at home in Valdez and Prince William Sound since 1971
Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises has called Valdez and Prince William Sound home for more than 50 years. In 1971, known then as North Star Marine Charters, Stan and Mary Helen Stephens began operating fishing and hunting charters on their first vessel, the 26-foot M/V Mary Helen. Seven years later, in 1978, Stan, Mary Helen and their three daughters operated their first tour to Columbia Glacier on board the M/V Vince Peede. That year, the company changed its name to Stan Stephens Charters Inc., and then to Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises in 2003.
For more than 50 years, the Stephens family and valued crew have been dedicated to raising awareness of Valdez and Prince William Sound among travelers. Throughout the years, the company has operated a variety of tour boats between the three primary communities of Prince William Sound: Valdez, Whittier and Cordova. Additionally, Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises operated Growler Island Wilderness camp for 15 years in a secluded area just south of Columbia Glacier.
On Good Friday in 1989, life for the residents of Prince William Sound changed forever when the Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef. During those critical first days, Stan played a pivotal role by transporting some of the first oil response observers to the spill site on his vessels. Recognizing the urgent need for enhanced oil spill research, the Stephens family purchased two additional boats to support researchers in completing their mission. As Stan monitored the oil spill response efforts, he unequivocally decided to dedicate the remainder of his life to collaborating with the industry to protect Prince William Sound. Today, the crew at Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises remains dedicated to upholding Stan’s legacy, sharing and preserving this unique corner of Alaska that he tirelessly worked to protect.
While the boats and tours offered by Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises have evolved since our inception, one thing remains the same: Our steadfast commitment to our customers and our long-term dedication to Valdez and Prince William Sound.