What time do the cruises depart?
The 26 Glacier Cruise operates May 4 - September 30, 2018, departing at 12:30 PM, returning at 5:30 PM.
The Glacier Quest Cruise operates May 15 - September 16, 2018, departing at 1:00 PM, returning at 4:45 PM.
Do you offer a child’s fare?
Yes, children age 2 – 11 receive a discount fare for our cruises. Infants age 0-24 months travel for free but must be noted on our manifest.
Do you offer any discounts?
Yes, we offer a discount for Alaska Residents who are members of our Klondike Club, AAA Discount Rewards members, and active duty Military. Discounted fares can not be booked online. If you qualify for one of the discount fares we offer, please call our office to make your reservations. Discounts must be applied at the time of original booking.
What is your change or cancellation policy?
Cancellation Policy-Individual Cruise Passengers:
Phillips Cruises & Tours, LLC and/or Magic Bus:
Full refund less $25.00 fee, if reservations canceled 8 days or more in advance.
25% cancellation fee if canceled within 2 to 7 days prior to cruise date.
No refund for cancellations made less than 48 hours of cruise date.
Alaska Railroad Corporation:
Full refund if canceled 8 days or more prior to travel date.
No refunds for cancellations under 8 days prior.
Phillips Cruises & Tours, LLC and/or The Magic Bus:
A fee of $25.00 per reservation will be charged for date changes.
Reservations changed less than 48 hours before the cruise remain non-refundable.
Alaska Railroad Corporation: A fee of $25.00 per booking will be charged for any changes.
No changes allowed 7 days prior to travel and tickets are non-refundable.
Do you cruise every day? Even if it is raining?
We cruise rain or shine unless the Coast Guard advises that we cancel due to weather. The weather changes frequently in Alaska and we travel quite a distance on our cruises. Often if the weather is rainy at the pier as you are boarding the vessel, the weather will change once you exit Passage Canal and cruise towards the glaciers.
Do you accept cash or credit cards?
Yes, we accept U.S. Dollars and credit cards from VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover
How far is Whittier from Anchorage?
Whittier is 63 miles south of Anchorage. Due to varying speed limits and summer construction, we always advise guests to allow 1.5 hours for travel time from Anchorage. Travel times from other communities can be found on the "Getting to Us" page.
Can I drive to Whittier?
Yes, The drive is spectacular along the Seward Highway. Allow 1.5 hours from Anchorage.
What can you tell me about the tunnel?
Whittier is accessible by the Anton Anderson Tunnel. This is a toll road that operates on a one-way schedule, alternating rail, and vehicle traffic. The tunnel requires payment of a fee upon entering the Bear Valley side of the tunnel to reach Whittier. The fee is not collected from the Whittier side. When traveling to Whittier, the tunnel access from Bear Valley is open on the half-hour, for example, 10:30 AM. To depart Whittier, the tunnel is open on the hour, for example, 6:00 PM.
Which cruise fits best with the train or bus schedule?
The 26 Glacier Cruise and Glacier Quest Cruise connect easily with rail or Day Coach transportation.
Details and transportation schedules can be found on our website on the "Getting to Us" page.
Where do I check-in after I arrive by train or coach?
Our ticket office is located in the Cliffside Marina parking lot. Our address is 100 West Camp Road, Whittier, AK. The train stops across the street from the Cliffside Marina parking lot. It is a short walk from the train to our ticket office. Use the crosswalk and walk along the left side of the white covered awning toward our ticket office. The coach service stops in front of our ticket office and the driver will assist you with check-in.
Is there food on the train or bus?
ALASKA RAILROAD: The Glacier Discovery train has a café car with light menu items available for purchase that may include sandwiches, salads, chips and more.
MAGIC BUS: The bus doesn’t provide any food on board, however, they do make a stop in Girdwood for a chance to use the restrooms and purchase food or snacks.
Meal Service Questions:
What time is the complimentary hot meal served?
A hot meal is served to each Adult and Child 2-11 shortly after we leave the harbor. A meal is not provided for infants 0-24 months.
Do you offer special meals for dietary needs?
We offer a Vegetarian / Gluten Free option.
Can I bring my own food or drinks on board?
Guests with special dietary needs or traveling with an infant are welcome to bring their own meals or snacks. ABSOLUTELY NO ALCOHOL may be brought on board due to our liquor license regulations.
Is there a U.S. Forest Service Ranger on board?
Yes, the waters of Prince William Sound are surrounded by the Chugach National Forest and through our partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, we have USFS Rangers on board our 26 Glacier Cruise and our Glacier Quest Cruise. The ranger will narrate the tour and describe the history of the area. They also involve younger cruisers with their Junior Ranger program with activity books and a chance to earn a Junior Ranger badge for completing the workbook during the cruise.
What is your No Seasickness Guarantee?
With the combination of our stable catamarans and the protected waters of Prince William Sound – we guarantee a trip without sea sickness or your money back. If you’re concerned about motion sickness in the least, we’re the choice for you!
How far do you travel?
The 26 Glacier Cruise covers 140 miles round-trip through the Harriman and College fjords in Prince William Sound.
The Glacier Quest Cruise covers 45 miles round-trip into Shotgun Cove and Blackstone Bay.
Where do you stop?
We spend time in front of several tidewater glaciers on each cruise. The captain will stop for wildlife sightings along the way, at the Kittiwake Rookery and at other scenic areas along each route.
Can we stand on the glaciers?
No, we do not make any stops where our guests would step off the vessel during the tour.
Can I lick the display ice?
Many guests will be interested in touching the glacier ice. We will provide some glacier ice that you may put in your drink and enjoy.
How should I dress?
We recommend you dress in layers. That way you can “put on” or “take off” layers as the weather requires. A waterproof or windproof jacket is recommended as well as rubber soled shoes. Gloves and a hat are also recommended as the vessel does move quickly across the water, which will cause a wind chill factor if you are on the outside decks. The interior of the vessel is well heated and therefore quite warm and comfortable.
What is the temperature of the water in Prince William Sound?
The average temperature of the water is only 42’F.
How often does it rain?
The Chugach National Forest is the most northern and western rain forest in the United Stated so rain is certainly a possibility. We cruise rain or shine. Photographers prefer cloudy days because the blues of the glaciers are more intense in cloudy conditions.
Which boat is used on the cruise?
The M/V Klondike Express is used for the 26 Glacier Cruise.
The M/V Glacier Quest is used for the Glacier Quest Cruise.
How fast do the boats travel?
The M/V Klondike Express travels at a cruising speed of 36 knots, 42 miles per hour.
The M/V Glacier Quest travels at a cruising speed of 18 knots, 23 miles per hour.
How many people will be on the boat? Will it be crowded?
The M/V Klondike Express is coast guard approved to carry 328 passengers. The M/V Glacier Quest is Coast Guard approved to carry 149 passengers. The spacious design of the boats provides each passenger an inside seat and ample outside observation decks to view the sights.
Is the boat handicap accessible?
Yes, however, there are distinct differences between our vessels level of accessibility.
The M/V Klondike Express offers ample room with very low thresholds that enable guests who are reliant on the use of a wheelchair during the cruise to comfortably and safely travel on board. The vessel is equipped with seven restrooms, 3 on the upper deck and 4 on the main deck. On the main deck, there is 1 accessible restroom. Up one flight of stairs on our upper deck, there is a second accessible restroom. The bow is open when we stop to observe wildlife and glaciers with a specific location reserved for guests utilizing a wheelchair to have an up close view.
The M/V Glacier Quest has higher thresholds that are best navigated by walking short distances or stepping over raised thresholds. The vessel has 4 restrooms, with 1 accessible restroom on the aft starboard side.
Both vessels have two heated seating decks. There are no elevators on board. Our crew is happy to assist guests during the boarding process safely along the ramp to the dock and while getting aboard and situated.
Please contact our office if you have additional questions so that we may best assist you during your cruise.
Can I bring my oxygen tank on the boat?
Yes, you are welcome to bring any medical supplies on board that you may need during the cruise. Please notify our office 72 hours prior to travel so we may be prepared to assist you in the best manner possible.
Can I bring my dog?
Only certificated service animals are allowed aboard the vessel. Please contact our office if you need to make these arrangements. Proper documentation will be required prior to boarding.
Can I smoke on the boat?
No. Both vessels are smoke-free. We do not permit smoking or electronic cigarettes on our vessels.
Alaska Information Questions:
When does it get dark? Can I see the Northern Lights?
During the summer months, we do not experience dark enough nights to see the northern lights. Northern Lights are best viewed during the darker, clear nights between August 21st and April 21st.
May 19 Hours
June 21 Hours
July 21 Hours
August 17 Hours
September 14 Hours
What is the average temperature?
Is this a whale watching cruise?
Our cruise is a glacier and wildlife cruise. We see a variety of wildlife including orcas (killer whales) and humpback whales. Whales are not guaranteed, but we do see them 50-60% of the time.
When is the best time to see whales?
Whales are more often in May, June, and September when they are migrating to and from California and Hawaii.
What other wildlife will I see?
Sea otters, harbor seals, Steller sea lions, Dall’s porpoise, 200 different species of birds, including: Eagles, black-legged kittiwakes, glaucous-winged gulls, oyster catchers, storm petrels, Jaeger's, arctic terns, marbled murrelets, pigeon guillemots, arctic loons, Arctic warblers, Pacific loons, red-faced cormorants, blue throats, surf scooters and on a rare occasion a puffin makes it way into Prince William Sound.
How many Glaciers will I see?
The 26 Glacier Cruise route has 26 named glaciers as well as many unnamed glaciers. You will see Tidewater, Piedmont, and alpine glaciers.
The Glacier Quest Cruise travels to Shotgun Cove and Blackstone Bay. There are 9 named glaciers, as well as various unnamed glaciers, along with this route.
For a full list of the glaciers we see, visit our Glaciers page.
How close do we get the glaciers?
Our Captains will navigate a safe distance from the face of the glaciers. At times, we can get within 1,000 feet of these massive glaciers, but most often we stay about ¼ mile back.
What is calving?
Calving occurs when pieces of the tidewater glacier break off and fall into the water. The resulting pieces are known as icebergs, growlers, and Bergy bits, depending on their size.
Do we see glaciers calve every day?
Glaciers are moving fields or ice so it is a rare day that we do not see some calving activity
What is a fjord?
A deep-water channel carved out by a receding glacier, bordered by steep cliffs.