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Hubard Glacier Viewing

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Pushka, were you on the ship or did you take the Hubbard excursion?  How close to Hubbard did you get?

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23 hours ago, Jimbo said:

 

 

Looking forward to your review of the day soon. 🙂

 

Hi Jimbo,

 

YES, we went out on the St. Theodosius with Allen Marine on a 2-hour+ excursion to get closer to the glacier, the "Wilderness Explorer" excursion. The catamaran was designed specifically for viewing the glacier, with a roomy first floor with a concessions stand, and a second deck that has both indoor seats and an outdoor viewing deck. When the boat isn't in motion, you can go up on top. Over the course of the entire excursion, everyone should have ample opportunity to get close to a window (if inside) or on the glacier side of the action (if outside). The captain will also turn the boat around several times so that anyone inside will have a chance to see.

 

During the 2+hours, we visited 3 different places around the glacier so that he could show us a variety of sights. We saw quite a bit of calving, as well as a small bit of wildlife (a seal, some sea lions, and an otter). The main event was the glacier, and the onboard narrator was superb. They said that we were the first group tour on this brand new vessel, and that they had been wanting to offer this excursion for some time. It all felt very celebratory and special. Interestingly, other folks from our ship were on zodiaks and kayaks, and said that they didn't get as close to Hubbard Glacier as we did on the St. Theodosius.

 

Even during a very cold and rainy day, we had a wonderful time. The Allen Marine team is terrific, and I do recommend this excursion. Because of the rain, I didn't take my camera, but I have some nice shots from my phone that I will upload within a few days, perhaps when we reach Vancouver. In the meantime, my advice is to go for it.

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Just adding, in case it isn't clear, that we boarded the excursion vessel directly from our ship, like a tender. Although our ship got close to the glacier, the Wilderness Explorer excursion got us much, much closer.

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7 minutes ago, Unibok said:

 

Hi Jimbo,

 

YES, we went out on the St. Theodosius with Allen Marine on a 2-hour+ excursion to get closer to the glacier, the "Wilderness Explorer" excursion. The catamaran was designed specifically for viewing the glacier, with a roomy first floor with a concessions stand, and a second deck that has both indoor seats and an outdoor viewing deck. When the boat isn't in motion, you can go up on top. Over the course of the entire excursion, everyone should have ample opportunity to get close to a window (if inside) or on the glacier side of the action (if outside). The captain will also turn the boat around several times so that anyone inside will have a chance to see.

 

During the 2+hours, we visited 3 different places around the glacier so that he could show us a variety of sights. We saw quite a bit of calving, as well as a small bit of wildlife (a seal, some sea lions, and an otter). The main event was the glacier, and the onboard narrator was superb. They said that we were the first group tour on this brand new vessel, and that they had been wanting to offer this excursion for some time. It all felt very celebratory and special. Interestingly, other folks from our ship were on zodiaks and kayaks, and said that they didn't get as close to Hubbard Glacier as we did on the St. Theodosius.

 

Even during a very cold and rainy day, we had a wonderful time. The Allen Marine team is terrific, and I do recommend this excursion. Because of the rain, I didn't take my camera, but I have some nice shots from my phone that I will upload within a few days, perhaps when we reach Vancouver. In the meantime, my advice is to go for it.

Thank you Unibok, for the update. 

We're on Celebrity Eclipse early September of this year, and have this excursion booked.  sounds amazing, and we are very much looking forward to it.  Glad to hear you had such a good time, I can't wait to be there. 

 

Tutu

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1 hour ago, Unibok said:

Just adding, in case it isn't clear, that we boarded the excursion vessel directly from our ship, like a tender. Although our ship got close to the glacier, the Wilderness Explorer excursion got us much, much closer.

 

Thanks for the report.  What ship were you on?  How far out from the glacier did you board the catamaran?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, zelker said:

 

Thanks for the report.  What ship were you on?  How far out from the glacier did you board the catamaran?

 

Also wanted to ask where to you get back on the cruise ship at, after cruise made it's spin and then headed away from the glacier or did you catch the ship farther down stream from the glacier.

 

How many people on the excursion?

 

Here is info about the ship, looks like December 2018 they finished making it. Looks to be a real money maker !

 

Edited by Jimbo

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Posted (edited)

Hey, I really like that video Jimbo.  A lot larger than I expected. I thought they said 20 passengers? What did you experience load wise Unibok? Thanks for sharing this all you two.

Edited by kennicott

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"Interestingly, other folks from our ship were on zodiaks and kayaks, and said that they didn't get as close to Hubbard Glacier as we did on the St. Theodosius."

 

Zodiaks and Kayaks? Where did those come from? Did your cruise ship supply them or were they offered by other excursion providers like Allen Marine?  Which ship and cruise line were you visiting the glacier on? Almost sounds like an expedition cruise line like Hapag-Lloyd or Lindblad Epeditions.  

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16 minutes ago, kennicott said:

Hey, I really like that video.  A lot larger than I expected. I thought they said 20 passengers? What did you experience load wise? Thanks for sharing this.

Allen Marine has several boats this size already, in the major tourist ports of Alaska  Here's their fleet (and this size holds 145 people):  https://allenmarinetours.com/charters/fleet/  We've been a few of this size over the years - they do a pretty good job of handling the number of people onboard.

 

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How easy or how difficult is it to transfer from/to the Coral Princess to this boat?

 

A stairway and platform from the ship to the tender?  A direct from the hull's side door to the tender?

 

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24 minutes ago, zelker said:

Allen Marine has several boats this size already, in the major tourist ports of Alaska  Here's their fleet (and this size holds 145 people):  https://allenmarinetours.com/charters/fleet/  We've been a few of this size over the years - they do a pretty good job of handling the number of people onboard.

 

Yes, that is certainly true, Allan Marine Tours are a large very respected Sitka family who have been running successful catamaran tours for years in Southeast, primarily out of Sitka, Juneau and Ketchikan. Quite a few Catamarans they operate at that, of varying capacities. They build most of their large fleet of vessels themselves in their own Sitka shipyard.
 
What I was surprised at was the apparent capacity of this vessel since they had earlier announced on their Facebook page that the crew would be living in Yakutat for the season and the catamaran would have a maximum capacity of 20. 145 guests, wow, that is quite an increase. Bookings must have been super.  

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Sorry - just noticed that you're from Anchorage!  LOL  I had not seen anything previously that said they were going to have a max cap of 20 guests but you're right, if that was their original intention, they've increased it many times over. 

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6 hours ago, zelker said:

 

Thanks for the report.  What ship were you on?  How far out from the glacier did you board the catamaran?

 

We are on the Silver Muse, which was outfitted for this sailing with zodiacs and kayaks from Silversea's expedition arm. The Wilderness Explorer was through Allen Marine.

 

As others have said, the capacity certainly appeared to be in the 100+ range. And it was packed full to the gills. The fact that everyone still had a good view is testament to a) the design of the boat, and b) the amount of time they spend in each location.

 

I'm terrible with distances, but I would say we boarded the St. Theodosius perhaps a mile from the glacier, and got as close as 1/4 mile. The Norwegian Jewel was also there with us that day, and there was plenty of room for both ships to turn around unimpeded. We returned to the ship pretty close to where we left it. The Muse was only in Hubbard for 2.5 hours or so, almost the exact amount of time we were on the St. Theodosius.

 

As for boarding, there was a simple platform direct from the Deck 3 hull on the Muse, with staff helping passengers mind the gap between the two vessels.

 

I hope I answered all your questions so far. Please feel free to ask more.

Cheers,

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1 hour ago, Unibok said:

 

We are on the Silver Muse, which was outfitted for this sailing with zodiacs and kayaks from Silversea's expedition arm. The Wilderness Explorer was through Allen Marine.

 

As others have said, the capacity certainly appeared to be in the 100+ range. And it was packed full to the gills. The fact that everyone still had a good view is testament to a) the design of the boat, and b) the amount of time they spend in each location.

 

I'm terrible with distances, but I would say we boarded the St. Theodosius perhaps a mile from the glacier, and got as close as 1/4 mile. The Norwegian Jewel was also there with us that day, and there was plenty of room for both ships to turn around unimpeded. We returned to the ship pretty close to where we left it. The Muse was only in Hubbard for 2.5 hours or so, almost the exact amount of time we were on the St. Theodosius.

 

As for boarding, there was a simple platform direct from the Deck 3 hull on the Muse, with staff helping passengers mind the gap between the two vessels.

 

I hope I answered all your questions so far. Please feel free to ask more.

Cheers,

I figured you were either on Silversea or Seabourn.  So do you think it was worth the cost for the cat vs just staying on the ship?  HAL is charging us close to $500 for the two of us but since we’ve been to Hubbard three times before, we’re willing to pay to get a more up-close experience this trip IF it seems worth it.  

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Hmmmm, zelker, that’s a tough call. I think ours cost a bit less than that, and did seem worth it. If you’ve already seen Hubbard several times before, I just don’t know if it’s worth it. So much is weather-dependent, and therefore risky. We were able to get up close to some wildlife, but not as much as we saw at Tracy Arm. If I had to choose where to spend $500, I would spend it on a float plane with Ryan from Alaska Seaplane Tours in Ketchikan; we had quite a transcendent experience with him, worth every penny.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the feedback Unibok.  We'll be in Tracy Arm again this trip, too and know we'll at least get a good view of seals and pups.  We did a float plane out of Ketchikan with Michelle from Island Wings on our last trip (to Traitor's Cove to see the bears) and are booked on a float plane trip out of Juneau to Waterfall Creek this year to see bears again.  Since we have until later July to cancel Hubbard, will wait to see what others are reporting but your comments do give me pause.   Thanks again!  Enjoy the rest of your time in Alaska!

Edited by zelker

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Appreciate these fascinating details, comments and follow-ups relating to the tour options in Alaska.  Nice video from Allan Marine Tours as to the construction of that ship used in these ports.  We have a "Misty Fjords & Wilderness Explorer Cruise" scheduled for Ketchikan and I assume it will be done with a ship like this one shown in this video.  Looking forward to seeing Alaska for the first time in late July 2019. Great sharing!!

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Sydney to NZ/Auckland Adventure, live/blog 2014 sampling/details with many exciting visuals and key highlights.  On page 23, post #571, see a complete index for all of the pictures, postings.  Now at 220,830 views.

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11 minutes ago, TLCOhio said:

Appreciate these fascinating details, comments and follow-ups relating to the tour options in Alaska.  Nice video from Allan Marine Tours as to the construction of that ship used in these ports.  We have a "Misty Fjords & Wilderness Explorer Cruise" scheduled for Ketchikan and I assume it will be done with a ship like this one shown in this video.  Looking forward to seeing Alaska for the first time in late July 2019. Great sharing!!

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

 

Hi, Terry - yes, they use the same size/style double-decker catamaran in Misty Fjords.  We were on it in 2017 - only difference was we boarded straight from our ship (Seabourn Sojourn) while in Misty Fjords rather than boarding in Ketchikan.  Quite beautiful scenery and lots of photo ops for you.  🙂 

 

Click on this link and scroll to photo 5 to see it.  https://allenmarinetours.com/ketchikan/fjord-wilderness/#prettyPhoto[gl5cf69c040b916]/4/

 

Enjoy!

 

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16 minutes ago, zelker said:

Hi, Terry - yes, they use the same size/style double-decker catamaran in Misty Fjords.  We were on it in 2017 - only difference was we boarded straight from our ship (Seabourn Sojourn) while in Misty Fjords rather than boarding in Ketchikan.  Quite beautiful scenery and lots of photo ops for you.  🙂 Click on this link and scroll to photo 5 to see it.  https://allenmarinetours.com/ketchikan/fjord-wilderness/#prettyPhoto[gl5cf69c040b916]/4/     Enjoy!

 

Nice follow-up and good link.  Have looked at the visuals on the Allen Marine website.  Those pictures help fire up the excitement for seeing these parts of Alaska.  QUICK QUESTIONS: In the tour you did through your Seabourn ship, I assume the tour was not too crowded or jammed?  Just people from your ship?  About how long of a sailing did it take to get from your Sojourn location to Misty Fjords?  Does that catamaran move along at a good speed and fairly smooth?  Yes, photo ops are good!!

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise from Copenhagen, July 2010, to the top of Europe. Wonderful scenic visuals with key tips. Live/blog at 235,721 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

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Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, TLCOhio said:

 

Nice follow-up and good link.  Have looked at the visuals on the Allen Marine website.  Those pictures help fire up the excitement for seeing these parts of Alaska.  QUICK QUESTIONS: In the tour you did through your Seabourn ship, I assume the tour was not too crowded or jammed?  Just people from your ship?  About how long of a sailing did it take to get from your Sojourn location to Misty Fjords?  Does that catamaran move along at a good speed and fairly smooth?  Yes, photo ops are good!!

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

 

 

Sojourn was actually positioned IN Misty Fjords for the entire day so the Allen Marine cat came and met us there.  We also did something similar with Allen Marine, boarding directly from the ship at the Inian Islands on the same size cat. 

 

Yes, just people from our ship.  If the excursion is being sold through your cruise ship, it "should" just be people from your ship. I don't believe they co-mingle but don't hold me to that - that's just been our own experience the 4 times we've done an Allen Marine excursion booked either through Holland America or Seabourn. 

 

Would guess there were close to 100 people onboard and didn't really feel crowded.  They are really quite spacious.

 

Sorry but not able to as far as how long it might take to get from Ketchikan to MFs and because in all 4 excursions, Allen Marine loaded and offload us directly from the ship so never had to travel far. 

 

The beauty of a double-hulled cat is it's smoothness.  

Edited by zelker

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7 hours ago, kentuckycruiser said:

We had an incredible viewing day of Hubbard Glacier last week. I believe it was the 29th.

hubbard2.jpg

 

 

Appreciate these very nice pictures from kentuckycruiser, plus the great comments and follow-up from zelker. Very helpful and interesting!!   We are now less than seven weeks till we board our ship in Vancouver to commence our sailing north to Alaska.  The EXCITEMENT is building.  Looks great. 

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Amazon River-Caribbean 2015 adventure live/blog starting in Barbados. Many visuals from this amazing river and Caribbean Islands (Dutch ABC's, St. Barts, Dominica, Grenada, San Juan, etc.).  Now at 63,947 views:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2157696

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Great photos and the video of calving is spectacular.

I hope not too far off topic... 

Any thoughts/opinions RE binoculars? Best mag overall for off tripod viewing? Is 10x really ok or is image stabilization more practical at that power. I’d like to go with decent quality glass at 10x50 (or so), but could use some advice. Is stabilization worth the extra money (and weight)? A monocular might be easier to carry, but would the viewing experience be diminished relative to binocs? I’m just doing casual/amateur Glacier and wildlife viewing, but would like whatever optics I buy and bring to be worthwhile and add to the experience.

Some posters here seem generally pretty knowledgeable so I thought worth asking. 

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Just a suggestion, you might want to ask your question in a separate post so it doesn't get lost in the Hubbard topic.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Bill Onboard said:

Any thoughts/opinions RE binoculars? Best mag overall for off tripod viewing? Is 10x really ok or is image stabilization more practical at that power. I’d like to go with decent quality glass at 10x50 (or so), but could use some advice. Is stabilization worth the extra money (and weight)? A monocular might be easier to carry, but would the viewing experience be diminished relative to binocs? I’m just doing casual/amateur Glacier and wildlife viewing, but would like whatever optics I buy and bring to be worthwhile and add to the experience.

 

If you go to the main Alaska forum and do a search on binoculars you will come up with a lot of posts that discuss them.  That said, I'll throw in my 2 cents worth … while in Antarctica a few years ago, people we met on the ship were using a pair of Nikon Monarch 7 binos, 8x42, 8 deg (https://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/sportoptics/binoculars/monarch/monarch_7/index.htm) They let us try them out and in a word, wow!  The amount of light they let in is beyond anything we've ever had, the clarity is tack sharp, they are comfortable to hold without needing stabilization, get consistently great reviews, and we couldn't wait to order a pair when we got home.  You didn't mention budget and they aren't inexpensive (approx. $480) but in our opinion, worth every penny we spent as we have enjoyed them on both land (even birding in our backyard) and at sea on every trip since.  Hope that helps a little - good luck in your research.

Edited by zelker

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