Summary : Explore from Ketchikan to Sitka through isolated waterways and secret passages where bigger cruise ships can’t travel. You’ll have the opportunity to see wildlife and wilderness up close as you are surrounded by the majestic beauty of the remote Tongass National Forest. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and remote wilderness exploration are highlights of this adventure. Spend days cruising among massive icebergs, hiking into wildlife-rich forests; standing atop a glacier; kayaking, paddle boarding and riding a skiff along a dramatic fjord; learning about the Tlingit culture; and whale watching. In between exploring Alaska’s wilderness, enjoy life onboard by relaxing in the hot tub or sauna, socializing with friends in the lounge, or taking part in a yoga class.
Note: This expedition combines the Western Coves with Northern Passages and Glacier Bay. Days 1 - 7 are aboard the Wilderness Discoverer and days 8 - 15 are aboard the Wilderness Explorer.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling
$999,999,999 to $0
Welcome aboard! Meet your crew, get settled in, and keep watch for eagles on the cruise through the Tongass Narrows out of Ketchikan.
Wake in El Capitan Passage surrounded by breathtaking Tongass National Forest—the largest national forest in the US. Take a “wild” Alaska hike winding through high forest on an old logging trail. Trek up to El Capitan Cave, where 400,000-year-old bones have been found. And cap off your day noshing on locally harvested oysters as a resident family tells of life in the Alaskan outback.
Discover living history in Klawock—one of the most authentic Tlingit villages in Alaska. Learn the importance of carving, gaze up at totem poles coloring the town, and hear their stories. Visit the carvers' shed where the art of carving and restoring totems is passed on. Explore the area on foot keeping an eye out for bears, eagles, sea birds, and whales.
It’s Captain’s Choice today as you explore the intricate passages and shores along Chatham Strait’s Kuiu or Baranof Islands. Join your expedition team on (or in!) the water. Conditions permitting, take to the water by kayak, skiff, or snorkel. Snorkeling is optional, but hidden beneath the surface lies a magical array of sea life only seen with a snorkel swim. Take a deep breath and go for it! Today’s discoveries will be within some of the most un-touched wilderness of the Tongass National Forest.
Lush forest, spectacular views, play time, and wildlife – they are all in abundance in Frederick Sound. Keep watch along the coastline for birds, wolves, and black bears. With many secluded coves to choose from, you may slip into the waters of Deep Cove, Patterson or Saginaw Bay, or perhaps another hidden gem to explore by skiff or paddle a kayak. Gear up for snorkeling or guided hikes. This evening, toast another day of amazing adventure with a cold microbrew or cocktail.
There’ll be plenty of wildlife viewing today. The Brothers, a pair of islands at the confluence of Stephen’s Passage and Frederick Sound, are home to some of Alaska’s most abundant wildlife. The area is the summer feeding ground for the largest concentration of humpback whales in the northern hemisphere. Keep watch for frolicking orca, humpbacks, and sea lions. Tonight, anchor in quiet bay and listen for the call of the wild.
Snow covered mountains, glowing blues, and the white thunder of calving ice take your breath away at the face of Dawes Glacier. As you glide through Endicott Arm you’ll likely find a few seals taking respite on the glaciers smaller “bergy bits.” Tides permitting, explore the narrow passage of Ford’s Terror and admire the magnificent domes, hanging valleys, and pristine wilderness that surround it.
While others end their adventure and new guests join later in the day, you will spend the day off the ship. Enjoy lunch in town and explore all that historic Juneau has to offer or one of the other optional excursions available for purchase. A complimentary laundry service is provided today. Later this afternoon, keep watch for eagles as you cruise through the Tongass National Forest.
Early morning, 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. One of America’s crown jewel national parks will be yours to explore and marvel at for the next three days. Here in the bay there are sea lions, mountain goats, bears, moose, eagles, and spectacular scenic backdrops.
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-colored puffins. After searching for more wildlife, stop at the Park Service’s Headquarters at Bartlett Cove for a hike through the rainforest. Tidewater glaciers sweep like rivers of ice down massive mountain valleys, terminating before you in the waters of Glacier Bay. Enjoy two consecutive evenings in virtual isolation inside Glacier Bay at anchor in a hidden cove as larger vessels have exited the bay.
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 sightings.
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’ll anchor in a remote shelter providing another grand opportunity to lower the kayaks and skiffs. Enjoy another delectable dinner onboard and relax in the hot tub before calling it a day.
Running 50 miles from Chatham Strait to Salisbury Sound, this haven for small ships is scenically highlighted by a very narrow connecting passageway called Sergius Narrows 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 (24 feet deep.) After an adventurous, but “non-perilous” day, toast your voyage with a festive Farewell Dinner and a “photo journal” of your trip presented by your Expedition Leaders.
Gather for breakfast this morning as you cruise into Russian-influenced Sitka for disembarkation. A transfer will be provided to the airport or your hotel.
Due to the nature of the exploration, the itinerary is a guideline and may change in order to maximize wildlife and natural encounters. Variations in itinerary and the order of days may occur.
Accommodations aboard ship; all meals; intriguing lectures; sightseeing and adventure activities as listed on itinerary; use of ship's sporting equipment and facilities (excludes snorkel gear and wetsuit); on-deck yoga classes; services of the staff both on board and ashore; airport transfers.
Airfare from your home city; snorkeling gear and wetsuits ($35 rental fee); items of a personal nature, such as alcoholic beverages and massages; optional excursions; optional gratuities; travel insurance; port taxes and fees (2013: $350 per person); fuel surcharge may apply.