahead and book your Glacier Bay National Park cruise in advance to avoid disappointment.

Whilst winter is usually cold and foggy, there is still plenty to enjoy on a cruise around Glacier Bay National Park.

Where do Glacier Bay National Park cruises depart from?

Your Alaska small ship cruise to Glacier Bay National Park will usually depart from the state capital of Juneau, Sitka, or Ketchikan. Juneau has no road access; visitors typically arrive by sea or fly into Juneau International Airport (JNU). Sitka, the former state capital, is best reached by flying into Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport (SIT), and you can also fly into Ketchikan International Airport (KTN), from where you need to take a short boat ride to reach the cruise departure point. Flights to each Alaskan airport are available from a selection of US airports.

Some Glacier Bay National Park cruise itineraries can also depart from Seattle, in the mainland US state of Washington.

Our reservations team is available to help arrange your next Alaska adventure cruise to Glacier Bay National Park. Contact us today.

Glacier Bay National Park Reviews

  • 9.3 Superb
  • 14 Verified Reviews
  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Steven B
  • United States United States

Fantastic! Really liked hiking up to touch a glacier, watching them calve, learning all about the glaciers and the wildlife that surrounds them. The ranger was great - very knowledgeable and happy to share that knowledge.

Diving Glacier Bay National Park in September on the Wilderness Adventurer

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Eileen B
  • United States United States

So amazing to see the immenseness and wildness of the Alaskan geography and geology. Very pleased to be able to see so much wildlife without feeling too invasive. Small cruise is the BEST.

Diving Glacier Bay National Park in September on the Wilderness Adventurer

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Tatiana F
  • United States United States

The size and beauty of the glaciers were impressive. I particularly enjoyed Ranger Matt’s telling of the story of the Klinget people, their trials and history, especially with the glacier.

Diving Glacier Bay National Park in September on the Safari Endeavour

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Mary V
  • United States United States

Awesome the Dib ride close to the sea lions and touching an iceberg were amazing

Diving Glacier Bay National Park in August on the Alaskan Dream

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Marta M
  • United States United States

Ranger and Tlingit representatives were greatly appreciated. Delighted to be so close to glacirrs and to see bears and marine mammals.

Diving Glacier Bay National Park in July on the Alaskan Dream

  • 7.6 Good
  • Barry K
  • United States United States

Ok glaciers were beautiful

Diving Glacier Bay National Park in August on the Baranof Dream

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Thoma F
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

The ‘bushwacking’ and kayaking have to be experienced to appreciate them.

Diving Glacier Bay National Park in June on the Wilderness Adventurer

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Susan M
  • United States United States

I loved kayaking around the icebergs, watching the Margerie Glacier calve, and our walk around Barrett Cove

Diving Glacier Bay National Park in June on the Admiralty Dream

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Judy K
  • United States United States

Loved having park ranger onboard. She was a delight!

Diving Glacier Bay National Park in May on the Alaskan Dream

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Kim C
  • United States United States

They were great. I have wonderful pictures of the glaciers. The islands with the sea lions and birds were really interesting.

Diving Glacier Bay National Park in May on the Wilderness Discoverer

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Daniel H
  • United States United States

Great... loved seeing the glaciers, hearing about history from Tlingit guide and seeing clan house. Waking up in front of glacier was spectacular

Diving Glacier Bay National Park in August on the Admiralty Dream

Origin: US