Alaska Small Ship Cruises


Alaska Small Ship Cruises



3 months ago


7 Days (Up To 21 Days Available)


May - September


USD 2,250.00 per person


Dec 31, 2017
Alaska Small Ship Cruises
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Alaska's largest selection of small ship cruises. Cruise Alaska up close aboard a selection of over 25 small ships and yachts carrying 12-86 travelers. Cruise up close, where big ships can't, viewing glaciers, whales, eagles and bears. Hike, kayak and explore by small craft, right from the ship.

We are award-winning Alaska small ship experts specializing in authentic wilderness travel away from tourist crowds. Speak with our professional crew who has lived, worked and traveled at length throughout Alaska. With over 50 years combined experience in Alaska travel we will answer your questions quickly and accurately. AdventureSmith Explorations is a company founded by guides and we believe that a professional, knowledgeable and personable guide is the key to a successful adventure travel and small ship cruise experience. We are committed to sustainable tourism and contributing positively to the individuals, communities and environments encountered by every AdventureSmith traveler. Call our experts today to plan your Alaska small ship cruise today. Your big ship cruise alternative!


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Rates vary by trip length, ship and cabin category. Cruises start at $2250 per person for 7-day Prince William Sound Discovery cruise. Early booking discounts may be available.


Day 1: Embark In Juneau, Alaska
Juneau, Alaska, United States
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Arrive in Juneau, Alaska’s state capital. After claiming your luggage, drive to the Mendenhall Glacier, just 13 miles from downtown Juneau where you’ll quickly realize you’ve entered another world as you gaze out upon an iceberg-studded lake with an enormous ice field cascading down the valley, ending in a spectacular glacier. Before embarking the ship, stop by the Alaska State Museum for an artful introduction to this unique state. The Museum has a fascinating permanent collection with an emphasis on Alaska’s native peoples and natural history.

Embark ship in the late afternoon and have some time to settle into our cabins before dinner. After dinner on board, a local entertainer engages you with a music and slide presentation. If you prefer, take a few hours to yourself and explore the port of Juneau. South Franklin Street parallels the harbor area and offers a wide array of shops, restaurants and bars. Stroll into the downtown area to find more shops, including those offering goods particular to Alaska. After an evening of exploring or entertainment, settle back into the ship for an 11 p.m. departure to the pristine wildness of Tracy Arm.

Days 2: Tracy Arm Fjord
Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska, United States
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Early this morning, enter Tracy Arm, a spectacular 22-mile-long fjord, with rushing waterfalls cascading from its high, glacially carved walls. By breakfast time (depending on the ice conditions we will have encountered), pass the Sawyer Glacier, which has been described as bluer than any blue on earth, listen for the white thunder as ice calves off the glacier’s face. As you gather on deck early in the morning to view this spectacular sight, delight in the harbor seals and porpoises playing below and the Arctic terns and Bonaparte gulls soaring overhead.

After breakfast, Zodiac trips take you closer to the cracks and booms of falling ice as you get an even better look at the Sawyer Glacier. Keep a watch out for the sure-footed mountain goats scaling the steep, granite cliffs above. We may stop at a gravel beach where we can take out the kayaks and paddle, perhaps with the mournful sound of the loon as part of our “soundtrack.” If you prefer something less strenuous, take a peaceful walk through the woods, stopping to admire the tiny wildflowers and ripe berries.

Day 3: Petersburg
Petersburg, Alaska, United States
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Humpback whales blowing their spouts in the morning light are often spotted as we head toward Le Conte Bay, a virtual sculpture garden of grounded icebergs. Weather permitting, you’ll have the opportunity to kayak amid the ice. Or take advantage of the opportunity for an optional flight seeing trip via float plane or helicopter over nearby Le Conte Glacier. Or for hikes on forest trails, accompanied by our natural history staff.

Around lunchtime, head in to the small town of Petersburg on Mitkof Island, our nimble ship slipping into the small harbor bustling with fishing activity and boats of all kinds — trawlers, purse seiners, gill-netters and more. A town of 3,500, Petersburg was founded more than 100 years ago by rugged Norwegian fishermen, and their heritage remains as the town continues to derive its identity, as well as its income, from fishing. The waters here are rich in crab, shrimp and both pink salmon and humpy salmon.

Once docked, you’re free to explore the town, noticing the traditional floral painting called rosemaling that decorates the tidy homes and store fronts. Walking the streets of friendly Petersburg provides some insight into the character of a true Alaskan town — isolated, with an obvious spirit of community and self-sufficiency.

The evening includes a visit from a local fishing family with their interesting stories of life in Petersburg. The ship remains at the dock until we’re called to dinner, featuring the catch of the day — perhaps fresh dungeness crab. Then, the lines are released and we make our way out of the harbor into the star-studded Alaskan night.

Day 4: Frederick Sound And Chatham Strait
Frederick Sound, Alaska, United States
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These waters are prime areas for both killer whales and humpback whales. It is also fertile ground for the majestic bald eagle which you may see keeping watch atop a tall spruce. As for whales, it’s not uncommon here to see schools of up to 30 humpbacks or orcas. Observe their fascinating behavior — breaching, tail-slapping and variations on feeding — as we fill the deck, delighting in their activities and listening to the play-by-play from our expert naturalists, while our skilled Captain and crew keep us in perfect proximity. We may also see sea lions hauled out and dozing. Once ashore, take the opportunity to walk along a quiet forest trail, accompanied by our naturalists. The still waters are excellent for kayaking, offering another option for appreciating this area close up.

Day 5: Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, United States
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Spend the entire day amidst the coves, fjords, tidewater glaciers, freshwater lakes and majestic mountains of Glacier Bay National Park — one of the best places on earth to observe the ebb and flow of glaciers. Here, accompanied by a National Park Ranger who gives us up-to-the-minute information about this ever-changing environment, you’ll see glaciers that end abruptly at the water’s edge and observe them “calving” — tons of ice crashing into the sea — accompanied by an exhilarating thunderous sound. Mountain goats scaling the peaks, harbor seals and Steller's sea lions are some of the creatures we may observe in these icy waters. These sea lions are a threatened species — although the population in Southeast Alaska is still robust, elsewhere in Alaska their population has declined almost 80% in the last 30 years.

Look up during the day and chances are, the sky will be filled with soaring sea birds. If you’ve never seen a puffin, you may have the opportunity to see not only one kind, but two: the tufted and the horned puffin. As you observe them flying to and from their nests, you’ll find the puffin to be both clumsy and graceful at the same time. Designed for underwater fishing, they paddle and flap their way into the air, then make a quick dive below the surface. A visit to Tidal Inlet may bring the sight of brown bears lumbering up the hillside. If the timing is right, a bear and her cub may be playing in the water. With our engines idling so we can be as unobtrusive as possible, watch their interactions, knowing the cub will be on its own by the same time next year.

Day 6: Point Adolphus And Inian Pass
Point Adolphus, Alaska, United States
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No need to wait to start seeing the animals you’ve come to Alaska to view since our day begins on the waters off Point Adolphus, a favored feeding area for humpback whales. The benefits of small ship cruising will be immediately apparent as you get your first exposure to the advantages of our nimble ship. Keep watch on deck and you may find yourself rushing to the side as a pod of whales begins feeding right off our port or starboard bow. Listen with awe as our naturalist lowers the hydrophone so you're not only watching the whales, you are hearing their communications. A sense of wonder pervades. When questions come up, as they surely will, our marine mammal expert can tell you everything you want to know and more. After some thrilling whale watching, you’ll cruise the Inian Pass looking for playful sea otters.

Day 7: Southeast Alaska's Islands, Bays And Fjords
Admiralty Island, Alaska, United States
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Today, nature is our guide as we set forth without a specific plan. We may stop at an isolated beach, where the tide pooling and beach combing are good and there are forest trails to walk. The landscape is often colored with swaths of wildflowers with names as curious as the flower’s ability to grow here: silverweed, chocolate lily, nagoonberry and cow parsnip. We might do some small ship cruising along the shoreline of Admiralty Island, where the massive brown bear is found. Later, as you walk on one of the many islands in the area, keep an eye out for old bear tracks worn into the soil as you move from forest to meadow. This area is home to the highest density of nesting bald eagles in the world, so sightings are very common. If conditions permit, we can do some kayaking, always watching for marine and terrestrial life.

Day 8: Sitka Disembarkation
Sitka, Alaska, United States
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After breakfast we disembark in Sitka, southeastern Alaska’s only oceanfront town. In the native Tlingit language, Sitka means the village behind the island and it has been home to various cultures for thousands of years. When visiting here, one can’t help but wonder about the ways in which cultures survive, passing down their characteristics from generation to generation.

Often, as you enter the harbor channel, dozens of bald eagles soar high above. This town has a strong Russian heritage, so readily apparent as you visit St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church with its onion domes. Gaze up at the grand totem poles that line the wooded trails through Sitka National Historic Park, and at the Raptor Rehabilitation Center, come face-to-face with bald eagles, hawks, falcons and owls. Sitka’s oceanfront setting is dominated by the volcanic peak of Mount Edgecumbe and surrounded by a string of small islands. The crystalline waters of Sitka Bay abound with sea stars and translucent moon jellyfish. After our visit, drive to the airport, just five minutes from town, for our afternoon flight to Seattle, arriving in the early evening.


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The itinerary shown is just one example illustrating what an Alaskan small ship cruise is all about. Visit us to view our huge selection of Alaskan small ships and order your free brochure.

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