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Hubbard vs. Glacier Bay


prmssk
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We are looking to book an Alaskan Cruise (most likely a northbound or southbound route - We've done the Seattle roundtrip already.).  We prefer the cruise lines that go to Hubbard Glacier but have heard so many great things about Glacier Bay.  So I'm looking for all your insights on the difference between Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay and what makes one better than the other.

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Hubbard is one large glacier, you will spend around 2 hours there. Glacier Bay has a number of glaciers in different locations and different states. Your ship will spend 4-5 hours sailing around the Bay, getting close to one glacier, typically. 

 

So more time and views, versus, typically an "as close as is safe" interaction with one glacier. Either location is a great experience. 

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We have been to both and they are both impressive. Sometimes ships cannot get close to Hubbard or may miss it altogether due to ice. That rarely, if ever, happens with Glacier Bay. 

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Glacier Bay - in addition to viewing glacier(s) and wildlife, the Park Rangers board the vessel and provide interesting commentary. Been into Glacier Bay many, many times and have never failed to see at least one glacier.

 

Hubbard - Larger and probably more impressive than the glaciers in GB, but ice in the channel may prevent the ship from seeing the glacier. I have missed Hubbard only a couple of times.

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We are doing a Northbound Vancouver to Seward on the Norwegian Jewell next June.  The reason that we chose this trip is that it does both Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier.  This way we didn't have to make this choice.

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Been to both and agree with all of the comments about both Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier.  Solution to your question, OP?  Choose a cruise that has both on its itinerary.  

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Just got back from a cruise that went to Hubbard Glacier.  I took the excursion boat that left from the ship and went very close to the glacier. The perspective is certainly different than seeing a glacier from a ship in Glacier Bay (which we did in 2008). On this day the ship was also able to get fairly close to Hubbard, but my photos vs. those my DD took from the ship are like night and day.

 

Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay are differently impressive, but if you are able to get "up close and personal" to Hubbard it is well worth the cost. It has been #1 on my bucket list since 2008.

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On 7/24/2022 at 5:32 PM, prmssk said:

We are looking to book an Alaskan Cruise (most likely a northbound or southbound route - We've done the Seattle roundtrip already.).  We prefer the cruise lines that go to Hubbard Glacier but have heard so many great things about Glacier Bay.  So I'm looking for all your insights on the difference between Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay and what makes one better than the other.

I was in the same line of thinking in booking an one way route after having done a Seattle round trip in our previous Alaska visit.

 

In our previous Alaska visit, it rained during our visit to Hubbard Glacier and it was white/foggy by the Hubbard Glacier such that you can barely see anything more than a mile past the ship.  Just aim the camera at the area and hope something shows up (it didn't).

 

With that experience in mind, we are booked on the Majestic Princess sailing in couple of weeks going southbound and we are scheduled to see both Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay on back to back days. Alaska weather is unpredictable and if seeing Glaciers of any type is high priority to you, then I would find an itinerary that has both to increase the odds of you seeing at least one.

 

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Our very first Alaska cruise (and our first cruise) included Hubbard Glacier and it was spectacular!!! We went in late August and were able to get up close. It was exciting and breathtaking to hear and see the glacier calving!a

On a different cruise, we went into Glacier Bay. Yes, it was beaitiful, however, we seem to have a soft spot for Hubbard Glacier and the impact it had on us.

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On 7/28/2022 at 4:11 PM, nini said:

Yes, it was beaitiful, however, we seem to have a soft spot for Hubbard Glacier and the impact it had on us.

 

May I join your "club"?  I feel the same about Hubbard Glacier.  

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3 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

May I join your "club"?  I feel the same about Hubbard Glacier.  

Absolutely! It is fun to know there is someone out there who feels the same.

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I would try to select a cruise that goes to both.  They key for both places is if you have good weather.  Both can be spectacular.  College Fjord is also great.  Ideal cruise would visit all 3!

Below is part of Hubbard #1 / College Fjord #2 / Glacier Bay #3

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Agree with those who recommend an itinerary with both glaciers. I was very impressed with Hubbard glacier. It is massive and mesmerizing with the thunderous calving. Glacier bay has lots of glaciers but IMHO, Hubbard was tops. We had glorious sunny days for both. I later heard it was foggy in Hubbard bay and were minutes from not going when another ship informed the captain that it cleared up closer in. This was two days after the NCL ship had a run in with an iceberg 🤣

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, tetleytea said:

Glacier Bay beats Hubbard head-to-head, if you have to choose.  I have had to make that choice before. 

 

Actually they are both good and are different.  Glacier bay has a lot of glaciers and you are guaranteed to get in because there are almost never weather problems.   You don't get that close to them however.   Hubbard is one really large glacier which you get closer to as long as the weather is OK.  However often you just get into Hubbard because of bad weather.  The 26 Glacier cruises out of Whittier are also excellent.  The trick is to find a cruise that does both glaciers and then ends in Whittier so you can do 26 Glaciers.

 

DON

Edited by donaldsc
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I absolutely like the Prince William Sound cruise out of Whittier--the highlights being the big rookery close to dock and the Dall's Porpoise that were chasing our ship.   But if you've sailed neither to Whittier nor Seward, I have to prefer Seward over Whittier.   PWS cruise beats Kenai Fjords cruise (the Seward closest equivalent) by a little bit, but Seward has so much more to do than Whittier does, and you get to drive/train the Turnagin Arm up to Anchorage.

 

A lot times the better excursion is, "the one you haven't done already."

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On 8/1/2022 at 7:13 PM, donaldsc said:

 

Actually they are both good and are different.  Glacier bay has a lot of glaciers and you are guaranteed to get in because there are almost never weather problems.   You don't get that close to them however.   Hubbard is one really large glacier which you get closer to as long as the weather is OK.  However often you just get into Hubbard because of bad weather.  The 26 Glacier cruises out of Whittier are also excellent.  The trick is to find a cruise that does both glaciers and then ends in Whittier so you can do 26 Glaciers.

 

DON

I agree they are both good and different.

 

I do think people should try to book an itinerary for both as Hubbard is often inaccessible. Glacier Bay doesn't have the same issue.

 

For most, Alaska is a one time destination. If that is the case, I suggest Glacier Bay. Hubbard was on my first cruise to Alaska and it was skipped. It probably took me 15 more years to get my Mom back to Alaska and her vision had deteriorated quite a bit.

 

I think I have read one report here in 20 years about people missing Glacier Bay. It was by someone on a RCCL ship which doesn't go to Glacier Bay so I wonder how valid that report was.

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We thought it would be a one time destination.  Have done two northbound, one B2B on Island Princess to Whittier (with 26 glacier cruise) and are going on another B2B in a few weeks.

 

Have to say that visiting Glacier Bay twice in a week on B2B is fantastic - major changes to Marjorie Glacier (the one you normally park by) in a week.  Huge arch formed that was big enough to sail the ship under.  Have also seen pieces of glacier calve off that were half the size of the ship.  Splash was higher than the upper deck on the ship.

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