Active travelers cruising through Alaska should put this cruise excursion on their “must do” list. When cruise ships dock in Skagway, many passengers board the White Pass Railway for a train ride to the top of White Pass. While the scenic journey is beautiful, a speedcat ride to Glacier Point combines a fast boat ride with a canoeing adventure that takes baby boomers close to “wild” Alaska at the face of Davidson Glacier.
Alan and I tried this adventure provided by Chilkat Guides Ltd, when Regent Seven Seas Mariner stopped in Skagway during a mid-September Alaskan cruise. The 7-hour journey began on a high-speed jet catamaran for an approximately 1-hour ride to Glacier Point. Traveling through Alaska’s deepest fjord, we watched for whales, porpoises and glaciers of all types as one of Chilkat’s knowledgeable guides provided commentary.
At Glacier Point, the group boarded a school bus to be transported to the staging area, where boats and waterproof clothing are provided for guests. Along the way, we observed old versus new growth of the temperate rainforest as the glacier continues to retreat.
After gearing up, we hiked a quarter of a mile through the rainforest to the river’s edge, where 30 ft. motorized canoes waited to transport us to Davidson Glacier. Once in the canoe, our group paddled the river for a while before Jennifer, our guide, started the canoe’s motor. The process of rowing kept us warm as chilly winds began to whip the cold, glacier-fed waters. Turning the motor back on, Jennifer passed back and forth in front of the face of the glacier, providing equal views to all of the photographers onboard, as well as educating the group about glacial activity.
On the catamaran ride back to Skagway, we enjoyed a box lunch plus bottled water. Guides continued to share their knowledge about the area. This is one of the best cruise excursions that Alan and I have ever taken. The exhilarating experience provided a brief glimpse of “wild” Alaska. And, no helicopter or plane tours marred the sounds of water rushing from Davidson Glacier or the wind’s whistle as it blew across the ice.
Taking an Alaska cruise and having a hard time choosing between all of your excursion options? Check out our favorite Alaska Cruise Excursions!