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The 5 Best Kenai Fjords National Park Cruises [2022 Reviews]

If you’re looking to experience one of the most unique, fascinating places on Earth, Kenai Fjords National Park is a must-see.

Located just south of Anchorage, it’s a hot spot for natural beauty, mountain views, lakes, abundant wildlife, and of course, its glaciers! If you want to experience the unmatchable nature in this park, we highly recommend going on a proper tour.

This way, you’re going with an experienced guide, and can make the difference between a boring and memorable time. We have all the top cruises in the Kenai Fjords Park right here, so don’t go anywhere!

Best Kenai Fjords Boat Tours

 Kenai Fjords National Park 6-Hour Cruise From SewardKenai Fjords Half Day Wildlife Cruise From SewardKenai Fjords National Park Tour with Fox Island
editors choice
 Seward: Kenai Fjords National Park 6-Hour Cruise Seward: Kenai Fjords Half Day Wildlife Cruise Kenai Fjords National Park Tour with Fox Island
Departure Point:Tour desk in the Harbor 360 Hotel lobby, 1412 4th Ave, SewardMajor Marine Tours desk in lobby of the Harbor 360 Hotel, 1412 4th Ave, SewardKenai Fjords Tours, 1304 4th Ave, Seward
Departure Time:MorningMorning10 am
Duration:6 hours4 hours8.5 hours
Includes:Access to Kenai Fjords & Resurrection Bay, tour guide, transportation, binocularsBinoculars to use on board, shuttle from railroad depot or cruise ship portSightseeing cruise, lunch, dinner, on-board wildlife guide

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking


Quick Answer: The 5 Best Kenai Fjords Cruises From Seward

  1. Kenai Fjords National Park 6-Hour Cruise From Seward
  2. Kenai Fjords Half Day Wildlife Cruise From Seward
  3. Kenai Fjords National Park Tour with Fox Island
  4. Kenai Fjords National Park Glacier & Wildlife Cruise
  5. Kenai Fjords National Park 7.5-Hour Cruise From Seward

Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise Reviews

1. Kenai Fjords National Park 6-Hour Cruise From Seward

 Seward: Kenai Fjords National Park 6-Hour Cruise

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Departure: Tour desk located inside the Harbor 360 Hotel lobby, 1412 4th Ave, Seward
  • Departure Time: Morning
  • Includes: Access to Kenai Fjords National Park, access to Resurrection Bay, live tour guide, transport for activity duration: sightseeing cruise, binoculars

Starting things out on the right foot, we bring you the Seward: Kenai Fjords National Park 6-Hour Cruise. This tour is consistently one of the highest-rated, and will take you through the stunning mountains and fjords of this legendary national park.

Not only that, but if you are looking to catch sight of some sea critters, you’re in the right place! Start out by heading to their tour desk in the morning, where you’ll meet up with your guide.

The guides are incredibly knowledgeable, and will take you to go board the catamaran you’ll be taking out! This catamaran is one of the biggest in this area, and is perfect for traversing Resurrection Bay.

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The cruise starts with Resurrection Bay, where your guide will give you a history of the area, its geography, and the kind of wildlife that lives here. They’ll keep an eye out for any whales (Orcas, Humpback, etc.), sea otters, puffins, and other animals in the bay.

A National Park Ranger will also tell you all about the animals, glaciers, fjords, and cultural history. The tour does provide you with binoculars so you can keep watch as well, and make sure you see everything they’re referring to. Make sure to take some photos, as well!

You’ll make a stop at an impressive tidewater glacier which has various calving events! This is where enormous pieces of ice break off from the glacier, crashing into the water below. It’s not guaranteed to happen while you’re there, but it could!

A full bar is also available if you’d like to sip on a beer or glacier margarita while exploring! The deli-style lunch served onboard is delicious, and tastes even better in the fresh air.

Weather can change quickly, so we highly recommend bringing some waterproof clothing and shoes!

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


2. Kenai Fjords Half Day Wildlife Cruise From Seward

Seward: Kenai Fjords Half Day Wildlife Cruise

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Departure: Major Marine Tours desk inside the lobby of the Harbor 360 Hotel, 1412 4th Ave, Seward
  • Departure Time: Morning
  • Includes: Binoculars to use on board, shuttle from railroad depot or cruise ship port

Perhaps you want to experience everything the Kenai Fjords National Park has to offer, but have a busy schedule. Maybe you or someone else in your group gets seasick on longer water cruises.

Whatever the case may be, if you are on the hunt for a shorter tour, the Seward: Kenai Fjords Half Day Wildlife Cruise is perfect for you.

Head to the tour desk located inside the lobby of the Harbor 360 Hotel, where you’ll meet up with your guide. We recommend bringing comfortable shoes and warm layers, including a waterproof jacket and/or pants.

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After taking the included shuttle from the railroad depot, board the large vessel, which can get a bit wet if it’s rainy. It all depends on the weather, but it’s not uncommon for it to be wet and windy.

As you cruise through the protected waters of Resurrection Bay, your guide will tell you all about the ecology, geology, and history of this area. Their personal stories and experiences were our personal favorites, and really made us see the bay differently.

The captain and crew are very experienced, so they will make sure to head towards the spots where wildlife is most commonly spotted. They do provide everyone with high-quality binoculars to ensure nothing is missed!

Depending on the time of year, you could sea otters with their pups on their bellies, floating over the waters. Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to see the impressively-fast Dall’s Porpoise, who love to play in the boat’s wake and entertain!

If you’re really lucky, you may even see massive whales like Orcas and Humpbacks. There are also tons of jellyfish and puffins hanging around!

Overall, if you’re looking for a tour for the entire family (including younger ones who may not do well on longer cruises), we can’t recommend this one enough!

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


3. Kenai Fjords National Park Tour with Fox Island

Kenai Fjords National Park Tour with Fox Island

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 8.5 hours
  • Departure: Kenai Fjords Tours, 1304 4th Ave, Seward
  • Departure Time: 10 am
  • Includes: 8.5 hour sightseeing cruise, lunch, dinner, on-board wildlife guide

Our next tour is on the opposite end of the spectrum! If you are looking for an even longer tour than any we’ve covered so far, check this one out! The National Park Tour with Fox Island packs a lot of adventure into 8.5 hours, including time exploring the bay and on the island!

Start off at the Seward Small Boat Harbor, where you’ll meet your captain and crew, and board the impressive 95-foot cruise vessel. This is a non-smoking cruise so as to not bother any others onboard, as well as to not pollute this area which is home to so many beautiful plants and animals.

As you sail into the bay, you’ll learn all about the fascinating and ever-changing geology of the Harding Icefield, which has been around since the ice age. As you continue, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for animals like Minke whales, Orcas, Humpbacks, porpoises, sea otters, and harbor seals!

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Just as well, the geography is breathtaking, with the jagged icy cliffs that surround the Kenai Peninsula, the crystalline fjords, and calving glaciers!

Of course, it’s best seen from the warm and cozy cabin complete with comfortable seating and unobstructed picture windows. Alternatively, the multi-level observation decks offer fresh air and a better vantage point if you’re looking from a distance.

Arrive at the secluded, gorgeous Fox Island, which also has quite the interesting human and natural history! Step off of the boat, where you’ll have plenty of time to stretch your legs and take a stroll around the beach and other parts of the island.

Then, head over to their charming day lodge and enjoy a delicious meal of crab cakes, salads, and rolls!

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


4. Kenai Fjords National Park Glacier & Wildlife Cruise

Kenai Fjords National Park Glacier & Wildlife Cruise

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Departure: 1412 4th Ave , 1412 4th Ave, Seward
  • Departure Time: Morning
  • Includes: Reserved seating in the heated cabin, water, coffee, and tea, use of binoculars, all taxes and fees included, souvenir booklet, lunch, onboard naturalist narration

Next, we have another 6-hour tour for you: the Kenai Fjords National Park Glacier & Wildlife Cruise! You’ll get to take a gorgeous cruise with the company of an experienced naturalist to tell you all the about the area’s animals, geology, and much more!

If you’re looking to learn more about Alaska’s nature see one of the most phenomenal spots on the planet, stay tuned. Start your day off early, and set off on the very spacious, beautiful boat with reserved seating.

This ensures you’ll always have a spot, and don’t have to worry about “losing” your seat if you get up to check out better views on the upper observation decks. The captain and crew are very professional, and know this area like the back of their hands.

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Start out in Resurrection Bay where your guide will tell you all about the history of this place, as well as the animals commonly found here, and more interesting stories. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch sight of various animals such as whales, porpoises, puffins, sea otters, and more.

Continue on to see Holgate Glacier, which starts from the Harding Icefield, that has been around since the ice age. This glacier sees much less traffic than the Aialik Glacier, which can get quite busy.

However, both are very impressive and simply picturesque! If the timing is right, you may even get to see a glacier calving! This phenomenon is perhaps a bit scary at first, but is something most never get to witness.

Next, continue to the Chiswell Islands, which are a bunch of rocky, uninhabited islands that you can only access by boat or plane. These mysterious-looking islands are part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, and an important bird sanctuary.

This is an incredible experience, and the friendly, professional staff really goes out of their way to make sure everyone has a great time.

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


5. Kenai Fjords National Park 7.5-Hour Cruise From Seward

Seward: Kenai Fjords National Park 7.5-Hour Cruise

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 7.5 hours
  • Departure: Major Marine Tours desk inside the lobby of the Harbor 360 Hotel, 1412 4th Ave, Seward
  • Departure Time: Morning
  • Includes: Binoculars to use on board, shuttle from railroad depot and cruise ship port, coffee, tea, and water, deli lunch

If you’re trying to find another longer tour in Kenai Fjords, this is one of the few out there that are worth the time and money. The Seward: Kenai Fjords National Park 7.5-Hour Cruise will make sure you learn a lot and see a lot! Glaciers, mountains, wildlife, and much more are waiting for you!

We know that longer cruise tours are not for everyone, but if you really want to pack in as much as possible, it’s a great way to do so. Not only that, but we found the cruise very well-structured and laid out in a way that ensured everyone was always entertained.

Hop onboard a high-speed catamaran where you’ll have plenty of room to sit, walk around, and just enjoy this beautiful environment. You’ll start out in Resurrection Bay, where the guide will offer an educational narration about the area’s history, and will tell you a bit about what to expect on the tour.

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The captain knows all the best places here with the greatest chances of seeing wildlife like whales, otters, seals, and countless seabirds like puffers! To make sure you aren’t missing out on anything, they also provide everyone with a pair of binoculars.

Next, head out to the Gulf of Alaska, past Bear Glacier. At a whopping 25 kilometers long, it’s the biggest in Kenai Fjords National Park and is one of the most jaw-dropping experiences on the Alaskan coast.

Check out two active tidewater glaciers as well: the Aialik and Holgate glaciers. Keep an eye out for calving glaciers, where massive sections of ice break off and crash into the water below.

The professional deckhands grab a piece of glacier ice, making “glacier margaritas” and other tasty cocktails for you to sip on as you watch. Coffee, tea, and water are always offered on board, as well.

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


Seward Tour Guide

Best Cruises in Kenai Fjords National Park

Getting There

Getting to Seward, Alaska most times is going to mean you have to fly directly into Anchorage’s Ted Stevens Airport. However, you can also get to Seward from Anchorage by train at just 29 bucks! With more than 100 passenger flights arriving daily to Anchorage’s international airport, you can snag a direct flight from just about any major US city.

There are various cruises you can take up to Alaska from the Pacific Northwest, along with the state ferry system. There are many that depart from Vancouver, BC, and the Alaska Marine Highway System offer regular ferry schedules between Bellingham, WA and Whittier, Alaska.

Getting Around

Seward is a pretty small town, and your preferred method of transportation may vary widely, depending on the time of year and weather conditions.

Walking – Due to its small size, if it’s not blisteringly cold, icy, or windy, it’s perfect for strolling around. The locals tend to be very friendly and will help our where they can. The air is so fresh, and due to its coastal location, offers incredible views that are best seen by foot or by cycling (especially along the waterfront path).

Shuttle – Seward does have the City of Seward Free Shuttle, which is a compact, 5-mile route that takes just half an hour to complete. It covers the cruise ship dock on cruise days, as well as the train depot, harbor, and downtown. Many hotels also offer transportation, and it is definitely worth asking about!

Where to Stay

Speaking of hotels, there are some tried-and-trusted options that we highly recommend. There really is something for everyone, depending on what you value most.

Seward Gateway Hotel – This is a brand-new hotel and was made just a couple of years ago! Located right on the harbor of Resurrection Bay, it’s perfect for catching your cruise(s) or just enjoying these stunning views of the ice-blue bay and jagged mountains.

Not only that, but it’s located just a mile from downtown’s best shops and restaurants! As they do offer a free shuttle running to/from the railroad depot and cruise ship dock you don’t have to worry about transportation, either.

Seward Harbor 360 Hotel – You may already recognize this name, as some of our tours originate here! This absolutely gorgeous hotel is located right on the waterfront – it’s pretty much impossible to get closer! As you can probably deduce from the name, it offers beautiful 360-degree views of Alaska’s majestic mountains and bay.

Abode Well Cabins – If you’re on a tight budget, these cozy little cabins are just the thing for you. You can choose either a King Cabin which includes a kitchenette and sleeps up to 3 people, a family cabin which features a full kitchen, separate bedrooms, and sleeps up to 8. You can also choose a Queen Studio Room, which is a bit smaller than the King Cabin.

Gateway Hotel Seward – This is yet another brand-new hotel, and is placed right along a salmon stream. It’s pretty, cozy, and located right next to most of Seward’s main attractions.

Breeze Inn Seward – This is another budget-friendly option which is located right in the center of Seward and includes a complimentary shuttle to local attractions, and transit spots.

Seward Windsong Lodge – Located just a few miles from Seward, this lodge is absolutely beautiful and worth the slightly further location! They include a free shuttle service to downtown and transit points anyway, so it’s not a big deal. The onsite restaurant is delicious, and tucked into a secluded forest!

Restaurants and Eating Out

As you can probably imagine, Seward has some incredible seafood. However, there is so much more to offer, too!

Chinook’s Bar and Grill – This nautical-themed location sits right on the harbor, offering beautiful views as you enjoy its fresh seafood, sandwiches, and steak.

The Sea Bean – For those mornings when you’re running late and need to catch a boat or tour, there’s The Sea Bean. This little coffee shop offers delicious pastries and fresh-brewed coffee to keep you warm on those chilly days. Do yourself a favor and try their Nutella paini!

The Cookery – Are you looking for the perfect date night spot or to celebrate a special occasion? Then check out The Cookery, which serves dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients including seafood, meat, produce, and even things like mushrooms and other “foraged finds”. Not to mention, they have a solid wine and beer menu!

Smoke Shack – Open only for breakfast and lunch, it’s one of the best places around! If you walk by, you’re sure to hear the loud music playing first in this restaurant set inside an old train car right on the water! It’s always a good time, with friendly locals, a great setting, and delicious southern comfort food.

Apollo Restaurant – Perhaps you’re craving the taste of the Mediterranean, and you’ll find it all here! Gyros, steak, seafood, pastas, and delicious pizzas are all freshly-prepared however you’ll be paying for that freshness.

Nightlife and Entertainment

You probably shouldn’t expect pumping nightclubs that go until the morning here, or massive chandeliers and bottles of premium champagne popping on the dancefloors. However, there is a solid nightlife with convivial spots perfect for getting to know the locals and this beautiful place.

Seward Brewing Company – We’ll let you in on a little secret: Seward has some great brews, and this place is one of the best. This jolly brewpub offers local brews and very interesting dishes in a modern space with plenty of room, and rustic elements that fit perfectly into Alaska.

Yukon Bar – This local dive is always a blast, and is the perfect way to start out the night. This watering hole offers up the typical dive bar drinks and bar snacks. However, you’ll be entertained by the locals, the chatty bartenders, and the most random items adorning the walls and ceilings!

Flamingo Lounge – Just recently changing ownership, it was once the historic spot of “Thorn’s Showcase Lounge”. Most of the food will remain the same, such as its halibut chunks, but the cocktail menu is more upscale with craft cocktails. However, they’re going to keep the Thorn’s Famous White Russians around.

Pit Bar & Liquor Store – This is the place everyone goes to after everything else is closed. Good cocktails and beer with a dive bar atmosphere, except it offers amazing barbecue, poke bowls, fish, and pork. Not only that, but the staff is always nice.

Weather

It’s never really hot or that warm in Seward, though July to mid-August are the warmest times. However, it’s rare that it gets above 70 degrees even during these months. From the beginning of June to mid-September, you can expect an average daily high of about 56 degrees. The cold season, from November to mid-March is about 37 on average. However, you should bring clothing for cold, wet weather no matter what time you’re visiting.

Attractions

Go Hiking – This is best done during the warmer months, but you can go hiking really any time of year in Seward. Some of the best hikes will take you by pristine lakes, thick forests, or by enormous glaciers!

Take a Water Taxi – They’re super cheap, and will open up the possibilities in terms of exploration. Caine’s Head is a popular one! It has an abandoned WWII fort that’s really interesting! If it starts getting dark, spend the night in a cabin!

Visit the SeaLife Center – This one is famous in Alaska, and lets you see harbor seals, Steller sea lions, puffins, giant octopi, and much more! It’s great if you saw them on your tour and now want to see them more up-close!

Flightseeing – Alaska is a phenomenal place, and views from the water are incredible. However, seeing it from the air is another one of the best ways to see this dramatic landscape! The pilots are very experienced, and keep your safety at the forefront of any flight.

Walk Downtown/Waterfront – As we mentioned earlier, walking around Seward is easy and one of the best ways to see the area. Downtown offers an array of little charming boutique shops and delicious restaurants. The waterfront has some beautiful restaurants and bars, as well!

Tips

  1. As we said before, it’s a good idea to pack for wet, cold weather no matter the time of year. Wearing layers is best, as they’ll keep you warm. If you get too hot, you can always take a layer off. Make sure your outer layers are waterproof.
  2. Bring boots. They should be comfortable to walk in, and have a nice tread that won’t leave you slipping all over the place.
  3. Respect nature. Alaska is a state that takes its wildlife and natural environment very seriously. Seward has very unique ecosystems, and there’s a lot to learn about, from its temperate rainforests to glaciers.
  4. Hotels are very helpful regarding transportation! If you need help transitioning from a cruise ship or train depot, they can handle the logistics for you and most times, it’s free. Tips are always appreciated, though!
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The Kenai Fjords 6-Hour Cruise From Seward is our Editors Choice for the best Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise

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Robert Baker

Robert is a content writer and editor at World Guides to Travel where he shares his love for the great outdoors. He also writes in-depth travel blogs for other websites around the world. Robert is passionate about the environment and uses his writing to educate people about the advantages and importance of sustainable living. Robert enjoys creative writing. In 2009, his children’s novel Sally Hemings & the Good Associates won the Children’s Fiction section of the You Write On Book of the Year Award.
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