A cruise to Alaska is all about Nature. ‘Ventures by Seabourn’ let you cruise in the lap of luxury – and also get up close and personal with the dramatic scenery and spectacular wildlife of the waters of America’s Last Frontier.
Cruising may be the best way to experience Alaska. Seabourn’s ultra-luxury small ships take you closer and into more remote ports that larger ships can’t access.The ultra-luxury cruise line has also developed a program to allow active cruise travelers to get even more immersed in the best of Alaska.
Seabourn has introduced expedition ships to its fleet, but Ventures by Seabourn are available on its existing fleet of 6-star, small luxury ships that sail from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, and from Asia to Alaska.
In some places, like Alaska, Ventures by Seabourn let you combine ultra-luxury cruising with expedition-style flair. It’s like living your best life - two ways: in thermal layers by day among the elements, and in sequins at night, enjoying sumptuous dining,service and the social life on board.
While others see Alaska from the rail of their ship alone, Seabourn guests can dive right in – figuratively, that is!
In hand-picked locations during the cruise, guests can opt into kayak, zodiac, hiking or catamaran excursions operated by Seabourn’s world-class expedition team includinga marine biologist, ornithologist, geologist, historian, photographer, kayak guide and naturalist experts on bears, whales and other local wildlife.
Their expertise enriches your cruise during lectures and on deck conversations during scenic cruising, and provides in-the-moment customization of Ventures.In an Alaskan fjord, you never know what calving glaciers, humpback whales, or rafts of otters you may encounter, and the expedition team is able to help you make the most of every moment.
(Seabourn guests kayaking in waters with a humpback whale)
As the name suggests, Rudyerd Bay, also known as Misty Fjords, is often shrouded in mist rising up from the dense emerald forests and green waters. The nearly 3-million acre National Monument was carved by glaciers that created the vertical granite cliffs that rise 3000 feet above the sea and descend another 1000 feet below. It’s an ecosystem home to mountain goats, black bears, wolves, sea lions, bald eagles porpoises, orca, humpback whales and more.
The narrow far end of the fjord is not accessible by ship, but your zodiac captain can take you there. Only a privileged few can claim to have seen this marvelous tribute to nature's majesty.
(Seabourn guests kayaking in Misty Fjord)
A Ventures kayaking adventure at the end of Misty Fjord lets you power your journey, embarking from the ship, the beach, or zodiac, depending on conditions. A kayak guide ensures you make the most of every moment on the water.
Alternatively, your Ventures expedition from the luxury of your ship can be by catamaran. You’ll board a restroom-equippped sightseeing vessel with an outdoor viewing deck and learn about the natural and human history of this remote and beautiful wilderness area through interpretation provided by local guides and the Expedition team.
Along the way, you’ll stop to view a Tlingit Pictograph, and see New Eddystone Rock -- an immense volcanic spire rising from the emerald sea and visit a bird rookery, feel the mist of glistening waterfalls, and watch for seals, eagles and other wildlife. You also get to enjoy an Alaska-inspired, warming meal while on board.
As the gatekeepers to the northern entrance of the fabled Inside Passage, the remote Inian Islands stand between Cross Sound and Icy Strait, exposed to the high energy seas of the Pacific Ocean. Tidal currents surging through the narrow channels separating the islands can be severe. Nicknames like ‘The Laundry Chute’ justify their notorious reputations.
Seabourn’s Expedition Team takes you by zodiac to explore the Inian Islands and Cross Sound. The latter is one of the main gateways for humpback whales to enter the sheltered waters of Alaska. The Zodiac allows you to get close to all the highlights of this incredibly beautiful environment that is densely populated by all the wildlife you've come to see -- Steller sea lions, humpback whales, horned and tufted puffins, sea otters, harbor seals, bald eagles and an abundance of other birdlife.
There's no other way to reach this area other than by sea, so you can treasure every moment of your zodiac journey.
Get even closer kayaking in this wildlife-rich area and its biologically diverse waters off the ship, the beach or zodiac. You’ll glide at eye level with puffins landing in the water, and if you’re lucky, see migratory humpback whales pass through here on their annual trek between Alaska and the South Pacific.
Ventures by Seabourn zodiac expedition in Alaska
A short distance south from Alaska's capital of Juneau, where Holkham Bay cuts into the coastline under a dramatic back-drop of high snow-capped peaks and the verdant Tongass National Forest, lies the entrance to Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness. From Holkam Bay, the waterway is bisected into Tracy Arm to the north and Endicott Arm to the south. Each arm terminates at a stunning blue river of ice: North and South Sawyer glaciers in Tracy Arm and Dawes glacier in Endicott Arm. It is hard to imagine that thousands of years ago these now-distant glaciers joined in Holkham Bay, more than thirty miles from their present locations. Extremely active, the glaciers calve frequently, filling their fjords with icebergs, some three stories in height.
Brown and black bears, wolves, deer, mountain goats, seals and many seabirds frequent this vast wilderness region. Designated as a wilderness area in 1980, Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness covers an area of 653,179 acres (264,000 hectares) -- and one fifth of its area is covered by ice.
Imagine experiencing the North/ South Sawyer Glacier or Endicott Arm by zodiac, or even closer to sea level and under your own steam by kayak.
Ventures by Seabourn also lets you undertake a 35-mile glacier exploration to Tracy Arm Fjord or Endicott Arm Fjord, depending on conditions and the captain’s discretion that day, by deluxe, waterjet-powered catamaran.
Your ship glides to a brief stop in the Inside Passage, allowing you to board the catamaran right from the ship. The cat captain guides the vessel up to a plunging waterfall and makes frequent stops for you to view wildlife -- keep an eye out for bald eagles, harbor seals, mountain goats and bears.
The catamaran's maneuverability gets you close to the majestic Sawyer Glacier (Tracy Arm) or Dawes Glacier (Endicott Arm) among mystical blue icebergs.
By: Lynn Elmhirst, cruise/ travel journalist and expert.
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