Expedition Company: Un-Cruise Adventures
Airline: Alaska Airlines
Hotels: Westmark Sitka Hotel, Cape Fox Lodge
Price Range: Expensive
Activity Level: Low to Extreme (each day is tailored to your preference)
We’d long talked about going to Alaska, but never really found a trip that captured the essence of what we hoped to experience during our time in this remote state. The big cruise ships don’t fit our preferred mode of travel (too many people, too close together), and the (comparatively) smaller luxury vessels were too formal for our tastes. I looked into renting an RV and driving around the state via highway and the marine ferry system, but that wasn’t going to work for us either. I had bookmarked Un-Cruise back when it was still known as American Safari Cruises and so I went back and checked it out. Everything looked great, only I couldn’t decide on just one of the trips. I wanted to do them all! After putting together a few PowerPoint slideshows for Alan (you think I’m kidding …), I managed to convince him that this was likely the only time we’d ever take a trip like this and so we should do it up right! In the end, we booked the Ultimate Bay & Fjords expedition, and couldn’t have been happier. That’s not entirely true. I could have been happier if I had been able to convince Alan that we should do a THREE WEEK cruise and continue on with the Inner Reaches Western Coves itinerary. I realized that might have been pushing my luck though and settled for the two weeks.
Because Alaska is so remote I had thought getting there was going to be more trouble than it actually was. We flew out of Oakland fairly early and and 1.5 hours later we were stopping in Seattle for a three hour layover. Then, we flew from Seattle to Ketchikan to drop off some passengers and pick up more. We didn’t even leave the plane. From there we flew into Sitka. Oh my goodness. I can’t even explain to you how amazing the flight into Sitka was. We were practically touching the snow-capped mountains. It was tremendously beautiful. Alas, the only pictures I took were with my iPhone and they seem to have gone missing. I’m so bummed. Our flight home on Alaska Airlines was equally great. Really, they’re just a terrific airline. If you have the opportunity to fly with them or someone else, I strongly recommend you choose Alaska.
Here’s the day-by-day recap in case you’re interested in specifics.
Embarking on a Two-Week Adventure in Alaska
Sailing Away from Sitka Aboard the Wilderness Discoverer
The Magoun Islands
Freshwater Bay & Pavlov Lake
Idaho Inlet & Inian Islands
Bartlett Cove & Glacier Bay National Park
Reid Glacier | Glacier Bay National Park
Kayaking Bear Track Cove (Sans Bears)
A Day Off Boat in Juneau
Tracy Arm Wilderness
Thomas Bay | Tongass National Forest
Hiking Baird Glacier
Tlinglit Culture in Wrangell
Kayaking, Hiking, and Bear Watching in Klu Bay + Taking the Polar Plunge
Misty Fjords National Monument
Exploring Ketchikan on Foot (aka So Long Wilderness Discoverer!)