M/V Klondike Express. This boat, the mainstay of Phillips Cruises and Tours, leaves the port of Whittier for a fully narrated tour daily from early May until mid-September.
Even if you’ve seen glaciers from a mega-cruise ship in Alaska’s Inside Passage, consider taking the Phillips 26 Glacier Cruise. It may appear that your large floating resort ventured close to the masses of ice, but reflections from water and sun make sea side mountains appear closer than they really are. Large cruise ships must stop about two miles out, especially when fjords and bays are filled with floating ice chunks broken off from the main masses. The Klondike Express skims through the water, arriving a scant two-tenths of a mile from the huge glaciers.
Prince William Sound, zipping smoothly at speeds up to 46 miles an hour over routes first explored by British navigator Captain James Cook and railroad financier Edward Henry Harriman in the late 1800s.
College Fjord as Harriman and his family did in 1899. Glaciers had previously encompassed all the territory, so there was no bay; however, as the ice gradually receded, navigable waters opened up. Then Harriman sponsored a steamship expedition so scientists could record information about glaciers and mountains in the area.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier