Alaska - become a true Alaskan with native-run small ship cruises
- We are Alaska Natives of the Tlingit Kaagwaantaan clan.
- We launched Alaskan Dream Cruises six years ago with the vision to show people True Alaska — the Alaska our family has come to know and love through many generations of calling this place our home.
- WILDLIFE - Commonly sighted terrestrial animals include both brown and black bears, mountain goats, and Sitka Black-tailed deer. Occasionally, wolf and moose are seen. Humpback whales (seasonal) are engaged in almost constant feeding behaviors. Orcas (killer whales), Steller sea lions, harbor seals, Dall’s porpoise, Harbour Porpoise, and Sea Otters are frequently spotted.
Published by Simon Mustoe
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.
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.
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We offer three core itineraries. These 8, 9 and 11-day expeditions include the experiences that have been most popular with our guests over the past six years, as well as some new destinations.
- Alaska’s Glacier Bay & Island Adventure is a seven-night 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, Alaskan Dream, Baranof Dream and Chichagof Dream will make a total of 29 sailings on this itinerary between May 12 and Sept. 10.
- Alaska’s Inside Passage Sojourn is an eight night journey and 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 eight sailings on this itinerary between May 8 and Sept. 5.
- Alaska’s Southeast Explorer expands the Sojourn itinerary into an 10-night 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 seven sailings on this itinerary between June 24 and Aug. 26.
- Alaska’s Islands, Whales and Glaciers Adventure (7 nights) 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. Guests 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 13 and Sept. 2.
Ask about any of the following tours:
- Alaska’s Glacier Bay & Island Adventure
- Alaska’s Inside Passage Sojourn
- Alaska’s Southeast Explorer
- Alaska’s Islands, Whales and Glaciers Adventure
Activities and Families
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 unique feature on 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 for adventure-seeking guests.
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 guests 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.
Expedition craft on each vessel provide guests with an opportunity to get up-close to Alaskan 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. Guests of all skill levels can 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, guests 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. Our guests 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 guests to gain a true appreciation of this diverse region. To this end, each vessel is staffed 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. Guests 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, guests 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.