Disney Alaska Cruise Day 3: Tracy Arm & Sawyer Glacier

Day 3:June 13, 2012

If you look at the itinerary really fast you might miss that the day labeled Tracy Arm is not actually a port but another very scenic day at sea. This is one of the most amazing nature experiences that I have ever had.

We kick started this day with a character breakfast.  Everyone gets one of these on one of the cruise days.  They give you a ticket with your scheduled time on the first day.

Character breakfast menu

Character breakfast menu

At the breakfast four different characters (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, & Pluto) stopped by our table to say hi and took pictures with us.

Character breakfast

The waiters also entertain by folding dinner napkins into fun hats for everyone at the table. People all over the dining room were being transformed into characters like Dumbo, Rapunzel, Minnie mouse, and goofy.

April with Minnie Mouse Bow

Katie with Dumbo Ears

After the breakfast we headed back down to our rooms and bundled up in layers of clothing. A little tip: bring a scarf, hat and gloves… you will thank me later. We layered with a hoodie under a wind breaker jacket. It gets very windy if you stand at the front of the ship and very cold when you get close to the glacier. They do have free blankets to use on deck, these are located in bins on deck 9 and 10.

Bundeling up.

If you head up early on this day it is a great time for whale watching before heading down Tracy Arm. My mom and I are really into photography so we staked out a spot at the front of the ship on deck 10 to get a prime view. This is really not necessary! We ended up leaving our awesome spot when we needed to eat lunch, the trip down Tracy Arm takes around 5 hours.

First views of Sawyer Glacier.

What people don’t realize (or at least we didn’t think this through at first) is that the boat has to turn around after it reaches Sawyer glacier. This makes it so you will get an amazing view from the port side of the ship. I am not the tallest of people too, so I ran into the ship rail being too high in most places to be able to take pictures over it.

Sawyer glacier, if you look really close to the icebergs you can see hundreds of seals.

The best places my family found to take pictures of the glacier when the boat turned (less crowded and low rails) was this little nook on deck 9. You access this spot form a staircase at front aft on deck 10 (I circled it in red on the map below). You get an obstructed view of the front of the ship but have a wonderful view when the ship turns.

Another spot that we found to be empty was deck 4, this is also a great spot when the boat turns.

If you are not looking to take amazing pictures, I would recommend just wandering. It is almost surreal seeing the Wonder float down this pass with huge cliffs on both sides.

I really wish I would have used the pool during this time. They heat it up to about 90 degrees!

They have the view from the front of the ship projected on the movie screen over the Goofy pool, so you can see where the ship is headed. If I were to do it again, I would have gone and hung out in the hot tubs for a while!

The movie screen showing the video from the front the of the boat, with Katie as a model.

My dad hanging out on deck 10.

I have to say one of my sister and I’s favorite parts of this trip was watching the hundreds of seals down by the glacier. We were told they live there because whales don’t travel that far down for food (aka they don’t become fish food). Many of the seals had just given birth; we were concerned after seeing blood on a few of the icebergs, but then put it together. Katie even watched one of the seals give birth! It was the highlight of her whole trip.  A gross little fact, the birds eat the afterbirth… we saw some of that happening too.

The seal pups were so cute and could swim seconds after being born. This is a good thing because our ship was sailing right in their path

Lunch on this day they do a special grill out, outside of Beach Blanket. According to my family, they had the best grilled salmon they had ever tasted (I am not a seafood person). They also had steak and chicken to choose from along with the full buffet line open.

Grilled food from lunch.

They also have hot chocolate and cookies behind the wind breaking glass. Adding some Baily’s to the hot chocolate helps you warm up even more… its 5 o’clock somewhere, right?

The Disney Wonder added a glass window to the front of the boat to help block the wind. Katie in front with April behind the window.

They do have commentary during this trip up Tracy Arm but is only playing inside dew to Alaska noise pollution laws.  I caught parts of it during lunch and after going back down to my room to warm up.

The view of the glacier from our room porthole on deck 2.

My mom loved going down to our room and seeing the size of the icebergs. You can see this even more with this tour boat in the background.

My biggest tips for this day of the trip are:

  • Bring binoculars, this are great the whole tip! We used them all the time in our stateroom window looking for whales.
  • Relax! It is a long day; there is no need to be in the optimal spot all the time. Nature is all around the boat, not just in the front.
  • Dress warm and in layers! We found out a scarf in the gift shop will cost you $20.
  • Make sure to stop and take a few minutes to soak in all the beauty that is around you!

After a nice nap we got ready and headed up for dinner. I didn’t mention this before but every night before dinner they have both professional backdrops and characters to take family picture with. Our personal favorite is to take pictures on the white backdrop, they always turn out so cool. You don’t have to pay anything to take the pictures, just if you want to buy them.

Dinner this night was in Tritons and we were eating off the Tritons’ menu.

Tritons’ Dinner Menu

My parent’s got a complementary drink to make up for some bad service the night before.

Katie trying the Escargot

Main Course: Aged Angus Grilled Beef Tenderloin

Main Course: Slowly Braised Lamb Shank

The pretty ceiling in Tritons

Tritons’ Dinner Menu

Appetizer: Applewood Smoked Bacon and Wild Mushroom Tart

Appetizer: “Prince Eric’s” Escargot Gratinee

Soup: “Chef Louis” French Onion Soup

Main Course: Three-Cheese Lobster Macaroni

Tritons’ Dessert Menu

Dessert: Brioche and Panettone Pudding

Dessert: Grand Marnier Souffle

After dinner they had a family hypnotist show. They had the adult version the night before. Both were really funny! My cousin, April, actually got chosen to go up on stage! She fell out of the trance only after a couple of minutes in, because the show started the same as the night before so she figured out what was going on.

Ricky Kalm hypnotist show.

My mom and I ended the night by going and seeing the movie “The Help” playing in the theater. The rest of our group when to Radio Wave to see the adult showing of Side Show Bert. They all said it was not very good. This was the only show we were disappointed by the whole cruise.

I feel like I have to continue the tradition of showing you our towel animal, so here it is. We all have mixed feels to what kind of animal it is… cat mixed with bear?

Thanks for reading

3 thoughts on “Disney Alaska Cruise Day 3: Tracy Arm & Sawyer Glacier

  1. Thanks for all the info. We are heading out on this cruise next week and now I know what to look for and where to take the pictures.

  2. Hey question about the Bailey’s in your coffee–did you bring along a flask or something, or did you duck back to your room every time? I would love to be able to spike our coffee or cocoa while we’re out in the cold on Tracy Arm day, but don’t want to appear rude or lushy by being too obvious (which I agree with from your previous blog post on this).

    • We did bring a flask with us but had problems finding a good place to do refills without being obvious. We did do it a few time by using out backpack as a cover. Also the flask only holds so much and we had a large group of us drinking so we made multiple trips back to the room.

      This might sound crazy but you could try putting the Bailey’s into a water bottle with a squirt top. This might be a little less obvious than a flask.

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