Glaciers crackle, bald eagles soar, and the sea is filled with whales, orcas, and porpoises. Explore the majesty of the Inside Passage the ideal way, on the Catalyst, a historic 12-guest vessel that can maneuver around icebergs, follow whales, get close to glaciers, and tuck into tiny coves that bigger vessels wouldn't even dream of approaching. Enjoy days filled with sea kayaking, hiking, and exploring tide pools, all in the company of a naturalist who is an expert on the botany, natural history, and native culture of this magnificent region. Back on board after a day of adventure, savor delightful sea-totable meals prepared by the talented on-board chef. This is the way to experience the Inside Passage!
Arrive: Juneau, Alaska (or reverse)
Depart: Petersburg, Alaska (or reverse)
Note: This trip is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as an agent in booking your reservation with the operator. Please download the Rate Sheet in the Dates & Pricing section to see the full pricing details and contact our Cruise Collection Specialists to check availability.
At time of reservation: 20% of trip cost
100 days prior to departure: Balance
*Please note that this differs from our standard policy.
Minimum fee: 50% of deposit
91-150 days prior to departure: 100% of deposit
90 days or less: 100% of trip cost
*Please note that this differs from our standard policy.
Scroll through our signature accommodations for this trip below. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.
Days 1-7 (7 nights)
The 75-foot research vessel is a historic wooden boat that accommodates up to 12 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,...
This trip is Level 1+, Easy to Moderate, according to our trip grading system. The expedition vessel serves as a mobile base camp. You'll 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.
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 the 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 good kayaking weather throughout cannot be guaranteed. And with such a comfortable "mother ship," you can always opt out of any kayaking or hiking to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and the great views from on board. Please note: Climbing a ship's ladder to access skiff and kayaks during excursions is required.
Be prepared for temperatures ranging from the low 30sF to a high of 70F. Southern Alaska has a marine climate, which means rain is to be expected at some point on every trip. The rain itself is often a gentle mist, casting an aura of magic and mystery over the land. We hope for sunshine but recommend that you plan for wet, cool weather. You will be comfortable as long as your rain gear is adequate!
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 (you will wear these everywhere you go).
Meals onboard are elegant, locally sourced, and artfully presented. Fresh ingredients come from local providers whenever possible, including organic farmers, and fish is bought directly from local fishers. Complimentary beer and wine is offered on board. You are welcome to bring any special wines, liquors, and mixers you enjoy. Soft drinks, coffee, and tea are always available.
Every trip aboard a small ship can -- and should -- be slightly different. This is our planned itinerary, but if conditions and wildlife, whether on land or sea, present us with special opportunities, we'll alter our course and head that way to experience it. Our itineraries are leisurely, we don't rush past hundreds of miles of beautiful coves and inlets to stay on schedule, and we don't travel at night. A flexible attitude and an openness to the unexpected keep the adventure alive on these voyages.
"This trip was awesome. We enjoyed it so much and the crew was great. We saw so much wildlife! The sunsets and scenery were more than we could have hoped for."
Bonita Springs, FL
"This was by far one of the best things I've done in my life. The itinerary made the most of the stunning wildlife and landscapes in Alaska and it was supported by a passionate crew whose enthusiasm was infectious. I'd recommend this trip to anyone and everyone!"
"The scenery, kayaking, whale watching and hiking made it very memorable, and the food was over-the-top great!"
"Fabulous experience, the trip of a lifetime. Enjoyed every second of it. And the food was over-the-top wonderful, as were the wines."
"This small boat adventure was outstanding! Amazing food, very knowledgeable naturalist, great captain and engineer. The small number of passengers made it really fun and we received very personalized service and interactions."
"An amazing trip. We seemed to have Alaska's Inland Passage all to ourselves, sharing it only with an array of whales and mountain goats plus bears and sea lions. The scenery was gorgeous; the crew knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We enjoyed gourmet cuisine at every meal. This is absolutely, positively the ideal way to travel!"
"The crew was professional, knowledgeable, and fun! We enjoyed breathtaking scenery and many spontaneous wildlife experiences."
Dan & Brigid M.
"Fabulous! My first visit to Alaska and I want to come back."
"A trip of a lifetime. A perfect way for my husband and I to have celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary."
David & Kerry R.
Port Alberni, BC
"The trip was quite incredible. The crew was fantastic, the itinerary extremely well planned, and we ate well, slept well, and had a compatible group of guests. It was only just a taste of Alaska—we are ready to come back!"
New Rochelle, NY
"The crew was absolutely fabulous! This trip exceeded my expectations—I definitely plan to return to Alaska in the not-too-distant future, and I will be recommending this trip to my fellow teachers. Lastly, the gourmet meals prepared by our wonderful chef Michael were exquisitely delicious!"
Lake Elsinore, CA
"We felt very safe and well taken care of throughout the trip. In addition to navigating, our captain was on the lookout for wildlife and always made certain we had the best look! He was wonderful with the kids on board, welcoming them into the pilot house and teaching them about his job. The naturalist was knowledgable about wildlife as well as plant life; she was really engaging. Our chef made the most delicious meals and it was something we looked forward to each day. And, the boat's engineer keep the boat running smoothly at all times."
"Fabulous trip. The itinerary brings the Inside Passage ‘up close and personal.’ The crew, one and all, are professional, capable, and fun to be around."
"My second WT trip and I can't wait for the next one!"
"The food aboard the ship was AMAZING, with fresh and beautiful ingredients. We are all foodies and were blown away. The crew were beautiful human beings, incredibly attentive to every need, and made us feel special all the while keeping us safe. We were blessed to get to know them in our seven days with them and shed some tears on the day we docked in Juneau. We felt like we were leaving our friends."
"Would do it again in a heartbeat. Great boat, crew, and fellow travelers. Excellent food."
"We couldn't have expected more from this trip in terms of intimate exposure to wild nature. The crew is fantastic and each one of them brought an extra dimension to the trip."
San Anselmo, CA
"Unbelievable trip. We saw and experienced so many things that we never expected to."
New York, NY
"The boat is beautiful, the food divine, and the scenery unparalleled. We loved every minute."
San Francisco, CA
"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."
"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."
West Salem, WI
"The trip was absolutely fantastic. The crew (captain, chef, naturalist, and engineer) were the best ever. They attended to the guests as though they were their favorite family members. All members of the trip and crew bonded and felt really connected. Hans (the Captain) welcomed us on the bridge and in the captain's quarters and always informed us about our passage and everthing on the boat and on shore. Michael (the chef) prpared the most unbelievable meals I have ever eaten. His meals (three times a day) were better than any high end restraurant I have ever eaten in. He attended to all of my wife's dietary restrictions and prepared special meals just for her. Sarah the naturalist guided us on hikes and in kayaks. She was informative, funny, charming, and best of all seemed to know everything. Lastly, but by no means least, Shane (the engineer) was always available to answer questions, show us the 1932 diesel engine, and show us how to set crab/shrimp pots. He was always there on the spot ready to help with everything."
"This was the best trip ever. Hiking, kayaking, glaciers, bears, whales, sea lions—magical! This happily did not resemble a cruise ship and we loved the adventure!"
Peter & Kay L.
"The food on board was worth 1 Michelin star!"
"A superb experience in every way."
"This was a fabulous way to travel the Alaskan Inside Passage, a wonderland of beauty and inspiring vistas. The crew really made the trip memorable and I cannot say enough wonderful things about them. We saw so much wildlife everywhere we turned and spent one serene day kayaking with humpback whales that was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It just could not have been better."
Our Area Specialists know every detail about our tours. They will be happy to answer any questions and help you choose the journey that’s right for you. Contact us to learn more or book your trip today!
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With more than 200 different adventures to choose from, we want to help you find the trip that’s right for you. Our Trip Level system ranks each trip in two ways: a number rating from 1 to 6 according to the activity, and general travel rigors. 1 is the easiest and 6+ the most difficult—see descriptions below for explanations of each number. A plus (+) sign means the trip is a bit more strenuous than other trips of that level. The detailed explanation of each trip—below the bar with the number rating—is perhaps more important, specifying activities, altitudes, hiking, and travel conditions. The Detailed Itinerary, available by download or mail, gives further information. Our Area Managers can also answer questions and guide you to the trip that best suits your interests.
Level 1 – Easiest
Non-camping journeys, optional walks, little elevation gain or loss.
Level 3 – Moderate
Half- to full-day hikes (3-6 hours) over rolling countryside on most days, occasional steep trails. Many of our hotel-based walking tours are in this category, as are our snorkeling adventures.
Level 5 – Strenuous
Full-day hikes (4-8 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 3,500 feet) on many days. Trips with hiking at average altitudes of 10,000 to 12,000 feet are in this category.