No, it isn’t a land tour, but a new small ship cruise line with a lot of Alaskan adventure to offer off the beaten path. With two expedition ships set for inaugural deployment in the wilderness of Southeast Alaska this May, InnerSea Discoveries is reporting outstanding interest for its adventure-oriented explorations. With small-group hiking and kayaking taking precedence over port time, the line offers week long and two-week Un-Cruise adventures from May through September.
InnerSea Discoveries’ Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Tim Jacox said the number of reservations for the two-week Ultimate Adventure has exceeded expectations by fourfold. “The great success of the Ultimate Adventure proves there is a real demand for this type of active adventure in Southeast Alaska,” said Jacox. “People are choosing to spend two weeks exploring the remote wilderness—places they’ve never heard of—and that’s the beauty of it. It’s unrushed, uncrowded, and truly unbelievable.”
The two extensively refurbished small group expedition ships, Wilderness Adventurer and Wilderness Discoverer, sail between Juneau and Ketchikan (and reverse) from May through September on a Western Coves and Eastern Coves itinerary. When combined, it becomes the two-week Ultimate Adventure.
Inner Reaches Western Coves
The remoteness of the Western Coves itinerary highlights the Un-Cruise promise of true adventure in the expansive wilderness, far from other tourists. Between Ketchikan and Juneau, the only port visited is the Tlingit village of Klawock where guests will meet with locals, hear stories about their culture, visit an active carving shed and totem poles and explore the area.
Guests will visit five wilderness areas and explore these destinations: El Capitan Passage and Devilfish Bay in Tongass National Forest, Little Port Walter and Mist Cove, Patterson Bay and Deep Cove, The Brothers islands and Frederick Sound, Endicott Arm and Ford’s Terror Wilderness. Highlights include a full-day of whale watching in wildlife-rich Frederick Sound; up close view of Dawes Glacier, an actively calving tidewater glacier; hiking in truly remote areas where few have been and an exploration of El Capitan Cave, the largest known cave in North America.
Inner Reaches Eastern Coves
The Eastern Coves itinerary spends more time exploring the wilds of the mainland including two wilderness areas and the well-known and loved destinations of LeConte Bay and Misty Fjords National Monument. Between Juneau and Ketchikan, the only port call is Wrangell where guests land by skiff at Chief Shakes Tribal House for native Tlingit storytelling, visit Kiksetti Totem Park and the museum or take an optional tour such as a river boat ride up the nearby Stikine River or go mountain biking. Destinations to explore include Windham Bay, Chuck River Wilderness, Frederick Sound, Thomas Bay, Baird Glacier, Cascade Creek, LeConte Bay, Stikine River, Ideal Cove, Yes Bay and Misty Fjords National Monument. Highlights include hiking on Baird Glacier, whale watching in Frederick Sound, floating among the “bergy bits” of the LeConte Glacier, kayaking through Walker Cove in Misty Fjords and enjoying wildlife rich Yes Bay by foot or kayak.
The Freedom of an Un-Cruise
With an emphasis on exhilarating explorations in Alaska’s wilderness, the “Un-Cruise” expedition ships each carry 28 kayaks, 10 stand-up paddle boards and a limited number of wetsuits, rain gear, trekking poles, Osprey daypacks, and snorkeling equipment. Hiking and kayaking trips take center stage with groups of 12 or fewer guests out for short tours or up to eight-hour expeditions; independent touring is always an option. Guests may actively participate as citizen scientists along with crew and collect samples and data to submit to the forest service and other organizations. One night each week, guests may embark on an optional overnight kayak trip with full camping gear and guide provided.
Unraveling the tradition of rigid cruise ship schedules is a key element of the Un-Cruise. Flexible itineraries and few set port times allow the ships to seek out wildlife and maximize viewing time for guests. Expert naturalists lead hiking and kayaking tours, give thought provoking and informative presentations and are available throughout the trip as a resource for guests.
Less active-minded guests will enjoy viewing scenery and wildlife from the ship along with creature comforts such as hot tubs and sauna, exercise equipment, yoga on deck, and 24-hour espresso/coffee/tea service. A 3-1 guest to crew ratio ensures attentive service. Cabins are outfitted with comfortable memory-foam mattresses, flat screen TVs with DVDs, and iPod docks. An underwater bow camera streams into cabins and captures the world beneath including playful dolphins surfing the bow wake. The main salon echoes the feeling of a 1940’s National Park Service Lodge and a neighborhood pub—casual and inviting. Healthy and hearty meals feature fresh ingredients including locally caught Alaskan seafood.
Fares for the 7-night cruises include transfers and all activities except optional excursions. Port charges, massages, spirits, and gratuities are extra. Select dates are designated as Family Discoveries with a focus on activities tailored for all ages. Kids 12 years and younger receive a 25% savings on all departures and 30% on Family Discoveries voyages. The InnerSeas Discoveries web site is well worth a visit and if you decide to book the ‘un-cruise’ or to request additional information, contact your travel agent or InnerSea Discoveries at 877-901-1009 or firstname.lastname@example.org.