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Hubbard Glacier Cruise Visitor Tips

Hubbard Glacier is one of the most famous sights of all scenic cruising by Alaska cruise ships.

Scenic cruising takes place when a ship stops at a scenic destination without letting passengers off the ship. They view unique locations from the ship rather than on land. They are popular photo opportunities.

Glacier Bay is a famous scenic cruising destination because there are many glaciers to see in a beautiful location. In the case of Hubbard, there also is a lot to see. It just happens that the glacier itself is a lot to see.

Hubbard Glacier is the longest tidewater glacier in the world and the largest river of ice in North America, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It is about seven miles wide, 76 miles long and the height of a 30-story building above its waterline.

Strong rip tides and currents put pressure on the face of the glacier and trigger calving on a regular basis. Calving is what happens when giant chunks of ice break off the glacier and crash into the bay, often with a roar and gigantic splash, depending on the size of the ice.


Unlike other glaciers that are getting smaller, Hubbard is getting larger to the point where it sometimes blocks part of Russell Fiord, which is where cruise ships go for passengers to see the glacier.

“In 2002 the advancing terminus of Hubbard Glacier created a glacier lake dam which turned Russell Fiord into a lake for about two and a half months,” the geological survey says.

The agency also says the advancing glacier will close Russell Fiord once again in the near future.

Ships reach Hubbard Glacier by going north from Juneau near the city and borough of Yakutat. From there they cruise into Disenchantment Bay to reach views of the glacier.

Most cruise ships will have one scenic cruise visit such as Glacier Bay or Hubbard Glacier as part of their itinerary. Cruise planners may want to take advantage of Hubbard Glacier while it is available for viewing and choose an itinerary that includes it.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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December 13, 2018

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