Best side of the ship for Hubbard Glacier & Glacier Bay?

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#1
Los Angeles
990 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
I am on the northbound NCL Sun from Aug 4-11.

I was given a "balcony guarantee" room as part of a promotion, so I had no control over where they put me. It saved a ton of money, so it was worth it.

I see that I am near the back of the ship, on the starboard side.

I heard something about how it's better to be on the port side to see these glaciers.

Is this true?

If so, how much better is the port side?

Perhaps I can call up and talk them into switching me to a port room.
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#2
Tracy, CA
514 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
I just got back from the Sun and we had an aft cabin but once you get to the glaciers the captain will turn the ship so that both port and starboard get a full view. Or you can go up to the observation lounge and watch from the front of the ship inside a nice room that they brought coffee and tea into so you can sit back relax and enjoy.
#3
British Columbia
6,327 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
I always get a portside balcony for Alaska.

john
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#4
Southern California by way of Kentucky
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Joined Aug 2009
Doesn't matter as stated above the captain will rotate the ship...we've had two portside balcony cabins and just off our third trip last Friday when we had a corner aft...amazing...loved the aft.
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#5
Beautiful, BC
2,448 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Great view from both sides of the ship. I tend to watch the glaciers from a lower public deck and move about as the ship rotates to maximize viewing time.


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#6
British Columbia
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Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by Ashland
Doesn't matter as stated above the captain will rotate the ship...we've had two portside balcony cabins and just off our third trip last Friday when we had a corner aft...amazing...loved the aft.
While it is true that the ship is rotated, one must remember that most of the Rangers talks take place as we approach these glaciers.
We turn up the volume on the TV, and we also pack an extra large vacuum flask which we fill up with coffee, and warm up when needed. Most of the scenery on the approach is on the north, [port side], and the information given lasts for about two hours apiece, since the ships sail at a very slow speed.
For ourselves we normally book O/V, but for Alaska it is always a balcony, port side.

john
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#7
Florida
45 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
I enjoyed being by the park rangers as they pointed out goats and bears. But we wandered the ship, always finding something different to look at, as they turn the boat in circles a couple times.
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#9
5,619 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
For the approach to the glacier, the best place to be is either out on the helipad or up front on one of the higher decks with a forward view, either inside or outside as you prefer.

For leaving the glacier, out on a deck that has views looking back from the aft of the ship.

During the time in front of the glacier, any deck where you can move from side to side for unobstructed views as the ship turns.

For an actively calving glacier like Hubbard, the idea is to have a view of the face of the glacier for as long as possible because there is no telling in advance just when or where the best calving will occur.

#10
1,797 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
I thought the port side was better, but this last trip on the Pearl, we were starboard. i actually like it BETTER, all the way up, I saw a lot from the balcony. We saw whales on our side in the entrance to Glacier Bay, I got whale tail pictures. During the Margerie Glacier visit, he sat both sides of the ship next to the Glacier, and I got a video or two of the glacier calving. I don't think there's any difference, and I've been port AND starboard now. a point up there was made about the announcements...if you listen carefully and are watching (if you have a starboard cabin like we did) as they make the talks, you know where stuff is, so when you're back in the balcony, you know what you're looking at. It was quiet too


ps. I liked the balcony, because outside, I coudln't hear much with all the people walking and talking.


another tip. When you're at the glacier, waiting for it to calve, have your video going, then when you hear a loud "crack" you'll know where to aim your camera. I made sure I had TONS of space on my SD cards I brought.
#11
West Hempstead, NY
5,149 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Sure you can watch the glaciers from your balcony, but you are just getting a limited view of the entire show. You need to be up on deck, preferably a high deck and try to be forward. There you get the entire frontage, approaching the glaciers, getting as close to them as possible, watching as the ship gently turns. You can now move around, still getting the entire viewing where you want to be.
Image how you might feel if you are on your balcony, port or starboard, and you miss a huge calving of the glacier because you are on the wrong side.
I understand the need to use your balcony, but in instances like this, you need to be up and out.

Cheers

Len
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#12
Sechelt, BC & Fort Mohave, AZ
26,695 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
I have seen it from both sides and really don't feel that one side is better than the other. However some people are of the opinion that the port side is better. That said if you are go to really see the glacier you need to be out on deck to take it all in....sitting on a balcony on either side will only permit you to see half of the scenery as the ship does go by the glaciers...yes there is more than one....then swings around.
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#13
Southern California by way of Kentucky
18,925 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by mr green
While it is true that the ship is rotated, one must remember that most of the Rangers talks take place as we approach these glaciers.
We turn up the volume on the TV, and we also pack an extra large vacuum flask which we fill up with coffee, and warm up when needed. Most of the scenery on the approach is on the north, [port side], and the information given lasts for about two hours apiece, since the ships sail at a very slow speed.
For ourselves we normally book O/V, but for Alaska it is always a balcony, port side.

john
We always turn up that TV too but order roomservice for our coffee, hot chocolate and morning munchies.
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#14
Texas
133 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
We are just back and I initially had the same concerns about starboard balcony cabins. We had great views and the ship slowly rotated so that both sides could see. We went out of the cabin to view from the deck after our ship turned for the port balconies.
#15
Syracuse, New York
49,859 Posts
Joined May 2000
IF you want the commentary to match up with the glaciers you are seeing, then you need the port side.

All the above reports about "turning of the ship", are settling for just 50% of the views, which is just fine for a lot of people, BUT, if you want to take advantage of more calving opportunities, then you are FAR better off, moving with the ship. My priority is seeing the most, which means using the open lower decks and being mobile. This is a full jackpot day for me, loaded with fantastic scenery and wildlife viewing. I'm "surprised" at how few people take advantage of the most. There have never been big crowds on the lower decks, and the bulk of people are only out about an hour, at Margerie glacier. Then off the go- someplace. I'm out real early- coming from Skagway or Juneau, and stay out even after leaving Glacier Bay- most of the time, by myself.
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#16
105,959 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Even though we did have a verandah for our first Alaskan cruise, when cruising the glaciers, we found that we spent most of the time outside on the bow.

Now that we have seen them quite a few times, we pretty much stay on our verandah. We have noticed that many of the captains keep the port side of the ships facing the glaciers the longest.
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