Join us in our NCL 16 day cruise to Hawaii and Alaska. Today, we visit Icy Strait Point and Glacier Bay National Park. Come along for al the details on our adventures in Alaska. I’ll link the Hawaii posts at the bottom of this one if you missed those.
Icy Strait is in the northern part of the famous Inside Passage that runs through the Alexander Archipelago in SE Alaska. Icy Strait separates Chichagof Island to the south and the Alaska mainland to the north. It is 40 miles from its west side at Cross Sound the entrance to the Gulf of Alaska. Surrounded by towering rainforest and the abundant waters of Port Frederick and Icy Strait. Icy Strait Point is a destination that offers unparalleled access to adventure, wilderness, wildlife and genuine native Tlingit hospitality. (Borrowed from our NCL Freestyle Daily)
We spent 5 days at sea before arriving in Alaska and I captured this beautiful shot from the deck of the ship the evening before we docked at the first port.
Icy Strait Point/Hoonah, Alaska
First stop in Alaska was Icy Strait Point, an introduction to Alaska with rugged snow covered mountains in the background and a beautiful ocean filled with humpback whales. We had booked a whale watching tour on this stop and were looking forward to that. I didn’t book the Alaska excursions through the ship, although I didn’t really know that until after we were on the ship and I looked at the information. My travel agent sent the link to book and I thought they were through the ship, but they were not, but all ended up just fine and I think maybe we saved some money by booking them outside the ship shore excursions.
The beautiful blue water backed by snowy rugged mountains made our first look at Alaska a memorable one.
It was a thrill to be there for the first time.
We departed the ship and made our way to meet the smaller boat that would take us whale watching.
There was a free gondola ride down to the little village of Icy Strait Point.
We made our way along the beautiful boardwalk and marveled at the scenery our eyes were taking in. Loved this statue of an Orca whale. They told us the whales we saw were humpbacks, but I couldn’t tell the difference.
It was a beautiful walk in this little village.
There are some shops and restaurants here on the dock and made for tourists.
We didn’t take a lot of time to explore here, but it was fun to see it all.
We made our way down to the boat and there were only about 8 of us on the whale watching tour, so that was nice. We saw another much bigger boat that was filled with people on two tiers and we were happy we were on such a small boat.
The boat driver told us he stays there from April to October during tourist season, doing whale watching tours. We asked him lots of questions.
We all kept our eyes peeled for the whales and saw a lot of them. Those spouts of water were so pretty to see.
There’s that larger boat with all the people. I have a feeling that was the ship excursion boat, so I’m glad we took the smaller one, that was serendipitous.
The weather wasn’t too bad with temps in the 40’s and 50’s. I layered up with a fleece jacket, sweater, and a rain jacket, but never got that cold. I tucked in a pair of mittens too, which I wore on our Alaska days. Mark didn’t take a hat, so bought the Alaska stocking cap when we arrived and he was glad he did.
Shot of the NCL Spirit docked and waiting for us to return.
We spent about 2 hours out on the whale watching boat and had a marvelous time. We were all happy that we had seen so many whales that day, along with otters and plenty of birds.
The scenery was magnificent and exactly what I pictured Alaska to be.
I captured some video of the whales and managed to grab this shot from the video of the whale tale.
The blow holes were fun to watch.
Rugged and beautiful Alaska!
We were told we had arrived at the perfect time, as the whales had just moved this direction.
We got off the boat at the town of Hoonah, which is the main town in this area.
We walked around for a bit and then headed back to the ship.
The ship was always a welcoming site at the end of an excursion. Our home away from home for all those days.
We sure enjoyed our first day in Alaska and were anticipating the next day, which took us to Glacier Bay National park, a real treat.
I captured some beautiful sunsets in Alaska from the ship.
It was a beautiful site to behold as we were leaving the dock that day.
And this shot after the sun was down was just stunning of the moon glowing over the water.
Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
Next stop, Glacier Bay National Park. We knew we were in for a treat, as this day no one got off the ship. The ship would travel miles into the Glacier Bay national park and we would take in all the beauty from the ship. They prepared us over the loud speaker and told us that several park rangers would be on the ship to narrate what we were seeing.
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve was named a national monument in 1925. In 1980, the area became a national park and preserve and 3.3 million acres received wilderness designation. In 1986, the park became a biosphere reserve, a world heritage site in 1992. It occupies the northernmost section of the southeastern Alaska coastline, between the Gulf of Alaska and Canada. The Canada-US border approaches to within 15 miles of the ocean in the St. Elias Mountains at Mount Fairweather, the park’s tallest peak at 15,300 feet. (borrowed from our NCL Freestyle Daily)
We started the tour on our balcony. It was pretty chilly out there so we would go in and out as we passed the snowy mountains taking it all in. They broadcast the park rangers over the TV’s too so we could hear it all.
Of course, we had to take pictures to remember this trip forever.
it was just stunning, so icy, chilly, and rugged.
There were so many glaciers in Glacier Bay and those were really cool to see.
When we got to the back of the bay we made our way up on the top deck to see the most stunning scenery you could imagine.
My pictures don’t even do it justice, but you get the idea. So amazing!
The park rangers did a great job of telling us all about the bay and the glaciers. What an experience this was!
We kept taking selfies, we just had to.
There’s a glacier.
It was surprisingly warm up on that top deck and we were not cold at all. The ship was stopped and there was no wind at this time.
It was so fascinating to see that blue ice in the glaciers. Gorgeous!
At the end of the day, we watched as the park rangers made their way off the ship back to their boats to take them home. It was such a fun day on the ship that day and we thoroughly enjoyed this excursion day. What fun it was to see all these new sights!
As I mentioned, we are more Hawaii people than Alaska people, so even though we enjoyed seeing Alaska so very much, we would opt to go back to Hawaii for further exploration.
If you missed my posts on the cruise, catch up here: