Cruising Tracy Arm Fjord

Cruising Tracy Arm

Holland America Line’s ms Oosterdam sailed from Seattle into Tracy Arm for an afternoon of scenic cruising. Tracy Arm, a narrow, twisting, 30-mile-long fjord that ends at the twin Sawyer glaciers marks our first milestone along the 7-night Alaska Explorer itinerary.

Named  after Civil War General Benjamin Franklin Tracy, Tracy Arm is a gorgeous  fjord that covers 653,179 acres. Located less than 100 miles south of Juneau, scenic cruising in Tracy Arm is a popular cruise destination.

Tracy Arm

ms Oosteram kept a north-westerly course from Seattle toward Stephens Passage, where she took  a hard right turn into Tracy Arm, a narrow, twisting, 30-mile-long fjord that ends at the twin Sawyer glaciers (A on the Google map above).


South Sawyer Glacier as seen from the bow of Holland America Line's Oosterdam. Photo by Carrie Finley-Bajak.

It does seem like we have been on the ship longer than 48 hours, but the fact is that we just have spent the last two days on the water without seeing a lot of land. However, after the fog lifted this afternoon, the captain and navigation team were able to take Oosterdam into the tight-winding Tracy Arm fjord.

The scenery is the star attraction

Where the mountains meet the sky

The trees give way to  bare rock with verticals soaring up to 7,000-feet. Sheer rock faces, waterfalls, and the changes in the color of water keep cruise visitors glued to the landscape.

Scenic cruising heading through Tracy Arm.


It was nice to see that the majority of cruisers who found themselves stricken with sea sickness get their bearings today. Holland America Line was very obliging and had the ship ready to help their passengers get the most out of the day. Our Travel Guide Christina narrated from the bridge about the environs while members of the culinary team were standing by to serve spiced wine and cheese from the observation deck on the bow.

All hands on deck. Deck 4 bow opened for scenic cruising.
Floating ice.


Cruise Buzz in the frame: Photo of and by Carrie Filney-Bajak


Glacier Blue

Tucked away at the end of this remarkable waterway are two very active reminders of the Ice Age – the twin Sawyer Glaciers. Although it could happen, we did not get close enough to the glacier to whitness calving icebergs, but we were treated to magnificent weather and a kaleidoscope of sea water that changed color from blue to jade-greaan.


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