humpback whales inside passage alaska cruise

Humpback whales feed in the Inside Passage

Whale watching, sea kayaking in glacial fjords, and hiking in temperate rainforests delight us every day on our journey from Juneau to Petersburg aboard our private expedition vessel.

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Alaska's Inside Passage

Whale Watching and Sea Kayaking in a Glacier-Carved World

Alaska's Inside Passage route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $4050  
Length: 7 days
Arrive: Juneau, Alaska (or reverse)
Depart: Petersburg, Alaska (or reverse)
Lodging: 6 nights aboard a 75-foot historic boat with six cabins, some with private bath
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Small Boat & Yacht Cruising, Wildlife & Natural History, Sea Kayaking, Whale Watching
Trip Level: Daily choice of easy to moderate sea kayaking and hiking, 2-6 hours a day (no previous kayaking experience necessary)
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Highlights

  • Explore one of Alaska’s prime wildlife areas by historic small ship
  • Sea kayak amid icebergs and below towering granite walls
  • Hike on glacial moraine and in old-growth cedar, hemlock, and spruce forests
  • Watch calving glaciers, bald eagles, and breaching whales


The crew was professional, knowledgeable, and fun! We enjoyed breathtaking scenery and many spontaneous wildlife experiences.Dan and Brigid M.—Salinas, CA

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Experience wilderness on the grandest scale imaginable in the Inside Passage, Alaska’s storied waterway along the southeast coast, where glaciers crackle in lovely fjords and the sea is filled with whales, orcas, porpoises, and sea lions. We discover this epic realm aboard a historic, 11-guest wooden vessel that brings us into hidden places big ships can’t even dream of entering. With our on-board naturalists sharing insights into the local botany, natural history, and native culture, we kayak into narrow inlets like Ford’s Terror, whose sheer granite walls are wreathed in ephemeral mists, hike in majestic old-growth forests, and encounter incredible wildlife, from humpbacks to bears and bald eagles. At day’s end, we savor the welcoming comfort of our boat and enjoy a delicious meal in a beautiful anchorage.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Juneau, Alaska / Ford’s Terror (Southbound Departures)

In Juneau, we board our vessel and cruise south to Limestone Inlet, where a skiff ride up the river may reveal bear, jumping salmon, and nesting waterfowl. Entering Endicott Arm, we look for whales as they dive for krill or bubble net for herring, and at Dawes Glacier, we linger to watch glaciers as they calve icebergs into the sea. At Ford’s Terror, a spectacular natural amphitheater that resembles a flooded Yosemite, we paddle beneath 5,000-foot rock walls rising in wilderness solitude.

Days 3-5
Admiralty Island / The Brothers

After a hike in the highlands of Ford’s Terror, we head for Admiralty Island, with its numerous brown bears and bald eagles. Setting out for The Brothers Islands, we watch for humpbacks and orcas in this prime summer feeding ground and listen to their ethereal songs with the ship’s hydrophone. From our idyllic anchorage, the sound of breathing whales or the call of an eagle drifts across the evening calm.

Days 6-7
Thomas Bay / Scenery Cove / Petersburg

If the humpbacks are out our front door, we spend time shadowing their movements, then make for Thomas Bay, watching for black bear on the beaches. Anchoring at Scenery Cove, we take the skiff along the river and hike the glacial moraine of the Baird Glacier. We dock in the charming fishing town of Petersburg, with its Norwegian and Tlingit heritage, and depart on Day 7.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 1+, easy to moderate, according to our trip grading system. The expedition vessel serves as our mobile base camp. We explore remote coastlines and fjords by day, then enjoy the comfort of the ship in the evening for good food, fine company, and a comfortable bunk. With just a few hours of cruising each day, there is plenty of time for walking, wildlife watching, or sea kayaking all in the company of an on-board naturalist who shares insights into the local botany, natural history, and native culture.

You should be ready for a variety of weather conditions. Layered clothing works best in the changing weather conditions typical of the Pacific Northwest Coast and Southeast Alaska. Layers are easier to pack and more versatile than a single heavy coat. Don’t bring down jackets or ski clothes (they don’t dry well in the damp climate). Good rain gear is essential; it will enable you to remain comfortable in the wind or rain. Bring your high rubber boots (or use the ones provided on board) for wading and for use in the kayaks and small boats (we will wear these everywhere we go).

No previous kayaking experience is required. Unlike whitewater kayaking, sea kayaking skills can be learned quickly and easily. The waters of the Inside Passage are protected from the open ocean and are generally calm. It is not our intention to kayak on stormy days or when sea conditions are truly "rough" with high winds and waves (such occasions are infrequent in these waters during the summer). Nevertheless, unpredictability is the rule for the weather in Alaska, and we cannot guarantee good kayaking weather throughout. And with such a comfortable “mother ship,” we can always opt out of any kayaking or hiking to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and the great views from on board.

Complimentary beer and wine is offered on board. You are welcome to bring any special wines or liquor you enjoy. The boat carries tonic, club soda, and soft drinks.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures

2014
Jun 1- 7, 2014  Juneau to Petersburg

Jun 8-14, 2014  Petersburg to Juneau
Jun 15-21, 2014  Juneau to Petersburg
Jun 22-28, 2014  Petersburg to Juneau
Jun 29-Jul 5, 2014  Juneau to Petersburg
Jul 6-12, 2014  Petersburg to Juneau
Jul 13-19, 2014  Juneau to Petersburg
Jul 20-26, 2014  Petersburg to Juneau
Jul 27-Aug 2, 2014  Juneau to Petersburg
Aug 3- 9, 2014  Petersburg to Juneau
Aug 10-16, 2014  Juneau to Petersburg
Aug 17-23, 2014  Petersburg to Juneau
Aug 24-30, 2014  Juneau to Petersburg

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2014
Cabins 1 & 6 with private bath: $4600 per person
Cabins 2-5 with shared bath: $4050 per person
Cabin 4: single occupancy cabin, no single supplement
Single Supplement for Cabin 2-3: $2025
more on pricing

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Trip Naturalist and Captain
  • Accommodations aboard a 75-foot research vessel
  • All meals included
  • Beer and wine
  • Kayaks, paddles, radios, PFDs (life jackets), and boat safety gear

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

Airfare to/from points of embarkation and debarkation of the boat, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, accommodations in Juneau or Petersburg, travel insurance, optional gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights made necessary by airline schedule changes or other factors, expenses such as immunizations (if any), and other expenses of a personal nature.

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: $500
150 days prior to departure: 50%
90 days prior to departure: Balance

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $500 per person
91-150 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
90 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Our Inside Passage Expedition Vessel

Alaska, USA

Our 75-foot research vessel is a historic wooden boat that accommodates up to 11 guests. Constructed in 1932 as a marine research boat, she can maneuver around icebergs, follow whales, get close to glaciers, and tuck into tiny coves that most passenger vessels wouldn’t even dream of approaching. Delicious meals, including fresh-caught seafood, are served by the chef in the warm, wood-paneled salon, and a fleet of sea kayaks on board add to the spirit of exploration and discovery.

Deck Plan

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Client Comments

The crew was professional, knowledgeable, and fun! We enjoyed breathtaking scenery and many spontaneous wildlife experiences. Dan and Brigid M., Salinas, CA Fabulous! My first visit to Alaska and I want to come back. Darcel G., Lahaina, HI Would do it again in a heartbeat. Great boat, crew, and fellow travelers. Excellent food. Lynne F., Hastings, NE A superb experience in every way. Stan K., Raleigh, NC
The trip was great! Beautiful scenery, great boat, and the crew and trip leader were the best. They went out of their way to see you had an enjoyable trip. Nancy G., West Salem, WI The ship was so comfortable. The owners (captain and wife-naturalist) were super professional and so responsive to individuals in a low-key way. They are pros! And the cook was phenomenal. Meredith C., Washington, DC