DAY 1: Juneau, Alaska/Embark Ship
Our Forest Service Special Use Permit for Tongass National Forest enables you to hike and kayak in wild and remote areas of Southeast Alaska.
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 unparalelled up close views of the glacier. Keep an eye out for harbor seals and porpoises, Arctic terns and Bonaparte gulls. (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 Straits 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 Straits 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 exasperatingly 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. This area is home to the highest density of nesting bald eagles in the world, so sightings 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)
Please note: All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.
Denali National Park
PRE- OR POST-TRIP / 6 DAYS / FROM $5,590
Discover the wildness that lives at the heart of Alaska; add an inland exploration of Denali National Park to your coastal expedition. With the idyllic North Face Lodge as your base camp, you’ll enjoy special access.