Tracy Arm Excursions

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#1
Scotland
282 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
We are looking to book a cruise next year and are considering options for tours. We are keen to get the full glacier experience and are concerned that on general cruising with the ship we won't get close up due to sea conditions and ice.

Our back up plan was to take a small boat tour which we understood starts and ends from the ship at the entrance to Tracy Arm. If I interpret recent posts correctly they suggest that the tour ends in Juneau where the small boat meets up with the ship.

If that is the case I am wondering if this would scupper our other plan for close up glacier viewing which was to take a land trip to Mendenhall Glacier, we thought from Juneau.

Can anyone advise if these two possible tour options cross over or if it is possible to do both.
#2
Portland Oregon
2,775 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
The small boat tour - aka Tracy Arm Explorer is run several different ways by different cruise lines and can also vary based on the ship itself.

Some things to look for in the itinerary are:

if Tracy Arm is marked SC or Service Call then the small boat tour leaves the cruise ship to tour TA and meets it in Juneau.

It TA is just before or just after Juneau then the small boat tour will either depart Juneau just ahead of the ship or will leave the ship at the glacier and meet back in Juneau.

If TA is between Skagway and Ketchikan (not Juneau) then there may not be a small boat tour offered - at least one cruise line offers it twice - once one the way in and again on the way out.

Some ships are in Juneau early enough and long enough that you can catch one of the Adventure Bound boats that go RT from Juneau. For the NCL Pearl there is a RT excursion offered through NCL.

All ship's excursions are done through Allen Marine Tours.
#3
Syracuse, New York
50,489 Posts
Joined May 2000
To further clarify, IF the ship has Tracy Arm in the itinerary, you would have some time in Juneau, enough to get to Mendenhall.

With HAL, you HAVE to purchase the add on ship excursion.

But if you truly want a "glacier" vacation- a MUST is to get to Whittier and take a boat tour of Prince William Sound. This works out excellent with one way Princess or NCL cruises. Can easily be added- with extra time with one way HAL, RCI or Celebrity cruises.
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#4
1,889 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by Budget Queen
With HAL, you HAVE to purchase the add on ship excursion.
I'm confused. I was under the impression that on my HAL cruise, we'd actually be cruising Tracy Arm. In fact, I thought that purchasing the excursion would not even be an option. I would love to purchase the excursion, if possible. The itinerary indicates Scenic Cruising Tracy Arm. The superscript is CO, which means Cruising Only. The time is 3:00-8:00 p.m.
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#5
So Cal
144 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
We are also very interested in taking the TA excursion directly from the ship while in the fjord. We'll be sailing on the Grand Princess next July and according to the excursion options, this will be offered on our cruise. Any idea what time the excursion leaves the ship and returns to Juneau? Are these trips run by Allen Marine? I assume this excursion has to be purchased through Princess. Are we allowed to bring a lunch on this excursion from the ship? Any details would be appreciated.
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#6
California
2,125 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Originally posted by allisons
I'm confused. I was under the impression that on my HAL cruise, we'd actually be cruising Tracy Arm. In fact, I thought that purchasing the excursion would not even be an option. I would love to purchase the excursion, if possible. The itinerary indicates Scenic Cruising Tracy Arm. The superscript is CO, which means Cruising Only. The time is 3:00-8:00 p.m.
HAL does have a few cruises where the ship sails Tracy Arm. The Oosterdam round trip out of Seattle says CO and the time is 3:00-8:00 so the ship is cruising into Tracy Arm.
#7
1,889 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by NoobCruise
HAL does have a few cruises where the ship sails Tracy Arm. The Oosterdam round trip out of Seattle says CO and the time is 3:00-8:00 so the ship is cruising into Tracy Arm.
Thank you! That's what I thought! In that instance, would it even be an option to do the excursion? If not, would it still be worth it to do the excursion out of Juneau?
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#8
California
2,125 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Originally posted by allisons
Thank you! That's what I thought! In that instance, would it even be an option to do the excursion? If not, would it still be worth it to do the excursion out of Juneau?
That I don't know, but personally, if I were on a ship that sailed in to Tracy Arm, I would use my time in Juneau for something else. We went whale watching and had a great time. My DH served 3 1/2 years on a US Coast Guard Cutter patrolling Alaskan waters and 3 years at a small boat station in Oregon and had never seen an orca whale. We saw quite a few on our whale watching excursion, as well as humpbacks and minke. Mendenhall Glacier was also great.
#9
Syracuse, New York
50,489 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by allisons
Thank you! That's what I thought! In that instance, would it even be an option to do the excursion? If not, would it still be worth it to do the excursion out of Juneau?
What "Juneau" excursion? You need a long port day for one company.
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#10
Syracuse, New York
50,489 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by allisons
I'm confused. I was under the impression that on my HAL cruise, we'd actually be cruising Tracy Arm. In fact, I thought that purchasing the excursion would not even be an option. I would love to purchase the excursion, if possible. The itinerary indicates Scenic Cruising Tracy Arm. The superscript is CO, which means Cruising Only. The time is 3:00-8:00 p.m.
I'm sorry, this is a new itinerary, with those times, it sails Tracy Arm as noted. There ALSO should be an add on, Tracy Arm ship tour available, which in my opinion, is grossly superior to the cruise ship transit.
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#11
1,889 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by NoobCruise
That I don't know, but personally, if I were on a ship that sailed in to Tracy Arm, I would use my time in Juneau for something else. We went whale watching and had a great time. My DH served 3 1/2 years on a US Coast Guard Cutter patrolling Alaskan waters and 3 years at a small boat station in Oregon and had never seen an orca whale. We saw quite a few on our whale watching excursion, as well as humpbacks and minke. Mendenhall Glacier was also great.
Good point! We did enjoy Juneau this summer. We walked around the city, went up the Mt. Roberts tramway, took a helicopter onto a glacier and went dog sledding. We didn't do the whale watch from Juneau, but we did do it from Icy Strait Point. Perhaps we will do a whale watch from Juneau next summer.
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#12
1,889 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by Budget Queen
What "Juneau" excursion? You need a long port day for one company.
We're in Juneau for 11 hours on one cruise and 9 1/2 hours on the other cruise. Is that long enough?
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#13
1,889 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by Budget Queen
I'm sorry, this is a new itinerary, with those times, it sails Tracy Arm as noted. There ALSO should be an add on, Tracy Arm ship tour available, which in my opinion, is grossly superior to the cruise ship transit.
Ooh! I certainly hope that they also offer the excursion! I assumed they wouldn't since we're cruising Tracy Arm. Now I have hope!
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#14
1,889 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by Budget Queen
I'm sorry, this is a new itinerary, with those times, it sails Tracy Arm as noted. There ALSO should be an add on, Tracy Arm ship tour available, which in my opinion, is grossly superior to the cruise ship transit.
I just checked. It's actually not new, HAL's been doing it this summer. There is no option for the excursion, just the cruise ship itself cruising Tracy Arm. Boo!
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#15
Concord, California
3,570 Posts
Joined Jun 2000
Originally posted by allisons
We're in Juneau for 11 hours on one cruise and 9 1/2 hours on the other cruise. Is that long enough?
To do the all day Adventure Bound trip from Juneau you ship needs to be in port from at least 8am until 7pm. Few ships offer this time frame which is why they don't really aim at the cruise ships for business. I alwasy say if your schedule permits to take the tour and then do the rest of the tours on your next visit.
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#16
1,889 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by DougH
To do the all day Adventure Bound trip from Juneau you ship needs to be in port from at least 8am until 7pm. Few ships offer this time frame which is why they don't really aim at the cruise ships for business. I alwasy say if your schedule permits to take the tour and then do the rest of the tours on your next visit.
Ah! Good to know! Thank you!
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