Alaska & Pacific Coast
Remote wilderness exploration and Glacier Bay National Park highlight this active Alaskan cruise adventure. Spend your days hiking into wildlife-rich forests, standing atop a glacier, kayaking and riding a skiff along a dramatic fjord, and whale watching. While cruising aboard the newly renovated 76-guest Wilderness Explorer vessel, you'll find a more flexible, personal and customized level of service than on a standard full-scale cruise ship, while still maintaining all of the comfort and professionalism that modern voyagers have come to expect. Enjoy hearty and healthy five-star cuisine on board, fueling you before and after each day's activities. The dramatic landscapes and unspoiled nature that this journey will expose you to will surely captivate your interest and imagination.
3 days of exploration in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve with a Park Ranger, wildlife and whale watching, glacier calving, inflatable skiff excursions, paddle boarding, snorkeling and beachcombing, naturalist-led presentations and discussions.
Cruise Departure Dates (2014):
Sitka-Juneau: May 24, Jun 7,21, Jul 5,19, Aug 2,16,30
Juneau-Sitka: May 17,31, Jun 14,28, Jul 12,26, Aug 9,23
Meet your driver for a private airport transfer.
The Westmark Sitka Hotel (3*) located near the harbor in the heart of downtown, offers comfortable lodging and fine dining in an environment designed to reflect these local cultural influences. The hotel offers simple but comfortable accommodations, decorated in local Native art. The Raven Dining Room and Kadataan Lounge are considered by residents to be the best in town. For those who want to work out the hotel provide a fitness center.
Enjoy a first-class experience! A knowledgeable, local native will be your personal guide as you explore Baranof Island in a private vehicle. You will pass by many of Sitka’s historic sites including Mt. Edgecumbe Volcano, the Alaska Pioneer’s Home and St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Visit the Sitka National Historical Park, where you have the option of following your guide along a scenic pathway where Totem poles impart the rich culture of the Tlingít. Step into the lush rainforest and see historic Indian River, one of Sitka’s many salmon spawning streams. Your guide will discuss totem significance, edible and medicinal plants of the rainforest, traditional uses of salmon and rainforest ecology. The walk leads into the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center. Inside, you can visit with Tlingít Native artisans practicing traditional arts such as carving, beading and weaving. The adjacent gift shop gives you the opportunity to purchase various souvenirs and books on the park’s totems and Tlingít history. Reserved seating at the Naa Kahídi Native Dance Performance will ensure superior viewing and photo opportunities. Inside a traditional style Tlingít Clan House, the performance begins with the telling of an ancient story while a burning cedar fire tantalizes your senses. Dancers enter adorned in beautiful regalia to entertain you with songs passed down through the generations. The resonating box drum and unique series of songs will captivate you and impart a lasting impression of the Tlingít people. You will have the opportunity to photograph and visit with dancers immediately following the performance, as well as visit the Made in Sitka artist co-op and gift shop. The final destination is the Alaska Raptor Center a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public and providing medical treatment for birds of prey. Trained facility staff will introduce you to a variety of natural exhibits, with more than 20 living “Raptors-in-Residence” that include bald and golden eagles, hawks, falcons and owls. During your visit, you will have the unparalleled opportunity to closely observe these majestic creatures. Inside the Alaska Raptor Center is a unique gift shop that caters to things aviary – including eagle t-shirts, jackets, carvings, bird books, toys and more. Adult participants of the Best of Sitka excursion receive Alaskan hors d’oeuvres, bottled water, and a souvenir of Devil’s Club ointment, a locally prepared medicinal salve. Child participants will receive a locally made Theobroma chocolate bar in lieu of the Devil’s Club ointment.
Welcome aboard! In the late afternoon, meet the crew, settle in, and relax with your shipmates today. Within minutes you'll cross some very scenic channels, heading toward the Peril Strait.
The Wilderness Explorer is a small expedition vessel capable of nimble exploration through nature's most dramatic hideaways. In total, the 166-foot ship accommodates up to 76 guests in 38 cabins. The shallow draft and hull design allows easy access to Southeast Alaska's wildlife-rich shores and glacially-fed inlets, and also serve as an ideal launching pad for an exciting array of daily adventure excursions. Newly renovated, the interior spaces offer contemporary colours, while both public and private spaces are loaded with amenities.
Running 50 miles from Chatham Strait to Salisbury Sound, the Peril Strait, a haven for small ships, is scenically highlighted by a very narrow connecting passageway called Sergius Narros and an opening at Hoonah Sound. This wildlife-rich waterway is a great place to explore the shoreline for bear, the waters for otters and whales, and to watch for eagles. The passage narrows to only 300 feet in one spot.
Meander along the waterfall coast of Chichagof Island. In the spirit of expedition un-cruising, marvel at the grand scenery as the crew expertly guides you through the hidden treasures of the region. In the evening you could be anchored in Red Bluff Bay, or perhaps you've discovered a new remote shelter providing another grand opportunity to lower the kayaks and skiffs.
Set your course for arguably the richest whale waters in Southeast Alaska. Join the Captain on the bridge or the expedition leaders/naturalists out on deck in search of marine mammals, primarily in the Icy Strait / Pt. Adolphus area. Ride the skiffs for a closer inspection of the remote coastline with eyes set on the shoreline for possible bear and other wildlife sightings.
Early morning, you'll enter Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. Here you'll pick up the National Park ranger who will be with you to explore coves and corners of the bay that most visitors miss. Here in the bay there are sea lions, mountain goats, bears, moose, eagles, and spectacular scenic backdrops. One of America's crown jewel national parks will be yours to explore and marvel at for the next three days. Enjoy two consecutive evenings in virtual isolation inside Glacier Bay at anchor in a hidden cove, as larger vessels have exited the bay.
Linger near South Marble Island and spot the many species of birds that call this area home, keeping your eyes on the water and the island for brightly-coloured puffins. After searching for more wildlife, stop at the Park Service's Heardquarters at Bartlett Cove for a hike through the rainforest or possibly a native cultural presentation.
Tidewater glaciers sweep like rivers of ice down massive mountain valleys, terminating before you in the waters of Glacier Bay. Conditions permitting, you'll also have a rare opportunity to hike or kayak or tour via shore boat.After an adventurous day, toast your voyage with a festive farewell dinner and a photo journal of your trip, presented by your expedition leaders.
This morning you will cruise into Juneau for disembarkation. Enjoy a transfer once you're back on land.
With your private driver-guide, explore Juneau on a half-day city tour of the capital of Alaska. Make your way toward Mendelhall Glacier Recreation Area to see Juneau's most famous glacier- a 1.5 mile wide gargantuan calving into its own lake. Stop at Chapel by the Lake, a 60 year-old log cabin church with an amazing view of Auke Lake and Mendelhall Glacier through its picture window. Another point of interest is the Saint Nicholas Russion Orthodox Church, Alaska's oldest church still in operation, with its construction in 1893. The downtown core of Alaska provides plenty of shopping options, or for the more historically-inclined, a stop at the Alaska State Museum covers the breadth of Alaska's state history, native cultures, art, industry, and wildlife. Admissions not included.
Built in 1906, Alaska's Capital Inn Bed and Breakfast (3*) sits high on the hillside overlooking Juneau. This restored gold rush era home offers the finest in overnight accommodations and a real bed & breakfast experience during your stay. The Inn is conveniently located in a historic residential neighborhood overlooking the downtown area.
Meet your driver for an airport transfer with private vehicle.
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