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Which one to pick----Phillips 26 Glacier or Prince William Sound cruise?

Which one to pick----Phillips 26 Glacier or Prince William Sound cruise?

Jul 27th, 2008, 10:32 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 99
Which one to pick----Phillips 26 Glacier or Prince William Sound cruise?

We would like your thoughts about these two glacier tour companies that cruise Prince William Sound.
Phillips' 26 Glacier Tour has a 4 1/2 hour tour of Prince William Sound. The other company, Prince William Sound has a 6 hour tour.
The prices are about the same. Have you experience either of them? Or both of them? Thanks very much.
MnJ is offline  
Jul 27th, 2008, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,335
I cannot compare the two since I have only taken the 26 Glacier tour. The prices may not be the same because the 26 Glacier Tour has a variety of discounts (AAA, military, Alaska Airlines, etc.) that are not advertised on their web site. You must ask them on the phone, because they will not volunteer this information.
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 11:51 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,469
Definately the Prince William Sound company IF you are looking at the Esther Passage trip??? It's the best there is!!!!
There should be a route map available to compare with.
BudgetQueen is offline  
May 31st, 2009, 10:32 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 24
BudgetQueen - Can you tell me what it is about the Esther Passage trip that Prince William Sound company visits on their "Wilderness Explorer Cruise" that you prefer over the 26 Glacier Cruise, which visits College Fjord instead of the route through Esther Passage? I was just talking with someone at the 26 Glacier Cruise and they said that the boats they use are "much faster and double hulled" and "able to go through big chunks of ice" compared to the other companies who tour the area. You definitely have a preference for the other company and tour/ route, so I would love to hear some more details to help us decide what is best for us. Thanks!
karen67 is offline  
Jun 8th, 2009, 10:31 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,469
I have sailed both, it's the ROUTE with Esther Passage far more scenic. Longer is also the bonus. Longer= more.

I like the Phillips tours, but you don't get a lot of time at any of the glaciers. Trip is a lot on the move.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Jun 15th, 2009, 12:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 611
I just did the Prince Wm. Sound 6-hour tour (Wilderness Adventure) that goes through Esther Passage. It was beautiful and very scenic, and thought it was a great tour. However, my "big" thing that I was just dying to see was a glacier calving. While we passed many glaciers in the distance, I was disappointed because I thought we'd go close to more than one glacier to watch for calving. This tour only stopped at Surprise Glacier, which -- surprise -- didn't calve. I think from reading the tour literature from all the companies, I expected to stop and watch several glaciers.

Looking at the Prince Wm. Sound cruise website, their 4-hour cruise stops at 2 glaciers... and I may be wrong, but the 26 Glaciers cruise looks like they also stop at 2. In retrospect, I wish I had gone with one of those tours -- at least I would have doubled my chances of seeing calving! Maybe I'm wrong? By the way, we stayed at Surprise Glacier for about 25 minutes tops... I know it's the luck of the draw, but I was bummed
CarolM is offline  
Jun 19th, 2009, 07:13 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 309
We just did the most incredible day-cruise on Prince William Sound. However, this option is probably not practical for a lot of visitors to Alaska. On Monday, June 15, 2009, we took an over nine-hour cruise with Stan Stephens Glacier and Wildlife Cruises; the company is based in Valdez.

We left at 10:00 AM from Valdez and returned to Valdez at 7:30 PM; theie catamaran is comfortable and fast. We saw: humpback whales, orcas, dall porpoises, black bear, eagles, puffins, steller sea lions, sea otters, harbor seals, and a wide-variety of birds. We saw the ice from Columbia Glacier; for safety reasons, you cannot get close enough to Columbia Glacier to see the actual calving, but the numbers and sizes of the ice fragments were stupefying. We did visit Mears Glacier and stayed in front of the glacier for about forty-five minutes. We witnessed at least seven major chunks of ice break from the glacier and crash into the ocean. Best of all - we were the only tourist-type boat in the area.

We have been to Alaska every year for the past ten years but this was only our second time to Valdez. We have taken the 26 Glacier Cruise at least five times and the Major Marine PWS cruise three times. The cruise from Valdez was so much better - especially since we spent so much time in the sound and had the opportunity to really enjoy the wildlife and the glaciers without being rushed.

Valdez is about 300 miles from Anchorage if you drive the Glen Highway and the Richardson Highway; the scenery is spectacular along the way. We stopped at Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Worthington Glacier (almost as good as Exit Glacier), and Copper Center. The two waterfalls near Valdez are gorgeous. We wanted to take the ferry from Whittier to Valdez but that option just did not work out for us; the fast ferry takes less than three hours and the other ferry takes about five hours.
Dorothy01 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2009, 09:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 921
I did Phillips' "26 glacier" trip some years ago after a business trip. It was right at the end of the season. We drove to Portage then took the train to Whittier (cars couldn't use the tunnel then).

It was excellent. We loitered at some of the glaciers. They use a catamaran style hull so it is fast and stable. Had the side bonus of seeing Orca, seals, otters, eagles etc even tho' we had periods of sleet and rain
pspercy is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 12:13 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 7
I've only taken the 26 Glacier Cruise, but it was a wonderful time. We stopped at two of the glaciers. Length of stay was about 20-30 minutes. No calving, but shortly into the trip the captain killed the engines and be came to a stop and watch several Orcas (killer whales) playing off to the right side of our boat.

26 Glaciers boasts the double hull boat. The ride was very, very smooth. I think 4.5 hours was just about right.
MikeinAlaska is offline  
Mar 24th, 2017, 02:38 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 173
Any updated thoughts on comparing these two tours?
Hang20 is offline  

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