Yakutat Bay and Hubbard Glacier

Welcome back to the ninth installment of the Bucket List: Alaska series. If you are just joining us, you can go back to read the start of our Alaska adventure in Anchorage at this link. There will be links at the bottom of each post to take you to the next one.

After a smooth departure from Whittier through Prince William Sound, the ship headed out into the open water of the Gulf of Alaska, and then the Northern Pacific Ocean overnight. This made for a slightly rough night, with the ship pitching to and fro much more than I had expected. This was a BIG ship, but rough seas affect these big ships too. Our party was not adversely affected by seasickness, but many of our fellow passengers were noticeably absent. Ugh, that must not be pleasant!

The first morning onboard began for us with breakfast in the buffet, with an unbelievable selection of breakfast and other foods, and an equal number of humans, rapidly devouring everything in sight.  This will probably be the last time I talk about the buffet. It was a quick and easy choice, but the overall experience was not any better than a buffet on land. Just not my style. Fortunately, there were other choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; eating in the dining room, specialty restaurants, or the small central cafe with a great selection of paninis, salads, soups, pastries, etc.

Princess engages an onboard naturalist to share their extensive knowledge of the area,  and on this day, the morning program covered the marine inhabitants of Alaskan Coastal waters, and the afternoon program explained the features of the glaciers and fjords. Both presentations were held in the multi-level theater in preparation for our arrival in Yakutat Bay around 3 PM. Our arrival in the bay was marked by a boat approaching the ship from the village of Yakutat to deliver a local pilot to maneuver the big ship around the bay and get us up close and personal with Hubbard Glacier.


The local pilot’s boat approaches


The boat pulling up on the starboard side

In the photo above, you can see the next level of balconies below ours followed the curve of the ship, so, unfortunately, we couldn’t see the actual transfer of the pilot from the boat to the ship. The water wasn’t too rough at this point, but I bet it still is an exciting transfer!

Just a few photos of the scenery in Yakutat Bay as we cruised toward Hubbard Glacier.


The color of this water :-O


Another moody landscape


Iceberg alert!


And another!


Be still my heart…mountains, glacier, and clouds

And then the prime attraction of the day, Hubbard Glacier, came into view!


Zoomed in from a distance


Getting closer…not zoomed


And closer yet…Hubbard starts to show its enormity

We arrived at the glacier around 4 PM and the ship proceeded to get really close, and then spin very slowly in both directions, giving everyone on board a view. I have so many photos, but here are some of my favorites.


This panorama looks farther away than we were but allows you to see the glacier and surroundings


I don’t have words to describe the beauty



Zoomed in for the incredible blue color




An NOAA vessel leaving the glacier




Just incredible…we heard, and THEN saw, the glacier calving! Too quick to capture…



No, I can’t stop!



There were bits of ice all through the bay, this gives a good perspective



The last close up, the color is truly not to be believed!



A view etched in my memory forever







For scale, here is a link to a less-than-a-minute video of Hubbard Glacier. It is enormous, gorgeous, and we were SO close! Sorry about the conversation going on in the background of the video. There was barely a space along the railing on deck once we arrived at the glacier!


Hubbard from our balcony!


Above, top left, our view of the starboard bridge from our balcony…wait, that guy looks familiar! Our traveling companion Eric found his way on top of the bridge. 🙂


Heading away from Hubbard in Yakutat Bay


Beautiful snow-covered mountain view


Last image of an incredible day!

We were tired but so happy; worn out by the cold and excitement. But we soldiered on to dinner on “formal night”. In the dining room, we saw everything from glittery dresses and tuxedos to dressy casual, and not-so-dressy casual. 😉 We chose open dining, which really worked well for us. We didn’t have to be seated at the same time every day, and we never had a problem getting a table when we were ready.

The next cruising day and the next post will take us to Glacier Bay National Park, a highlight of Alaska’s famed Inside Passage, and a visual spectacle like no other!

You can go directly to that post by clicking this link

11 thoughts on “Yakutat Bay and Hubbard Glacier

  1. Just wow! Because of your adventures it’s back on our list and I think/hope we’ll be rv’g up there this summer!!! What an amazing adventure!! And beautiful state.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Richard. We boarded the Star Princess in Whittier, and Hubbard Glacier was the first sightseeing stop of the Inside Passage portion of the cruise. Are you referring to smaller glacier tour boats out of Seward?


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