Small Ship Cruises Alaska | Alaska's Glacier Country
Explore islands, glaciers and forests on a small ship cruise in Alaska! Kayak in remote inlets that bring you closer to wildlife like eagles, sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, and seabirds.
Get up close to the Dawes, Margerie and Grand Pacific glaciers, bushwhack in the Tongass National Forest, explore the Fords Terror Wilderness Area by skiff and hike inland on Chichagof Island.
Watch for Humpback whales in Frederick Sound and Chatham Strait, plus black and brown bears, eagles and other land mammals along the shore.
This is an adventure of multiple discoveries!.
Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1 Juneau | EmbarkationHello, Juneau! First settled in the gold rush days, Juneau welcomes with both small town charm and towering glaciers. Toast to the riches of Alaska as you sail west toward Icy Strait.
Day 2 Icy StraitKick start the morning with on-deck stretches and a strong cup of coffee. Energized and snug in your kayak, glide around in remote bays off of Icy Strait through giant bullwhip kelp that can grow to over 100 feet long. Join the gang in a skiff to a rocky outcropping to watch sea lions play. Or, step into mud boots for a forest hike with your top-notch, naturalist guides who have plenty to share about everything Alaska—marine biology, plants, and even geology. On board, soak it all in as you soak in the hot tub.
Day 3 Glacier Bay National Park You’re in for a real treat. A National Park ranger comes aboard to share expert insight. Have your binoculars handy—South Marble Island is a birder’s slice of heaven. Puffins scoot through the water. Guillemots and gulls chatter up the airwaves. The snoozing sea lions don’t seem to mind. More thrills and chills await as you cruise to the far end of John Hopkins Inlet or Tarr Inlet where glaciers calve into the water. Backed by knife-edged peaks, bears forage along the shoreline of Tidal Inlet. Mountain goats too. Back at Bartlett Cove, if time and daylight allow, take a forest hike around the park’s HQ, and say farewell to your ranger.
Day 4 Chatham StraitStretching 150 miles into the Tongass National Forest, Chatham Strait offers adventure aplenty. Rest assured your captain navigates to the best. Anchor in a remote Chichagof Island inlet. Backpacks loaded and adventure toys lowered (skiffs, paddle boards, kayaks), it’s time to go play. Energy flows as you hike up through moss-covered trees and rain-fed waterfalls. Stick to the water in a kayak excursion, and don’t forget to look above and below the surface. A nosy seal could be watching your every stroke. Beachcomb rocky shores. Tiny creatures cling to rocks. Tonight, take a nightcap to the sun deck and watch the sky.
Day 5 Kuiu IslandThe jagged arms and fingers of Kuiu Island stretch from 25 to just six miles wide. Salmon streams dot the coastline—and where there’s salmon, there are bears. Despite its slim size, Kuiu Island is home to many black bears, who, like you, love the solitude and open skies in the heart of the Tongass National Forest. From kayak or skiff, scope the intertidal zones of Skanax Bay for these guys. Eagles fish here too, their white noggins give away their perches. Kayak along the Keku Islands or take the pace down a notch with an easy stroll amidst the tide pools. It’s remote, and remarkable.
Day 6 Frederick SoundHumpbacks beeline it here each season to feed on krill, zooplankton, and herring. Watch for whales feasting in these abundant glacial waters. Hang out and enjoy the show. Based on wind and weather, your expedition team has the lineup of adventures all mapped out. Cruise past Five Fingers Lighthouse, Alaska’s oldest light station and The Brothers Islands, where sea lions nap on rocky nobs. Paddle into the deeps of Port Houghton or Windham Bay or head ashore for a hike. Somewhere nearby, carrot-billed black oystercatchers are saying hello. Tonight, toast another big day in Alaska.
Day 7 Endicott Arm / Dawes Glacier Skiffing up Endicott Arm, harbor seals laze around on icebergs. If the tides are right, slip into Fords Terror, the steep walls of this narrow opening streaked with waterfalls. Back in the Arm, gasp at the deep glacier-carved valleys. It’s at the end where you meet the piece de resistance: Dawes Glacier. Blue ice marches down from the Coast Mountains. With a sharp crack, the white thunder of a calving slice makes a mega-splash. Tonight, celebrate with a festive Farewell Dinner and “photo journal” from your expedition team.
Day 8 Juneau | DisembarkationMmmm, fresh baked pastries over one last breakfast. Your crew and new friends wish heartfelt goodbyes. This morning, transfer to the Juneau airport or begin your hotel stay.
Agile, spry, and with clean design lines, the Safari Quest—carrying just 22 guests—can cut into the tiniest nooks that even our other small vessels can’t reach. This includes coveted wilderness areas with highly limited access of no more than two groups of twelve guests per day. For those most special adventures, she is the ticket in. While small is her secret for access, on the inside this yacht is anything but. Spacious and comfy cabins. A cozy and welcoming lounge and dining room. And plenty of onboard niches for nestling and relaxing. On a boat this size, camaraderie is near-instant—feel the love. Onboard Features: Full-beam swim step; underwater bow-mounted camera; kayaks, paddle boards, inflatable skiffs, hiking poles; on-deck hot tub; fitness equipment; DVD and book library. Cabin Features: TV/DVD player; heated tile floor in all bathrooms; hair dryer, bathrobes, conditioning shampoo, body wash; binoculars; reusable water bottles
Safari Quest Ship Plans
- One day in Glacier Bay National Park, joined by a park ranger
- Get close up to glaciers: Dawes, Margerie, and Grand Pacific
- Bushwhack in the Tongass National Forest
- Fords Terror Wilderness Area by skiff and hike inland on Chichagof Island
- Humpback whales in Frederick Sound and Chatham Strait
- Wildlife searches: black and brown bears, eagles, sea otters, harbor seals, sealions, sea birds
- Kayak, paddle board and skiff remote inlets
- Beachcombing, tide pool, and forest ecology discoveries
- All onboard meals
- Non-alcoholic beverages, wine, spirits and beer
- Exclusive transfers and baggage handling between airport/vessel on embark/disembark days
- Entry fees to national parks/preserves
- All from the vessel activities and equipment
- Port fees and taxes
- Safari Quest: 13 years old
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Arrange a call with an Alaska Travel Designer and bring your vacation to Alaska one step closer!
DATES & PRICING
Departing from Juneau:Safari Quest2023 DatesMay 6, May 26, June 2, June 9, June 16, June 23, June 30, July 7, July 14, July 21, July 28, August 4, August 11, August 18, August 25, Sept 1
2024 DatesMay 24, May 31, Jun 7, June 14, Jun 16, Jun 21, Jun 28, July 5, Jul 12, Jul 19, Jul 26, Aug 2, Aug 9, Aug 16, Aug 23, Aug 30
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Small Ship Cruises Alaska | Alaska's Glacier Country
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