8-26-13 Monday (Day 4, Glaciers And Helicopters)

2013-08-26 011Juneau!  Capitol of Alaska, here we are...almost.  We have 2 excursions today.  For the first, the tour group met in one of the smaller theaters.  Our ship was in the Tracy Arm Fjord.  A huge catamaran came along side our ship and we boarded that way. 

Cruise ItineraryWe went on to go deeper inside the Fjord and see glaciers up close.  The ship continued on to  Juneau without us.  No worries, because at the end of our excursion, the catamaran will return us to the ship in Juneau.

This was another amazing excursion.  We went to the North and South Sawyer Glaciers.  We watched the glacier as is calved several times.  We saw a double one occur which isn’t very typical.  Harbor seals and/or sea lions were laying on drifting ice all around.  It was all spectacular!  Here’s a few of the 104 photos I took today.

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2013-08-26 024Above: Seals!

Tracy Arm Fjord Sawyer Glacier videos:





The catamaran returned us to our ship where we went to the buffet for a quick bite to eat and then went ashore again to explore downtown Juneau while we kill sometime before excursion #2.  We went ashore via tenders.  For you land lovers, tenders are used when the cruise ship can’t dock because the port is full or perhaps the ship is too big.  In this case, the port was full so our ship used several of the lifeboats to transport passengers back and forth from ship to shore.  Generally, I hate this method because the process takes much longer to go back and forth.

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The second excursion was a helicopter tour.  A-MAZ-ING… and very expensive.  This was absolutely breathtaking and probably the most amazing excursion we have ever taken in the 6 cruises we’ve ever taken.  We flew to two different places.  One with just a small patch of ice atop a mountain with breathtaking views and the other right on top of a full glacier.

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Helicopter Glacier Tour videos:





After this excursion, we returned to the ship, had dinner in the dining room, and then went back to the cabin.  Dining in the dining rooms is quite a production with the 5 or so courses.  It takes a while and by the time we finished dinner, I was a dishrag.  It was an exhausting day finished off with too much food = sleepiness.  I should have had coffee.  We had to skip the shows.

Click here to see all of the photos.  Many are similar to one another.  This will take you to a Facebook album.  You DO NOT need a Facebook account to view the photos here.

Here’s Celebrity’s excursion description if you’re interested.  If not this is the end of this entry:

Tracy Arm Fjord & Glacier Explorer - Celebrity Solstice (JU94)

Juneau, Alaska

After disembarking Celebrity Solstice while making a viewing stop near the Sawyer Glaciers, travel in comfort aboard a deluxe waterjet-powered catamaran to experience the very best of the Tracy Arm Wilderness Area, including glacier-carved cliffs, spectacular waterfalls & exciting close-up views of the majestic Sawyer Glaciers. You'll also have opportunities to view & photograph the area's abundant wildlife. Wear comfortable walking shoes & bring a warm rainproof jacket. The catamaran is equipped with comfortable inside seating for all participants, galley & restroom.

Join an exclusive opportunity to see the very best of the Tracy Arm Wilderness Area, including exciting close-up views of the majestic Sawyer Glaciers. The adventure begins as soon as you board a luxurious, high-speed catamaran directly from your cruise ship.  Relax in the warm, spacious cabin, surrounded by large windows as your experienced captain guides you past curious seals resting on floating icebergs.  The extraordinary maneuverability of this vessel will allow you to get as close as possible to the ever-changing face of South Sawyer Glacier.

From the topside observation decks you will be able to enjoy this unforgettable experience with all your senses.  You can sometimes even feel the “white thunder”, as immense spires of ice break from the glacier and crash into the sea.  Before departing the head of Tracy Arm you will also view the beautiful North Sawyer Glacier, which cannot be approached by large cruise ships. While exploring the length of this ice-carved fjord you will cruise beneath cliffs that rise 4000-feet above the jade-colored sea, and you can even feel the mist on your face as the vessel maneuvers almost directly under a plunging waterfall.  There will also be frequent stops to view and photograph wildlife, such as Pigeon Guillemots, Bald Eagles, Harbor Seals, Mountain Goats and Bear.

Departing Tracy Arm, the onboard naturalist will provide a wealth of information about the area, which naturalist John Muir called “one of the most dramatically stunning fjords of Southeast Alaska.”  Enjoy a variety of complimentary snacks and beverages served by your Alaskan crew as you trace the rugged shores of Stephens Passage on the cruise north to Juneau.


"Pilot's Choice" Glacier Explorer (JU07)

Juneau, Alaska

Marvel at vistas seen by few - high alpine lakes, "icefalls" hanging from sheer cliffs, and some of the most remote peaks and glaciers in the Juneau Icefield. Your pilot will create the best possible flight seeing based on the weather and glacier conditions. You'll land in two different locations, where you will continue the tour on foot! Approx. 50 minutes of flight time and 30 minutes for landings. Participants must register their body weight at the time of booking. Guests weighing 250 lbs. or more will be assessed a weight surcharge ($100.00) which will be manually added to your account.

Experience a second-to-none journey to see the best Alaska has to offer. Your pilot will give you an eagle's-eye view of high alpine lakes, "icefalls" hanging from sheer cliffs and some of the most remote peaks and glaciers in the Juneau Icefield - places like Wonderland, Glacier King, the Mendenhall Towers, and Devil's Paw. The itinerary is flexible; your pilot is free to create the best possible tour under the current weather and glacier conditions. For an up-close opportunity to appreciate this ancient landscape, your pilot will land in two different locations, where you will continue your tour on foot! During these two landings you will learn about the geological and environmental processes at work creating moraines, crevasses, seracs, and the glaciers themselves. Warm clothing and sunglasses are recommended. Glacier boots are provided. For security purposes, no bags are allowed on the helicopter. Approximately 50 minutes of flight time and 30 minutes for landings.


  1. I finally got a chance to come back and watch the videos and WOW!!! I want to thank you for the helicopter takeoff one, because I've never been in a helicopter before and have always been curious about how scared I might be. I think I could probably handle it. Did your stomach drop when you came over that mountain in the third one? Mine did, lol!

    1. Honestly, I felt fine. Picture the movies... how they show helicopters coming over a mountain and then you see the alien landing site or an unexpected device or village or something. It was that feeling.


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