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tysmomm

Hubbard Glacier & Wilderness Exploration

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I am cruising Princess this June and our first port of call is Hubbard Glacier.  Princess is offering only one exclusive excursion called the "Hubbard Glacier & Wilderness Exploration."  Basically passengers can load a vessel directly from the cruise ship in the mouth of Disenchantment Bay.  The vessel travels up close to the glacier and travels around the shoreline, and provides an opportunity to weave in and around the icebergs, see wildlife you couldn't necessarily see from the ship, etc.  It is 2.5 hours in length.  In typical Princess style, it is a very expensive excursion, and of course the one and only available since it is in the middle of the bay, and not a land port of call.  They definitely have the market on the fares which are very high.  Anyhow, I am wondering if anyone has taken this excursion.  I am probably willing to pay the higher excursion price to get off the larger cruise ship and get up closer to the glacier, but thought I would check in with others who may have more information.  I am not as concerned about paying the steep price if it is spectacular, but it irritates me that Princess basically robs their passengers with a very steep price for this "excursion" just because they know they can.  No one is there to compete with them in the bay.  Grrr....   Any information anyone can share?  Worth it?  Not worth it?  Things I should consider before booking?   Thanks in advance!  

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1 hour ago, tysmomm said:

I am cruising Princess this June and our first port of call is Hubbard Glacier.  Princess is offering only one exclusive excursion called the "Hubbard Glacier & Wilderness Exploration."  Basically passengers can load a vessel directly from the cruise ship in the mouth of Disenchantment Bay.  The vessel travels up close to the glacier and travels around the shoreline, and provides an opportunity to weave in and around the icebergs, see wildlife you couldn't necessarily see from the ship, etc.  It is 2.5 hours in length.  In typical Princess style, it is a very expensive excursion, and of course the one and only available since it is in the middle of the bay, and not a land port of call.  They definitely have the market on the fares which are very high.  Anyhow, I am wondering if anyone has taken this excursion.  I am probably willing to pay the higher excursion price to get off the larger cruise ship and get up closer to the glacier, but thought I would check in with others who may have more information.  I am not as concerned about paying the steep price if it is spectacular, but it irritates me that Princess basically robs their passengers with a very steep price for this "excursion" just because they know they can.  No one is there to compete with them in the bay.  Grrr....   Any information anyone can share?  Worth it?  Not worth it?  Things I should consider before booking?   Thanks in advance!  

Next time, try Oceania's Regatta that gets "up close and personal" with the Hubbard. No need for an additional excursion. Proof that "size does matter."😄

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HAL offers cruises on some ships that get very close to Hubbard glacier -- weather permitting -- not too much ice flow.

 

HAL also offers an excursion which leaves from the ship -- smaller ship gets closer to Hubbard glacier but the tour ends in Juneau -- you are gone for several hours -- the larger ship doesn't gets close to the glacier.  Very expensive but worth it.

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Hubbard Glacier is not a "port of call" it is a day the ship spends doing glacier cruising. As will be the next day in Glacier Bay.

 

Does Princess "mark up" the cost of the tour as compared to the cost to a theoretical "walk up" customer to the tour operator who spends their summer stationed at the tiny Yakutat Village which is in the middle of nowhere even by Alaska standards? Yeah sure. 

 

If that fact offends you to the core enough to come up with the above rant, perhaps your shore excursion money would be better spent the day before prior to sailaway with one of the several providers of small boat glacier cruises based in Whittier. Will likely be less costly than the Princess Hubbard Glacier small boat excursion (which you declined to give the actual price of) and more likely more varied in the first place as Hubbard Glacier is probably the least interesting one in Alaska--just a giant monolithic sheet of ice. In my opinion it probably looks better from a distance than close up, but if you still want opinions on the worthiness of a small boat excursion there you are far more likely to find answers on the Alaska board than here.

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/33-alaska/

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1 hour ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

HAL offers cruises on some ships that get very close to Hubbard glacier -- weather permitting -- not too much ice flow.

 

HAL also offers an excursion which leaves from the ship -- smaller ship gets closer to Hubbard glacier but the tour ends in Juneau -- you are gone for several hours -- the larger ship doesn't gets close to the glacier.  Very expensive but worth it.

 

I doubt that the tour from Hubbard ends in Juneau, as that is 223 miles away as the crow flies.  EM

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Allen Marine is the operator of this excursion. Although I’m sure Princess gets their cut, my thought is that most of the cost is what Allen Marine charges, not Princess. It would be an expensive operation to have a vessel and staff in Yakutat throughout the season.  There is another thread regarding this excursions on the Alas a board. 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2546802-hubard-glacier-viewing/?page=2&tab=comments#comment-56529977

 

And, BTW, Oceania’s Regatta is not even close to being similar to the Allen Marine excursion. There’s little difference in Oceania and the other lines when it comes to viewing Hubbard.

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5 hours ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

HAL offers cruises on some ships that get very close to Hubbard glacier -- weather permitting -- not too much ice flow.

 

HAL also offers an excursion which leaves from the ship -- smaller ship gets closer to Hubbard glacier but the tour ends in Juneau -- you are gone for several hours -- the larger ship doesn't gets close to the glacier.  Very expensive but worth it.

 

Juneau and Hubbard Glacier have NOTHING to do with each other. The size of Hubbard glacier dwarfs anything else you will see, and it is better viewed from a distance. It is over 7 miles wide at the face, and you see the whole thing from the ship, not from being close.

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38 minutes ago, Glaciers said:

Allen Marine is the operator of this excursion. Although I’m sure Princess gets their cut, my thought is that most of the cost is what Allen Marine charges, not Princess. It would be an expensive operation to have a vessel and staff in Yakutat throughout the season.  There is another thread regarding this excursions on the Alas a board. 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2546802-hubard-glacier-viewing/?page=2&tab=comments#comment-56529977

 

 

And, BTW, Oceania’s Regatta is not even close to being similar to the Allen Marine excursion. There’s little difference in Oceania and the other lines when it comes to viewing Hubbard.

Of course, no cruise ship is going to get as close as an expedition boat/ship. But, Regatta does get significantly closer than the bigger ships. I've experienced it - having seen a mass market ship heading back out much farther away from Hubbard compared to Regatta.

 

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We've sailed to Hubbard Glacier 3 times on Celebrity Millennium and have gotten within half a mile of the face of the glacier all 3 times.  Given the size of the glacier that was plenty close enough and I don't know if I would do a small boat excursion if offered by Celebrity.

We've also done small boat tours out of Seward and got closer but the glaciers were no where near as big.

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6 minutes ago, CHEZMARYLOU said:

We've sailed to Hubbard Glacier 3 times on Celebrity Millennium and have gotten within half a mile of the face of the glacier all 3 times.  Given the size of the glacier that was plenty close enough and I don't know if I would do a small boat excursion if offered by Celebrity.

 

 

We've been 4 times and were iced out twice and could only get within about 10 miles. The other two times we were on the Regatta and got close, the other time, many years ago, on the Celebrity Summit and sat in almost the exact same location at the Regatta.

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30 minutes ago, CHEZMARYLOU said:

We've sailed to Hubbard Glacier 3 times on Celebrity Millennium and have gotten within half a mile of the face of the glacier all 3 times.  Given the size of the glacier that was plenty close enough and I don't know if I would do a small boat excursion if offered by Celebrity.

We've also done small boat tours out of Seward and got closer but the glaciers were no where near as big.

 

We only did it once (thus far), and got "up close and personal".  I'm not sure we'd want to get much closer, and certainly not in a smaller vessel.

 

Hubbard was by FAR the most dramatic glacier we saw, dwarfing anything in Glacier Bay (which was beautiful and peaceful, but a bit of a disappointment, actually).  We never got as close to a glacier there, plus there was very little calving.

The next day at Hubbard, there was one  HUGE crash after another.  It was truly awe-inspiring.  

The Captain kept the ship there for quite some time, very slowly spinning so everyone could keep having a chance to see it (or walk across the ship  and never lose sight, etc.).

 

That was definitely THE most memorable part of the entire cruise from Vancouver to Seward!

 

GC

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Thank you all.  I am beginning to understand that this is a new excursion so there doesn't appear to be much feedback regarding Princess passengers that have taken it.  I don't usually go through Princess to book my excursions because the prices are marked up, compared to booking directly with the private merchants.  However, it appears that booking the excursion through Princess is going to be the only option.  I simply wondered if anyone had taken this Princess excursion in the past and could shed a little light if the price was worth the sights.  If I am going to see the exact same stuff from my cruise ship then I will probably save the $1,000.00 and use it somewhere else.   "fishywood," no need to reply since my "ranting" seems to irritate you so much.  Ha!  

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You might try posting your question on the Princess forum here on CC.

I'm surprised no one suggested that.

Good luck.

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We are going in June 2019 and booked this excursion.  Looks like every excursion is expensive (except the heli/dog sled trip, really expensive and can't wait) and this was not any more then anything else.  As they say, it's a once in a lifetime experience and for another $500, why not.  Doing a 5 day land tour first and figure the food and drinks (not included) will be expensive every day.  Don't know if will be good, bad or indifferent but looking at our itinerary, we will be on the ship for 2 1/2 days from Whittier to Skagway.  Thought that this would break up the time and could be the highlight.  If they don't cancel I'll report back in, one way or another, and looking forward to a great vacation.   

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4 hours ago, haydencreek said:

We are going in June 2019 and booked this excursion.  Looks like every excursion is expensive (except the heli/dog sled trip, really expensive and can't wait) and this was not any more then anything else.  As they say, it's a once in a lifetime experience and for another $500, why not.  Doing a 5 day land tour first and figure the food and drinks (not included) will be expensive every day.  Don't know if will be good, bad or indifferent but looking at our itinerary, we will be on the ship for 2 1/2 days from Whittier to Skagway.  Thought that this would break up the time and could be the highlight.  If they don't cancel I'll report back in, one way or another, and looking forward to a great vacation.   

Enjoy.

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I sure wish someone could have answered your question.  We'll be on the Royal Princess in the first part of June and I just booked this excursion.  It sounds great and it'll be cool to be closer to the water than up on the 14th deck of the ship (or wherever).  I'll post my review when we get back, and wish you happy sails

~ Liz

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Following, please post post-trip review, thanks! 

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Posted (edited)
On 1/19/2019 at 12:12 PM, Glaciers said:

 

We've been 4 times and were iced out twice and could only get within about 10 miles. The other two times we were on the Regatta and got close, the other time, many years ago, on the Celebrity Summit and sat in almost the exact same location at the Regatta.

Yep - on my RCCL - we were 9 miles away. Barely could see Hubbard glacier.

 

Some days you are lucky, some days you are not. That year, no ships made it close to Hubbard.

Edited by Coral

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, tampagirl2 said:

Has anyone gone yet?

 

Yes -- the first groups of cruisers have been on this excursion this week and last. Several threads are discussing it now. You can see my description and the following discussion on this other thread:

 

 

Generally speaking, even the largest of ships can get fairly close to the glacier and take a slow spin for those onboard -- this new excursion can get 150 passengers even closer. You will board the vessel from your ship, as you would board a tender.

 

Please let me know if you have other questions.

 

Edited by Unibok

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Thank you to everyone who has commented on my post. I will be at Hubbard glacier on June 20th.  I will pay it forward with pictures and a review of the excursion from Princess.  I guess the Allen Marine Tour is really a go this year!  We are certainly looking forward to it. If anyone gets there before me on the 20th, please take pics and let us know specifically about the excursion and whether or not it is truly worth it.

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Tysmomm, here is a picture from last week. I don’t know if you can tell how close we were to Hubbard, given that it was a rainy day. If you read the other thread I linked to, you’ll see that it did feel it was worth it. Although I was sailing on a different ship, I do believe this excursion is exactly the same as  you would get on Princess.

4568C5DC-300E-4E42-AB73-3EF6E2918906.jpeg

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