Building on its sold-out 2011 inaugural season in Alaska, InnerSea Discoveries diversifies its cruising range in Alaska for 2012 with the addition of the 76-guest Wilderness Explorer sailing a new Northern Passages and Glacier Bay itinerary between Juneau and Sitka, Alaska. The ship joins the 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer and 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer together sailing 10 itineraries in Alaska ranging from seven- to 21-nights.
Guided by nature and wildlife, InnerSea Discoveries’ expedition un-cruise itineraries are flexible to maximize wildlife viewing opportunities and adventure activities. With a focus on exploring nature up-close, guests may choose from many included activities such as kayaking, hiking, skiff explorations, whale-watching and stand up paddle boarding. Expert expedition leaders and guides lead excursions, assist in matching guests to the ranked activity level that best suits them, and provide interpretation along the way.
“The success of our operations in Alaska affirms our belief that there is pent-up demand for this style of close-up, active, adventure travel at a moderate price, “said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “We had more demand than we could accommodate in Alaska last year, so we added the 76-guest Wilderness Explorer to our fleet and hope to introduce even more adventurers to expedition cruising.”
Northern Passages and Glacier Bay
A new Northern Passages and Glacier Bay itinerary aboard the renovated Wilderness Explorer sails one-way, weeklong cruises between Juneau and Sitka, Alaska and reverse from June 2 through August 18, 2012. Guests interested in maximizing their glacier viewing opportunities will enjoy three full days spent inside Glacier Bay exploring multiple tidewater glaciers including the lesser-visited scenic and remote East Arm of Glacier Bay with Muir Glacier. A park ranger stays aboard the ship and leads hiking and kayaking excursions along with shipboard guides. Other areas that may be explored include Icy Strait, Chatham Strait, Chichagof Island and Peril Strait.
For an uncommon adventure, guests may take an adventurous spin aboard one of the ship’s innovative human-powered water craft for an up-close look at Reid Glacier while pedaling along with seven friends. The ship’s captain expertly navigates waterways to encounter bears and whales throughout the cruise. Rates start at $3,095 per person, double occupancy.
The Wilderness Discoverer and Wilderness Adventurer alternate sailing weeklong Eastern Coves and Western Coves itineraries. The Western Coves un-cruise travels from Ketchikan to Juneau, Alaska and transits stunningly narrow El Capitan Passage with a chance to explore El Capitan Cave, historic Klawock, Baranof Island, Patterson Bay, The Brothers Islands, whale watching in Frederick Sound, Endicott Arm with Dawes Glacier and Ford’s Terror Wilderness.
The Western Coves itinerary features the most remote “skookum” wilderness adventure with rugged coastline, excellent opportunities for scenic kayaking expeditions and backcountry hikes through wild and woolly wilderness. Combing the more remote islands of the Inside Passage, guests sailing this itinerary explore designated wilderness areas and kayak, hike and skiff around the lesser-visited, scenic Prince of Wales Island. A half-day visit to the Native village of Klawock includes a cultural excursion to the village’s carving school and totem park.
The Eastern Coves itinerary meanders through east-oriented protected waterways between Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska and reverse. One-week adventures aboard the Wilderness Adventurer and Wilderness Discoverer deftly navigate the mainland’s coves and open up to hidden rainforest trails. Highlights include a chance to hike on top of Baird Glacier and experience scenic and remote Walker Cove inside Misty Fjord’s National Monument. Other areas on the discovery menu include Tracy Arm fjord and the twin Sawyer Glaciers, whale watching in Frederick Sound, Thomas Bay, Wrangell and Yes Bay.
The Eastern Coves’ landscape offers exceptional hiking opportunities at various activity levels. During two days in Thomas Bay, guests may enjoy a forest trek along the Cascade Creek Trail, the boot-sucking Baird Glacier trek and the five-mile hike in to Patterson Lake for spectacular kayaking. A half-day visit in Wrangell includes a visit to Kiksetti Totem Park. Rates for Western and Eastern Coves cruises start at $1,695 per person, double occupancy.
Wilderness Passages of Discovery
In 2012, five Wilderness Passages of Discovery voyages cover 900 nautical miles between Seattle and Juneau (or reverse) along the dramatic coastlines of Washington, British Columbia and Alaska’s Inside Passage. These two week value season departures get extraordinarily close to areas such as the San Juan Islands with a visit to Friday Harbor, coastline of British Columbia, Misty Fjords National Monument plus destinations in either the Western Coves (northbound) or Eastern Coves (southbound).
In spring 2012, the Wilderness Adventurer departs Seattle April 28 and the Wilderness Explorer on May 19. Departing Juneau for Seattle, the Wilderness Explorer leaves August 25, Wilderness Discoverer on September 8 and Wilderness Adventurer on September 15. Rates start at $3,295 per person, double occupancy.
Shipboard amenities include complimentary on-deck yoga classes, a large resource library, well-stocked DVD library and board games. A professional masseuse is part of the crew and massages are available for a fee. An underwater camera mounted on the ships’ bow will stream video from the underwater world to flatscreen televisions in all guest rooms and the lounge. Healthy and hearty meals feature fresh ingredients including locally caught Alaskan seafood. A 3-1 guest to crew ratio ensures attentive service. Cruise rates include transfers and all activities except optional excursions. Port charges of US$167 per person per week, massages, spirits and gratuities are extra.
I’m the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels, collecting recipes along the way. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breath…stop for a local meal and a glass of wine along the way.