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hokkeika

Alaska cruise: Glacier Bay or Hubbard Glacier

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Hello, 

I am thinking of booking a 7 day cruise in mid-May 2019 from Seattle. HAL offers two very similar itineraries, except one goes to Glacier bay and another to Hubbard glacier. Which one is better for the first time Alaska trip?  (also Eurodam goes to Glacier bay and Oosterdam goes to Hubbard glacier). What do you think? thank you!

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I prefer Glacier Bay over Hubbard Glacier, but both give you a great glacier experience.

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We have been to both many times.

 

We do like Hubbard Glacier better as the glacier there is much bluer.

 

But in May you may not get very close to Hubbard Glacier thus Glacier Bay may be better for viewing up close.

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For a first time Alaska cruise, I would pick Glacier Bay although my personal preference is Hubbard if you can get up close to it. You will see more glaciers in Glacier Bay which is the reason I would chose that on your first cruise.

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We're doing our 4th Alaska cruise this summer and we're going to Glacier Bay a second time. Have been to Hubbard early season and you won't (typically) get very close. Eurodam also has Tamarind which happens to be a favorite specialty restaurant. Otherwise the cruises are very similar.

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Since this is your first trip to Alaska AND you are travelling in May, I would go with the Glacier Bay cruise. 

(I personally prefer Hubbard Glacier, but getting close to it in May is not always possible.  Also, you will see more glaciers in Glacier Bay.)

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Try a back to back and do both.  Last year, we did Glacier Bay on one cruise and Endicott Arm on the second.  But we had to spend the night in Vancouver between two cruises, because we started in San Diego and ended in Seattle.  Done Hubbard twice the year before.

Edited by knittinggirl

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On a beautiful day, for a first cruise there, either one will suffice. But Hubbard is the more spectacular experience, especially on a sunny day. In early season the mountains in Yakutat Bay should be covered in ice & snow, and with the sun shining on them is a gorgeous sight.
Hubbard is more likely to show calving.

You really can't go wrong, though.

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Hubbard is am amazing glacier but like others said, you may not get close in May.  In fact, the closest I got in June was 5 miles.  Given its May, I recommend Glacier Bay.

 

Plus, I think Eurodam is a nicer ship.

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2 hours ago, hokkeika said:

Hello, 

I am thinking of booking a 7 day cruise in mid-May 2019 from Seattle. HAL offers two very similar itineraries, except one goes to Glacier bay and another to Hubbard glacier. Which one is better for the first time Alaska trip?  (also Eurodam goes to Glacier bay and Oosterdam goes to Hubbard glacier). What do you think? thank you!

Thats easy, having been to both in may and sept.     In may  you want to go to Glacier Bay because  you can see more. 

In May ice chokes the bay in the Hubbard Glacier and you wont get within  3 or more miles of the glacier...   Sept is the time to see the Hubbard and get within 1/4 mile  ....thats a treat.  but only possible in September or late August

        Another plus for the Glacier bay choice  Is that national Park Rangers come aboard for the day and give talks and point out things...  No one does anything at the Hubbard except read from a card...

 

Glacier Bay  in May  is the logical choice

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Hubbard. Did both, but there was so much more calving at Hubbard when we did this in late May, early June last year. Loud booms and lots of crashing ice. Beautiful entry into the glacier viewing area and no other ships. Yes, you get closer in Glacier Bay but the sweep of the scenery and the action was much more dramatic at Hubbard. 

Edited by OlsSalt

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You really should see both in your lifetime, but I'll go along with the consensus and say GB in May and Hubbard later in the season. Hubbard is much larger than anything in GB.

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23 minutes ago, catl331 said:

You really should see both in your lifetime, but I'll go along with the consensus and say GB in May and Hubbard later in the season. Hubbard is much larger than anything in GB.

 

And Hubbard Glacier is advancing while most other glaciers are retreating but I still say do Glacier Bay first.

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For a first time visitor to Alaska, I also would recommend a visit to Glacier Bay.  There should be a National Park Service Ranger or two aboard to provide narration and walking around the outside decks to speak with guests.  The visit to Hubbard Glacier does not provide that.

 

One way to solve the Hubbard vs. Glacier Bay question is to select a cruise that does such.  Princess has a Southbound Voyage of the Glaciers itinerary from Whittier to Vancouver that visits both sites.  

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Hubbard is the much larger and more impressive glacier (not that Margery and the others in Glacier Bay are not...) and in my opinion just makes for a more dramatic "glacier day".  Having said that, it's all SO wonderful, you are going to have a fantastic cruise whichever you choose. 

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What a hard choice! I prefer Hubbard. It's so huge and just gorgeous. We saw her back in May 2012. But, I love the Eurodam, which is a little more modern and has the Tamarind restaurant. Either choice will be great.

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We have been to both and much prefer Hubbard Glacier.  Our first cruise to Alaska included HG and it is HUGE with lots of calving.  Our next cruise was to Glacier Bay and we were disappointed!  We have been to Alaska four times and would love to go again. 😄

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On 2/11/2019 at 4:00 PM, Aquahound said:

Hubbard is am amazing glacier but like others said, you may not get close in May.  In fact, the closest I got in June was 5 miles.  Given its May, I recommend Glacier Bay.

 

Plus, I think Eurodam is a nicer ship.

👍👍👍  Agree completely on all counts!!!

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Been to Alaska 6 times and we prefer the Hubbard Glacier.  We have been in May and it was spectacular.  In July I am taking my grand daughter and daughter-in-law and chose the Oosterdam for the Hubbard Glacier.  This cruise a small ship experience is being offered for close viewing of the Hubbard.

 

Enjoy your cruise, whichever you choose!

Karen

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I prefer Glacier Bay.  Sometimes there is so much ice you cannot even see Hubbard's Glacier

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56 minutes ago, Himself said:

I prefer Glacier Bay.  Sometimes there is so much ice you cannot even see Hubbard's Glacier

 

I agree, that's been our experience with Hubbard.  We've had bad luck trying to get near Hubbard.

 

OP, I would choose Glacier Bay for your first Alaska cruise. Being on the Eurodam would be a good choice, also 🙂

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I agree both are worth seeing. We've done both twice.  Our most recent trip was to Hubbard (early July) and I kept waiting to get closer since our first visit we got very close.  It was still spectacular, but not as awe-inspiring as our first visit which was in mid- August.

Our first Glacier Bay visit was in late May, compared to late July for the second.  Both were spectacular and the commentary from the Park Ranger was a definite bonus so I would go for Glacier for the best "intro to glaciers" experience.

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On ‎2‎/‎11‎/‎2019 at 1:50 PM, grsnovi said:

Eurodam also has Tamarind which happens to be a favorite specialty restaurant. Otherwise the cruises are very similar.

This would be my choice just because of the Tamarind, I agree it is the best specialty restaurant HAL offers. I would eat there more than 1 night too. We are on the Noordam doing a sea and land tour leaving from Vancouver in July, we will miss not having the Tamarind, but we will be cruising the inside passage for the fist couple of days.

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Mid-May is your delimiting factor...Hubbard often fogged in or iced in still and not approachable, whereas Glacier Bay can always be visited. First timers, you want to make sure to see "something"...Glacier will do it. Been to Hubbard 2 of 3 times when we couldn't get in due to fog or ice early in the season. Only time we got there was in the later summer. You'll love Glacier Bay...then plan to return on another AK cruise 🙂

 

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