Written By: Jame Cagle, Senior Vice President, Alaskan Dream Cruises
As local Alaska Natives of the Tlingit Kaagwaantaan clan, our vision for Alaskan Dream Cruises was clear from the beginning. Our goal was to provide an opportunity for guests to experience True Alaska—the Alaska our family has come to know and love through many generations of calling this place our home. From the start, we knew to accomplish this we would have to get beneath the surface, to venture off the common routes, to highlight destinations and wildlife areas very few guests to Alaska will ever have the opportunity to see. It included introducing our guests to the faces and personalities of Alaska’s remote communities. Above all, it meant we would immerse travelers in our distinct way of life—a way of life characterized by a unique spirit of adventure and individuality.
Based on the enthusiastic response we’ve received from our guests since launching Alaskan Dream Cruises five years ago, we feel confident this is exactly what we’ve been able to deliver and can deliver to your clients. As you read more about Alaskan Dream Cruises, you’ll note the difference our True Alaskan perspective brings to every aspect of a small ship expedition through the Inside Passage.
Though we look forward to each new season, we can’t help but feel a special excitement about 2016. The coming year will see the inaugural season of our newest vessel, the Chichagof Dream. For the past two years in Sitka we’ve been busy with the renovation and refurbishment of this vessel. With spacious viewing areas, new furnishings, and ocean-view windows in all staterooms, the Chichagof Dream will be the perfect addition to our existing fleet of small ships. The 207-foot vessel carries 74 passengers in no more than 37 staterooms in five room categories. The four-deck ship features expansive viewing areas on the bow and aft promenade decks and new carpets and furnishings in public spaces and staterooms. The hull is designed for optimal sailing and comfort in Alaska waters.
We’ve also consolidated our offerings for 2016 into three core itineraries in which you can easily sell to your clients. These eight-, nine-, and 11-day expeditions include the experiences that have been most popular with our guests over the past 5 years, as well as some new destinations.
- Alaska’s Glacier Bay & Island Adventure is an eight-day cruise traveling between Sitka and Juneau, featuring wilderness days in remote bays for kayaking, wilderness hiking and exploration in shallow water expedition craft (DIBs). Cultural immersion in the small towns of Kake and Petersburg is balanced with scenic cruising through Glacier Bay National Park. The Admiralty Dream, Baranof Dream and Chichagof Dream will make a total of 22 sailings on this itinerary between May 12 and Sept. 11. Rates start from $3,379.
- The nine-day Alaska’s Inside Passage Sojourn travels between Sitka and Ketchikan taking guests to several unique towns: the Tsimshian community of Metlakatla; Thorne Bay, once the largest logging camp in the world; Wrangell, the only city in Alaska to have been under the jurisdiction of three flags and ruled by four nations; and Kasaan, home of the only remaining traditional Haida longhouse in the U.S. Guests spend time in Frederick Sound, a world-renowned site for whale watching, and sail through Tracy Arm Fjord, Misty Fjords National Monument and Glacier Bay National Park, offering some of the most spectacular scenery in Southeast Alaska. The Alaskan Dream will make 11 sailings on this itinerary between May 10 and Sept. 7. Rates start from $4,519.
- Alaska’s Southeast Explorer expands the Sojourn itinerary into an 11-day journey, adding time in Skagway, a town steeped in Klondike Gold Rush history; the small fishing community of Haines; and Petersburg, Alaska’s “Little Norway.” The Baranof Dream and Alaskan Dream will make six sailings on this itinerary between May 18 and Aug. 28. Rates start from $5,799.
In addition, the eight-day “Alaska’s Islands, Whales and Glaciers Adventure” will be available aboard the 60-foot Misty Fjord, a blend between a commercial Alaska maritime boat and a modern expedition vessel with five guest cabins and a spacious salon. This expedition cruise traverses the Inside Passage between Sitka, a small scenic community and Alaskan Dream Cruises’ headquarters, and the state’s capital, Juneau. The Misty Fjord ship transports passengers deep into the Alaska wilderness to the remote coves of Eastern Baranof Island, and into Tenakee Inlet for kayaking and exploration aboard a small, motorized watercraft. Your clients can watch for humpback whales in Icy Strait, a popular feeding ground for the marine mammals, and visit the Tlingit village of Hoonah. A thrilling hovercraft flight will take passengers over Taku Inlet to the Taku Glacier, and a day of sailing through Tracy Arm will offer kayaking opportunities among the icebergs in front of two tidewater glaciers. In Frederick Sound, the Misty Fjord will sail past Brothers Island, a haul-out for Steller sea lions. And no Alaska vacation is complete without an Alaska king crab feast and a bonfire on the beach. The Misty Fjord will make 16 sailings on this itinerary between May 21 and Sept. 3. Fares start from $5,450 per person.
The “Become a True Alaskan” cruises are geared towards multi-generational groups and families with children seven or up. They feature an onboard Youth Expedition Leader who leads activities, exploration and educational programs about Alaska. Families are able to connect with the wildlife, cultures and natural wonders of Alaska.
A new feature added to all of the cruises is the “True Alaska Exploration.” These are unscripted days for adventures, often a hike, wildlife encounters or wilderness discovery that the Allen family, the company’s founders, experienced during their personal explorations and asked staff to share with guests. This new trip addition is a great feature to discuss with your adventure-seeking clients.
Destinations & Excursions
The Inside Passage is where our Tlingit ancestors thrived for millennia in the temperate rainforest of Southeast Alaska. The sea, rivers, forests and shorelines were teeming with wildlife and vegetation, providing an abundance of all the necessities of life. Villages were established in strategic locations for trade, security, and food. Eventually, nations around the world heard whispers of the remarkable region and explorers from all walks of life sailed to the area, drawn by the allure of rich natural resources. Once the explorers experienced a taste of Alaska they often stayed, establishing small communities in the shadows of massive glaciers, along salmon-laden rivers, and unspoiled islands. Today, the communities of the Inside Passage are as diverse as her striking landscapes.
Taking into account the picturesque environment and unique communities of the Inside Passage, all of our all-inclusive itineraries offer a mix of port excursions in these intriguing towns and Native villages, and adventures in raw wilderness bays and glacial fjords. This approach offers your clients a comprehensive look at all the Inside Passage has to offer. Drawing upon the local knowledge passed down through the generations and gained by the staff’s own exploration, every Alaskan Dream Cruises experience is hand picked for its value in immersing travelers in True Alaska.
Experts in creating intimate True Alaska experiences, Alaska Dream Cruises incorporates expedition craft on each vessel to provide guests with an opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with Alaska nature. The Demaree Inflatable Boats (DIB) are rigid bottom inflatables that are called upon for shallow-water exploration. These highly maneuverable vessels are also used as beach landing craft to afford guests remote hiking opportunities in areas not accessible to larger craft. Kayaking is also an integral part of every Alaskan Dream Cruises experience. Clients of all skill levels are able to enjoy this exciting activity as they’ve designed custom-built kayak launches for easy and safe loading and unloading.
All of our itineraries include a relaxing evening at the Alaska Dream Cruises exclusive Orca Point Lodge on Colt Island. This private day-lodge provides peaceful seclusion with modern comforts in an idyllic wilderness setting. Here, your clients can take in the scenery of Stephen’s Passage while indulging in fresh King crab—either from the warmth of the lodge or while nestled against the cozy beachside fire. After dinner, many guests enjoy beachcombing the shoreline. Of course, a visit to our marine touch tank is a must. At this tank, guests have the opportunity to view and handle several of Alaska’s intriguing intertidal invertebrates, including anemones, sea stars, and hermit crab. Your clients will end the day around the fire roasting s’mores and sharing stories.
Much of the thrill of an Alaska expedition exists in the journey itself—not just the day’s destination. Knowing this, our officers have the flexibility to take full advantage of unique opportunities that arise in the protected waters of the Inside Passage. Such impromptu True Alaska Moments of discovery often involve Alaska’s wide array of animal species.
As pioneers of Alaska day-cruises, and after nearly 50 years of operation, we’ve developed an unrivaled sense of the region’s most abundant wildlife areas. Our routes are designed to travel through these places, while allowing ample time for up-close encounters. Commonly sighted terrestrial animals include both brown and black bears, mountain goats, and Sitka Black-tailed deer. Occasionally, wolf and moose are seen. Of course, Southeast Alaska is famous for its seasonal migration of Humpback whales, which are engaged in almost constant feeding behaviors. Orcas (killer whales), Steller sea lions, harbor seals, Dall’s porpoise, harbor porpoise, and sea otters are also frequently spotted on our expeditions. Shipboard hydrophones enable us to listen for marine mammal communication.
Travelers come to Alaska in search of a personal connection to the sights, places, and people they will visit.
Alaskan Dream Cruises believe this deeper level of understanding is exactly what is needed for your clients to gain a true appreciation of this diverse region. To this end, we staff each vessel with two onboard expedition leaders. Our Cultural Heritage Guides, often Alaska Natives themselves, are well versed in the indigenous cultures, legends, and practices of the area. Our Naturalists focus on the biology, geography, and ecology of the Inside Passage. These knowledgeable and outgoing staff members act as personal guides throughout the voyage, accompanying guests on all shore excursions, on deck while viewing wildlife, and even joining guests in the dining room at meals. In the evening, compelling educational programs are presented in the lounge. Having the two guides on board for every step of the journey ensures no question will ever go unanswered. Their passion for Southeast Alaska is contagious.
Evening turndown services come complete with a nightly letter, which details the next day’s activities, as well as provides a sneak peak of the local history, geography, or wildlife of the area. Your clients can also choose to further their understanding of the region by delving into the onboard library of books, which pertain to the nature and history of the Inside Passage.
An important trademark of True Alaskan Hospitality is our excellent culinary fare, carefully prepared by our own trained team of onboard chefs. Meals are served in open-seating dining rooms, and feature a variety of menu options, including meat, seafood, and vegetarian selections. Of course, we pride ourselves in presenting a taste of the Last Frontier through our strong emphasis on fresh Alaska-cuisine options. Such locally harvested specialties include King salmon, halibut, rockfish, shrimp, and crab- cooked and prepared to a standard any Alaskan would approve of. After dinners, your clients will have the opportunity to indulge in decadent desserts prepared by the on board pastry chefs. These same chefs are also responsible for the delicious, fresh-baked breads throughout the voyage. All meals are included with the cruise fare, as are hors d’oeuvres presented at social hour in the lounge.
With so many unique selling points behind Alaskan Dream Cruises, we hope you’ll share our cruise vacations with your clients. We look forward to hosting them and showing them True Alaska!