Alaskan Cruise: Tracy Arm Fjord

It’s been a little over a month since we got back from our trip to Seattle and 7-day Alaskan cruise. So it’s about right that I’m finally getting around to sharing photos from the cruise portion of our vacation.

Today I’m sharing photos of Tracy Arm Fjord, which is located about 45 miles south of Juneau. Brad and I went on an excursion where we got off the cruise ship and onto a smaller boat to get better views of the scenery. The excursion also happened to fall on our fourth wedding anniversary so the excursion was kind of a gift to ourselves.

I thought I’d start by sharing a map of the fjord because I’m a visual person and I feel like it gives a better understanding of the location. Plus I’m a nerd who enjoys looking at maps, especially of the Google Earth variety.

At the end of Tracy Arm Fjord, which is over 30 miles long, there’s the twin Sawyer Glaciers, North Sawyer and South Sawyer. We saw South Sawyer first, and I’m sharing those photos first, so I numbered that with a 1.

tracy arm fjord

The color of the water was amazing. Photos don’t do it justice.

tracy arm fjord 1

Our guide said the silt from the glacier run off gives the water the beautiful turquoise color.

tracy arm fjord 1

This is Hole in the Wall Falls.

hole in the wall falls

It got its name because there’s a hole in the rock where water pours out of. Very literal.

hole in the wall falls 1

tracy arm fjord 2

carnival legend

As we got closer to the twin glaciers the number of icebergs increased. It was so cool to see them up close, bobbing in the water.

tracy arm fjord 7

tracy arm fjord 6

We were able to see a handful of harbor seals in the fjord, like this mom and her pup.

tracy arm fjord 4

This is South Sawyer Glacier.

Now, I’m going to sound like a brat right now, but I was a little underwhelmed by the glacier. I know, you want to smack me right now, and that’s okay. Maybe if this was the first glacier I had seen in person I would’ve been more excited. But when we were in Alaska in 2006, our cruise ship went in College Fjord, which contains 13 glaciers, and it was absolutely breathtaking– I’m talking “holy cow, places like this actually exist?” breathtaking. At one point, you can see 8 glaciers at once in College Fjord. (Seriously, Google it.)  Seeing such amazingness on my first trip to Alaska kind of set a high standard. Thanks for setting me up for future glacial disappointment, College Fjord. Thanks a lot.

Nonetheless, it was still cool to see Sawyer Glacier. Because seeing one more glacier is better than seeing none.

tracy arm fjord 3

There were about five small boats in the area that were conducting research, which was interesting to watch.

sawyer glacier

sawyer glacier 2

tracy arm fjord

Another harbor seal chilling out on an iceberg.

tracy arm fjord 5

tracy arm fjord 9

And here’s North Sawyer. As you can see, there aren’t any icebergs around this side of the glacier. I can’t remember the reason for why there’s a ton of icebergs by South Sawyer and none by North Sawyer. I don’t think our guide told us. She didn’t talk much.

sawyer glacier 5

Did you know that glacial ice has a blue tint because it absorbs every other color of the spectrum except blue? Yay, science.

sawyer glacier 3

This was on the coolest icebergs I saw while touring the fjord.

tracy arm fjord carnival

I’ll never let go, Jack. I’ll never let go.

tracy arm fjord 10

I hope you enjoyed your visual tour of Tracy Arm Fjord.

All in all, it was a nice excursion. Although, we could’ve done without the twenty selfie stick wielding people constantly bumping into us because they were too busy making duck faces at their phones. I mean, how many selfies do you need of yourself? #imonaboat #glacierselfie #icebergselfie #mountainselfie

Have you been through Tracy Arm Fjord?
Have you been through College Fjord? Someone back me up on my claims.

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  1. Beautiful pictures! I had no idea as I have never want to go to Alaska, but that’s about my bias towards Hawaii. Thank you so much for sharing these. They are all very stunning photos! And I’m with you about selfies, some people think much too highly of themselves! LOL

  2. Que bien, un viaje precioso…………¡que paisajes ¡¡¡¡ divino. Gracias.bsos

  3. I’ve been on two Alaskan Cruises and I loved both of them.I’m so glad you had a nice time even if this part was, as you said, underwhelming. We cruised down different fjords on each cruise and Tracy Arm was on one of them. I enjoyed it and found nothing to complain about at all. The reason we cruised Tracy Arm was because of too much ice floating in the scheduled fjord so they diverted to this one. I liken the difference in glaciers to mountains, The Great Smoky Mountains, which I grew up near, are much different than the Tetons, etc. They’re melting at such an alarming rate I’m afraid of what they’ll look like in 25-30 years.
    Happy Anniversary!!!

  4. I just did an Alaska cruise in June, and we did the Tracy arm, too. (Holland America, if you’re curious.) I officially back up your claims.

  5. yes. absolute gorgeous. we did the Alaskan cruise and we took the College Fjord route and it was stunning. We took a family vacation and it was wonderful. Your pictures are stunning.

    1. Thank you! Yeah, while the cruise we took this year was beautiful and fun, the College Fjord route is breathtaking. Glad you had fun on your family vacation!

  6. Beautiful photos! We may do an Alaskan cruise next year for our anniversary, so I love seeing your feedback on the experience. Which cruise line visited College Fjord? Every one I have seen only does Tracy Arm, but after seeing the responses here, I’d MUCH rather do College.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. We’ve taken all of our cruises with Brad’s extended family, and they’re Carnival people so that’s the cruise liner we took both times in Alaska. I just looked and Carnival doesn’t currently have a cruise doing the route we took in 2006. On that cruise, we departed from Vancouver. The ports of call were Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Sitka (which was my favorite). That cruise ended in Whittier and we took a bus to fly home out of Anchorage.

      Tracy Arm Fjord is very pretty. Like I said, seeing College Fjord for my first Alaskan fjord experience kind of set a standard. So I don’t think you’d be super disappointed if Tracy Arm was the first one you experienced.

      I just did another search and Princess Cruises has one that goes through College Fjord. If this link doesn’t work, search “Voyage of the Glaciers (Northbound)” on the Princess site. http://www.princess.com/find/searchResults.do?itinPort=CF1&trade=A

      Also, if you take an Alaskan cruise definitely splurge for a balcony. That’s my number one tip.

      1. Thanks! We’ve done Disney Cruise Line (Caribbean) and NCL (Hawaii). We absolutely LOVED Disney, but since they cost more to begin with, and the cost of flying to the departure point from Chicago was astronomical (almost as much as the cruise), we decided not to do Alaska with DCL (at least not right now). My mom did an Alaskan Cruise with NCL, so I was going to check them out and compare to DCL, but I’ll definitely check out Carnival and Princess as well. I’ve heard you should absolutely splurge on the balcony for an Alaskan cruise for photo ops and whale spotting. Did you see any whales on your cruise?

        1. We saw some whales one evening but that was about it. It wasn’t anything amazing. If you want to see them up close and have an almost guaranteed chance of seeing whales, I’d do a whale watching excursion because they know where the whales are. We went on one in Juneau when we were in Alaska in 2006. We saw orcas, seals, and we even got to see humpback whales bubble-net feeding, which was awesome to see. Some of our family members went on a whale watching excursion this year and they saw a lot of whales.

  7. Can you please do a post about what you packed for the cruise?

  8. Here thanks to Pinterest, I discover your life and Like it.
    I live in Calgary, Canada, near the Rocky Moutains. Most of the lakes have the same colour.
    I goes back to my reading

  9. I have plans of visiting Alaska. Anchorage and beyond up to the Denali National Park. It is on my to-do list.

  10. The photos are so enticing. I have forever wanted to go to Alaska on a cruise. Maybe someday. Perhaps on my honeymoon 🙂

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