Category Archives: Destination Spotlights

Last minute warm water sailings in Baja and Hawaii
Larry Bleiberg, special for USA TODAY10:51a.m. EST January 2, 2013

If you’re into photography or marine biology, or want to give your kids an intense nature experience, you might want to check out the new Un-Cruise theme trips.

The small-ship cruise line has added special theme sailings in Hawaii and Mexico’s Sea of Cortes for 2013.

The photography and marine biology trips will include a shipboard expert, who will offer presentations and meet in one-on-one sessions with guests during the week-long sailings.

The Hawaii trips on the 36-passenger Safari Explorer are seven-night cruises allowing the chance to explore four islands: Lanai, Molokai, Maui and Hawaii, the Big Island. In the Sea of Cortes, the 86-passenger Safari Endeavour sails round-trip from La Paz, Baja, Mexico.

The Kids in Nature sailings are aimed at families with children 12 and younger, and timed for spring break. The staff will present education programs and lead hiking, kayaking and snorkeling shore excursions suitable for all ages. Trips include March 9 and 30 Kids in Nature trips in Hawaii and March 9 and 23 Kids in Nature sailings in Mexico.

The photography cruises include two Hawaii trips: a Jan. 5 sailing with one of the world’s top whale photographers, and an April 6 trip with a top travel photographer. In Mexico, photography trips run Feb. 16 and March 16.

Marine biology trips are offered in Mexico on Jan. 12 and March 30 sailings.

All trips include trekking, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling and skiff excursions. Sailings accommodate a flexible itinerary, allowing for viewing wildlife such as whales and dolphins.

Un-Cruise Adventures is a company with seven ships sailing Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Its parent company is InnerSea Discoveries and it began as American Safari Cruises.

It’s seven ships are Wilderness Adventurer, 60 guests; Wilderness Discoverer, 76 guests; Wilderness Explorer, 76 guests; Safari Endeavour, 86 guests; Safari Explorer, 36 guests; Safari Quest, 22 guests; and the Safari Legacy, 88 guests

Sitka, Alaska new dock no ships

Sitka, Alaska has built a new dock to encourage the big cruise ships to visit their small port town. So far they have a dock and no big cruise ships.

This is the time to take your SMALL ship cruise that visits Sitka. Once the big ships show up the town will be overrun. At this point I do not think there is a single Carribbean gold store in Sitka, as in all the other big ship ports. Sitka is on the verge of change, and not for the better in my opinion. I believe 2013 will see the transition of a native port to a tourist port. Read the rest of this entry

Ketchikan, small ship port in Alaska

Ketchikan is usually the first port in Alaska to visit on an Alaska cruise. The big ships dock on one side of town our small ships dock in the middle of town. One of our small ship lines Inner Sea Discoveries starts and ends their cruises in Ketchikan. Those who book their small ship crusie with us, Sunstone Tours, the small ship experts, receive a map and all sorts of fun information on Ketchikan as well as where to stay if you come in a night early. Here is some of the information that we provide our clients..

And…for a fun unique private tour of Ketchikan in her vintage Chevy, visit my friend Lois at ClassicTours…tell her Linda sent you
http://www.classictours.com

Stop by the visitors center on the dock to pick up the Historic Ketchikan walking-tour map and guide to area attractions. The 2-mi/3-km tour is an excellent way to see many of Ketchikan’s sites. Even if you stray from the map, don’t worry: The town isn’t big enough to get lost in. The city has also put up signage to make it even easier for visitors to find sites of interest and then return to the docks.

The walking tour will take you past the turreted, Victorian-style Burkhardt House; the 1954 tunnel on Front Street, which claims to be the only tunnel that you can go over, around and through; and E.C. Phillips & Sons, one of the few remaining cold-storage and fish-processing plants in the city.

You might also want to drop by the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, one block inland from the cruise docks. It provides interpretive exhibits about the rain forest, wildlife and native cultures, a film about the Tongass National Forest, and information on public lands, area hiking, kayaking and local ecosystems.

Along with the prosperity brought by salmon and mining came a red-light district built on the pilings above Ketchikan Creek. The community had as many as 30 bordellos before prostitution became illegal in 1953. Most of the women moved on; one who didn’t was Dolly Arthur, whose bordello is now a museum, Dolly’s House.

Strolling along the rest of Creek Street and checking out the various shops can be great fun. There are also a few cafes where you can eat outside if the weather is nice. Or just hang over the railings and watch the fish and kayakers go by. While you’re on Creek Street, catch the tram up to Cape Fox Lodge. From there you’ll be treated to one of the best views of Ketchikan.

Small ship Alaska and Hawaii cruises – New

It is exciting to have more small ships to offer my clients. As Cruise West closed down, their popular ships are being purchased by other companies and will be put back into service in Alaska. Two ships for now…others to showup in the future.

Hawaii, by small ship. A very new unique one of a kind cruise experience. This is a first and it is filling up amazingly fast. Very popular idea that no other line has jumped on. Being on your almost private yacht for a week sailing between the Hawaiian Islands………sign me up…

By Jay Clarke
Special to The Miami Herald
Two new small-ship cruise lines will start service in Alaska in May.

Alaska Dream Cruises will operate a three-ship fleet that includes two former 78-passenger Cruise West vessels that will be renamed Admiralty Dream and Baranof Dream and a 49-passenger renovated catamaran to be named the Alaska Dream. The new line, created by Allen Marine Tours, will offer seven-night cruises from Sitka. http://www.allenmarinetours.com.

Inner Sea Discoveries, created by American Safari Cruises, will operate two 49-passenger vessels, Wilderness Adventurer and Wilderness Discoverer. The former Glacier Bay Cruise Line vessels are undergoing extensive renovation. They will explore coves and other rarely seen sites along the Inside Passage. Inner Sea will offer seven-night one-way cruises between Juneau and Ketchikan and 14-night one-way trips between Seattle and Juneau. http://www.innerseadiscoveries.com.

NEW HAWAII CRUISES

A second American-flagged cruise line will begin making cruises within Hawaii next year. The 36-passenger Safari Explorer, owned by American Safari Cruises, will make seven- and 10-night one-way cruises between Maui and the Big Island and reverse starting in October. Ports of call will include the less-visited islands of Molokai and Lanai, and itineraries will be flexible, enabling passengers to explore remote coves, inlets and shorelines.

Galapagos: Our First Day on the Endeavour

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Had an incredible day, flew to the islands this morning and after lunch we saw amazing wildlife and sealife. You can literally walk right up to the wildlife and touch it. More to come…

Hawaii – Small ship cruise sails the islands

American Safari Cruises Introduces Exclusive and Inclusive Hawaiian Island Adventures for 2011

Action Packed Exploration in Maui, Moloka’i, Molokini, Lana’i and Hawaii
SEATTLE, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ — American Safari Cruises , best known for offering compelling yachting adventures in Alaska and Mexico’s Baja, introduces “authentic Hawaii,” fall 2011. Choose from the 7-night Hawaiian Seascapes and the 10-night Hawaii’s Traditional Shores, both boasting active adventures and cultural exchanges designed to thoroughly engage guests’ senses and take full advantage of the islands attributes as no other cruise can do.

Hawaii is a natural extension to the 13-year-old company’s existing product line-up given the rich marine mammal environment and opportunities to kayak, hike, snorkel, sail, bike, stand-up paddle board and more. American Safari Cruises is the first operator to offer unstructured inter-island yacht cruising in Hawaii, where the next port may not be a port at all, but a magical passage rich with wildlife, a secluded and inviting beach or a quiet cove that beckons to be explored. After a day of action, adventurers can ease tired muscles in the sauna or soak in the on-deck hot tub aboard the elegant 36-guest Safari Explorer.

Paradise shows its true colors via genuine and rewarding experiences that would be virtually impossible to do on one’s own. Both the 7- and 10-night itineraries cruise from Lahaina, Maui to Kona, Hawaii or reverse and feature whale viewing; exploring cliff-lined bays and beaches around the private island of Lana’i; visiting ancient Hawaiian homelands of Moloka’i to enjoy a private Hawaiian Pa’ina (feast); hiking on the Laparuse Trail to view ancient ruins and seizing the rare opportunity to night snorkel in the marine rich environment of Molokini; and strolling on Black Sand Beach near the southernmost tip of the United States, Ka Lae, Hawaii. In addition, optional activities such as scuba diving, helicopter tours, mule ride and golfing are available at select locales.

The 10-night Hawaii’s Traditional Shores also includes three days of island exploration on Hawaii, allowing for ample time to explore this volcanic landmass by foot and small water craft, finesse kayaking skills, seek out Green Sea Turtles and other sea life or lounge on a quiet secluded beach to soak up the fine Hawaiian sunshine.

The 36-guest Safari Explorer offers an on-deck hot tub, sauna, exercise equipment, two-person kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, sail boats, snorkeling equipment and motorized shore boats for close-up exploration, a wine library, and a large-screen TV in the main salon. Exceptional cuisine is prepared with fresh, local ingredients, and the complimentary bar offers premium spirits, fine wines and microbrews. All staterooms offer Tempur-pedic mattresses, flat screen TV/DVD players and iPod docks. The guest-crew ratio is 2 to 1, with an all-American crew that includes two professional naturalists, masseuse and Captain – some who hail from the Hawaiian islands.

The inaugural Hawaiian cruise departs October 26, 2011 with weekly departures through mid-May 2012.

Inclusive prices start at $4,995 for 7-night cruises and $6,495 for 10-nights.

Alaska, Cruise West ships get new life

New cruise line to launch in Alaska with ships from failed Cruise West

By Gene Sloan, USA TODAY

An Alaskan company with a long history in the boating business has announced plans to launch a new small ship cruise line in the state.

As was first reported today by industry watcher Travel Weekly, the new line will be called Alaskan Dream Cruises and operate two vessels that until last month were part of the Cruise West fleet.

Cruise West, one of the most storied names in Alaska tourism, collapsed in September after years of dominating small ship cruising in the state.

Alaskan Dream Cruises is being launched by Sitka, Alaska-based Allen Marine Tours, which has operated day tours in the state since the 1970s and also owns a boatbuilding business. The new line will operate Cruise West’s 78-passenger Spirit of Columbia and Spirit of Alaska, which will be renamed the Admiralty Dream and Baranof Dream.

A third vessel, a 49-passenger catamaran to be called the Alaska Dream, also will be part of the Alaskan Dream Cruises fleet, the line says.

Brand New Mississippi Sternwheeler

Guilford, CT – American Cruise Lines has announced it is expanding to the Mississippi River system with a brand new sternwheeler, already under construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD. It plans to operate the new riverboat on routes similar to those formerly run by Delta Queen Steamboat Company, which will include the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers. Cruising the Mississippi River on a sternwheeler is a true all-American experience that American Cruise Lines is pleased to bring back. The new paddlewheeler will recreate the grandeur of past riverboats while possessing the latest safety, environmental and construction technologies. The ship will have the look of a traditional riverboat along with more amenities, a faster speed, and an unmatched level of comfort. Features include six unique lounges, a library, an elegant dining salon, elevator service to all decks, and the exceptionally large staterooms found on all American Cruise Lines ships. With only 140 passengers, each guest will receive personalized service in the intimate and friendly atmosphere for which American Cruise Lines has become known.

 The first cruise is a scheduled to depart August 11, 2012 from New Orleans, Louisiana on a 7-night journey up the Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee. The ship will then begin a series of 7-night cruises travelling as far north as St. Paul, Minnesota while utilizing its remarkable speed to open up new itinerary possibilities. As on all true riverboats, a stage and bow ramp will give the ship access to the many interesting ports without docking facilities.

 American Cruise Lines has experienced record bookings in 2010 and has seen an increasing demand from passengers to bring their style of cruising to the Mississippi and tributary rivers. The company decided to introduce a new riverboat so that it could offer its superior style of cruising to the Mississippi River.

 American Cruise Lines will soon usher in a new era of Mississippi riverboats that will set the standard for years to come. For details on the best Mississippi River experience aboard the finest riverboat in the world please call an American Cruise Lines cruise specialist at 888-815-5428.

Destination Spotlight: Sitka, Alaska

Sitka is named as one of 1000 Places to See Before You Die.

1000 Places to See Before You Die

Sitka is settled on Baranof Island, located on the outer coast of Alaska’s Inside Passage. Like most Southeast Alaska communities, Sitka is accessible only by air and by sea. The downtown area is centrally located and most points of interest are within walking distance of one another.

Sitka is bypassed by many of the larger ships. Due to it’s harbor, the larger ships have to tender passengers into town, which is a hassle for both the cruise line and the passengers. Smaller cruise ships can dock in the harbor right in town.

Activities in and around Sitka are based on the great outdoors and include hiking, wildlife watching, kayaking, fishing and camping.

Read the rest of this entry