After a bit of research, we booked our Kenai fjords cruise through Major Marine Tours (you can see their building on some of the Seward episodes of “Buying Alaska”). They offered a discounted package with round-trip train fare and the five-hour wildlife tour. Most of the tours offer a buffet lunch, and we didn’t pre-buy because of the $20 a person cost. We arrived in Seward less than an hour before our tour was due to depart. We took a bus shuttle to the office, checked in, and then hustled down to the Kenai Fjords National Park Visitor’s Center to get our passport stamps. In retrospect, we thought we would have more time in Seward and would be able to eat lunch. So either buy the buffet (which we wound up buying on board) or pre-pack a lunch. A bunch of families brown-bagged their food.
Seating on board is assigned, and you might share your table depending on your group size. We shared with an older couple from Boulder (small world), and they were quite friendly. I was concerned about the whole cruise thing because I get really seasick. This particular route was recommended as being “seasick friendly” because the water is fairly calm. We spent pretty much the whole cruise out on deck. We had a few moments, mainly when the ship slowed or stopped, when the current rocked the boat, and I started feeling queasy. I grabbed a ginger ale at the snack bar and felt better afterwards. The weather out on the water is much cooler than in town. We had on jackets, our fleeces, hats, and gloves.
The cruise leaves Seward, heads out into Prince William Sound, and then loops back to the town. We chose the five hour tour. Another heads up, if you take the train, take the shortest tour possible. You will have to pick up your return turn trip tickets, and we cut it really, really, really close. We saw puffins, bald eagles, otters, mountain goats, sea lions, and even a humpback whale. I’ll let the photos do the talking.