Major Marine Tours offers two thrilling full day cruises into the Kenai Fjords National Park, where wildlife is abundant and tidewater glaciers are massive. Covering 120 miles, you can choose between a 6 hour and 7.5 hour tour, and all trips are hosted by a National Park Ranger and hosts a "junior ranger" program for all children.. This area is also home to a wide variety of animals including whales, sea lions, seals and sea otters, as well as an abundance of birds including puffins and eagles.
The 5-hour afternoon cruise and 4 hour evening cruise travel thorough the pristine waters of Resurrection Bay for up close encounters with wildlife. The cruises provide viewing and stops for pictures and to view passing whales and sea otters. You may see several types glaciers. Rangers also host these cruises with "Junior Ranger" programs.
All guests are guaranteed reserved seating inside our heated cabins. Salmon and prime rib dinners are served.
Seward, pronounced "Soo-word," is situated at the head of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula. Founded in 1903, Seward is the gateway to the Kenai Fjords National Park, and was named All-American City in 1963, 1965, and 2005. Within the city there is a 7% sales tax and a 4% bed tax. The population within city limits is about 2,600 people, with another 2,600 people living just beyond our city boundaries. Seward experiences a maritime climate with average winter temperatures ranging from 17 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit and average summer temperatures ranging 49 to 63 degrees Fahrenheit. Seward can see 66 inches on average of rain a year, and 80 inches of snowfall.
We really enjoyed taking this wildlife cruise from Seward during our vacation to Alaska, but there were a few bits of information that we wished we would have known ahead of time so that we could plan better.
#1. Seward's typical summer temperatures range in the 50s and with the wind chill from a moving boat, one can get quite cold. We were expecting (foolishly) some sun because of the pictures of clear skies and sunny waters from online advertisements but we experienced the typical clouds and wet weather of Seward. We were thankful that we borrowed some hats from our Alaska family before we left but most of the time we were too cold to go out on deck. The viewing from the windows where our table was was pretty good, but not as clear and beautiful from outside.
#2. We opted for the salmon and prime rib dinner which was delicious. However, we thought "dinner" meant around 4 pm. We loaded the boat at 12 and ate our Lunchables that we brought on board and then found out that the dinner would be served in about 30 minutes. We didn't want to miss the delicious salmon and prime rib so we had to stuff ourselves. Dessert was served around 4pm which we enjoyed more freely.
#3. The half day cruise which we took did not take us very far into Kenai Fjords National Park and we could only see 1 glacier (Bear Glacier) from a far distance and it was mostly covered in clouds. We were able to see the icebergs through our binoculars as we sailed away. We originally thought that we would see close ups of glaciers and see them calving, but that wasn't part of the cruise plan for the half day cruise.
There were many other parts to this cruise that we fully enjoyed. My oldest boys (9 & 7) participated in the Jr. Ranger Program offered onboard by filling out the handbooks provided, participating in the experiences of water temp testing offered by the Ranger, and then proudly said the Jr. Ranger pledge and got pinned with a badge. The crew was friendly and helpful and the food was delicious. Many drinks were offered and the restrooms were clean and nice. We were seated at assigned tables with a clear view out fog free windows. We saw so many wildlife including a rare sighting of a grey whale along with bald eagles, dolphins, sea otters, puffins and more.
As we drove to our hotel in Anchorage, we envied the passengers on the Alaska Railroad and considered our next visit to Alaska. We'll probably take the train to Seward next time which provides great service to this cruise ship and many other tours. We would go again and can highly recommend this tour. Just go prepared and it will be even more enjoyable.