Alaska will draw some 10 cruise lines this summer. But they will be allowed 18 fewer visits than last year to what has been one of their major destinations: Glacier Bay. The purpose for the cutback in visitation rights, according to John Chapman, superintendent of Glacier Bay National Park, is protection of the humpback whales that live in the area and the fact that the glaciers in the 5, 000 square miles reserve are showing some stress.
The edict is causing the companies involved to scramble about to find alternate sites to set before their passengers.
Sitmar's Fairsea will go to Glacier Bay on six of its Alaska voyages this summer. Westours, which leases ships from Holland-America and Cunard for the Alaska summer, offers cruises ranging from seven to 11 days; the cruises all touch Glacier Bay, and the company offers a wide variety of sea and land legs, which include Fairbanks, Anchorage, Mt. McKinley. Princess Cruise Lines' Sun Princess and Island Princess will go to Glacier Bay and/or Misty Fjords. And the Princess Patricia (Canadian Pacific) will substitute Skagway for Glacier Bay.
Other lines coming to the area are Royal Viking, Paquet, World Explorer, Norwegian America, and the Black Sea Shipping Company. All are dropping Glacier Bay -- or substituting for it -- on at least one of their trips.
Fares are dependent on the number of days on the water and the placement of your stateroom aboard ship and whether you are traveling in high or shoulder season. Therefore, seven days on the Russian ship Odessa can cost you as little as $595 per person, double occupancy. Eight days on the Island Princess, $1,432 . The Fairseas's 14-day cruis es run from $1895 to $3575.