Frequently Asked Questions

Cruises

Which is the best cruise for me?
With nine cruise options to choose from, we are sure to have the cruise for you. Our cruises range in duration from 3.5 hours to 8.5 hours and depart from both Whittier and Seward, Alaska. Please see our 2017 Cruise Comparison Chart for a quick way to compare our cruise options.

What is the difference between the 7.5 Hour and the 6 Hour Kenai Fjords National Park cruises?
The 6 Hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise visits one active tidewater glacier and the 7.5 Hour Cruise visits two active tidewater glaciers. Though both cruises follow the same approximate route, the additional cruising time on the 7.5 Hour Cruise allows the captains time to seek out the best wildlife-viewing opportunities in the area and spend more time watching whales and other wildlife that are seen along the way.

Do we stop and get off the boat during the cruise?
Our guests stay on the boat for the entire cruise to maximize glacier and wildlife-viewing opportunities.

What should I wear?
Guests are urged to dress in layers, including a warm rain-proof coat, hat, gloves, and comfortable, rubber-soled shoes. Guests are welcome to stay in our heated cabins, but warm clothes are recommended for guests who would like to spend time outside on the viewing decks.

What should I bring?
Cameras (tripods are prohibited), extra batteries, binoculars.

Can I bring a drone onboard?
Drones are strictly prohibited from being flown from our boats. Drones disturb wildlife, which is a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Drones also cause safety hazards for our captains, crew, and passengers.

Do you still cruise if it’s raining?
Our cruises go out rain or shine. We only cancel cruises due to unsafe sea conditions, in which case we will notify you as soon as possible. Major Marine Tours reserves the right to cancel or re-route our cruises based on weather or other conditions. If the route of the Kenai Fjords National Park tour is limited to the confines of Resurrection Bay, Major Marine Tours will refund $50 per adult and $25 per child. Please visit our Refund Policy page to view our complete refund and cancellation policies.

Is seating better on the lower or upper deck?
Our large, fog-free windows allow for excellent views from both upper and lower decks. You also have the ability to get up and move about the vessel on both the inside and outside decks on any level.

Can I choose my own seats?
Seating arrangements are assigned by Major Marine Tours staff prior to the cruise. Special seating requests can be made, but we cannot guarantee requests until all seating arrangements are made.

Are your boats wheelchair accessible?
The following boats are wheelchair accessible on their main decks: the Glacier Express, which runs the 7.5 Hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise; the Spirit of Adventure, which runs the 6 Hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise; the Star of the Northwest, which runs the 5 Hour Kenai Fjords Wildlife Cruise; and the Fairweather Express II, which runs the Prince William Sound Surprise Glacier Cruise. Motorized wheelchairs are not allowed on our cruises.

Is there a place to store my luggage during the cruise?
You are welcome to store your luggage in our office during your cruise. We can also assist with delivering luggage to the train or cruise ship depots in Seward and Whittier.

Where is check-in in Seward?
Major Marine Tours has two cruise check-in and boarding locations in Seward: one inside the lobby of Harbor 360 Hotel and one on the South Harbor boardwalk. We request that you check in at the office that corresponds to your cruise. For a map and more information on which cruises depart from which office, please visit our Seward check-in information page.

Where is check-in in Whittier?
Please check in at the Major Marine Tours office located near the Cruise Ship Terminal at the Whittier Harbor. Please visit our Whittier check-in information page for a map and more information.

Can I bring my pet onboard?
Pets are not permitted onboard unless your pet is a needed companion due to a medical reason. There are several doggy daycare/boarding facilities in Seward.

Do you allow smoking onboard?
No. All Major Marine Tours vessels are non-smoking. There are no designated areas on the vessels for smoking.

Meal

Do we stop to eat?
No. Our famous Alaska salmon and prime rib buffet is served onboard while you cruise to maximize your time on the water and allow more opportunities for wildlife viewing. You will be able to enjoy wildlife and scenery through our large fog-free picture windows while you dine.

When is the meal served, and for how long?
Serving times vary by cruise route. Please click here for a list of main course and dessert serving times. The buffet will be available until all guests are done eating.

Is there a vegetarian/vegan meal option?
Vegetarian/vegan guests who would like to purchase the buffet can request a vegan chili at the time of reservation. In addition to the chili, vegetarian/vegan options from the buffet include rice pilaf, tossed green salad, and hot sourdough bread. Vegetarian/vegan meals must be reserved in advance of the cruise date. Click here for a chart that outlines which meal items are safe for dietary restrictions.

Is there a gluten free meal option?
There are several gluten free options in the salmon and prime rib meal, including prime rib, salmon, green salad, and fruit salad. Please note that gluten free items are not produced in a gluten free kitchen. Click here for a chart that outlines which meal items are safe for dietary restrictions.

Do I have to purchase the meal now?
The meal can be added as late as 24 hours prior to your cruise.

Can we bring our own snacks, food, or beverages?
You are welcome to bring your own food and beverages onboard the vessel, but we ask that you do not bring large coolers or glass containers. You may not bring alcoholic beverages onboard our vessels. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase at our licensed bar. Hot dogs, noodle soups, chips, candy bars, other snacks, and sodas are available for purchase. We accept cash and credit cards.

Glaciers & Wildlife

How close do we get to the animals?
Our experienced captains seek out the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the area, giving you up-close views of whales, sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, seabirds, and other wildlife. To ensure the comfort and safety of the wildlife, our captains follow Coast Guard regulations for wildlife and whale watching distances.

How close do we get to the glaciers?
For passenger safety and comfort, our captains maintain a distance of no less than ¼ of a mile away from the face of the glacier. Actual distances many vary due to wind, weather, and ice conditions.

What are my chances of seeing whales on the cruise?
Please see our 2017 Cruise Comparison Chart to compare probability of seeing whales on our cruises.

Reservations

How late can I make a reservation?
Advanced reservations are encouraged to ensure your desired cruise date. You are welcome to book as late as the morning of the cruise, but we are unable to guarantee availability on such short notice.

Can I book now and pay at check-in?
In order to secure your place on cruise you must pay in full upon booking your reservation. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express credit cards.

What is your refund/cancellation policy?
Please visit our Refund Policy page to view our refund and cancellation policies.

Transportation

How long does it take to drive from Anchorage to Seward?
Allow yourself approximately 3 hours of driving time between Anchorage and Seward. This allows time for possible construction, traffic delays, or brief stops along the way. Click here for driving directions to Seward.

How long does it take to drive from Anchorage to Whittier?
Allow yourself approximately 1.5 hours of driving time between Anchorage and Whittier. This allows time for possible construction, traffic delays, or brief stops along the way. The town of Whittier is only accessible by train or the toll tunnel. Since vehicles and trains share the same tunnel, access to Whittier is available only at pre-specified times. You must take the 10:30 or 11:30 tunnel opening to make it to your cruise on time. Click here for driving directions to Whittier and click here for Whittier Tunnel information.

Is there transportation between Seward and Whittier?
No, we do not provide transportation between Seward and Whittier.

Can I take the train to Seward and still catch the 6-Hour Cruise?
Yes. The cruise check-in desk located in the lobby of the Harbor 360 Hotel is within very close walking distance of the train station. You will have sufficient time to check in and board your cruise.

Where do we park our car?
Seward has two full-day public parking lots near the Seward Small Boat Harbor. One parking lot is located across the street from our Harbor 360 Hotel office on 4th Avenue and the other is one block south of our South Harbor Office on 4th Avenue. There is $10 charge per vehicle which can be reimbursed in cash at your check-in office. Click here for a map of the parking areas.

In Whittier, parking is available directly across the railroad tracks from our office. There is a $10 charge per vehicle. Click here for a map of the parking area.