Exploring Alaska's Coastal Wilderness
Take in the Alaskan scenery and wildlife as you sail amid fjords, glaciers, and islands.
- Insights from the West of Ireland
- Fabulous shots from Smithsonian Journeys Expert Kirt Kempter
- Visiting Mount Fuji, by way of rural Japan
- Saturday in Pamplona
For our MAY departure, receive complimentary round-trip airfare between Seattle and Alaska when you book by December 31, 2014.
Family Discount! $500 discount extended to all guests under the age of 18.
Our Forest Service Special Use Permit for Tongass National Forest enables you to hike and kayak in wild and remote areas of Southeast Alaska.
Day 1 — Juneau, Alaska, Embark Ship
To begin your Alaska Cruise, we will take an early afternoon flight from Seattle to Juneau. Meet your naturalists and visit Mendenhall Glacier, set in the dramatic Mendenhall Valley, located just 12 miles from downtown Juneau. Embark the ship and take the time to settle into your cabin before dinner. After dinner onboard, take a few hours to yourself and explore the port of Juneau. (D)
Day 2 — Tracy Arm Fjord - Fords Terror Wilderness
Voyage into Tracy or Endicott Arm, both spectacular glacially carved fjords. We’ll also pass the Sawyer Glacier, which has been described as bluer than any blue on earth, or the towering Dawes Glacier. If conditions permit, we'll use our expedition landing craft to provide unparalleled up close views of the glacier. Keep an eye out for harbor seals, porpoises and arctic terns. (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Petersburg
Search for humpback whales as we head towards the small, true Alaskan town of Petersburg on Mitkof Island. Explore a unique Southeast Alaskan ecosystem, the "muskeg," with stunted trees and carnivorous plants. There is an opportunity for optional flightseeing or bike riding. Enjoy a Dungeness crab feast this evening. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Frederick Sound and Chatham Strait
These waters are prime areas for both killer whales and humpback whales. It's not uncommon to observe their fascinating behavior — breaching, tail-slapping and variations on feeding — as we fill the deck and listen to the play-by-play from our expert naturalists. We'll explore spectacular bays and inlets, following bear trails and salmon streams. Once ashore, we’ll have the opportunity to walk along a quiet forest trail. The still waters are excellent for kayaking, offering another option for up close exploration. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Icy Strait and The Inian Islands
Hike and kayak among the Inian Islands, where an abundance of Steller sea lions and sea otters reside. We’ll search for whales in the rich waters of Icy Strait and, conditions permitting, lower the ship’s hydrophone to listen in on the whales’ communication. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Glacier Bay National Park
We spend the entire day amidst the coves, fjords, tidewater glaciers and majestic mountains of Glacier Bay National Park. You’ll see glaciers that end abruptly at the water’s edge and observe them “calving” — tons of ice crashing into the sea — accompanied by an exhilaratingly thunderous sound. Mountain goats scaling the peaks as well as harbor seals, Steller sea lions and puffins are some of the creatures we may observe. A visit to Tidal Inlet may bring the sight of brown bears lumbering up the hillside. A native Tlingit interpreter joins us onboard to share the legend of the area. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Southeast Alaska’s Islands, Bays and Fjords
Today, nature is our guide as we set forth with the flexibility to take advantage of wildlife and weather conditions. We may stop at an isolated beach to take a closer look at tide pools, beachcomb, and hike stunning forest trails. Keep an eye out for old bear tracks worn into the soil as you move from forest to meadow. Sightings of bald eagles are very common. If conditions permit, we'll do some kayaking, always watching for marine and terrestrial life. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Sitka, Disembark Ship, Seattle
After breakfast we disembark in Sitka, southeastern Alaska’s only oceanfront town. Sitka has a strong Russian heritage, which is readily apparent as you visit the onion-domed St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church. Gaze up at the grand totem poles that line the wooded trails through Sitka National Historic Park. At the Raptor Rehabilitation Center, we have close views of species normally seen at a distance in the wild — bald eagles, hawks, falcons and owls. After our visit, our Alaska Cruise ends where we’ll drive to the airport for our afternoon flight to Seattle. (B)