There’s a simple reason why Kenai Fjord Tours is so popular for glacier tours out of Seward: This veteran tour operator offers a ton of variety in its day trips into Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park.
Maybe you want a short tour as part of a leisurely afternoon, or maybe you want a full day that also includes getting off the boat and into a kayak, or even exploring an island. Some tours are designed to please birders or shutterbugs, while some are perfect for families with little kids. One tour is even focused on getting acquainted with one type of migrating whale only observed in the Spring in Alaskan coastal waters.
Whichever cruise you pick, you'll generally see at least one active tidewater glacier, and your captain takes the boat as close to any glacier as safely possible—typically between a half mile and a quarter mile. And, because big-time calving happens almost every day, you’ll also likely experience some glacial activity. You'll hear a sound like the crack of a gunshot, then watch as a huge chunk of ice splinters off the glacier to fall hundreds of feet to the ocean below.
The captain narrates during the cruise, sharing some of his deep knowledge of the Seward area’s history and terrain. Captains are always on the lookout for wildlife and will stop the boat to drift along when something's been spotted. You'll probably see hundreds of harbor seals just basking on the icebergs around you, and you might see any number of puffins, cormorants, sea otters or Dall’s porpoises.
You’ll cruise in comfort, too. KFT’s fleet is the largest in Southcentral Alaska; its boats are 95 feet long, with smooth catamarans that hold up to 150 passengers. You can sit inside the heated viewing area with giant picture windows, or stroll the large viewing decks. All tours include at least one meal at no additional cost depending on the length of the trip. Some trips feature National Park Rangers who add to the enrichment, and some tours can even be combined with a night in a cabin at the Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge.
Here are the main routes to choose from:
National Park Tours, 6 or 8.5 hours
The most popular tour, perhaps because it is a pretty full day, but still flexible. It has three different departures, some including Fox Island, but they all feature the alpine and tidewater glaciers of Kenai Fjords National Park, and the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, filled with seabird rookeries.
Resurrection Bay Tours, 3 and 4.5 hours
In the most compact tour, you’ll see the jagged cliffs, seabirds, marine wildlife and alpine glaciers, including magnificent Bear Glacier. Includes a short stop at Fox Island and an all-you-can-eat buffet of wild salmon and prime rib.
Northwestern Fjords Tour, 9 hours
This is the only daily tour in this area that travels deep enough into the national park to reach Northwestern Fjords, home to three tidewater glaciers and several alpine glaciers. Also includes the seabird rookeries at the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.
Fox Island Dinner Cruise, 3.5 hours
This tour is great for families and travelers on a tighter schedule. You’ll depart at 5 p.m., cruising past the shores of Resurrection Bay to see Bear Glacier on your way to Fox Island; you can listen to experienced captains narrate your trip, and watch for puffins, cormorants and otters along the way. You’ll have a dinner feast at Fox Island, soak up the scenery, and be back in Seward by 8:30.
Grey Whale Watch, 4 hours
You’ll go along the Resurrection Bay route in search of a good view of the California Gray Whales, who have traveled more than 5,000 miles up from Baja California, and pass by the mouth of the Bay.
If you tend toward motion sickness, please take your usual precautions.
No minimum age required. If traveling with children age 2 - 11, choose one of the tours that visits Fox Island, to give your children an opportunity to get off the boat for an hour, skip some rocks and have a great meal. Infants and children 0 - 23 months cruise complimentary. All infants and children traveling are subject to taxes and fees.