Friday, August 12, 2011

American Safari Cruises Expands With Safari Endeavour

In a really big move sure to please small-ship cruise line fans, American Safari Cruises is adding an 86-guest ship to its fleet of three yachts that offer high-end, inclusive adventure cruises. The Safari Endeavour, formerly the Spirit of Endeavour (one of now defunct Cruise West’s largest and fastest, not to mention nicest ships in terms of features), will undergo major enhancements to transform it into an upscale vessel ready to sail in Southeast Alaska in summer 2012.

“This is an ideal time to expand our fleet,” said Dan Blanchard, principal and chief executive officer. “In our 14-year history, our occupancy rates have never been higher, and we are seeing an increase in demand for the type of small-group adventure travel we offer.”

Once upgraded to the standards of the American Safari fleet, the yacht-style Safari Endeavour will cruise in Southeast Alaska from May to September. Weeklong cruises roundtrip from Juneau, Alaska follow similar itineraries traditionally sailed by the line’s yachts with two days exploration in Glacier Bay National Park and expedition cruising in Icy Strait, Frederick Sound, Thomas Bay, Chichagof Island, Ford’s Terror, and Endicott Arm. Two-week cruises from Seattle to Juneau and reverse will be offered in spring and fall.

An extensive renovation project will add American Safari Cruises’ exceptional comfort and refined atmosphere on board. The guest capacity of the yacht-style ship will be reduced 16% from 102 to 86 guests with a mix of twin (some convertible) and king beds. Five accommodations categories include 3 Master, 21 Commander, 12 Captain, 3 Admiral, and 4 Commodore Suites. The suites will be created by merging two former staterooms and adding new step-out balconies. All staterooms have one or two outside view windows. Other amenities being added to the ship include two massage rooms, two hot tubs, sauna, exercise equipment, wine bar, and a library. An all-American crew of 34 will ensure attentive service with a guest-crew ratio of 2.5 to 1.

“The newly-created ambiance on board will be casual yet with a full menu of upscale amenities. The highlight remains the wilderness outside which we explore daily in a variety of ways,” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing.

American Safari Cruises’ active, adventure cruises allow the freedom to engage in many shore and water-centric activities, as well as those available on board. Kayaks and stand-up paddle boards are available for excursions. Skiff rides will explore Alaska’s shoreline, wildlife, and glaciers up close. Expert naturalists and guides lead excursions on land and sea. An enhanced program of educational presentations will be presented in the salon. In Glacier Bay, a National Park Ranger boards the ship for two days to lead hiking and kayaking excursions and provide interpretation of the area’s history, culture and geography.

Dining is a highly anticipated part of each day, featuring American Safari’s innovative cuisine with fresh seafood and produce purchased locally whenever possible. All meals will be served in Safari Endeavour’s elegant dining room, and the complimentary bar offers premium spirits, fine wines, and microbrews.

The line’s other yachts include the 12-guest Safari Spirit, 22-guest Safari Quest and 36-guest Safari Explorer. Specializing in active, adventure cruises with flexible itineraries. The inclusive cruises include all from-the-yacht activities and equipment; transfers; hand-crafted meals; fine wine, premium spirits, and microbrews; a massage; and all port charges, taxes, and fees. In addition to Southeast Alaska, the fleet’s destinations include Mexico’s Sea of Cort├ęs, Columbia and Snake Rivers, the Hawaiian Islands, and Washington and British Columbia. For additional information, contact American Safari Cruises at 888-862-8881, email, or visit the American Safari Cruises web site.

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