Alaska - Which Kenai Fjords tour? (in Seward)
May 23, 10, 10:35 pm
I'm trying to decide which tour to take:
From the reviews, I've decided on the following Kenai Fjords tours over others due to the amount of good reviews:
Kenai Fjords National Park tour 6 hr $139
Kenai Fjords National Park tour with stop at Fox island prime rib+salmon buffet dinner 8.5 hr $143 (special)
Kenai Fjords Northwestern Fjord 9.5 hr ($169)
I am ok with the timing of all 3, but is partial to the 6hr tour. It starts the earliest and get me back on the road at ~2pm. It is 6hr vs the next one up that is 8.5 hr, but I think only because dinner is not offered. However, the $4 extra for prime rib + salmon buffet is very attractive!
I am curious about the 9.5hr Northwestern Fjord since this is the longest tour. From googling, I learn that it enters the "quieter" Northwestern Fjords, which is much further, and you will see way more animals. Now, for $26 more, and no buffet dinner, will I just see "more", or are there Glaciers that are much more special in the Northwestern Fjord?
May 24, 10, 11:00 pm
While the wife and I love the Northwest Fjord trip, it is a very long day. I'd recommend the six hour trip as an introduction. Fox Island is ok but expendable since you're not there very long.
May 25, 10, 8:16 am
We go to Seward every year and are leaving for our annual trip tomorrow (May 26, 2010). We are wildlife fanatics (just read my trip reports on Yellowstone and on my close encounters - as in actually touching - gray whales in Baja) and have had wonderful experiences with Major Marine Tours in Seward. One reason that we prefer Major Marine is that the meal is optional; as a semi-vegetarian, I prefer to bring my own snack and to save $19 on food that I probably would not eat.
Major Marine offers a six-hour National Park tour on their high-speed catamaran that departs at 11:30AM and returns at 5:30PM; the cost is $139.
They also offer a seven and one-half hour tour for the same price that departs at 10:00AM and returns at 5:30PM. All cruises have a Park Ranger on board for commentary.
Their half-day wildlife cruises are much better than you might expect. You do not travel to Holgate Glacier on this cruise so there is no opportunity to see a glacier calve. We have seen humpback whales, orcas (the nice kind that do not dine on baby humpback tongue), sea lions, eagles, bears, Dall porpoises, Dall sheep, sea otters, and more varieties of birds than I can name.
We have had really great luck at getting steep discounts by booking directly with Major Marine in-person at their Seward location; of course being returning customers helps.
May 30, 10, 12:10 pm
We bought tickets for the Kenai Fjords 8.5 hour tour (incl. dinner) at Costco in Anchorage for $129 last summer. I don't know if the price is the same nowadays.
I was quite impressed. The only bad part was a choppy 45 minute run on the open waters out of Resurrection Bay to Aialik Bay due to a storm system.
The Aialik Glacier is pretty amazing. We saw whales, sheep, sea lions, otters, bald eagles, and other wildlife. The stop on Fox Island was pretty forgettable. The food was good, and filled us up, but it's nothing to brag home about.
Unless you're on a schedule and need to get back by a certain time, getting back on the road earlier wasn't much of a concern to us. I wouldn't worry about traffic or driving in the dark, if that's what you're concerned about.
Kenai at 11 PM in late July. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/98195240@N00/4653568734/in/photostream/)
The Kenai Fjords vessel we went on. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/98195240@N00/4653539110/in/photostream/)
The surreal scene that is the Aialik Glacier. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/98195240@N00/4652920385/in/photostream/)
The calving action isn't easy to catch on camera. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/98195240@N00/4652920689/in/photostream/)
May 30, 10, 1:48 pm
If you tend to get seasick you will want to be on the shorter tour.
I did the stop at Fox Island two years ago...and it was a decent array of food... this stop is for an hour or so I'd say as there was a powerpoint presentation after the meal. Decent tour, but I personally would have preferred a nice Halibut Charter :D Pairs up well with the Alaska Railroad from ANC (but makes for a long day).
Not sure if the Costco offer is there this year (was wondering how much it cost though)