Update: Spirit of Glacier Bay Runs Aground in Glacier Bay
Update: Spirit of Glacier Bay was able to float yesterday at about 4 p.m., and is traveling to Bartlett Cove under its own power. All passengers and 14 crew members were transferred to a Glacier Bay National Park service vessel, and will head to Bartlett Cove and then on to Juneau. Passengers will receive a full refund of their cruise fare -- 50 percent in cash and 50 percent as a future cruise credit. Stay tuned for news on whether future itineraries will be affected.
(July 7) This morning, a few dozen Alaska cruise travelers learned that their short getaway cruise was about to get shorter. At 7:12 a.m. local time, Cruise West's Spirit of Glacier Bay ran aground in its namesake waters near the Grand Pacific Glacier. The ship was on day three of a four-day Glacier Bay Highlights Cruise.
The reason for today's grounding is still under investigation, Cruise West spokesperson Jerrol Golden tells us. The ship was traveling slowly (about 1 knot), and the hull was not compromised. There were no injuries to the 24 passengers or 27 crewmembers -- nor was there any threat to marine life or the environment. The Coast Guard has sent two helicopters, a 47-foot motor boat, a 25-foot response boat and a 110-foot Coast Guard cutter to the scene. Spirit of Glacier Bay is stable and should re-float when the tide rises at about 4 p.m. local time.
The cruise line is now working to transfer passengers back to Juneau, either on the re-floated vessel or other transport. Until the amount of damage to the ship is assessed, it's unclear whether upcoming Spirit of Glacier Bay itineraries will experience any changes or cancellations.