Alaska Cruise Diary: Tracy Arm Fjord and Glacier Bay

When I’m on a cruise, I’m generally most excited about our destination – the various ports of call, islands, or cities that we’re visiting. On our honeymoon cruise to Alaska, I experienced the opposite. The days at sea contained some of the most exciting moments of our trip. So much so that I wanted to dedicate this entire first post to sharing some of those moments. Here are 5 reasons I loved being on a Carnival ship in Alaska:

1. The Sunsets

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The sun goes down between 9-11pm and comes up again at 4am. I’m not sure if that’s why the sky turns the most brilliant shades of pink, red, blue and purple but it’s spectacular. These are just 4 examples of the hundreds of photos we took of sunsets from the ship. (Note: these photos were not edited, the sky is really that amazing.) We loved braving the cold to watch the sun set!

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2. Glaciers and Icebergs

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There were two days on our cruise itinerary that puzzled me. They said:

Cruising Tracy Arm Fjord
Cruising Glacier Bay

I didn’t know what that meant, but it sounded fun and I’m game for anything. On those two days the ship turns into a guided tour. It squeezes down narrow passageways (named Tracy Arm Fjord and Glacier Bay, respectively) so that you can get a close look at the glaciers and icebergs. During both “cruising” days, a naturalist or Park Ranger narrated our trip, pointing out wildlife, telling the history of the glaciers and the area we were visiting. Once we arrived at a glacier we would do a slow 360 degree turn so the entire ship could take in the view, and then make our way back out to sea. This process lasted 4-5 hours and immediately before and after are the best times to spot wildlife, so the entire day was spent outside. Having a balcony room proved to be quite wonderful–we spent all day on our balcony, even ordering room service (it’s free), so that we didn’t miss anything! Here are some glacier and iceberg photos we took from the ship:

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3. Wildlife

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During our 8-day cruise, we regularly spotted humpback whales, sea otters, bald eagles, harbor seals and sea lions. Some days the animal sightings were more frequent, but we spotted something almost every day. On our last night of the cruise we had dinner at the Steakhouse, Nouveau (third picture below). We spotted a pod of Orca whales right outside the window as we dined! It was both of our first times seeing Orcas in the wild and it was a great way to end the cruise.

I was also slightly obsessed with spotting mountain goats. I was glued to my binoculars looking for them – JJ caught me in action, above. In the entry of Glacier Bay my dreams were finally realized. See if you can spot all 5 goats in the photo below.

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4. Mountains and snow

On an Alaska cruise you are surrounded by unspeakable beauty at every turn. That’s thanks in part to the route they take, with land and small islands on both sides of the ship almost the entire journey. This was our view for eight days. It was incredible.

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 5. The weather

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We live in Florida so we loved the weather. We experienced a bit of both extremes. Very warm, pleasant days like when the ship stopped moving and the sun was out (that’s the port in Vancouver, above). But step into the shade, approach the cold water of a glacier or waterfall, or catch the wind from the ship moving and it was fun (and necessary) to put on our fuzzy hats and gloves. It’s not everyday you get to take a cruise picture bundled up like this:

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Come back tomorrow to hear my bear encounter story, and see the whale photos we took in Juneau!

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.