Cruise Spotlight: 7.5 Hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

Cruising in Kenai Fjords National Park is an experience like no other. Tidewater glaciers tower 500 feet above sea level. Incredible marine wildlife including orca whales, humpback whales, puffins, Steller sea lions, and Dall’s porpoises feed in the area’s nutrient-rich waters. Beautiful scenery can be seen in every direction: jagged peaks, quiet coves, islands, and the vast expanse of the Gulf of Alaska. No matter which of our three Kenai Fjords National Park cruises you choose, you will experience the spectacular beauty of this incredible area. However, each cruise offers something a little different. For the adventurous traveler who wants to maximize their time on the water but wants the added perks of onboard National Park Ranger narration, our Alaska salmon and prime rib buffet, and reserved seating on a large, stable catamaran, our 7.5 Hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise is the cruise for you.

What you get: “The whole package,” plus more time on the water and two glaciers

We are often asked what the difference is between our 6 Hour and 7.5 Hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruises. At first glance, they look pretty similar. Both feature narration by an onboard National Park Ranger, our all-you-can-eat Alaska salmon and prime rib buffet served onboard during the cruise, and they follow a similar route (according to the route map). They both cruise through Resurrection Bay and into Aialik Bay on large, stable catamarans with multiple outside viewing decks and reserved seating inside the heated cabins. However, the 7.5 Hour Cruise has two additional perks: more time on the water and an extra glacier.

The additional hour and a half on the water gives the Captain more time to take you to the best areas for wildlife viewing, based on the time of year and recent wildlife sightings. Orcas in the Chiswell Islands? Humpback whales bubble net feeding in Agnes Cove? On the 7.5 Hour Cruise, the Captain has time to deviate from the normal route and give you more time with whales and other wildlife. Your chances of seeing wildlife increase the longer you are on the water, and the 7.5 Hour Cruise gives you some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in Kenai Fjords National Park.

Another highlight of Kenai Fjords National Park are the tidewater glaciers, which flow from the massive Harding Icefield. While the 6 Hour Cruise visits either Aialik Glacier or Holgate Glacier, the 7.5 Hour Cruise visits both glaciers. Depending on the day, one glacier may be more active than another, so visiting two glaciers gives you better chances of seeing glacier calving. Holgate and Aialik Glaciers are impressive in their own unique ways, and the extra time on the water gives you the opportunity to experience both. Aialik Glacier is impressive because of its width: it is about a mile wide at the face, and 300 to 400 feet tall. Holgate Glacier, located in the narrower Holgate Arm, is half as wide as Aialik but it is taller, towering up to 500 feet above sea level.

Why choose a different Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise?

If the 7.5 Hour Cruise is so great, why would you want to choose one of our other two cruises in Kenai Fjords National Park? If you are interested in taking same-day transportation from Anchorage to Seward on the Alaska Railroad, you will have to take our 6 Hour Cruise. The 6 Hour Cruise aligns perfectly with the Alaska Railroad schedule, arriving 25 minutes prior to the cruise and departing 30 minutes after the cruise returns. Pairing the 6 Hour Cruise with same-day train transportation makes for a wonderful day-trip from Anchorage. You can still take the train and the 7.5 Hour Cruise, but you will have to arrive in Seward the day before your cruise and overnight in Seward.

If you’re a very adventurous traveler who wants to get away from the crowds, we recommend our 8.5 Hour Northwestern Fjords Cruise. This cruise takes you to remote areas of Kenai Fjords National Park on our smallest vessel: the 36 passenger Viewfinder. You will travel through Resurrection Bay, passed Aialik Bay, and into Harris Bay and and Northwestern Fjord, where you will visit Northwestern Glacier. Unlike the 6 Hour and 7.5 Hour Cruises, the Northwestern Cruise does not feature National Park Ranger Narration or our buffet, but includes narration by our Captain and crew, along with a complimentary light breakfast and deli lunch. The Northwestern is a better option for those who are looking for a little more adventure, and is ideal for photographers, birders, and wildlife-enthusiasts who want to spend as much time on the water as possible.

So, if you’re looking for a train and cruise day-trip from Anchorage or think that 7.5 Hours on the water is a little too long, the 6 Hour Cruise is your best choice. If you prefer to travel off the beaten track, get away from the crowds, and have the best wildlife sighting opportunities, the 8.5 Hour Northwestern Cruise is the cruise for you. If you want something right in the middle, with the comforts of a large vessel and a delicious, hot meal, and the adventure of more time on the water and an extra glacier, the 7.5 Hour Cruise is your ideal choice.

Our 7.5 Hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise runs daily until August 21st and on August 28th, 31st, and September 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 11th, and 18th. Pair with an overnight at Harbor 360 Hotel for the perfect Seward getaway. Call us at (907) 274-7300 for more information and to book your next Kenai Fjords National Park adventure!

Humpback breaching in Kenai Fjords National Park
Glacier Express vessel with orcas in Kenai Fjords National Park
Horned puffin in Kenai Fjords National Park