Large Tour Boats
Several companies with offices in Anchorage offer day-trip tours to the Sound's western glaciers. Besides having spectacular scenery, the water is calm, making seasickness unlikely -- for the queasy, this is a better choice than Kenai Fjords National Park. Each operator times departures to coordinate with the daily Alaska Railroad train from Anchorage, described above, which means they have up to 6 hours for the trip, depending on the speed of the boats, the pacing of the tours, and the route. Between the train and boat fare, expect to spend around $250 per person for this day's outing, leaving Anchorage at 10am and returning at 9:30pm. You can save $30 a person and up to 3 hours by taking a bus the tour boat arranges instead of the train. If you have two or more people, you can save by renting a car and driving. You will be able to buy meals onboard or one will be provided.
Instead of getting on a giant tour boat with a crowd of people, you can go on a small boat with a local whom you'll get to know as they show off favorite places and land on beaches to picnic and walk. If you see a whale or other point of interest, you stay as long or as short a time as you like. You give up the comfort of a large vessel, you pay more, and most small boats have a four-person minimum.
The Sound By Yacht
The Discovery is a classic old wooden vessel, and accommodations are nautical and yachtlike, not as fancy even as a small cruise ship. But it's comfortable, groups are only about a dozen per trip, and the owner and skipper knows the Sound well, taking passengers to its most intimate and beautiful spots -- places such as that cove that hardly anyone knows about. It's like a first-class wilderness lodge afloat. A 7-day itinerary, including 5 nights aboard and 2 nights at a B&B in Anchorage, starts at $3,900 per person, double occupancy. Contact Discovery Voyages (tel. 800/324-7602; www.discoveryvoyages.com).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.