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Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises

112 N. Harbor Drive, Valdez, AK 99686
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Ranked #2 of 17 Activities in Valdez
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Tours, Adventure
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Attraction details
Owner description: Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises has been at home in Valdez and Prince William Sound since 1971. Known then as North Star Marine Charters, Stan and Mary Helen Stephens operated fishing and hunting charters on their first vessel the 26 foot m/v Mary Helen. Seven year later in 1978, the entire family joined the business as Stan, Mary Helen and their three daughters operated their first tour to Columbia Glacier on board the m/v Vince Peede. At this time the company changed it name to Stan Stephens Charters, Inc., and to Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises in 2003. Between 1987 and today Stan, Mary Helen, their daughters and extended family (also know as co-workers) have worked to develop their operations and increased awareness of Valdez and the Sound amongst travelers. During this time the company has operated a variety of tour boats between the three larger communities of Prince William Sound; Valdez, Whittier and Cordova. In addition to operating cruises, Stan Stephens Cruises also operated Growler Island Wilderness camp located just south of Columbia Glacier for 15 years. On Good Friday 1989, life for the residents of Prince William Sound changed when the Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef. Stan's vessels were some of the first to carry response observers to the site. Due to the need for spill research, the Stephens's purchased two additional boats. It was the early days of the spill as Stan was observing the response that he dedicated the remainder of his life to working with industry to protect Prince William Sound. Today, the crew at Stan Stephens Cruises lives by Stan's example and works to share the corner of Alaska he worked so hard to protect. Since 1971 the vessels and tours that Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises have operated have changed, but the one thing that has not changed is their commitment to the customer and the company's long term dedication to the Valdez and Prince William Sound.

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98 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Ceprano, Italy
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
9 attraction reviews
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2014

We were very pleased with the cruise. The boat took us up close to the Columbia Glacier and so we had some great glacier viewing time. The crew was extremely friendly and knowledgeable and the lunch provided was terrific. As with any of these cruises, nothing is guaranteed and we saw very little wildlife, only sea otters, sea lions and... More

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Parker, Colorado
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
11 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2014

I truly think we saved the best for last! Our two week trip driving up the Alaska Highway and touring our 49th state ended with the fantastic Columbia Glacier cruise from Stan Stephens Glacier and Wildlife Cruises. It was a partly cloudy morning with little wind as we left Valdez Harbor, but sitting outside you need to be bundled up... More

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Reno, Nevada
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
4 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2014

We departed in rain but the weather cleared while we were on our way to Columbia Glacier. The boat was spacious and clean. The captain and staff were very friendly and provided a lot of great information about the area, both current and historical, and all the wildlife. We were able to get very close to otters and sea lions... More

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San Antonio, Texas
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2014

We saw lots of wildlife and beautiful glaciers - met new friends! The crew was friendly and very knowledgeable. It was worth the time and money.

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London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
6 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2014

Went on the 8 hour cruise with lunch included (hot chowder, bagel and cream cheese, packet of Oreos), hot drinks available free during cruise. We saw otters, orcas, porpoises, seals and Doll sheep on the mountains. The small floating icebergs where just the cake before the icing of large blue coloured icebergs and then the glacier itself, we were lucky... More

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York, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2014

We spent the most beautiful day cruising from Valdez to Whittier! The captain gave us so much good information and spotted all the wildlife quickly. The entire crew was friendly and helpful. We were lucky, only our group of 40+ was on board. Lunch was good also, they did well for preparing a meal in a boat galley. We got... More

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Edinburgh, Scotland
Top Contributor
152 reviews 152 reviews
53 attraction reviews
117 helpful votes 117 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2014

When booking the cruise online we thought that the ship would merely speed out to Meares Glacier and back. However, that proved not to be the case. There was variety going out and on the return so that one's interest was maintained throughout. Yes the glacier was impressive and to get that close was awe inspiring but the highlight for... More

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Milan, Italy
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
10 attraction reviews
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2014

We went to Meares and the following day to Columbia as we enjoyed the cruise SO much. Sea otters, eagles, sea lions and harbour seals are granted. We got the bonus that is Orcas both days. Captain got safely close to Columbia glacier's front, it was Awesome. Side note, the Meares longer trip has lunch included, chicken and rice. Bring... More

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Sterling, Virginia
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2014

I would definitely recommend this outing if your in Valdez. Captain Karen did a great job narrating the tour with history of the area and spotting wildlife. The day we took the tour we were able to get up close to the Columbia Glacier which was spectacular. The crew was very organized and efficient in serving lunch and attending to... More

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Hayward, California
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
14 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2014

Outstanding. We came to Valdez (terminal of the Alaskan pipeline from the north) on an escorted guided tour. Saw the Columbia Glacier (there is an alternative longer Meares Glacier cruise). Cost around $125/person (included in the tour I was on). Ship was clean and crew was attentive. Captain was professional, friendly and knew her stuff (kept a running commentary). She... More

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