The MMT Blog / Surprise or Blackstone: Which Prince William Sound Cruise Should You Choose?

You’ve decided to take a cruise into the stunning Prince William Sound, departing from the quaint harbor town of Whittier. Visions of calving glaciers and towering mountains dance through your head as you think of yourself cruising the glassy waters of the protected fjords and waterways. But which cruise should you choose? Major Marine Tours offers two cruise options into Prince William Sound offering two unique experiences. Read on to learn about the difference between our two Prince William Sound cruises: Surprise Glacier Cruise and Blackstone Bay Glacier Cruise.

What you will get with both cruises:

The name says it all: glaciers! Both cruises highlight the incredible towering glaciers of Prince William Sound. On both cruises you will view at least a dozen glaciers, including tidewater, alpine, and cirque glaciers. Both cruises are narrated by an onboard Chugach National Forest Ranger. These passionate Rangers offer a wealth of knowledge and greatly enhance the cruising experience by talking about the history, wildlife, and geology of Prince William Sound. They also lead a fun and educational Junior Ranger program for kids. Both cruises feature our optional all-you-can-eat Alaska salmon and prime rib buffet, freshly prepared onboard and served while you cruise.

Blackstone Glacier in Prince William Sound

What’s the Difference?: Blackstone Bay Glacier Cruise

Those are all great features, but what makes the cruises different? The Blackstone Bay Glacier Cruise is all about glaciers. You will travel to the beautiful Blackstone Bay and spend time in front of three actively calving glaciers, including one hanging glacier and two tidewater glaciers. The Blackstone Bay Glacier Cruise is for those who want to have a good amount of up-close-and-personal time with the glaciers. We spend time in front of each glacier to listen to the cracks and groans of the ice and wait for calving. We spend about an hour total in front of all three glaciers, giving you plenty of time to see calving and appreciate the enormity of these beautiful rivers of ice.

Wildlife sightings on the Blackstone Bay Glacier Cruise include sea otters, harbor seals, Dall’s porposies, and seabirds. You will visit the second largest black-legged kittiwake rookery in Prince William Sound and will get an up-close viewing of Hidden Falls.

Kenai Star at Blackstone Glacier

Surprise Glacier Cruise

The Surprise Glacier Cruise offers the best opportunity for both glacier and wildlife viewing in Prince William Sound. This cruise covers lots of territory, taking you through Port Wells to the beautiful Harriman Fjord where you will visit  Surprise Glacier, an actively calving tidewater glacier that flows down from dramatic, jagged Chugach Mountains. You will then travel past College Fjord and through Esther Passage, a narrow marine waterway bordered by lush, green mountains. Black bears, mountain goats, and eagles are sometimes seen along the banks of this waterway. As you leave Esther Passage you will visit Egg Rock, where you will likely see Steller sea lions lounging. You will then stop at a working salmon hatchery and learn about the process of hatching and releasing salmon as you marvel at thousands of salmon swimming in the waters below.

If all that isn’t enough, you will also have the chance to see wildlife such as humpback whales, orca whales, sea otters, Dall’s porpoises, harbor seals, and a wide variety of seabirds. The Surprise Glacier Cruise spends less time in front of glaciers but covers more territory, giving you better chances of seeing wildlife and showing you more of the spectacular, varied scenery of Prince William Sound.

Surprise Glacier in Prince William Sound

So, for glaciers galore, pick the Blackstone Bay Glacier Cruise. For glaciers, wildlife, and a variety of scenery, pick the Surprise Glacier Cruise. Both cruises offer unique views of Prince William Sound and will leave you with lasting memories of Alaska’s incredible glaciers, wildlife, and scenery. The Blackstone Bay Glacier Cruise runs May 26th to  August 26th and the Surprise Glacier Cruise runs May 18th to September 16th. If you really can’t choose between the two cruises, we offer a 20% off discount for repeat customers so you can enjoy 20% off your second cruise. Book online or call us at (907) 274-7300. See you this summer in Prince William Sound!