The MMT Blog / Tour Tips: How to Have the Best Cruise Experience
Are you cruising with us this summer, but still have some questions about how to make the most of your glacier & wildlife cruise? Check out our insider’s tips on how to have your best cruising experience.
Check In Early
Check-in time for most of our cruises is one hour prior to departure. If you find yourself in Seward or Whittier with more than an hour to spare before your cruise, we recommend checking in early. When you check in early, you can get the most up-to-date information regarding weather, sea conditions, and recent wildlife sightings before your cruise. It gives you plenty of time to ask our office staff questions or discuss concerns about your trip. Checking in early eases the stress of travel and gives you time to get coffee, a bite to eat, do a little shopping, and still make it down to the boat. Don’t worry about being the first in line to board–all of our signature cruises* have reserved seating, which ensures that you will be seated with your party, regardless of when you board.
Layers, Layers, Layers
The weather in Alaska can be unpredictable, and it is best to be prepared for anything. Starting with our Gray Whale Watching Cruise in March you can expect cold weather with average lows of 26 degrees and highs of 38 degrees. During the middle of the summer the average temperatures range from 51 – 61 degrees, but cruising on the water can feel about 10 degrees cooler. Even on a warm, sunny day, the katabatic winds can be chilly in front of the tidewater glaciers. We recommend that you bring several warm layers, especially if you want to spend time outside taking photos, enjoying the views from the outer decks, and listening to the glaciers calving. If there is rain in the forecast, don’t forget your raincoat, rain pants, and XtraTufs! If you’d rather stay out of the elements, you can enjoy the sights through the large picture windows in the comfort of our heated cabins, snuggled up with a hot chocolate or one of our signature hot cocktails.
Taking a Signature Cruise? Add our onboard Alaskan Salmon and Prime Rib Buffet
Not sure about purchasing the onboard meal on one of our signature cruises*? We definitely recommend that you do! The meal includes Alaska salmon, prime rib, green salad, rice pilaf, warm sourdough bread, cheesecake, brownie, fruit, and unlimited soft drinks. Not only is it delicious, but it makes planning your day much more convenient. Purchasing our meal means that you don’t have to worry about finding a meal to bring onboard, which can be challenging in the small towns of Seward and Whittier. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a warm, filling, delicious meal while viewing the incredible scenery of Kenai Fjords National Park and Prince William Sound. We can accommodate those with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free diets–just let us know about your dietary restrictions when you make your reservation. If you’re not sure about adding the meal when you make your reservation, no problem! You are welcome to add on the meal up to 24 hours prior to your cruise.
Charge Your Camera
There are endless photo ops on our cruises, so make sure your phone/camera is fully charged and your SD card has plenty of space. If you do run out of juice, we sell AA batteries onboard, and there are power outlets located throughout each vessel to charge your camera or phone.
Outside is Always Better
More often than not, if the boat slows down during the cruise that means that the captain has spotted wildlife. As soon as this happens, we recommend that you get outside for the best vantage points for wildlife viewing and photography. Wildlife is unpredictable and might only be visible for a short time, so the more you are outside, the better your chances are of seeing wildlife. The outer decks also allow you to have the full sensory experience of the areas that we explore, such as hearing the Steller sea lions barking or whales spouting, smelling the ocean air, and feeling the tidewater glaciers’ cold katabatic winds.
Talk to the Crew
Not only do our amazing crew keep you safe and comfortable, serve you a meal, and make you drinks, but they also have a wealth of knowledge about the areas that we explore. There’s a reason why our crew members choose to work for us, many of whom return year after year–they are passionate about Alaska and the wildlife that can be found here. They love talking with passengers are are always happy to answer your questions, share their knowledge, and tell you stories about their experiences cruising day after day in Alaska.
Cruise from Seward and Whittier
Major Marine Tours offers a 20% multiple cruise discount for returning passengers. With 9 different cruise options out of Seward and Whittier there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of this discount, whether you are a local or an out of state visitor. We are often asked if cruises from Seward or Whittier are better, and there is no simple answer to that question. Prince William Sound and Kenai Fjords National Park are vastly different and each provide unique cruising experiences. The geology, glaciers, wildlife, and scenery in the two areas is very diverse and we recommend cruising from both Seward and Whittier to experience everything Alaska has to offer.
Still have questions?
Visit our FAQ page for answers to the questions that we receive most often. You can also call us at (907) 274-7300 and our customer service agents will be more than happy to answer your questions and help you have you make the most of your cruise with Major Marine Tours.
*Signature cruises include 5 Hour Kenai Fjords Wildlife Cruise, 6 Hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise, 7.5 Hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise, Prince William Sound Surprise Glacier Cruise, and Prince William Sound Blackstone Bay Glacier Cruise.