The highest concentration of tidewater glaciers on the planet can be found at Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Access to this natural wonderland is extremely limited and not all cruise lines can offer this highlight. But as a leader in the business, Princess is proud to include Glacier Bay on every one of our exclusive Gulf of Alaska cruises and cruisetours.
Spread across an impressive 3.2 million acres in southeastern Alaska, this treasure trove of scenic coastal islands, narrow fjords and substantial wildlife offers an inspirational glimpse of what Mother Nature does best.
"MORNING OF CREATION"
When John Muir discovered Glacier Bay in 1879, he surveyed the unblemished panorama and declared it "still in the morning of creation." Muir wasn't the first explorer to be in the area. Nearly a century earlier, George Vancouver's ships sailed right past it because a wall of ice sealed off the entrance to the bay. But over the last 200 years, the ice has been steadily receding, revealing a stark landscape that's slowly being taken over by vegetation that can't resist the fresh rock and soil. The result is a lush, temperate rainforest of spruces and hemlocks that carpets large portions of the stunning terrain.
At the head of Glacier Bay is the Tarr Inlet, where scientists have found exposed rock that's believed to be more than 200 million years old. The Tarr Inlet is home to the Grand Pacific Glacier, an active body of ice that's slowly making its way toward the Margerie Glacier, which it last touched in 1912.
JOHNS HOPKINS INLET
As you cruise by the northeastern edge of the robust Fairweather Range, you'll enter the Johns Hopkins Inlet, home to no less than nine glaciers. Framed by rocky slopes that stretch skyward more than 6,000 feet, these wondrous bodies are eclipsed only by the mighty Mount Fairweather itself, which at more than 15,300 feet is the highest point in southeast Alaska.
BRILLIANT BLUE GLOW
In the northeastern corner of Glacier Bay, the snow-covered Takhinsha Mountains feed the active Muir Glacier, which regularly sheds walls of ice into the bay. The brilliant blue glow of a calving glacier and the thunderous roar of ice crashing into the water below are sights and sounds that you'll remember for the rest of your life.
With such a diverse landscape, the park provides a variety of habitats for animals, big and small. Large colonies of seabirds, migrating ducks and geese, black bears, seals, sea lions, porpoises and whales are all common here.