An underwater bow camera, high-tech kayak launchers and iPod docks are just a few of the new features being installed on InnerSea Discoveries’ two expedition ships,Wilderness Discoverer and Wilderness Adventurer, during preparation for its inaugural season in Southeast Alaska beginning May 2011.
Kayaking adventures will be a popular activity with each ship carrying 28 assorted styles of Necky kayaks—stable, roomy and good for pros and novices. With multiple guided trips throughout each cruise, the ease of launching and return of kayaks is a priority. Both ships have been outfitted with custom made EZ Dock kayak launching systems able to quickly and safely launch four kayaks at a time. Kayakers can also easily guide themselves back onto the ship using the system.
“Though our focus is on activities outside the ship such as hiking and kayaking, we have put a lot of thought into new features to make the experience on board even more enriching and comfortable,” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “Guests will return to a relaxing and inviting atmosphere after a day spent outside exploring nature.”
An underwater camera mounted on the ships’ bow will stream video from the underwater world to flatscreen televisions in all guest rooms and the lounge. A close-up view of life underwater will amaze with a large variety of sea life and at times, views of dolphins playing in the bow’s wake. An underwater hydrophone pipes in the otherworldly sound of whales communicating with each other.
All guest cabins are above deck with large, view windows and feature upscale amenities to ensure a warm, inviting home-away-from-home for active adventurers. Eco-friendly memory foam mattresses are included in all cabins as either a twin, double or queen bed. Flatscreen televisions with DVD players, iPod docking stations and eco-friendly bath amenities take these expedition ships to a new level of creature comfort.
Hot tubs situated outside on deck provide a spectacular setting for guests to relax and take in the scenery. Each ship also has a sauna, exercise equipment, complimentary on-deck yoga classes, a large resource library, well-stocked DVD library and board games. A professional masseuse is part of the crew and massages are available for a fee.
The interior of the newly-refurbished ships feature contemporary colors that complement the wilderness outside. The main lounge, a prime gathering spot for guests to meet and share tales of adventure, has been designed to feel like a cross between a National Park lodge and a quaint neighborhood pub with a bar top made from salvaged Alaskan yellow cedar. Guests can enjoy wine, spirits and a large variety of microbrews on tap.
The company’s “un-cruise” adventures sail between Juneau and Ketchikan (and reverse) from May through September on a Western Coves and Eastern Coves itinerary. When combined, it becomes the two-week Ultimate Adventure. Setting it apart from other cruise line itineraries, InnerSea Discoveries’ ships spend less time in port and instead spend time tucking into hidden bays and coves for adventure activities in Alaska’s wilderness.
Prices for the 7-night cruises start at $1,795 per person, double occupancy, and include transfers and all activities except optional excursions. Port charges of $167 per person per week, massages, wine, spirits, beer and gratuities are extra. Select 2011 dates are designated as Family Discoveries with a focus on activities tailored for all ages. Kids 12 years and younger receive a 25% savings on all departures and 30% on Family Discoveries voyages.