Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises

Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises

8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
About
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.
Valdez, Alaska
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Tours and Tickets by Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises
Day Trips
6 hours
Free cancellation
Not sure? You can cancel this reservation up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
Recommended by 97% of travelers
This number is based on the percentage of all Tripadvisor reviews for this product that have a bubble rating of 4 or higher
from
$164.11
per adult
Day Trips
6+ hours
Free cancellation
Not sure? You can cancel this reservation up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
Recommended by 100% of travelers
This number is based on the percentage of all Tripadvisor reviews for this product that have a bubble rating of 4 or higher
from
$189.75
per adult
Travelers talk about
(20 reviews)
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

5.0
448 reviews
Excellent
381
Very good
55
Average
9
Poor
0
Terrible
3

Richard S
1 contribution
Jun 2022
Bad thing is I got charged 2 x for the same trip. $297. $297. plus minus change.
Have been working with bank since to correct. No action so far. No response or adjustment even Stevens
acknowledges yes only 2 people took trip
Written September 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Horsiedad
Atlanta, GA71 contributions
Aug 2021
Very nice tour operator. They have two large boats which seem to be equally good. Good staff. Nice xxx from the captain during the course of the cruise.

They offer a limited menu for lunch of clam chowder of vegetarian chili. You are free to bring your own food and drink if you like.

We didn't see all that much wildlife (you never know what will turn out), but did get very close to the glacier. I would recommend this cruise to other travelers in Valdez.
Written August 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
colleens467
Thanks for traveling with us. We are glad you enjoyed your journey and hope your Alaskan travels go well.
Written August 30, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

SJH-SFSD
Granada, Nicaragua518 contributions
Sep 2012 • Friends
Disclaimer: I've done numerous tours in Alaska such as this, including Glacier Bay NP and Kenai Fjords NP (six times). So, if you've not done anything like this before, you might have rated this a 5 instead of my 4.

This is a review of the Columbia Glacier trip, taken in second week of Sept (near end of their season).

Good: Boat was comfortable and plenty of room (I'm sure it's more crowded during the peak of their season). Captain very capable and knowledgable. Lunch was typical fare for these trips.

Very Good: Glacier viewing. The Columbia Glacier is extremely impressive - six miles wide at the water. Throws off loads of icebergs, which our captain did a fantastic job navigating through to bring us within 1/2 mile of the face of the glacier.

Merely OK: Saw a few sea otters (in fact, the best sighting we was was actually upon disembarking back at the dock), a few sea lions lounging on a bouy, and a number of harbor seals resting on icebergs near the glacier, but virtually no other marine mammals or sea birds. There were two large oil tankers moving in/out of Valdez on the day of our tour and there was also a spill response drill taking place so that could have impacted the lack of wildlife encounters on our day.

Disappointing: As noted above (and for the possible reasons stated), we saw zero whales or sea birds, and not much else in the way of wildlife.

While I would recommend this tour for anyone in Valdez (which is a beautiful place especially on a rare clear and sunny day), if you have a choice between this tour and Kenai Fjords NP I would pick Kenai Fjords every time. Our experiences at Kenai Fjords have never let us down in the way of wildlife sightings plus the glaciers that are always there.

One item to note is that inside Prince William Sound, you're typically much more protected from potential heavy seas than you are at Kenai Fjords which can get a bit choppy at times.
Written September 29, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jabubcn
Barcelona, Spain10 contributions
Aug 2011 • Friends
After looking for the most suitable one-day cruise for me during my trip in Alaska, I decided that the best choice was the Stan Stephens Cruise because I got the chance of seeing two glaciers (The Columbia Glacier and The Meares Glacier). When I checked the website, I contracted this choice. Suprisingly, when I got there, I realized they had changed and we only went to The Meares Glacier, but paying the same. I sent a complaint to Stan Stephens and I have not got an answer yet after two weeks.

Had I known that, I would have neve contracted this cruise, as the ones you get to see in Kenaj are much better, I only chose this one because the opportunity of seeing both!!! Besides, the day was terrible and we didn't see much, but this is just bad luck I guess.
Written August 30, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

lunarunner2015
Oceanside, CA3 contributions
Jul 2015 • Family
It just happened to be a particularly foggy day of our cruise. I was OK with it because we cannot control nature. We took our cruise then later spoke with my brother who lives in Fairbanks. He just took the cruise the week before. Our captain didn't bring us to a majority off the sights, or explained a big portion of things his captain did. From what I understand there is a landing where the seals hang out? Also, we didn't get even remotely close to Columbia Glacier. It was horribly boring. Our captain mainly did circles in the small ice chunks informing us we are about a mile and a half away from Columbia Glacier. I was wondering where the express return flight was after seeing the "icebergs".
Written July 20, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

GhentFamily
Gent, Belgium43 contributions
Jul 2011
Our little family (parents with an 11 year old) went to the Meares Glacier with Stan Stephens and we had a fantastic day. During the day, we saw lots of wildlife: uncountable sea otters, sea lions, bald eagles, porpoises, puffins, and also one humpback whale. The glacier was very impressive. The boat was very comfortable and we could always warm up inside but we spent nearly the whole day on the outside deck (make sure you bring a hat and a warm coat). Highly recommended!
Written September 7, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Wanda71
Summerfield, FL329 contributions
Jul 2011 • Couples
Initially, we worried that 9 hours on a glacier cruise would be too long; however, our time on the Meares Glacier Excursion in Prince William Sound went far too quickly. The boat captain was informative and friendly and even offered an open bridge. Indeed, everyone on staff treated us like welcomed guests. The ship is built strong enough to travel among icebergs and up to the face of glaciers. In addition to wildlife and glaciers, we also learned about the salmon fishing industry and Alaskan pipeline in the area. Highly recommend this experience.

While in Alaska, we learned all glacier cruises are not equal. We also took the Kenai Fjords Tours to Aialik Glacier. The captain was authoritarian with a closed bridge. He stayed well away from any icebergs and required everyone on board to be seated if near icebergs or any potential rough seas. Hindsight, we should have only taken the better Stan Stephens Cruises glacier cruise and saved our money by skipping the Kenai Fjords Tour out of Seward.
Written August 20, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

bonnybay
australia34 contributions
Aug 2013 • Couples
The Stan Stephens cruise is very enjoyable. We went to Columbia Glacier on a cold, wet and rather miserable day, but the weather can't take away from the beauty of Prince William Sound. There is so much to see from the otters in Valdez harbour, stellar seals, orcas if you're lucky, puffins and the ever present and magnificent bald eagle. The cruise is in sheltered water most of the time and there is plenty of opportunities for wild life viewing along the shoreline. The lunch they serve is really tasty. The time spent at the glacier is not rushed so we had plenty of time to take photos and just enjoy it. On the way back to Valdez we stayed in the wheelhouse for a while, which you are welcome to do provided you don't touch any instruments! It was very interesting to view the cruise through the wheelhouse perspective. We hit a patch of rough water for about half an hour as we crossed the gulf. It got a bit uncomfortable and we were asked to sit down for the duration. The crew were great and did everything they could to help out. We have done this cruise twice now. We would recommend you wear rain pants on this cruise and dress in layers, including hat and gloves. It is freezing at the glacier.
Written March 25, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

KeystoneCanyon
1 contribution
We were on the 9 hour cruise to Meares Glacier. First the pros - we got to see lots of marine wildlife up close - Orca, Steller Sea Lions, Sea Otters, Harbor Seals, Dall's Porpoises, a Black Bear, and birds - Bald Eagles, Black-Legged Kittiwakes, Jaegers, Horned Puffins, and Sea Gulls. We got to within half a mile of the glacier and saw calving, which was pretty spectacular! Our captain spent 30 mins docked at the glacier, so there was plenty of time to enjoy it and take pictures. The captain and staff were knowledgeable about the area's natural and cultural history, as well as the flora and fauna, and the captain narrated for much of the cruise. The cruise ship was comfortable and modern.

The cons or why I'm not giving 5 stars - we booked on the phone, however if we had booked online, we would have saved $40 ($10/person)! We actually called to see if any spots were available and then made the reservation. After we booked, I called and tried to ask for the discount, but they wouldn't give it to us even though it was before the date of the cruise - make sure you look at their 'specials' section online before booking! For $155/person, I think it is not too much to ask to have a vegetarian meal option. They only give you one choice for a meal - chicken with alfredo sauce, with white rice and green and yellow beans and carrots on the side. My 'vegetarian' option consisted of the main meal without the chicken. The trip is rather long, although they provide lots of interesting reference reading materials and the captain does a good job with the narration, it can get rather long, especially if the weather is crappy and you have to sit inside most of the time. One cool thing they do is catch a piece of glacier ice with a large fish net, and then bring it around, and let you take a picture with it. I was really looking forward to taking a picture with it, but alas the guy who was passing it around said he would come back to us, but never did before he threw the ice back, which really annoyed me, so if you have your heart set on something, make sure you ask for it and don't let it out of your sight!

Okay, I know this is a bit wordy, but hopefully some of it was helpful!
Written August 27, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

pandar2009
New York6 contributions
Sep 2011
The kids like it. It's one of the highlights of our Alaska trip. Highly recommended.
Written October 5, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises (Valdez) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go