Alaska Cruise ? Northern Passages & Glacier Bay

Trip Length 8 Days
Group Size up to 76
Difficulty
Starting from $3,795

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Kayak in wildlife-rich waters, hike into moss-covered forests and visit Glacier Bay National Park on this eight-day cruise.

Alaska is known for its diverse wildlife, dramatic mountains, lush forests and massive glaciers. What better way to see all this then by small ship cruising? It?s a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts, and when we?re anchored in a quiet cove we explore by kayak, paddleboard, skiff and foot. This trip is offered in partnership with UnCruise Adventures, bringing unmatched, hands-on small group explorations that are absolutely unforgettable.

Our Northern Passages cruise explores highlights of the Inside Passage and spends one day in Glacier Bay National Park. Our explorations on the water take us along dramatic fjords and stunning glaciers. We explore the hidden coves of Chichagof Island, watch whales in the Icy Strait and beachcomb the intertidal zones in the Tongass National Forest. When we?re not exploring, take some time onboard the ship to relax in the sauna or enjoy an on-deck yoga class?the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation.

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Trip Highlights

  • Explore the waterways by kayak, stand up paddle board, skiff, and foot
  • Visit Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Watch whales in Icy Strait and Lynn Canal or Chatham Strait
  • Decide each day's adventure based on ability level and interests
  • Sleep aboard a comfortable small ship with private facilities in each cabin

Activities

This trip is rated Easy Active [2]. Active beginners are welcome. However, these expeditions are focused on providing guests with a multitude of meaningful ways to experience Southeast Alaska and its surrounding waterways in many guided adventures. Each day?s activities take advantage of the current conditions and opportunities, and are planned to suit a range of skill levels and preferences. Every Alaska adventure activity is ranked with an Activity Level and Activity Description to ensure that you feel comfortable with your selection.

Kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, snorkeling, skiff excursions, wildlife viewing, yoga and cultural encounters top the agenda of possible choices.

  • Cruising
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Kayaking
  • Paddle Boarding
  • Hiking

What's Included

Onboard meals; spirits, wine, beer; non-alcoholic beverages; transfers and baggage handling between airport/vessel on embark/disembark days only; entry fees to national parks/preserves; all from-the-vessel activities and equipment.

Accommodations

Cabins with private facilities.

Your Adventure Itinerary

Note

This itinerary operates in two directions.

The itinerary below reflects a Juneau starting point and ending point in Sitka; however, many departures will operate in reverse, starting in Sitka and ending in Juneau. See our ?Dates and Prices for this trip? document to refer to specific direction for each date.

Day 1

Make time to explore Juneau before embarking on our cruise.

Welcome aboard! We meet the crew, settle in and relax with our shipmates. Within minutes we'll cruise the scenic channels of the Inside Passage. From the bow, Southeast Alaska welcomes us with Coast Mountain views. All meals included once onboard. Plan to arrive in Juneau, Alaska, before 2pm.

Day 2

Enjoy a variety of activities (Captain's choice).

Plying the remote waterways of Lynn Canal or Chatham Strait, our captain sets the course for adventure today. We wake up at anchor and kick off the morning with on-deck morning yoga stretches, then slip into a kayak or try out our skills stand up paddle boarding. While we keep watch for harbor seals who frequently play in these protected waters and pods of orcas skimming along the water?s surface, the bald eagles will likely keep an eye on our improving paddling skills from the treetops.

Day 3

Discover Glacier Bay National Park's natural wonders and wildlife.

One of America?s crown jewel national parks is ours to explore?Glacier Bay National Park. At Bartlett Cove, a park ranger joins in on our day?s exploration and shares the park?s history. Orange-beaked puffins, guillemots and marbled murrelets are just a few possible sightings today. Keep a tally?the list will grow. Arriving at South Marble Island, we can hear and smell ?em before we see ?em?it?s a haulout for sea lions. Perched above we watch for mountain goats, and lower along shore, foraging bears. Up bay, glacial silt turns the water a milky white and we find Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers?one holding steady, the other retreating. Lounging harbor seals laze on bits of bergs, and if time allows we tuck up in Tidal Inlet. We end this very full day with our feet up for the sail into Icy Strait.

Day 4

Cruise through Icy Strait.

We set course for arguably the richest whale waters in Southeast Alaska. Join the captain on the bridge or the expedition team out on deck in search of marine mammals. Camera in hand, we begin our land and sea exploration of these remote reaches. Later we head for a quiet pocket along the rugged coastline. A different sort of wild than the open strait now awaits us; muskeg leads to forest bushwhack hikes or ride the skiffs along the shore and down along kelp-threaded channels.

Day 5

Meander along the spectacular waterfall coast of Chichagof Island.

Today we cruise through glacier-carved fjords along the Chichagof coast. At a perfect spot we stop for adventure. It?s a prime time to lower the kayaks and skiffs and with camera in hand, set off on land and sea explorations. Closer inspection by skiff finds moss-dripping trees that run right down to the water. Keeping our eyes open we look for bears. Because Chichagof Island has one of the world?s largest populations of bears, sightings are certainly possible. We search for giant trees and tidal pools and, hiking in the Tongass, it doesn?t take long to find them. Our eagle-eyed guides lead the pack?and pull up the rear as we look around in awe at the beauty around us. Later, our ship wends along the twisting channel of the Peril Strait, known for dramatic currents, which runs 50 miles to Salisbury Sound.

Day 6

The shorelines are close in Sergius Narrows and Neva Strait.

There?s an eerie, enigmatic feeling in these woods as the morning fog catches like cotton balls on trees. The aptly named ?narrows? squeezes to only 300 feet wide in one spot and a shallow 24 feet deep. The shorelines are close and it?s good territory for us to play. Taking the skiff ashore, we might chose to hike into the backcountry or kayak in search of otters floating on their backs while working to crack snacks resting on their bellies. Opening at Hoonah Sound, the squeeze is back on as we wind into Neva Strait. Tonight we watch the scenery change in the late fading light?from the hot tub of course.

Day 7

Kayak, paddle board or beach comb in Krestof and Nakwasina Sounds.

There aren?t many straight lines along Baranof Island with its western side spattered with remote, uninhabited islands. These features mean endless opportunities for adventure. The ship drops anchor and we find ourselves in secluded coves and tree-covered islets. Picking our modus operandi, we get going in kayak, paddle board, or skiff being on the level with curious sea lions and possibly whales. The rocky intertidal zones make good beach combing; just turn a stone or two to see what?s underneath. There are no groomed trails here but our guides will take us on a hike John Muir would approve of. This evening we toast our voyage with a festive Farewell Dinner and a ?photo journal? of our trip. It?s a gift for us from the expedition team.

Day 8

Disembark in Sitka, "Paris of the Pacific".

We gather for our last breakfast together this morning as we cruise into Russian-influenced Sitka for disembarkation. Transfer to the airport today or begin an overnight stay or land tour. Flights out of Sitka must be scheduled after 11:30am.

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary?this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

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Travel documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Valid Passport (If not US Citizen)

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.