Category Archives: Destinations

Into the Mystic Haida Gwaii

Though Haida Gwaii, a spectacular archipelago off British Columbia, is known as the “islands at the edge of the world,” it is well within reach aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird and Sea Lion—the only U.S. vessels permitted to visit these hallowed islands in over twenty years. In large part, we were initially permitted to visit Haida lands because of our commitment to artisans, evidenced by our Artisan Fund and its varied projects, currently financed by a percentage of sales from onboard Global Galleries. The Haida are legendary Pacific coast artists and artisans. And to see their works, most strikingly the totems created by master carvers, and to hear the stories woven into the very fibers of Haida regalia, is indeed a privilege. We will visit the Haida Heritage Center at Kay Llnagaay, see a panoply of Haida art and crafts, even see artists
at work. But we will also experience the rare, spiritually satisfying adventure of exploring the coasts and landing on remote beaches to share the silence with silvered
sentinels—the weathered totems, carved lifetimes ago, that have kept watch on Haida lands since the first days.

When Lindblad Expedtions returns in May, the islands will be awakening from their winter slumber. Humpback whales will gorge on krill and the lush forests will warm, while still snow-clad mountains set the perfect context for this entrée into the life of the Haida.

Read the rest of this entry

Small ship cruises, so many changes in the market….Columbia Snake River

As far as a booking period goes, we are pretty much done with 2015 and have set our sights on 2016 and further.

There will be a number of changes in the small ship market for 2016. All plus plus plus for the consumer with more choices, more ships, more destinations.

American Cruise Line will bring another paddlewheel ship over to the Columbia Snake River. Making a total of three paddlewheel ships sailing seven night itineraries, mostly round trip Portland.  The ship will join the other American Cruise Line ship, Queen of the West, 120 passengers, a veteran of the Columbia River being renovated in 20011

They new entry ship is presently sailing as the Queen of the Mississippi up and down the Mississippi River. She wil be            re-named when she is moved to the Columbia. We are open for name suggestions…I bet on Queen of the Columbia, Columbia Queen. She is a much newer ship with larger cabins and 90% balconies.

If you would like to be updated when the ship is moved and named, just give us your e-mail.

Linda Androlia

Sunstone Tours / small ship adventure cruisesQueen of the Mississippi

50 Years of Victory to Continue Exploring the Top of the World

50 Years of Victory

50 Years of Victory

Expedition Cruises to the North Pole aboard 50 Years of Victory will continue!

Officials from the ship’s owner, Poseidon Expeditions and Quark Expeditions met in Moscow and agreed to terms that will allow use of the vessel for polar tourism expeditions through at least 2018.
Read the rest of this entry

Panama Canal Celebrates its 100th Birthday

Today mark’s the 100-year anniversary of the completion of the Panama Canal. The Panama Canal is a “man-made” wonder, an engineering marvel that changed the way the world traveled and moved goods.

Read the rest of this entry

Un-Cruise Adventure Cruises Extends to the Galapagos Islands

La PintaLove the style of Un-Cruise Adventures in Alaska, Hawaii, Baja Mexico and the Pacific Northwest? Then stay tuned, as the Galapagos is in sight.

With an official announcement still pending, Un-Cruise Adventures added a Galapagos itinerary to their selections, sailing the 10 day, 9 night “Colonial Quito & Galápagos Islands” itinerary aboard the 48-guest yacht La Pinta, starting in 2016.

Read the rest of this entry

American Cruise Lines Launches New Mississippi Riverboat

New paddlewheeler launchedAmerican Cruise Lines recently announced the successful launching of the new paddlewheeler being built for the Mississippi River at Chesapeake
Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Maryland. The launching, which occurred on Sunday, went picture perfect. Immediately after being launched into the Wicomico River, tugboats skillfully nudged the new riverboat into Chesapeake Shipbuilding’s East Outfitting Basin where the upper decks and outfitting will be completed.

Read the rest of this entry

S.S. Legacy Re-positioned to Columbia River Year-round for 2015

Un-Cruise Adventure’s S.S.Legacy, the replica coastal steamer, will be re-positioned from Alaska to its new home on the Columbia River in 2015.

As river cruising continues to grow, cruise lines are adapting. The S.S. Legacy is scheduled for 34 departures on the Columbia, Snake and Willamette Rivers from April-November 2015. The line is also offering a savings on fall 2014 river cruises, with $400/couple savings offered for bookings made by June 20, 2014. The savings is applicable for river cruises departing August-November 2014.

Read the rest of this entry

American Queen Steamboat Company Finalizes Purchase of American Empress

American EmpressAmerican Queen Steamboat Company today finalized its purchase of the American Empress. The 223-passenger riverboat, formerly known as Empress of the North, will begin operating Columbia and Snake river cruises between Portland, Oregon and Clarkston, Washington on April 5, 2014. View itinerary details.

Read the rest of this entry

Antarctica – Not Exactly as Planned

Akademik Shokalskiy

The Akademik Shokalskiy, stuck in ice-laiden waters of Antarctica

Antarctica is one of the last wild places on earth. And this past week, it’s really lived up to its name.

The ice-strengthened, Russian-flagged MV Akademik Shokalskiy set sail in early December on a expedition to Antarctica. Carrying tourists and research scientists on their way to study the effects of global warming, the ship became stuck in the ice flow on Christmas morning. The passengers are in no danger, and in fact are seemingly enjoying the unique event. Passengers said it wasn’t a bad place to be stuck; the scenery is beautiful and penguins have been walking up to the ship and sniffing around, checking out their new neighbors.
Read the rest of this entry

What is it like to live in Alaska?

A perspective of living in Alaska….

I was born in raised in Los Angeles, and just spent the last three years living in Anchorage. I loved it very, very much – and indeed I only left because I could not afford to travel often back to CA to see my family, to whom I am very close.

You’re asking two very different questions – what it’s like to live there, and what it’s like to live there as a Californian.

What it’s like to live there:

•Incredible outdoor recreation, wildlife and parks within Anchorage. People, generally, are extremely outdoorsy in one way or another.
•Anchorage is very diverse. There are large military populations, large oil-company populations, large Alaska Native populations, large ethnic minority populations (mainly from Asia & Pacific Island nations) and lots of other people just seeking an adventurous life.
•Very tight-knit community. Anchorage is around 200,000 people – more, if you count the suburbs. It’s shockingly tight-knit in terms of the neighborhoods and communities of practice that develop within it. I always saw people I knew at restaurants, concerts, special events, etc.
•It’s the last frontier. People come to Alaska because it’s huge and sparsely populated – and there is not a whole lot of government-per-square mile to enforce laws and so forth. So people come there to be left alone. There are also a lot of creative “counter culture” people living truly adventurous lives, doing unusual stuff.
•The wilderness is right there, on your doorstep. Alaska is wild and almost inconceivably huge – and it’s just on the edge of Anchorage. People die in avalanches, get mauled by bears and suffer hypothermia, all within or just outside of city limits. You have unmatched access to public lands, wildlife, wilderness and freedom. The Chugach Range, Alaska Range and Cook Inlet surround Anchorage. You can fish for wild salmon in Ship Creek, see bears in Far North Bicentennial Park (or on your lawn) and see moose almost every day. Just wandering around.

What it’s like to live there as a Californian:

Cold and dark in the winter, rainy, light and less cold in the summer. Paradoxically, perhaps, Anchorage is sunny in the winter, when it’s cold and the days are short. It’s considerably less sunny in the summer. And still not warm – in the three years I lived there, I think it only got over 70 degrees 6 or 7 days. I missed warmth a lot, but it wasn’t something that I worried about a lot. I adjusted to the winters by staying very active and getting out in the sun whenever possible.
•Frankly, it’s kind of hard being a Californian specifically. Old-timer Alaskans have a very parochial view of people moving up from the lower 48, and you earn credibility by the length of time you spend there. I think a lot of people think we all move up there to bring our hippie culture and California tax laws while taking advantage of the Permanent Fund Dividend. Truthfully, I resented being dismissed as “just a Californian” when participating in conversations about the future of Alaska.
•It’s expensive to get out of AK (again, the reason I left). Plane tickets to and from the lower 48 are very expensive. If my family were there, I wouldn’t have left.
•You won’t have nearly as much access to diverse food, music and entertainment activities. In its place, you’ll have the wilderness and outdoor culture, an opportunity to learn about how communities wrestle with diverse cultures and differing views of the ownership of land.