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Flightseeing over an Alaskan glacier...which one?

#1
I am going on a northbound cruise of Alaska with my wife and in-laws. We are going on the Royal Caribbean 7N Northbound Alaska & Hubbard Glacier cruise.
It will stop at various ports along the way between Vancouver and Seward. We will fly back from Anchorage. There are many flightseeing excursions over Alaskan glaciers at the various ports during the cruise itinerary. They are of course rediculousy expensive and I will restrict/treat myself to ONLY one. I will be doing it alone or with the wife (the in-laws will not be with us for this period!). But which flightseeing excursion?

Photography is my passion...http://www.fluidr.com/photos/phil_marion/sets
So I would like to be on a flightseeing excursion that is photoworthy and am ensured a window seat to shoot from, so it is best to be in a helicopter or floatplane where the wing attaches to the top of the fuselage as this doesn't obstruct the view as much as a lower placed wing would.

So the ports I can flightsee from are Ketchikan (Misty Fjords ), Icy Strait Point (Glacier Bay National Park), Juneau (helicopter over Juneau Icefield or a 5-Glacier Seaplane trip), Skagway (Chilkat Glacier system) or Anchorage (Denali/Mt. McKinley and Ruth & Kahiltna Glaciers).

I have been to Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina and will soon see various Alaskan glaciers from sea level so with this flightseeing trip I am most interested in aerial shots that best depict the glaciers as rivers of ice. Dramatic mountains are a plus.

Are there any well heeled travellers here that have been on some of these excursions and can recommend one over the others? Or know of other resourses I can use to find out?

Also, can a flight be booked quickly onshore? I'd hate to book in advance and have to fly in cloudy/foggy weather....and I imagine it is cheaper booked ashore than from the cruiseship.

Sincerest thanks!
 

bob

Chief Engineer
Staff member
#2
First, some beautiful photography, you do your passion justice.

I have never seen the glaciers from the air, only from sea level, of which Glacier Bay is awesome so I would imagine it would be from the air as well. On the other hand my thought pattern would say, You seen one patch of ice you seen um all, you can only handle so much ice.
For diversity I would have to go with Misty Fjords, I have only seen it by boat, the glass like water, the mountain terrain covered with lush greenery just makes it a beautiful place and am sure there are some glaciers lurking around somewhere.
When we were there, the air tours that we saw used high wing float planes, I think the helicopters are more used for tours where they actually land on the glaciers.
Check with shoretrips, http://www.shoretrips.com/excursions/region-pnw/alaska-pacific-northwest about a short notice booking, they are highly reputable and competitive price wise.
 
#3
I am going on a northbound cruise of Alaska with my wife and in-laws. We are going on the Royal Caribbean 7N Northbound Alaska & Hubbard Glacier cruise.
It will stop at various ports along the way between Vancouver and Seward. We will fly back from Anchorage. There are many flightseeing excursions over Alaskan glaciers at the various ports during the cruise itinerary. They are of course rediculousy expensive and I will restrict/treat myself to ONLY one. I will be doing it alone or with the wife (the in-laws will not be with us for this period!). But which flightseeing excursion?

Photography is my passion...http://www.fluidr.com/photos/phil_marion/sets
So I would like to be on a flightseeing excursion that is photoworthy and am ensured a window seat to shoot from, so it is best to be in a helicopter or floatplane where the wing attaches to the top of the fuselage as this doesn't obstruct the view as much as a lower placed wing would.

So the ports I can flightsee from are Ketchikan (Misty Fjords ), Icy Strait Point (Glacier Bay National Park), Juneau (helicopter over Juneau Icefield or a 5-Glacier Seaplane trip), Skagway (Chilkat Glacier system) or Anchorage (Denali/Mt. McKinley and Ruth & Kahiltna Glaciers).

I have been to Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina and will soon see various Alaskan glaciers from sea level so with this flightseeing trip I am most interested in aerial shots that best depict the glaciers as rivers of ice. Dramatic mountains are a plus.

Are there any well heeled travellers here that have been on some of these excursions and can recommend one over the others? Or know of other resourses I can use to find out?

Also, can a flight be booked quickly onshore? I'd hate to book in advance and have to fly in cloudy/foggy weather....and I imagine it is cheaper booked ashore than from the cruiseship.

Sincerest thanks!
We have had only one trip to Alaska, unfortunately, and only one flight seeing tour, which was the 5 Glacier float plane from Juneau, probably the same one you are looking at. This excursion was fabulous, the highlight of our trip. The views were breathtaking, and we landed on a river where we had fresh grilled salmon at a small quaint lodge, accessible only by air and the river. There is even a glacier across the river which can be viewed from the grounds. The salmon is cooked over alder wood on a outdoor grill ( bears visit in the summer ). Sides served buffet style and when I tell you it was the best food on our trip, I am not exaggerating! All on the floatplane had window seats, but I do recall having the wing in some of my pictures. But I am no expert and you may know how to avoid this.

I would book this tour in advance. You may be able to book some things on the dock, like whale watch. I doubt this one is there. Probably sells out well in advance.
 
#4
We did the 5 Glacier Seaplane in Juneau last May and it was the highlight of our trip! Flight seeing view over the glaciers were breathtaking. River landing at a remote lodge for grilled fresh salmon dinner. Lodge across the river from a glacier. Would do this tour again in a heartbeat! I do recall all seats were window seats, but I know I got some wing structure in some of my pictures, but I am no professional. I doubt you could book this tour from the dock the day of. I would not take that chance. They picked us up at the cruise dock for a quick shuttle across town to where the planes took off. Yes, pricey, but well worth the money!