Cruise West, a global leader in small-ship explorations, today announced a new 5-night itinerary, Wild Alaska Seafari, dedicated to showcasing Alaska’s wildlife like never before.
“We are continually looking for new and innovative ways to explore this beautiful land,” shared Dick West, Cruise West’s Chairman and Managing Director. “Unlike the big ships, our captains have always had the liberty to take small ‘detours’ to ensure that guests are able to experience wildlife the way it should be enjoyed –
up-close and personal. We have extended that philosophy into an adventure of a lifetime with Wild Alaska Seafari.”
Since its inception, nearly 64 years ago, Cruise West has delivered an authentic and genuine exploration experience. Company founder, Chuck West, practically invented Alaska tourism, leading him to be called “Mr. Alaska” by his contemporaries. His dream of taking adventurous travelers up-close to Alaska took root in his days as a bush pilot. After a period of offering sightseeing and flightseeing tours, he was soon showing his guests Alaska’s interior and pristine waterways on both land tours and the first small-ship cruises. Today, his legacy of adventure and hospitality lives on in this second generation, family-owned company, operated by his son, Dick West.
“Alaska is core to our business and to our company culture,” commented Dietmar Wertanzl, Cruise West’s President and CEO. “It is often a guests’ first experience with Cruise West and it provides a perfect backdrop to showcase the benefits of small-ship cruising. Although I have sailed in Alaska several times, I am excited about experiencing this new itinerary alongside our guests.”
The new Wild Alaska Seafari was designed to provide guests with the experience closest to a true explorer. While the major ports and places have been identified, the sequence and timing will be determined by Mother Nature and the captain of the Spirit of Alaska. The captain will have the authority to adapt the timing to ensure that guests experience each sight at its most spectacular. On select journeys, there will be professional photographers onboard, for those guests who would like guidance on how to capture the “ultimate shots” of these magical locations.
* Programming has been designed for the more active traveler, so inflatable raft excursions have been planned during the day and evening, to maximize the adventure experience.
* Routes will be carefully timed to ensure that the ships’ location is designed for the best possible light, a photographer’s dream.
* Guests will visit Pelican, a town that is only accessible by ship. This small fishing village is a quiet boardwalk experience with no roads.
* Guests will enjoy a journey to the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness, a pristine wonderland.
* The Icy Strait represents more than 13 unique shore opportunities along the more than 100 miles of coastline. Each cruise experience will differ depending on the whims of the wildlife and the captain’s instincts for the best guest experience.
* Overnight anchorages will highlight ‘Quiet Places of Solitude’ and allow guests to reflect onboard, away from the glitz and glamour of the city.
* Pre-night package includes a presentation by local photographers and an early morning photo shoot at stunning Eagle Beach.
Wild Alaska Seafari can be combined with an optional 5-night land tour within Denali National Park and Preserve, home to Mount McKinley, North America’s largest mountain. The Denali experience provides guests with a plethora of choices to customize their experience, including a visit to the home and kennel of Mary Shields, the first woman to run the Iditarod, a Tundra Wilderness Tour of spectacular landscapes, and optional excursions like rafting or flightseeing.
In addition, Cruise West will continue to offer the following itineraries in 2011. For each itinerary, Cruise West provides an all-inclusive experience that includes a shore excursion in every port.
* Alaska’s Inside Passage – 7 nights, roundtrip from Juneau
* Gold Rush Inside Passage – 10 or 11 night adventures sailing from Seattle to Juneau (or reverse)
* Glacier Bay Highlights- 4 nights, roundtrip from Juneau
* Glaciers of Prince William Sound – 4 nights, roundtrip from Anchorage