Select Page

4th of July in Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska: I don't know what you did on Independence Day (really, I have no idea... haven't heard from anyone... no cell/internet for days now), but we visited a national park and watched glaciers calve into the sea in 78° sunshine. 

Cruising under the protection of hundreds of islands in the Inside Passage makes for smooth sailing. The ocean is smooth as glass, with only spouting whales or frolicking orcas disrupting the surface. It was a magical day. We can't believe our luck with the weather!

We all ordered breakfast delivered to our cabins (no extra charge, room service is included), and sat on our balconies watching the gorgeous sights as we entered Glacier Bay National Park at Point Gustavus. At this point, several rangers from the park headquarters arrived via jet boat, climbing a rope ladder to board the Ruby Princess. The rangers stayed on board all day, giving lectures, answering questions and pointing out sights of interest via the ship's sound system. I will post way-too-many photos of pretty scenery today:

The little white dots in the circle are mountain goats

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park

Approaching the end of Tarr Inlet with a view to Grand Pacific Glacier

Glacier Bay National Park

Miss Lucy: Ready to Take On the Day -
including a special event just for kids presented by the National Parks Service.

Just a bunch of gulls, hanging out on an iceberg

Grand Pacific Glacier

As we reached the end of Tarr Inlet, the impressive Margerie Glacier came into view. At this point, we were 1,100 miles north of Seattle.

Margerie Glacier is retreating about six feet per day

Margerie Glacier, with Mt. Quincy Adams, 13,650 feet (white pointy peak)

Just as I was snapping this photo of Lenny and Lisa - a huge chunk broke from Margerie Glacier...

...and we all turned to watch the crash.

The glacier is always in motion. The cracking sounds like thunder (locals call it "white thunder"). Massive pops (sound like gunshots) are heard constantly. This noise was the best 4th of July "fireworks" ever!

Margerie Glacier

Margerie Glacier

We saw at least ten sheets of ice calve from the glacier this morning.

Left edge of the glacier. The Captain stayed here for over an hour,
spinning the ship so passengers on both sides could have a vista.


The ship then departed, retracing her route to the mouth of Glacier Bay, stopping by a few more glaciers and passing miles of breath-taking scenery.

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park

Lumplugh Glacier

As we approached the park headquarters, a boat came to fetch the park rangers

Goodbye, thank you, and Happy 4th of July

Miss Lucy, ready to take on the pool

As we continued south, and cruised through Icy Strait, we saw countless humpbacks, seals, otter and even a few pods of orca! It was just the most amazing day - passengers hanging out on their balconies, pointing out spouts or whale tails. So much fun. The weather made the day simply perfect.

The view from here

For our evening entertainment, we went to the Wheelhouse Bar and listened to Frosty sing. The kids danced quite a bit:

After feeding Leo and Lucy at the buffet, Lisa took the kids to a special event for children (no parents allowed). Something about a bear. The adults went to dinner in the Da Vinci dining room, where they had a 4th of July cake on display... not unlike the Canada Day on display July 1st.

When the kids were finished with their party, we all gathered in the atrium where the ship's orchestra played the National Anthem, followed by a balloon drop, dancing and much shenanigans with balloons.

Photo (and props) by Leo

Then we put the kids to bed, and followed soon behind. This was my very favorite 4th of July that I can recall. Majestic. Outstanding. There isn't an adjective good enough.

Another late-night photo

Until my next update, I remain, your holiday correspondent.

Your May Also Like: 
The Ruby Princess
Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay web cams
Enjoying your visit to Glacier Bay on a cruise ship