A highlight of any Alaskan cruise through the Inside Passage is bound to be Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With calving glaciers, massive rivers of ice, and crystal blue water, it's one of the most awe-inspiring natural sites in the United States.
About half a million people visit Glacier Bay each year, and cruising is the most popular, easiest, and most accessible way to get to this remote spot of wilderness. A few hundred intrepid travelers also visit each year by kayak, which is a cool sight to see from a ship. On large ships, passengers do not disembark; instead, rangers from the National Park Service board each ship and guide guests through an hours-long scenic tour of the park.
During the summer months — cruise season typically runs from May to September — two large cruise ships can enter the bay each day and travel the 65 miles from the entrance of the national park to the top. At the top, you can see the Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers — the glaciers that carved Glacier Bay and two of 1,045 glaciers that cover 2,055 square miles of the park.