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what's the difference in the 3hr, 6hr and 9hr Kenai cruises?

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what's the difference in the 3hr, 6hr and 9hr Kenai cruises?

These cruises are very popular with travellers so this question is asked frequently. It could be one of the TOP QUESTIONS ABOUT ALASKA ! If you've taken one of these trips, please share your thoughts on what makes each of these cruises different.

As for me, I've attempted the 6 hr cruise three times; twice we had rough seas so it became a 3 hr Bay cruise. But the one time we DID make it out, was spectacular. Clear blue sky, calm sea, we heard and saw the glacier calving, icebergs, whales, eagles, sea lions. Absolutely spectacular !

I found the 3 hr Bay cruise disappointing. But then again I'm from the Pacific NW so the scenery around the bay wasn't anything new. Rocky coast, trees, mountains, eagles, seals. Don't get me wrong; it's very lovely. Perhaps in nice weather I would have enjoyed it more, but it was cold, windy and raining. Plus I really wanted to see icebergs and calving.

carol

Edited: 10:45 pm, February 20, 2010
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1. Re: what's the difference in the 3hr, 6hr and 9hr Kenai cruises?

Thanks for starting this thread, which I linked to the Top Questions for Seward.

A map is handy to understand that Seward sits right on Resurrection Bay. Yet beyond and out of the bay is the magical world of Kenai Fjords National Park:

www.kenai.fjords.national-park.com/map.htm

We have take visitors on smaller boat cruises on the longer cruises out into the fjords and have seen glaciers calving, pods of whales, sea lions, and my personal favorites, sea otters and ..... the PUFFINS!! Love those clown puffins.

We were out on the deck bundled in winter coats, hats, & gloves loving every chilly minute of it.

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2. Re: what's the difference in the 3hr, 6hr and 9hr Kenai cruises?

This is a recent response from Manitoba Maple regarding Seward cruises. Great info as always from MM.

For Seward: if you want to see the most wildlife, choose either Majormarine's all-day cruise or Northwestern Fjord Cruise. They're out on the water the longest, so have more opportunity to come across wildlife such as whales. You could also choose one of the small-boat options such as Saltwater Lodge, but be aware you'll spend a bit of time in open ocean as you round Aialik Cape, and that can be bad enough on the larger boats if you have seasickness issues... If you don't have time for an all-day cruise, choose the Kenai Fjords National Park 6 hr cruise. Do NOT choose Majormarine's 4 or 5 hour cruises, since they don't get out of the bay and therefore have little chance of seeing whales, also no chance of seeing a calving glacier (the 6 hr. cruises spend a bit of time near either Aialik or Holgate). Unless of course, you don't care about seeing whales and are happy seeing lots of birds, harbor seals, and sea otters, or else have seasickness issues and want to avoid the open ocean. The chance to see orcas, humpbacks, porpoises and sea lions is much better outside the bay, though of course no guarantees on what you might see on any given trip. On my first KF trip, we had a pod of orcas swim right up to the boat just after we left port....

If seeing whales is important to you, then choose one of the all-day trips out of Seward, or else the long-day whalewatching Sound Eco Adventures tour out of Whittier. Understand, however, that sometimes the whales just aren't around to be found. The only ports with 100% sightings of humpbacks on their whale-watching tours are Juneau and Icy Strait Point.

Edited: 11:51 pm, February 20, 2010
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3. Re: what's the difference in the 3hr, 6hr and 9hr Kenai cruises?

Great. Looking forward to the responses to help me in finalising my itinerary. You shld do one for Whittier forum too to help people in choosing the glacier cruises.

Thanks.

Edited: 12:36 am, February 21, 2010
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4. Re: what's the difference in the 3hr, 6hr and 9hr Kenai cruises?

Carol, Adding to your thread.

We did the Major Marine evening tour and had the dinner as well. This fit into our schedule very well as we were arriving from Homer. It may have been a 5 hour tour when we did it, a few years ago.

It was a fabulous experience, especially in the evening with the light going down, and the boat was not crowded. Saw a lot of birds, eagles, puffins, otters and no whales.

Prior to arriving in Seward, we had already taken the car ferry from Juneau to Haines, and from Valdez to Whittier, so we had already seen a lot of marine wildlife, whales, sea lions, glaciers from a distance, ice flows and the spectacular waterfalls approaching Whittier. After these two ferries, I didn't want to be ferried out with a longer type experience in Seward.

IMO, the best marine experience is taking the Tracy Arm tour out of Juneau, you see everything plus !!!

I would do the evening tour again in Seward.

Have fun !!

Edited: 6:08 am, February 21, 2010
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5. Re: what's the difference in the 3hr, 6hr and 9hr Kenai cruises?

Thanks for adding to this Top Question thread, UrbanNYC. Hopefully, others will add their perspectives.

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6. Re: what's the difference in the 3hr, 6hr and 9hr Kenai cruises?

I have signed up for the 6hr tour in June. How often do the 6 hour tours get cut to 3 hour tours?

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7. Re: what's the difference in the 3hr, 6hr and 9hr Kenai cruises?

Welcome to the forum. Not too often I don't think. I have taken 3 Kenai Fjords cruises and none of them have been cut short. One trip was quite rough though so we didn't go to one place that we otherwise would have.

The key is to book a cruise that is 6 hours or longer. Anything less and you don't get out of the bay. So you did good with that.

John

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8. Re: what's the difference in the 3hr, 6hr and 9hr Kenai cruises?

i have attempted the 6hr cruise three times and twice it became a 3 hr. Based on my experience, if the office staff tells you " there's a chance the boat might not make it all the way out today due to rough seas in the Gulf. The captain will make a decision an hour or so after you leave the harbor....", you're going to have a 3 hr cruise. With all the radio communication between the harbor and the fishing boats, they know exactly how bad it is. This is their way of advising you of the risk .... you have the option of cancelling now and getting a full refund, or take a chance and if it becomes a 3 hr trip they will refund the difference.

I live in the Pacific Northwest so the 3 hr cruise wasn't anything I hadn't seen before. HOWEVER, if you have good weather and take the 6 hr trip, it's really spectacular! We just loved the 6 hr cruise which is why I was willing to take a chance on the weather this summer. After the trip we learned that all fishing charters had been cancelled at 6am, so at 11am they certainly knew our cruise wasn't going to make it. That bothered me.

So my advice is .... if they say there's a chance the boat won't get all the way out, it won't. i wish you good weather !

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9. Re: what's the difference in the 3hr, 6hr and 9hr Kenai cruises?

Thanks I have been doing a lot of reading here and am really looking forward to this trip. I have read that the 3 hour trip is not as good.

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10. Re: what's the difference in the 3hr, 6hr and 9hr Kenai cruises?

Hopefully you have 2 days in Seward and a little wiggle room in your itinerary. If the weather isn't cooperating one day, you can do something else then try the cruise tomorrow. When you're near the ocean one day can make a huge difference ! When I was in Seward several years ago it was a grey windy morning and our 6 hr cruise was called off after an hr in the bay. But the next day was beautiful and the water was like glass. We were able to take the full 6 hr cruise; saw whales, heard and saw the glacier calving. It was incredible! I'm glad we had the ability to stay an extra day and wait out the weather.

Edited: 10:56 pm, April 01, 2010