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Great Alaskan Explorer/Zodiac excursions

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I'm booked for a September 2020 Great Alaskan Explorer cruise on the Maasdam.  I am interested in the HAL Zodiac excursions from the ship.  One trip is at Tracy Arm Fjord and the other trip is at Hubbard Glacier.  I would be interested in hearing from anyone that took either of these excursions this year before I book.  In addition, I would enjoy hearing from anyone that has viewed Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm Fjord and can compare the two.  I'm certain that the information you provide will help me make an informed choice.



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I cannot reply to the Zodiac excursions, but I can reply to the glaciers.  In my opinion Hubbard Glacier is far superior to Sawyer Glaciers in Tracy Arm Fjord.  Hubbard Glacier is quite large and the bay that it is in is quite easy for both large and small ships to navigate.

Tracy Arm, where the Sawyer Glaciers are located is quite scenic upon approach (it is a fjord rather than a bay) and often cluttered with ice.  Many cruise ships turn around before getting to the end of the fjord because of the ice.  I'm not sure how the Zodiacs would navigate that area.

Enjoy your trip whichever venue you choose.


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I was on the last 21-day Maasdam Alaska cruise this summer. We didn't have any zodiac tours from the ship. 
We did have a catamaran tour at Hubbard Glacier, the only tour from the ship there, that was a wonderful experience. We got closer to the glacier than the ship did, and were able to see the small boats very close to the glacier, and were able to feel the rolling of the water strongly when the glacier calved. 

The ship went up Tracy Arm, which was the same as other times I have sailed up there (on similar ship Amsterdam). 

There is a real difference between the two areas. Hubbard is the largest tidewater glacier, and it is advancing. You sail up Yakutat Bay, which is one of the world's outstanding sails (IMO). The focus is seeing that magnificent glacier, and there is also scenic cruising. 
The focus at Tracy Arm is the scenic cruising on the way in/out. It just happens to have a glacier (two, actually) at the end. Sawyer Glaciers are smaller, and not nearly as impressive. However, they are worth seeing, and are especially attractive from a smaller catamaran, which I have also done. If you get a chance to sail Tracy Arm from a small boat, I would recommend it. 

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Adding to comment of Ruth, we were on the middle 21 day cruise of Maasdam, Maasdam did not get permission to do the Zodiac excursions this year, but intended to do them next season, so there won't be any experiences from this season.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I am booked for May 2020 on Massdam and booked 4 of the Zodiac excursions, Tracy Arm, Hubbard, Misty Fjord,  and  Inian Islands. Hopefully the weather is good and we can go. I will report back after the cruise.



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