How to Pick Your Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise - Major Marine Tours

How to Pick Your Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

The MMT Blog / How to Pick Your Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

Cruising in Kenai Fjords National Park is an experience like no other. Tidewater glaciers tower 500 feet about sea level. Incredible marine wildlife including killer whales, humpbacks, puffins, sea lions, and Dall’s porpoise feed in the area’s nutrient-rich waters. Beautiful scenery surrounds you: jagged peaks, quiet coves, island, and the vast expanse of the Gulf of Alaska. With three cruises in Kenai Fjords National Park, it can be difficult to decide with is the best for you. On all three trips you will get up close with glaciers and wildlife, but each cruise offers something a little different. 

The 6 Hour Kenai Fjords Nation Park Cruise is our most popular cruise and is the best option for people who want “the whole package” but don’t want to be on the water all day. This is our shortest cruise from Seward that takes you to a tidewater glacier, visiting either Aialik or Holgate Glacier in Aialik Bay. You get it all on this cruise: wildlife, glaciers, scenery, onboard naturalist narration, and complimentary deli lunch, all in just 6 hours.

There are two departure times for the 6 Hour Cruise, 8:00 am and 11:30 am. For those interested in taking same-day transportation from Anchorage to Seward on the Alaska Railroad, the 6 Hour 11:30 am departure is your best option. This cruise is scheduled to align perfectly with the Alaska Railroad, which arrives 20 minutes prior to the cruise and departs 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 with our other National Park Cruise options, but you will have to arrive in Seward the day before your cruise and overnight in Seward. 

Kenai Fjords 360

There are two main differences between the 7.5 Hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise and 6 Hour Cruise: more time for wildlife viewing 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.

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. Like the 6 Hour Cruise, this cruise features onboard narration and a complimentary deli lunch.

Glacier Express and humpback lunge feeding

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 vessels with limited passengers. You will travel through Resurrection Bay, pass Aialik Bay, and into Harris Bay and and Northwestern Fjord, where you will visit Northwestern Glacier. This cruise is narrated by our experienced captain and crew. Like the 6 Hour and 7.5 Hour Cruises, this cruise includes a complimentary deli lunch, plus a light breakfast and a couple extra lunch items. 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 – 8.5 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 catamaran plus the adventure of more time on the water and an extra glacier, the 7.5 Hour Cruise is your ideal choice. No matter which cruise you choose, you will have the experience of a lifetime in Kenai Fjords National Park with Major Marine Tours!