This sample itinerary is only a guideline; variations may occur to maximize your experience.
Welcome aboard! Meet the crew, settle in, and relax with your shipmates. Within minutes you’ll be cruising the scenic channels of the Inside Passage.
There aren’t many straight lines along Baranof Island, but along its western side lay hundreds of remote, uninhabited islands, and endless opportunities for dropping anchor and adventure. With many secluded coves and islands to choose from, discover the region’s inter-tidal zones, or from your skiff or kayak, watch for whales and sea lions. Gear up for a guided hike with your expedition team for a new perspective of the vast Tongass National Forest.
There’s an eerie, enigmatic feeling in these woods. 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 play. Skiff ashore and hike into the backcountry. Otters back float working to crack snacks resting on their bellies. Opening at Hoonah Sound, the squeeze is back on. Wind into Neva Strait. Watch the scenery change in the late fading light—from the hot tub of course.
Kick off the morn with on-deck yoga stretches (your guides love it when you join them). Wend along a twisting channel known for dramatic currents. Peril Strait runs 50 miles to Salisbury Sound. Meander through glacier-carved fjords along the Chichagof coast. Then stop. It’s a prime time to lower the kayaks and skiffs. Camera in hand, set off on land and sea explorations. Closer inspection by skiff, moss-dripping trees run right down to the water. Any bears in there? With one of the world’s largest populations of bears, it’s possible. Go searching for giant trees and tidal pools. Hiking in the Tongass, it won’t take long to find them. Your eagle-eyed guides lead the pack—and pull up the rear.
Nearly to the Pacific Ocean, Icy Strait is remote and wild. The plan? Whales and marine mammals. Spouts and fin slaps are certain giveaways. More rollicking sea lions and birds. But don’t forget to look straight down. Porpoises and dolphins may hitch a ride on the bow wave. And don’t worry about missing any wildlife; it’s a favorite mission of the crew to point out any creatures they spot. Make a break for it and head for a quiet pocket along the rugged coastline. A different sort of wild than the open strait, muskeg leads to forest bushwhacks. Skiff the shore and down along kelp-threaded channels.
What a privilege. At 3.3 million acres—this UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve is massive. At Bartlett Cove, a park ranger joins in on your day’s exploration and shares the park’s history. Orange-beaked puffins, guillemots, marbled murrelets are just a few possible sightings. Keep a tally—the list will grow. Arriving at South Marble Island, you can hear and smell ‘em before you see ‘em—it’s a haulout for sea lions. Perched above around the bend, watch for mountain goats, and lower along shore, foraging bears. Up bay, glacial silt turns the water a milky white. Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers—one holding steady, the other retreating. Lounging harbor seals laze on bits of bergs. And if time allows, tuck up in Tidal Inlet. End this very full day with your feet up for the sail into Icy Strait.
Plying the remote waterways of Lynn Canal or Chatham Strait, your captain sets the course for adventure! Wake up at anchor and kick off your morn with on-deck yoga stretches. Then slip into a kayak or step onto a paddle board and glide along rocky outcroppings with your guides. While you keep watch for playful harbor seals in these protected waters, bald eagles will likely monitor your improving paddling skills from the treetops.
You have a choice in how to spend your day off the boat. At Mendenhall Lake*, it’s hard-charging adventure. After a short drive, push off from shore and paddle among icebergs, temperate rainforest, and Nugget Falls. Make a beach landing then hike 5 miles roundtrip to the edge of Mendenhall Glacier with a natural history lesson along the way. Return the way you came, paddling back across the lake. Or, opt for a relaxed pace. Start with a tour of Juneau’s rich history and culture, then ride up the Mt. Roberts Tram. The views unfold as you ascend 1,800 feet through the forest. At the top, a naturalist-guided tour includes the raptor program and a walk to a scenic overlook. There are many trails to pick from, too—take a leisurely short stroll or a leg-stretching hike, or head back in town. Complimentary laundry service is provided today.
*Children must be 8 years and older to participate in the Mendenhall Lake/Glacier outing. Guests with children under 8 years old may select the Mt. Roberts tram excursion.
Take an early peek out your window. Fjord cliffs reach skyward. Floating ice. And deep u-shaped valleys. There’s no abracadabra here. Mother Nature’s magic is real. Cruise past harbor seals and their pups lounging on chunks of ice. At the end of Endicott, the blue face of Dawes Glacier is stories high. Will it calve? Listen for a crack and unmistakable white thunder. The name Fords Terror originated from a trick of the tides on an early mariner. And tides permitting, your skiff driver knows its character and guides you along. It’s a mashup of towering walls, temperamental currents, and the Coastal Mountains. So many waterfalls. Mountain goats show off fancy foot work on the cliffs. Look for them.
Humpback and orca are frequent visitors of this Southeast passage. A misty spout is a sure sign they’re in the neighborhood. Your captain navigates Stephens Passage to Port Houghton. And you’re in for a boot-sucking, paddle-smacking day of adventure with your guide team. The routes are all picked out. Make your choice and make your move. Slip off the kayak launch and take it slow spotting sea stars and shore birds. Hard chargers take a long wild paddle to the salt chuck at the back of the inlet. Or, hike into the Tongass. It’s a landscape of hanging waterfalls and shades green.
When you come this far, you might as well go all in. This is way back backcountry of Alaska’s wilderness. Glacial landscapes marked by moraines, muskegs, and mud. In this playground, it’s all an option today. Kayak and skiff in water almost clear as glass. The mirror image of fjord walls plays on the surface. Hike through the runoff of Baird Glacier. Or keep it green tromping through a grassy meadow into the forest. Later, pass by the fishing town of Petersburg and wind into the Wrangell Narrows. Abundant bright red and green navigation lights guide the way. It’s “Christmas Tree Lane,” of course.
Native culture and wildlife have gotten along just fine for centuries. Wrangell is one of the oldest towns in Alaska. It’s also the only one ever governed by four nations. The Tlingit cultures have deep roots here. And local islanders come aboard this morning with a presentation that brings their stories and legends to life. Venture into town for a view of recently carved totem poles at Kiksetti Totem Park. See how many totems you can pick out on each pole. Step inside famed Chief Shakes Tribal House. Can you feel the history in this historic community house?
Wildlife abounds in Behm Canal and the surrounding Tongass National Forest-orca, porpoise, seals, sea lions, brown and black bears, mink, marten, eagles, and otters. Paddle along the canal or venture out on an inter-tidal shore walk or low-elevation trek on the Cleveland Peninsula.
Affectionately called “The Yosemite of the North,” Misty Fjords National Monument represents nearly every ecosystem found in Southeast Alaska. Glacial valleys filled with sea water, and sheer 3,000 foot cliffs are a haven for sea birds, brown and black bears, mountain goats, Sitka black-tailed deer, mink, moose, river otters, and other wildlife. Glide through Walker Cove or Rudyerd Bay by kayak or explore by skiff soaking in the splendor of this largely forgotten corner of the world. This evening, join the Captain in a farewell toast and reminisce about your Alaskan journey over a sumptuous dinner.
Enjoy a farewell breakfast before disembarking the ship this morning. Transfer directly to the Ketchikan airport for your flight home.
*For trips departing from Ketchikan, Alaska, the itinerary will be in reverse.
Your days will be filled from the moment you wake until you retire to your cabin with opportunities for group meals, off-ship outings, and presentations in the evening. You can choose to participate in the activities and presentations each day or sit them out, but one thing is for sure, this cruise will keep you moving!
We’ve been connecting our clients to water adventures around the world since 1987. We partner with select outfitters who share our values and are pros at creating exceptional experiences. There is no fee for our service; we earn our commission from the outfitters we represent, and the cost of your expedition is the same as booking direct.
Depending on which trip dates you choose, your adventure begins in either Sitka, Alaska or Ketchikan, Alaska. If you begin your trip in Sitka, Alaska you will set sail for Baranof Island. If you begin your trip in Ketchikan, Alaska you will cruise toward Misty Fjords National Monument, “The Yosemite of the North.”
The last night on the ship, you will have a special farewell dinner, and the next morning after breakfast, you will disembark in either Ketchikan or Sitka, Alaska for your return flight home.
All on-board meals; premium spirits, wine, and microbrews; non-alcoholic beverages; exclusive transfers and baggage handling between airport/vessel on embark/disembark days; entry fees to national parks/preserves; all adventure activities and equipment from the boat. Your vessel also has wellness offerings such as hot tubs, sauna, fitness equipment, yoga mats, and a massage room.
You will find Alaska’s summer temperatures surprisingly pleasant. Daytime highs for June – August range from 60°F – 80°F. Nighttime lows are refreshingly cool, dipping into the 40’s – 50’s. May and September are usually 5°F – 10°F cooler. During this time of year, expect a few days of cloudy weather and rain, but also some clear days. Look forward to long daylight hours and enjoy the beautiful light change on the landscape.
Your journey will take you through several Alaskan straits, bays, and fjords. These narrow waterways offer you excellent views of the shoreline as you pass by. Expect to see harbor seals, bald eagles, sea lions, mountain goats, bears, and humpback whales as you cruise through these scenic channels; close enough to appreciate and large enough to explore.
This is a small-scale cruise and depending on the dates you select, your vessel will have a maximum number of 74-76 guests and a generous guest to guide ratio of 3 guests for each crew member. This means that you will have plenty of opportunities to learn about the landscape, ecology, and culture of the area, as well as have expert instruction for all your adventure activities.
Your vessel will depend on which launch date you choose. All ships offer ample vantage points for taking in the sights. Ships carry all the adventure equipment for guests including kayaks, paddleboards, inflatable skiffs, hiking poles, and more. All cabins are equipped with a view window, TV and DVD, iPod docking station, private bath with shower, and generous closet space. Your vessel will also include a comfortable lounge and library, and comes equipped with a hot tub, sauna, fitness area, and massage suite to enjoy.
You can look forward to a delicious daily menu filled with meals that include locally sourced ingredients, such as fresh Dungeness crab or Alaskan prawns. For breakfast – you can choose from an early riser breakfast with fresh baked pastries and fruit or a full breakfast with hot, cold, and specialty dishes. For lunch – you will find a range of salads, sandwiches, and homemade soups. For happy hour – enjoy a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres in the lounge. For dinner -choose from several entrées including fresh, local seafood and meat or a vegetarian dish with a chef-selected wine pairing. Be sure to leave room for an indulgent dessert, such as tiramisu.
I cannot tell you how impressed I was with the Rivers & Oceans’ staff, their organizational skills, knowledge and simply being just nice people. Once I decided to go with them every detail of the adventure was planned, organized and implemented without a hitch.
Absolutely wonderful. Rivers and Oceans is operated by people who truly care about your trip and have the personal experience to help you make the best choice. Now go see for yourself and let Rivers and Oceans lead you towards the adventure of a lifetime.
The folks at Rivers and Oceans are great. Helped us find and book a trip and patiently answered many questions over the weeks preceding the trip. Thank you.
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