A Voyage through Glacier Bay National Park

by Peter Ould

Peter's view of Glacier Bay, National Park from the shp
Peter's view of Glacier Bay, National Park from the shp
We went on our first cruise in 2004 — to celebrate a special birthday – a birthday cruise!  We enjoyed it so much we then chose the same cruise in 2010 to celebrate our 25th wedding Anniversary:  Coral Princess – Alaska cruise.  But this time we went the other direction — from Whittier down to Vancouver.

We may have taken this same Alaskan cruise before but the glaciers are something you could never tire of. That first glimpse of the pale blue glow with moraine streaks running through. The shapes, the lines of frozen flow, white but not white, the glittering sparkle of sunlight as it glistens on the ice, highlighting the shadows of crevices.  The sea reflects these images and absorbs the colours from the glaciers mixing these with the sun and sky – blues, greens and purples.  Such a breathtaking sight.

The marvel of a cruise to Alaska is that it isn’t one place or one day — Hubbard Glacier and then Glacier Bay – two days of awe inspiring images and an amazing sense of peace even though you are on a cruise ship with 1900+ people.  We stood on deck sharing these sights with strangers, enjoying together the vastness and the tranquility of the area.

That first day in the Hubbard Glacier area, when we were already mesmerized by such incredible beauty, ended with the first formal evening — and the champagne waterfall.  The splendor of the Coral’s atrium, the sparkle of champagne and the rich colours and glitter of evening dresses still cannot compare to the richness of nature in Alaska’s glacier region.   It was however a fitting way to relax after such a wonderful day, knowing that these rich experiences of nature were to be repeated the following day in Glacier Bay.

Not only astounding images expand your mind on this trip, as at this point the Glacier Bay National Park Rangers came onboard to advise passengers on the natural phenomena of the area.  The narration provided an excellent opportunity to learn about the Park’s future and the effects that global warming will have on the glaciers.

In Glacier Bay, we stood at the front of the ship, taking in the beauty of Marjorie Glacier from all angles as the ship stopped and slowly spun around to give everyone a great view of this spectacular piece of ice.

It was good to see the ship’s crew — on the bridge — also spellbound by the magnificence of the scene.  The glimmering brilliance of this place made me think the captain up there looked like a big brown bear!  OH! It was a brown bear … a very large toy bear with a Coral Princess cap on!

Over the next few days, we traveled down towards Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan we got further glimpses of snow covered peaks with the shadows and gleam of more glaciers in the distance.

Although nothing else on Alaska cruises could match the sights of the glaciers, we did, however, enjoy stops at splendid Skagway  — a lovely, friendly town with that “must do” trip on the White Pass and Yukon railway – then the state capitol of Juneau, and finally fascinating Ketchikan .

Everything about our enchanting anniversary cruise was a dream come true and we discovered that when it comes to glaciers you can never get too much of a good thing!