Small Ship Cruises
Alaska | Northern Passages & Glacier Bay | Adult Only
Fun in the land of the midnight sun, accessible only by air and boat!
8 days / 7 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
The call of the wild never sounded so inviting. Pack your bags and curiosity and prepare for an up-close-and-personal, small group journey through the untamed majesty of Alaska on this intimate cruise experience. By day, hike the wildlife-rich forests of Tongass National Forest or opt for kayaking around the shoreline. Take a skiff for closer inspection of this magnificent landscape and keep your eyes peeled for possible bear and wildlife sightings. See the glaciers and wildlife of Glacier Bay National Park—guided by a park ranger for the ultimate experience. Join the captain on the bridge for some whale watching, and, in the evenings, indulge in fresh seafood, delicious wine and the comfort of your private cabin. This all-inclusive Alaska vacation package is complemented by Austin’s signature touch of inspired, thoughtful service, so kick back, unwind and soak up the grandeur of America’s final frontier as you fall in love with Alaska’s unforgettable beauty.
You’re invited to discover the wildlife-rich, forever-scenic splendor of Alaska on this eight-day, exclusive, small cruise ship cruise through Alaska’s intricate Inside Passage. Explore from Juneau to Sitka (or Sitka to Juneau), all the while taking in spectacular tidewater glaciers, snow-capped mountain ranges, chiseled fjords, and wilderness teeming with whales, otters, bears and bald eagles. Each day, our expert guides share the stories behind the scenes while kayaking, hiking, beach-combing, paddle boarding, and cruising for wildlife. At night, relax and enjoy the many amenities of this intimate cruise experience.
- A park ranger joins you for your full day of exploration in Glacier Bay National Park
- Explore hidden coves by kayak and paddle board, keeping an eye out for sea lions, Dall’s porpoises, bears, and brightly-colored puffins
- Kayak and hike in Icy Strait, keeping watch for whales and sea birds
- Set off on land and sea explorations along Chichagof Island, home to the largest population of bears per square mile on Earth
- Sail through dramatic, twisting 50-mile Peril Strait and aptly named Sergius Narrows
- Relax at the end of the day with a soak in a hot tub, staring at the stunning landscapes stretching wide around you
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
Calving glaciers: Experience Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve.
To play I Spy: Join the captain on the bridge or the expedition leaders/guides out on deck in search of marine mammals, primarily in Icy Strait/Krestof & Nakwasina Sounds/Chichagof Island.
Get closer: Ride the skiffs or paddle a kayak to inspect the remote coastline with eyes set on the shoreline for possible bear and other wildlife sightings.
Sitka, Alaska or Juneau, Alaska, depending on travel dates SIT or JNU
Sitka, Alaska or Juneau, Alaska, depending on travel dates SIT or JNU
Juneau or Sitka – Embark
Welcome aboard! There’s nothing like a hearty greeting from your crew and some bon voyage bubbly. With all souls settled on board, you’re underway. From the bow, Southeast Alaska welcomes you with grand views.
About the Wilderness Explorer, Wilderness Adventurer or Wilderness Discoverer
The small ships of UnCruise Adventures are expedition-ready and capable of nimble exploration through nature’s most dramatic hideaways. The shallow draft and hull design allow easy access to places bigger ships can’t reach. Explore Southeast Alaska’s wildlife-rich shores and glacially-fed inlets that serve as ideal “launching pads” for an exciting array of daily adventure excursions. The interior spaces of the 74-guest Wilderness Explorer, 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer, and 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer offer contemporary colors that complement the wilderness outside. The public and private spaces are loaded with amenities. All cabins onboard are equipped with private baths and showers as well as a view window.
Lynn Canal or Chatham Strait, your captain makes the call. Either choice, go with the flow. The water is fine. The guides help you gear up, and lead your adventure along the rocky outcroppings. By kayak or paddle board, take in the size of this wilderness. Bald eagles dot the tree tops. Harbor seals bob up and under. Pods of orcas—the largest in the dolphin family—skim along the water’s surface.
Glacier Bay National Park
What a privilege. At 3.3 million acres—this UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve is massive. At Bartlett Cove, a park ranger joins in on your day’s exploration and shares the park’s history. Orange-beaked puffins, guillemots, marbled murrelets are just a few possible sightings. Keep a tally—the list will grow. Arriving at South Marble Island, you can hear and smell ‘em before you see ‘em—it’s a haulout for sea lions. Perched above around the bend, watch for mountain goats, and lower along shore, foraging bears. Up bay, glacial silt turns the water a milky white. Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers—one holding steady, the other retreating. Lounging harbor seals laze on bits of bergs. And if time allows, tuck up in Tidal Inlet. End this very full day with your feet up for the sail into Icy Strait.
Nearly to the Pacific Ocean, Icy Strait is remote and wild. The plan? Whales and marine mammals. Spouts and fin slaps are certain giveaways. More rollicking sea lions and birds. But don’t forget to look straight down. Porpoises and dolphins may hitch a ride on the bow wave. And don’t worry about missing any wildlife; it’s a favorite mission of the crew to point out any creatures they spot. Make a break for it and head for a quiet pocket along the rugged coastline. A different sort of wild than the open strait, muskeg leads to forest bushwhacks. Skiff the shore and down along kelpthreaded channels.
Chichagof Island / Peril Strait
Kick off the morn with on-deck yoga stretches (your guides love it when you join them). Meander through glaciercarved fjords along the Chichagof coast. Then stop. It’s a prime time to lower the kayaks and skiffs. Camera in hand, set off on land and sea explorations. Closer inspection by skiff, moss-dripping trees run right down to the water. Any bears in there? With one of the world’s largest populations of bears, it’s possible. Go searching for giant trees and tidal pools. Hiking in the Tongass, it won’t take long to find them. Your eagle-eyed guides lead the pack—and pull up the rear. Later, wend along a twisting channel known for dramatic currents. Peril Strait runs 50 miles to Salisbury Sound.
Sergius Narrows / Neva Strait
There’s an eerie, enigmatic feeling in these woods. Morning fog catches like cotton balls on trees. The aptly named narrows squeezes to only 300 feet wide in one spot and a shallow 24 feet deep. The shorelines are close and it’s good territory for play. Skiff ashore and hike into the backcountry. Otters back float working to crack snacks resting on their bellies. Opening at Hoonah Sound, the squeeze is back on. Wind into Neva Strait. Watch the scenery change in the late fading light—from the hot tub of course.
Krestof & Nakwasina Sounds
There aren’t many straight lines along Baranof Island. Its western side is spattered with remote, uninhabited islands. These features mean endless opportunities for adventure. Secluded coves. Tree-covered islets. Drop anchor, pick your modus operandi, and get going. Kayak, paddle board, or skiff—you’re on the level with curious sea lions and possibly whales. Rocky intertidal zones make good beach combing. Turn a stone or two to see what’s underneath. There are no groomed trails here—get out on a guided hike John Muir would approve of. Toast your voyage with a festive Farewell Dinner and a “photo journal” of your trip. A gift to you, from your expedition team.
Sitka or Juneau Disembark
On Day 8, gather for breakfast this morning as you cruise into Sitka or Juneau for disembarkation.
A transfer will then be provided to the airport or your hotel.
* This trip is operated by UnCruise Adventures in partnership with Austin Adventures and travels in both directions.
** Due to the nature of our explorations, itineraries are guidelines and will change in order to maximize wildlife and natural encounters. Variations in itinerary and the order of days may occur.
Arrival & Departure
This trip runs from either Sitka to Juneau or Juneau to Sitka depending on the week so please plan accordingly. We suggest that you book your flight into Sitka or Juneau at least one day prior to your trip departure. You may arrive on day of departure as long as you arrive into the airport no later than 2:30 pm. If you are arriving on the day of embarkation, your airport transfer is included to the hospitality area of either the Centennial Hall Convention Center in Juneau or the Harrigan Centennial Hall in Sitka (dependent upon your embarkation city). You will have time to explore either city and meet back no later than 4:30 pm to meet your Expedition leader, followed by a 4:45 pm transfer to the boat for your embarkation. Your trip ends with a drop-off at either the airport or the Centennial Hall Convention Center in Juneau or the Harrigan Centennial Hall in Sitka (dependent upon disembarkation city). Please schedule departing flights for after 11:30 am.
Hiking: Difficulty varies depending on group, no experience necessary.
Kayaking: Protected coves and inlets, no experience necessary.
Skiffing: Inflatable skiff explorations with guides and crew, no experience necessary.
Paddle boarding: Stand up paddling, no experience necessary.
Wildlife Viewing: No experience necessary but come prepared to look and listen.
* Note: Daily itinerary is kept purposefully flexible to maximize wildlife sightings and natural encounters.
Alaska is a land of diversity, known for its rich history, geographic wonders, incredible wildlife and challenges and opportunities of today (and that they say is just the “Tip of the Iceberg”). Did you know that there are no roads that lead into Glacier Bay National Park and it is most easily reached through air travel or boat? Were you aware that just 200 years ago in Bartlett Cove, stood the snout of a 100-mile long glacier? Can you imagine the sound that a tidewater glacier makes as it “calves”? If you’re lucky, you will see humpback whales in the waters around Point Adolphus; these giant marine mammals come to Alaska’s island shores from Hawaii every year to feed in the rich waters. Learn the stories behind the name of ‘Peril Strait’. Meander around the coast of Chichagof Island, an island with the highest population of bears per square mile of any place on Earth! When you catch a glimpse of a sea otter, notice its rolling behavior, done to clean food scraps off of its shiny fur coat. Learn for yourself the differences between a Black and a Grizzly Bear. This is just the beginning – discover for yourself this place they call the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Austin Adventures and UnCruise Adventures guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They will take the time to explain the details of each activity, answer any questions and demonstrate the use of all equipment. Each activity has been carefully planned to include options for all levels. Most importantly, your guides will help you select the distance or activity that’s right for you.
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals aboard the ship: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions are included. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). All non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages are included. Super premium wines and spirits and all related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in the Trip Price
- All meals aboard ship: Breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions.
- Double occupancy cabins with private baths.
- Fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- All “from-the-boat” adventure activities and equipment.
- Wellness amenities: Hot tub, fitness equipment and yoga mats.
- Spirits, wine, beer; non-alcoholic beverages.
- Round-trip transfers and baggage handling between airport/vessel on embark/disembark day.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt and luggage tags.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
- Entry fees to national parks / preserves.
Not Included in the Trip Price
- Gratuities to UnCruise Adventures expedition guides and crew.
- Port taxes and fees ($375 per person).
- Airport transfer if not arriving/departing on Day 1 / Day 8.
- Super premium wines and spirits.
- Snorkel gear / wetsuits.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Not sure what to expect when you get your boots on the ground—or bike on the road or paddle in the water—in that dream destination? Dan Austin would love to tell you. More than likely, he’s been there, done that, and then some. The founder and president of Austin Adventures, Dan is a boots-on-the-ground influencer in the company, helping guests, ensuring guides lead the way he would, and curating new trips by personally experiencing and evaluating every detail. While always happy to add to his list of 64 countries and counting, Dan most highly values helping guests experience their adventure in the most inspiring and energizing way possible.