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“Amazing!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises

Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises
112 N. Harbor Drive, Valdez, AK 99686
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Ranked #2 of 17 Activities in Valdez
Type: Tours, Adventure
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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.
Cary, Illinois
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013 via mobile

Wow!! Loved this cruise. Excellent narration. Got to see whales, otters, sea lions, puffins, glaciers and much more. The scenery is breath taking. Staff is great and knowledgable. Would highly recommend.

Visited July 2013
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101 reviews from our community

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English first
Ohio, USA
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Highlight of our Alaska summer”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2013

Our day on the Spirit of Valdez was an amazing experience, one that will remain, I'm sure, a highlight of our summer in Alaska. We boarded promptly at 9:30 after the crew had assisted guests in wheelchairs. After safety instructions, the boat left the dock at 10 while the harbor was still foggy. As the boat ventured into the Valdez Arm the fog gave way to clearer skies, and we were treated to the most amazing views of mountains, water, ice, and wildlife. The captain stopped whenever wildlife was spotted, giving us plenty of time to watch and take pictures. Viewing from inside was great -- the seats were comfy, the windows were large and clean. Viewing from outside was even better -- comfy seats, freedom to move about, and both covered and uncovered decks. We saw orcas, humpbacks, sea lions, otters, puffins, an eagle, and the most playful Dall's porpoises. The captain gave information about each animal and a bit of local history throughout the day. The boat came within about a quarter mile of Meares Glacier and we heard the thunder of the calving. It was almost surreal to be in a boat surround by floating chunks of ice. Lunch was chicken breast alfredo over rice with green beans & a breadstick -- pretty good. Late afternoon snack was wonderful clam chowder. Coffee, herbal teas, and water were available all day. Sodas, candy bars, & chips for purchase. Clean restrooms. If you go, dress in layers and consider bringing gloves or mittens to wear as you handle chunks of ice from the ocean. We've enjoyed several other boat tours in Alaska this summer --- this one is the best of all! Amazing views, great staff, comfort,and wildlife. Was it really 9 1/2 hours? -- I didn't look at my watch once!

Visited July 2013
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Minneapolis, MN
18 reviews 18 reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Hey your all ready here, this is the tour to go on.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2013

This was our 4th wildlife / glacier outing in Alaska and probable the best one yet. Captain Randy did his best in finding us plenty of wildlife. We took the Meares Glacier Tour and we were not disappointed. The Meares Glacier is HUGE!!!!! We were given plenty of time at the Glacier for pictures and an opportunity to see the glacier calve (large pieces of the glacier falling off in to the water) The 26 Glacier cruise out of Whittier is very good and you see plenty of glaciers, but when you compare it to seeing the Meares Glacier- this one is a whole different animal.
We also saw a pod of orca's, a humpback whale, plenty of sea lions and harbor seals.

Visited July 2013
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High Point, North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“What an awesome day!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2013

This is a top notch company. It is a must if you are visiting Valdez. The entire crew was very professional and helpful. Spent 9 hours out on the water with this company. Food they served was great both lunch and snack. We had grilled chicken and pasta for lunch and the snack was a nice warm cup of seafood chowder. Crew did a great job finding wildlife and giving us information about the area. When wildlife (whales mom and baby) were spotted the crew showed us where to look and they gave us plenty of time to watch them from a safe distance for us and the whales. They were great about making sure they did not bother the animals or fisherman that were near by. We saw humpback whales, orcas, sea lions, sea otters, the Mears Glacier, dalls porpoise, harbor seas, puffins, gulls, and lots of beautiful scenery. The morning of our trip it was cloudy and raining. By afternoon the sun was shining and it turned out to be a beautiful day.

Visited July 2013
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Houston, Texas
Top Contributor
221 reviews 221 reviews
63 attraction reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
84 helpful votes 84 helpful votes
“What scenery!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2013

Our tour group went on this cruise in June 2013 when Alaska was experiencing a massive heat wave. Needless to say we did not need any scarves, hats nor heavy clothing. Due to this weather we had great views the entire time we went to see the Columbia Glacier from Whittier to Valdez. Like others we saw orcas, dall's porpoises, otters, seals and a bald eagle. There was plenty of ice floating in the water, but we only got 5 miles from the glacier. It did not seem very tall to me from our vantage point. The whole idea of floating in all of that ice was so surreal, so enjoyable, so peaceful! We got to see some salmon fishermen with their nets too. Loved touching the piece of ice that was floating in the gorgeous water!
The chicken dinner we received was nothing special, but it was a hot meal. We didn't really expect much on such a small boat anyway. All was good.

Visited June 2013
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