CATC has committed to the construction of a new, 150-passenger catamaran for KFT to add to its 12-vessel fleet, with delivery anticipated in early 2014. Designed by Teknicraft of New Zealand and constructed by All American Marine in Bellingham, Wash., the new vessel will join two sister ships, the Aialik and Orca Voyagers.
The ships’ design offers stability, spacious seating, wrap-around viewing decks, oversized, fog-free windows and LCD video monitors. A hydrofoil wing helps lift the catamaran up out of the water, decreasing drag, increasing fuel economy and creating a smaller boat wake.
“All of Kenai Fjords Tours’ vessels are custom-built for viewing Alaska wildlife and glaciers,” said Paul Landis, CATC president and chief operating officer. “We wanted to develop the optimum vessel combining an unparalleled viewing experience with passenger comfort.”
The investment in the KFT fleet comes just weeks before spring construction resumes on the rebuild of Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge on Fox Island. Being built by Seward-based Harmon Construction, the lodge will be completed and available for guests beginning June 1, 2013. The new, 3300-square-foot building boasts immense windows overlooking Resurrection Bay, a spacious dining area and lounge and a redesigned kitchen that will allow for a new culinary program.
“The Wilderness Lodge is a place for our overnight guests to gather, enjoy gourmet meals, and cozy up in the lounge with a good book and glass of fine wine,” said Cathy Martell, general manager of KFWL. “Guests will be able to enjoy gourmet Alaska cuisine and bring some of the ‘tips and tricks of the trade’ home to their own kitchens.”
An evening guided sea kayak tour has been added to other lodge activities including national park ranger-led walks, naturalist presentations and guided daytime sea kayaking. Each stay at the lodge includes a wildlife cruise, which can be upgraded to a National Park Tour or Northwestern Fjord Tour.
Kenai Fjords Tours and Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge are subsidiaries of CIRI Alaska Tourism Corporation. Alaska Native owned and operated, CATC is the umbrella company for Alaska Heritage Tours, Kenai Fjords Tours, Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge, Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, and Seward Windsong Lodge.