Category Archives: InnerSea Discoveries

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

Changes in Cruise Company Names

Recently announced and observed company name changes have some people excited, others confused.

American Queen Steamboat Company

American Queen Steamboat CompanyEffective July 1, 2012, the company once known as Great American Steamboat Company is changing its name to American Queen Steamboat Company. This is an intuitive choice, as their recently renovated ship, the American Queen, has a stronger name recognition than the current company name. However, its timing is creating a bit of a stir, as the company just celebrated just over a month into its inaugural season.
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Dual-Christening of Safari Endeavour and Wilderness Explorer

Dual Christening of American Safari Cruises Safari Endeavour (left) and InnerSea Discoveries Wilderness Explorer (right)

“It is a happy day!”

With that statement from Dan Blanchard, CEO at InnerSea Discoveries and American Safari Cruises, along with “Oh Happy Day” playing in the background, the dual-christening of the Safari Endeavour and Wilderness Explorer began.
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Safari Endeavour and Wilderness Explorer to be Christened May 18

InnerSea Discoveries’ and American Safari Cruises’ dual-boat christening ceremony set for May 18 in Seattle. Sporting new hull colors, interior spaces, furnishings and amenities, the 86-guest Safari Endeavour and 76-guest Wilderness Explorer emerge from major renovation projects on May 18, 2012 for a dual-boat christening event in Seattle and a summer season of un-cruise adventures in Alaska.

Safari Endeavour

Safari Endeavour

Sporting new hull colors, interior spaces, furnishings and amenities, the 86-guest Safari Endeavour and 76-guest Wilderness Explorer emerge from major renovation projects on May 18, 2012 for a dual-boat christening event in Seattle and a summer season of un-cruise adventures in Alaska. InnerSea Discoveries/American Safari Cruises operates three expedition vessels and three yachts in scenic destinations including Alaska, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, Pacific Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands.

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Paddle Boarding Takes Off with Small Ship Adventure Cruises

Paddle Boarding

Paddle Boarding © InnerSea Discoveries

Ever heard of Paddleboarding? Paddle Boarding is one of the fastest growing water sports in the world. And “stand up paddle boarding is catching on aboard small ship cruises.

Originating in Polynesia, the sport has been popular in the South Pacific and Hawaii. The sport has begun to catch on in a perceivably unlikely location — Alaska. While Alaska may not be considered a natural location for this water sport, it’s perfect for the bays and coves that small ship cruises explore, due to the flatwater found in these areas. Another destinations where the sport is picking up steam is Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, where sea kayaks have been popular for years. And of course, you’ll find plenty of paddleboard enthusiasts off the coast of Hawaii.
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Alaska’s Eastern Coves vs. Western Coves

There are several questions that often come up when planning to explore Alaska’s coastal waterways via a small ship cruise. What month to sail, what style of cruise (soft adventure, high-adventure, expedition, luxury yacht, etc.), what ship, etc. There are also lots of questions around which itinerary would be best. We at Sunstone Tours & Cruises see and receive lots of questions about two Alaska cruise itineraries in particular; InnerSea Discoveries Alaska Eastern Coves and Alaska Western Coves. So what is the difference between these two Alaska cruise itineraries?

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Former Cruise West Ships – Where are they now?

Cruise WestBack in the 90’s and into most of the 2000’s, Cruise West was a major player in the small ship cruising niche industry. Many of our clients fell in love with their Alaska experience and the ships. With the one-year anniversary of the Cruise West’s demise approaching, we like to check in on the former Cruise West ships to see where they are now.

Spirit of Oceanus

Spirit of Oceanus / Sea SpiritThe one time 120-passenger flagship of the line was the most luxurious ship in the fleet, and sailed grand Alaska and Asia itineraries. The Spirit of Oceanus was in the midst of sailing a world cruise when Cruise West halted operations. The ship terminated its sailing in Newfoundland, Canada and was immediately sold to TN Cruise K/S, who now charters the ship to other cruise lines.

Today, the ship, renamed Sea Spirit, is now chartered to several expedition lines, including Quark Expeditions and Zegrahm Expeditions, sailing the Antarctic.

Sea Spirit Itineraries

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Photos from a Recent InnerSea Discoveries Alaska Sailing

Click to view photos

Sometimes the best way to illustrate the small ship adventure experience is to show you. Here are photos from a recent small ship Alaska cruise sailing aboard InnerSea Discoveries Wilderness Discoverer. Enjoy!

View photos here…

View small ship Alaska cruise itineraries here…

InnerSea Discoveries Christins Two Expedition Vessels for Inaugural Alaska Season

Dedicated employee Naomi Sture helps with the christening ceremony.

On Friday, April 29, 2011, with the crack of a champagne bottle against each hull, InnerSea Discoveries officially inaugurated its fleet of two expedition vessels soon to set sail on active adventure “un-cruises” in Southeast Alaska.

Friends, family, employees and business partners gathered dockside outside the company’s Seattle office to celebrate the successful refurbishment and launch of the new brand’s 68-guest m/v Wilderness Discoverer and 60-guest m/v Wilderness Adventurer. 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

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.