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Inside Passage & Glacier Bay Wilderness Cruise

Travel the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay on this 12-night small ship cruise

From $4,895

Rates & Dates
  • Itinerary
  • Rates and Dates
  • Ports and Places
  • Land Packages
  • Vessels
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Itinerary

Whales and wildlife, kayaking and hiking. Thirteen days take you through the inside passages and Glacier Bay National Park plus remote wilderness, Native culture, and history.

INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Cruise Alaska’s and Canada’s Inside Passages
  • Visit Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and spend time with a park ranger
  • Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers and LeConte Bay iceberg gardens
  • Adventure activities in the San Juan Islands, Tongass National Forest, and Misty Fjords National Monument 
  • Native culture and  Pacific Northwest natural history
  • Watch for whales and wildlife in Frederick Sound and Icy Strait
  • Wilderness kayaking, paddle boarding, skiffing, and hiking
  • Educational presentations by onboard expedition team

Departure Dates & Rates

Select year and month

2021
May
2021
Aug
2021

Your day-by-day details

Seattle to Juneau | 

Juneau to Seattle

370x278-PNW-AK-Safari_Quest_leaving_Fishermans_Terminal_Seattle.jpg

DAY 1

Seattle, Washington – Embarkation
Ah, the Emerald City! Check-in at the hospitality center and later, board your ship and settle in. Depending on your vessel, depart from downtown Seattle, cruising along the city’s picturesque waterfront. Or leave from Fisherman’s Terminal and transit the historic Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, where it’s a 20-foot drop into the Salish Sea. Adieu, Seattle.
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DAY 2

San Juan Islands, Washington / Canada's Inside Passage
Each island in the San Juan archipelago is different. Orcas and harbor seals haven’t picked favorites. You could spot them in any passage. Give your arms a stretch. Kayak or paddle board along a tucked-away cove. Sea stars dot rocky outcroppings orange and purple. Curious harbor seals watch your moves. Get in more mileage on a skiff ride to further inlets. There will be time to hike too. Look low and nose around pools for creatures left behind by the outgoing tide.
400x300_AK_Day-4-Butedale.jpg

DAY 3

Canada's Inside Passage
Mountains rise higher. Fjords get deeper. It’s a day of intricate waterways and cruising for critters, keeping watch for black bears on shore, including the elusive spirit bear. Civilization slips away as you enter remote waters leading north through British Columbia. Surf-happy dolphins and porpoise like to catch a ride on the bow wave. Your captain and crew are on the lookout and give the call of a sighting. A waterfall and old abandoned cannery come into view—that’s Butedale. Slow down and take it all in as forested fjords roll by. Aiming to entertain and educate over the next days, your expedition team is at the ready. Natural history, Native influences, and their favorite trivia games, too.
400x300-bald-eagle-treetop.jpg

DAY 4

Canada's Inside Passage
Take your cup of joe to the bow. The world wakes up with you. Bald eagles watch the ship along its course from tree tops. Islands to the west, inlet-etched mainland to the east. Your captain and mates navigate twisting passages. Harbor seals spend their days on rocky islets. Breathe in the fresh air and take in miles of forested wilderness. In the lounge, your bartender mixes up the daily special. Take the challenge and play a few friendly hands of cards with your shipmates.
400x300_AK_Day-6-Ketchikan.jpg

DAY 5

Ketchikan, Alaska / Misty Fjords National Monument
In Ketchikan, connect with the Tlingit culture. Tribal leader and local legend Joe Williams, known as Ka Xesh X’e in his native language, guides you on a walking tour. With a rich oral tradition, the Tlingit passed stories from generation to generation—and Joe’s storytelling is captivating! Amble through the surrounding forest on a moderate-to-easy trail or challenge yourself to a hard-charger hike along trails and boardwalks past cedar, spruce, streams, and waterfalls. Next up, Misty Fjords is the largest Wilderness Area in the Tongass National Forest and a haven for wildlife—grizzly and black bears, salmon, and deer. Calm settles over these parts and all you can hear is nature. Deep glacial fjords filled with seawater. Wetlands, estuaries, dense forests, and sweeping granite cliffs. Paddle through a bay, silty from the outwash of a mountain river.
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DAY 6

Captains’ Choice
Just what you need, morning stretches on deck with your guide. Warm those hard-at-play muscles. You know firsthand—conditions in Southeast change one inlet to the next. Your captain is at the helm and your expedition team picks just the right spot. Wherever you head, the adventures are as big as the water is deep! So many hidden pockets in the Tongass National Forest. Give your paddle board skills a glide. Watch for big-eyed harbor seals from a kayak. Bushwhack into the forest of giants. Your guides know the area’s history and keep it lively.
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DAY 7

LeConte Bay / Ideal Cove
If it’s high tide, a skiff ride brings you up-close to LeConte Glacier’s iceberg gardens. Sculpted by the warm summer air, these glacial works of art are a testament to the mastery of Mother Nature. If tides are low, take a boot-sucking walk to check out icebergs resting on the mudflats. Surrounded by national forest, Ideal Cove’s boardwalk trails wind through habitat known as “muskegs,” boggy meadows of ferns and grasses. Or test your balance paddle boarding in this quiet cove. It’s just you and the vast wilderness.
400x300-alaskas-frederick-sound-humpback-whales.jpg

DAY 8

Frederick Sound / Chatham Strait
Humpbacks beeline it to this region each season to feed on zooplankton and herring. Watch for whales feasting in these abundant glacial waters. Hang out and enjoy the show. Based on wind and weather, your expedition team has the lineup of adventures all mapped out. Cruise past Five Fingers Lighthouse, Alaska’s oldest light station, and The Brothers Islands, where sea lions nap on rocky nobs. From kayak or skiff, scope the intertidal zones of un-named bays and coves. Eagles fish here too, their white noggins giving away their perches. Paddle into a seascape of wild, forested islets, or take the pace down a notch with an easy stroll amidst the tidepools. It’s remote and remarkable.
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DAY 9

Sitka / Peril Strait
Alaska’s wild natural history surrounds the historic community of Sitka. It’s a quick ride to Fortress of the Bear. Tour this home for orphaned bears and observe their unique personalities. With access to the Tongass National Forest all around you, take the hint and take a hike—your guides know the way into the mountains to a clear lake and along boardwalk trails through a temperate rainforest to a waterfall. Later, set sail into Peril Strait and join your expedition guides who share the tragic tales of how this passage earned its foreboding name.
370x278-AK-UnCruise_guests-on_shorewalk_Neka_Bay_Chichagof_Island.jpg

DAY 10

Chichagof Island
Remote passages offer more opportunities for you to search for the mighty humpback whale. Keep your binoculars at hand and watch for the misty spout of these gentle giants as they feed in the waters around you. Anchor in a remote Chichagof Island inlet. Backpacks loaded and adventure toys lowered (skiffs, paddle boards, kayaks), it’s time to go play. Stick to the water in a kayak excursion, and don’t forget to look above and below the surface. A nosy seal could be watching your every stroke. Beachcomb rocky shores. Tiny creatures cling to rocks. Tonight, take a nightcap to the sun deck and watch the sky.
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DAY 11

Glacier Bay National Park
There’s a cool factor, and it’s not just coming off the face of the glaciers! This 3.3 million-acre park was covered by ice as recently as 1795. Since then, the park’s receding glacier activity has made it a lot easier to access those inner reaches. Pick up a park ranger at Bartlett Cove in the early hours. Glacial history, retreats, advances, moraines.They come with expert insight from a park ranger and your onboard naturalists, so bring on the questions. Pigeon guillemots, puffins, and cormorants colonize and nest at South Marble Island. One good whiff and a few loud barks give away one of its mammalian residents—Steller’s sea lions. It’s a full day in the bay exploring John Muir’s legacy, all the way to Grand Pacific and Margerie Glaciers. Celebrate with a toast to nature’s handiwork.
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DAY 12

Icy Strait
Bull whip kelp threads through nearby channels like deep, twisted mangroves. And you know better, but orange and purple starfish and jellyfish make it hard to believe you’re not in the tropics. Follow the currents out to where the sea lions flock to remote rock formations. Your captain is on the bridge, the expedition team on deck, and all eyes are on the water and the shore. Everyone is on watch for the telltale blow of humpbacks. Come closer to the shoreline by skiff, kayak, or on foot. Sometimes the smallest things are the biggest wonders. Take in the evening solitude from the bow or the hot tub. Or both—why choose just one? Tonight, join your captain for the Farewell Dinner. As a special treat, your expedition team shares a slideshow of your journey.
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DAY 13

Juneau, Alaska – Disembarkation
Disembark after breakfast. Transfer to the Juneau airport or begin your UnCruise overnight stay.

Passport required. Itineraries are guidelines; variations in itinerary and the order of days may occur to maximize your experience.

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DAY 1

Juneau, Alaska – Embarkation
Welcome to Alaska’s capital city. Check in at the hospitality center and later, board your ship. Your captain and crew greet you warmly and help you settle in. Set sail from the harbor toward Lynn Canal—adieu, Juneau!
ak-port-400x300-IcyStrait.JPG

DAY 3

Icy Strait
Bull whip kelp threads through nearby channels like deep, twisted mangroves. And you know better, but orange and purple starfish and jellyfish make it hard to believe you’re not in the tropics. Follow the currents out to where the sea lions flock to remote rock formations. Your captain is on the bridge, the expedition team on deck, and all eyes are on the water and the shore. Everyone is on watch for the telltale blow of humpbacks. Dall’s porpoise feast in the nutrient-rich water too. And bears lumber about for an afternoon nosh. Try getting a little closer to the shoreline by skiff, kayak, or on foot. Sometimes the smallest things are the biggest wonders. Take in the evening solitude from the bow or the hot tub. Or both—why choose just one?
400x300-glacier-bay-national-park-margarie-glacier.jpg

DAY 3

Glacier Bay National Park
There’s a cool factor, and it’s not just coming off the face of the glaciers! This 3.3 million-acre park was covered by ice as recently as 1795. Since then, the park’s receding glacier activity has made it a lot easier to access those inner reaches. Glacial history, retreats, advances, moraines. They come with expert insight from a park ranger and your onboard naturalists, so bring on the questions. Pigeon guillemots, puffins, and cormorants colonize and nest at South Marble Island. One good whiff and a few loud barks give away one of its mammalian residents: Steller’s sea lions. It’s a full day in the bay exploring John Muir’s legacy—all the way to Grand Pacific and Margerie Glaciers. Celebrate with a toast to nature’s handiwork.
370x278-AK-UnCruise_guests-on_shorewalk_Neka_Bay_Chichagof_Island.jpg

DAY 4

Chichagof Island
Remote passages offer more opportunities for you to search for the mighty humpback whale. Keep your binoculars at hand and watch for the misty spout of these gentle giants as they feed in the waters around you. Anchor in a remote Chichagof Island inlet. Backpacks loaded and adventure toys lowered (skiffs, paddle boards, kayaks), it’s time to go play. Stick to the water in a kayak excursion, and don’t forget to look above and below the surface. A nosy seal could be watching your every stroke. Beachcomb rocky shores. Tiny creatures cling to rocks. Tonight, take a nightcap to the sun deck and watch the sky.
370x278-AK-Harbor_Sitka_Alaska.jpg

DAY 5

Sitka / Peril Strait
Alaska’s wild natural history surrounds the historic community of Sitka. It’s a quick ride to Fortress of the Bear. Tour this home for orphaned bears and observe their unique personalities. With access to the Tongass National Forest all around you, take the hint and take a hike—your guides know the way into the mountains to a clear lake and along boardwalk trails through a temperate rainforest to a waterfall. Later, set sail into Peril Strait and join your expedition guides who share the tragic tales of how this passage earned its foreboding name.
400x300-alaskas-frederick-sound-humpback-whales.jpg

DAY 6

Frederick Sound / Chatham Strait
Humpbacks beeline it to this region each season to feed on zooplankton and herring. Watch for whales feasting in these abundant glacial waters. Hang out and enjoy the show. Based on wind and weather, your expedition team has the lineup of adventures all mapped out. Cruise past Five Fingers Lighthouse, Alaska’s oldest light station, and The Brothers Islands, where sea lions nap on rocky nobs. From kayak or skiff, scope the intertidal zones of un-named bays and coves. Eagles fish here too, their white noggins giving away their perches. Paddle into a seascape of wild, forested islets, or take the pace down a notch with an easy stroll amidst the tidepools. It’s remote and remarkable.
400x300-Skiff-ride-through-Leconte-ice-gardens.jpg

DAY 7

LeConte Bay / Ideal Cove
If it’s high tide, a skiff ride brings you up-close to LeConte Glacier’s iceberg gardens. Sculpted by the warm summer air, these glacial works of art are a testament to the mastery of Mother Nature. If tides are low, take a boot-sucking walk to check out icebergs resting on the mudflats. Surrounded by national forest, Ideal Cove’s boardwalk trails wind through habitat known as “muskegs,” boggy meadows of ferns and grasses. Or test your balance paddle boarding in this quiet cove. It’s just you and the vast wilderness.
400x300-paddling-alaska-waters.jpg

DAY 8

Captains’ Choice
Just what you need, morning stretches on deck with your guide. Warm those hard-at-play muscles. You know firsthand—conditions in Southeast change one inlet to the next. Your captain is at the helm and your expedition team picks just the right spot. Wherever you head, the adventures are as big as the water is deep! So many hidden pockets in the Tongass National Forest. Give your paddle board skills a glide. Watch for big-eyed harbor seals from a kayak. Bushwhack into the forest of giants. Your guides know the area’s history and keep it lively.
400x300_AK_Day-6-Ketchikan.jpg

DAY 9

Ketchikan / Misty Fjords National Monument
In Ketchikan, connect with the Tlingit Culture. Tribal leader and local legend Joe Williams, known as Ka Xesh X’e in his native language, guides you on a walking tour. With a rich oral tradition, the Tlingit passed stories from generation to generation—and Joe’s storytelling is captivating! Amble through the surrounding forest on a moderate to easy trail or challenge yourself to a hard-charger hike along trails and boardwalks past, cedar, spruce, streams, and waterfalls. Next up, Misty Fjords is the largest Wilderness Area in the Tongass National Forest and a haven for wildlife—grizzly and black bears, salmon, and deer. Calm settles over these parts and all you can hear is nature. Deep glacial fjords filled with seawater. Wetlands, estuaries, dense forests, and sweeping granite cliffs. Paddle through a bay, silty from the outwash of a mountain river.
400x300-bald-eagle-treetop.jpg

DAY 10

Canada's Inside Passage
Leave behind Alaskan waters and continue on—to British Columbia. Take your cup of joe to the bow. The world wakes up with you. Bald eagles watch the ship along its course from tree tops. Islands to the west, inlet-etched mainland to the east. Your captain and mates navigate twisting passages. Harbor seals spend their days on rocky islets. Breathe in the fresh air and take in the miles of forested wilderness. In the lounge, your bartender mixes up the daily special. Take the challenge and play a few friendly hands of cards with your shipmate. Aiming to entertain and educate over the next days, your expedition team is at the ready. Natural history, Native influences, and their favorite trivia games, too.
400x300_AK_Day-4-Butedale.jpg

DAY 11

Canada's Inside Package
It’s a day of intricate waterways and cruising for critters, keeping watch for black bears on shore, including the elusive spirit bear. Surf-happy dolphins and porpoise like to catch a ride on the bow wave. Your captain and crew are on the lookout and give the call of a sighting. Civilization reappears as you sail the remote waters leading south through British Columbia. And a waterfall and old abandoned cannery come into view. That’s Butedale. Slow down and take it all in as forested fjords roll by. It’s a yachter’s paradise.
400x300_PNW_Ports_San-Juan-Islands.png

DAY 12

Canada’s Inside Passage / San Juan Islands, Washington
Each island in the San Juan archipelago is different. Orcas and harbor seals haven’t picked favorites. You could spot them in any passage. Give your arms a stretch. Kayak or paddle board along a tucked-away cove. Sea stars dot rocky outcroppings orange and purple. Curious harbor seals watch your moves. Get in more mileage on a skiff ride to further inlets. There will be time to hike too. A high point gives views of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains. Look low and nose around pools for creatures left behind by the outgoing tide. Tonight, join your captain for the Farewell Dinner. As a special treat, your expedition team shares a slideshow of your journey.
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DAY 13

Seattle, Washington – Disembarkation
Ah, the Emerald City! After breakfast, transfer to the Seattle-Tacoma airport or begin your UnCruise overnight stay.

Passport required. Itineraries are guidelines; variations in itinerary and the order of days may occur to maximize your experience.

Themed Departures Available for this Itinerary

Insider

Insider departures take you behind the scenes with people who have firsthand, boots-on-the-ground experience and have lived and breathed life in the places you explore.

2021:
May 3
May 10
September 18

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Rates and Dates

Fares are per person double occupancy, in USD. Triple rates are available in designated cabins (refer to deck plan); inquire for pricing details. 

View fare details

Departure Dates

Select year and month to view rates

2021
May
2021
Aug
2021

 

Download ALL 2021 Alaska Rates & Dates (.pdf)

 

May 03

2021

Seattle to Juneau
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S.S. Legacy

The 86-guest Legacy is ready for adventure. Four decks provide ample outside viewing opportunities and relaxing public spaces for gathering with new friends. Notable features of this one-of-a-kind ship include carved wooden cabinetry, lounge with full bar, open-seating dining room, and a spacious Owner's Suite. Want more exploration? Gear up in the Pesky Barnacle—a welcoming hub for souls looking for adventure—then head to the Sea Dragon (launch pad for kayaks and paddle boards).

Specs:

  • 86 guests
  • 43 cabins
  • 34-35 crew members
  • 192 feet in length
  • 40 feet wide
  • Cruising speed of 11 knots
  • Registered in United States
  • 2.5:1 Guest-to-crew ratio
magnyfing-glass-reverse_20px.pngInsider
Cabin Options
Rate Per Person
Indicate Choice
Master
$6,595
Commander
$6,945
Captain
$7,695
Admiral
$8,645
Jr Commodore Suite
$9,595
Owner's Suite
$13,295
Single Master
$8,565
Charter
$670,595
Port taxes/fees
$675

May 18

2021

Seattle to Juneau
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Wilderness Explorer

To complement the wild, natural surroundings, the interior of the 74-guest Wilderness Explorer has intentionally been designed with a Pacific Northwest feel including the nautical-themed main lounge. The open-seating format of the dining room and ample space on deck encourage guest-to-guest interaction on this small ship. This expedition vessel has three accessible decks; enjoy over-the-top views from the bow, watch sparkling stars from the upper deck hot tub, and relax in the sun lounge.

Specs:

  • 74 guests
  • 37 cabins
  • 26 crew members
  • 186 feet in length
  • 38 feet wide
  • Cruising speed of 11 knots
  • Registered in United States
  • 3:1 Guest-to-crew ratio
Cabin Options
Rate Per Person
Indicate Choice
Navigator
$4,895
Trailblazer
$6,295
Pathfinder
$6,695
Explorer
$7,995
Single Navigator
$8,095
Charter
$481,500
Port taxes/fees
$675

Aug 29

2021

Juneau to Seattle
240x180_Wilderness-Explorer.png
Wilderness Explorer

To complement the wild, natural surroundings, the interior of the 74-guest Wilderness Explorer has intentionally been designed with a Pacific Northwest feel including the nautical-themed main lounge. The open-seating format of the dining room and ample space on deck encourage guest-to-guest interaction on this small ship. This expedition vessel has three accessible decks; enjoy over-the-top views from the bow, watch sparkling stars from the upper deck hot tub, and relax in the sun lounge.

Specs:

  • 74 guests
  • 37 cabins
  • 26 crew members
  • 186 feet in length
  • 38 feet wide
  • Cruising speed of 11 knots
  • Registered in United States
  • 3:1 Guest-to-crew ratio
Cabin Options
Rate Per Person
Indicate Choice
Navigator
$4,895
Trailblazer
$6,295
Pathfinder
$6,695
Explorer
$7,995
Single Navigator
$8,095
Charter
$481,500
Port taxes/fees
$675

Ports & Places

The places you visit play a starring role throughout every journey. While this list isn’t exhaustive of every nook-and-cranny you’ll explore along the way, we’ve included descriptions of key ports and places to help you get to know the wilderness areas, landmark locations, notable regions, and coastal towns relevant to this itinerary.

Departure Dates

Select Year and Month to View Rates

2021
May
2021
Aug
2021
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Chatham Strait

Located in the Alexander Archipelago, Chatham Strait is a narrow passage that sits between Chichagof Island and Baranof Island to the west and Admiralty Island and Kuiu Island to the east. This 150-mile long strait connects the open sea with the Lynn Canal and the Icy Strait.

Photo of a grizzly bear coming out of the woods on Chichagof Island in Alaska

Chichagof Island

Chichagof Island is the fifth-largest island in the United States and one of the ABC islands of Alaska. It sits at the northern end of the Alexander Archipelago.

Separated from Baranof Island by the Peril Strait to the north, Chichagof Island has the largest population of bears per square mile of any place on earth and is protected by the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness area.

Photo of UnCruise Adventures guests whale watching in Frederick Sound

Frederick Sound

Frederick Sound is a body of water approximately 45 miles wide in the central part of Southeast Alaska, at the confluence of Portage Bay (West), lower Stephens Passage (North), and Chatham Strait between the communities of Juneau (North) and Petersburg (South). Frederick Sound is only accessible by boat or air.

Abundant krill (small, shrimp-like crustaceans), zooplankton and herring thrive in the glacially fed waters of Frederick Sound. These super nutrient-rich waters are a magnet for migrating humpback whales, making it one of the premier places in Alaska to observe feeding humpbacks.

Marine mammals in the sound also include orcas (killer whales), Steller sea lions, Dall’s porpoise, and harbor seals. A variety of seabirds thrive in this region as well and can be observed flying overhead or flocking after the whale’s watery leftovers, creating a great clue to where the humpbacks might be. Surrounding the sound are the majestic craggy snow-covered mountains of the Coast Range rising from the sea to grand heights of 10,000 feet. 

 

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Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Glacier Bay Park and Preserve is reportedly the most sought after park to visit in the United States and it is no wonder. Where else will you find a 25 mile-long river of ice still carving the land just as it has for the past several thousand years? When Captain Cook and George Vancouver sailed by in 1879, they saw a 20-mile wide glacier where today the entrance of the park lies, as well the wilderness lodge and park headquarters.

Over the past 200 years, this wall of ice has retreated an astonishing 65 miles north, splintering into a vast number of tributaries spaced throughout the entire park. Each glacier has its own name and character; our captain will decide which to visit for the day depending on ice conditions and wildlife sightings.

Visiting Glacier Bay Park is also like visiting a wildlife park. Here bears, goats, moose, whales, sea otters, and all the creatures of the water and forest flourish, completely protected from man. A National Park Ranger joins us for our entire journey to explain the park's geology, glaciology, wildlife, and its deep roots in Tlingit culture.

Photo of UnCruise Adventures guests whale watching in Icy Strait

Icy Strait

Icy Strait is a body of water in Southeast Alaska that is located between Chichagof Island and the mainland, and extends 40 miles northwest from Chatham Strait to Glacier Bay and Cross Sound. Icy Strait’s nutrient-rich waters are abundant with marine mammals, sea birds and the scenery is spectacular.

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Juneau, Alaska

Surrounded by the rich, green Tongass National Forest, and located on beautiful Gastineau Channel, Juneau is an important port and a popular tourist destination. Unique because it is the only state capital in the United States that is inaccessible by road, Juneau sits at sea level below the steep mountains that are home to the Juneau Icefield and the Mendenhall Glacier. Its temperate climate produces remarkable scenery with miles of hiking trails through woods and alpine meadows providing a glimpse of just how rugged the rainforest of Southeast Alaska is.

The Auke tribe of Tlingit Indians were the first settlers in the Juneau area. They lived there peacefully enjoying the abundance of food and natural resources until the gold rush began. First named Rockwell and then Harrisburg, Juneau was finally named after gold prospector Joseph Juneau. In 1880, he and his partner, Richard Harris, discovered gold nearby, and the city quickly developed into a gold rush town.

During the lucrative 60 years of gold mining in the area Juneau was home to three of the world's largest gold mines: The Alaska Juneau mine, the Alaska Gastineau mine, and the Treadwell mine. These three mines produced $158 million worth of gold making Juneau one of the world's major gold mining areas until the 1940s when costs outstripped the value of the gold. However, since 2005 the gold mining industry has been experiencing a resurgence.

Officially designated the capital of the Territory of Alaska in 1900, it did not function as the capital until the government offices were moved there from Sitka in 1906. In 1959 Juneau became the official state capital when Alaska was admitted to the United States. Today, its approximately 31,000 citizens live within a 3,255 square mile boundary, an amount of land that makes Juneau's city limits the largest state capital in the United States (and the only state capital that borders a foreign city.)

Along with its delightful small town ambiance, Juneau has a number of art galleries, boutiques, historical sites, and museums. In town you can visit the Alaska State Museum, the House of Wickersham, the Patsy Ann Statue, the 5-stories-tall totem pole outside the Capital Building, the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, the Alaska-Juneau gold mine or the salmon hatchery.

One of the most popular attractions in the area is Mendenhall Glacier, located only 13 miles outside the city. Although it’s receding, it is an amazing work of nature. Other attractions include the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge (providing a look at Alaska’s salt marshes and the migratory waterfowl protected there); the Juneau Icefield; the Mt. Roberts Tram (rises 1,800 feet and presents sweeping views of downtown Juneau and Gastineau Channel.) There are more than 205 trails within and surrounding Juneau. They range from fairly flat hikes accessible to wheelchairs and stroller to medium hikes up and down forest trails to strenuous uphill paths for serious hikers.

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Ketchikan, Alaska

Known as the “Salmon Capital of the World”, Ketchikan has a rich and diverse history—all of which you can see elements of today. In the late 1800s it built a fish saltery, which was soon followed by a salmon cannery and general store—salmon still spawn in the Ketchikan Creek that runs through the middle of town.

In the surrounding hills, gold, copper, and molybdenum were mined. As an important trading community with miners and fishermen frequenting the town, Creek Street became the red-light district of Ketchikan. Over 30 bordellos lined the street at one point. Mining never really took off, but the fishing industry and new timber operations began to grow with the establishment of the Ketchikan Spruce Mills early in the century. Ketchikan was crucial for supplying lightweight cedar for the construction of airplanes during WW II, and for the next half century, it was synonymous with the timber industry. In 1954, Ketchikan Pulp Mill was completed but today, the logging industry has nearly disappeared, replaced by tourism.

Wildlife sightings are also an every day encounter in this fascinating port. Over 100 species of migrating birds including bald eagles, black bears, Sitka black-tailed deer, mountain goats, marten, mink, sea otters, seals, orca, humpback whales, and an abundance of salmon can be found in the Ketchikan area.

Hanging above the salmon stream are the pilings supporting the historic structures that once housed the red light district and helped bootleggers move their whisky unseen at high tide. Today, the historic district along Ketchikan’s famed Creek Street hold souvenir shops, bookstores, and restaurants. There are a number of museums in town that tell its history from a pioneer, native, and modern perspective and the Tlingit village of Saxman, a historical town site, displays totem poles and a proud sense of its cultural past. Another unique point of interest is the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, a first-class education center with true-to-life displays of temperate rainforest, salmon streams, and native structures.

Learn about Ketchikan’s local Native cultures, and the history and importance of fishing and the arts through the Ketchikan Story project. www.ketchikanstories.com

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Misty Fjords National Monument

Misty Fjords is south of Ketchikan on the border with Canada. As you journey into Behm Canal, the seemingly quiet entrance becomes more and more narrow as you pass New Eddie Stone Rock. This geologic oddity is the remnant of a “volcanic plug” rising out of the middle of this passage, and named for resembling a lighthouse back in England by Captain George Vancouver. It is just the first glimpse at many of the geological features seen while in the Misty Fjords National Monument.

This national monument was created in 1980 and consists of over two million acres. Misty Fiords was carved out by the last great North American glaciation, leaving narrow winding granite walls to guide our ship deep into the wilderness. Many of these winding passageways open to large granite amphitheaters of rock rising some 3,000 feet out of the water. This protected wilderness area is a place where we may spot brown bear and mountain goats.

As if by magic, the forest holds onto these steep walls and flourishes on incredibly abrupt slopes coming down to the waters edge. It is common to see bald eagles here swooping down from these trees to take salmon out of the water. Often the mist and clouds will hover throughout the fiord, shrouding your whole experience in what seems like a dream. Cruising through Misty Fiords is like traveling through a mystical storybook, with epic walls of rock and deep, dark forests winding through small canyons and passages. You will never know or guess what lies around the next corner.

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San Juan Islands, Washington

Formed by tectonic activity, glacial sculpting, and the forces of erosion, approximately 450 islands (over 700 during low tide and just 172 named) dot the Salish Sea between southeastern Vancouver Island and northern Washington. Accessible only by air and sea, the views are astounding—on a clear day, you can turn in a circle and see the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges, Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier, and Vancouver Island. The archipelago’s southern border is the Strait of Juan de Fuca, to its northern edge lies the Straits of Georgia, and to the east is Bellingham Bay and Rosario Straits. The San Juans and Vancouver Island are separated by Haro Strait. In the protective rain shadow of Vancouver Island and the Olympic Mountains, the islands receive half the rain as Seattle, about 15 to 20 inches per year.

The waters are cold, deep, and prolific with life both above and below. Massive schools of salmon travel from the open waters of the Pacific with the flushing tides through Haro and Rosario Straits, making this a favorite hunting ground for resident, salmon-eating orcas (known locally as the J, K, and L Pods.) Transient orcas also travel through this area periodically to prey on marine mammals. The waters are home to minke whales, Dall’s porpoise, harbor porpoise, harbor seals, and sea lions. California gray whales pass by in fall on their way to calve in Hawaiian and Mexican lagoons. In the spring, they will pass by again, heading north to the nutrient-rich waters of Alaska.

Keep an eye out overhead or on the shorelines and rocky outcroppings for cormorants, oystercatchers, tufted puffins, terns, gulls, scoters, bald and golden eagles, turkey vultures, and more! Over 290 different species of birds have been identified in this birdwatcher’s paradise. Eighty-three islands have been designated as National Wildlife Refuges, divided into the four habitats of reefs, rocks, grassy, and forested islands. Each island is unique and has its own stories of natural and human heritage.

The islands are full of rich and colorful history. One particularly unusual chain of events that had a lasting impact on the islands began on San Juan Island. The event began with one small act in 1859 that nearly resulted in a war between Britain and the United States and was called the “Pig War”. It all started when a pig owned by Englishman Charles Griffin of the Hudson’s Bay Company broke into the tasty potato garden of American Lyman Cutlar one too many times. Cutlar shot the pig, admitted to shooting the pig, refused a trial by the British, and sought the United States’ protection. Since it was unclear at that time exactly where the U.S./Canadian border really was, a 12-year standoff ensued. The English garrison was established on the northwestern side of the island; an American garrison was set up on the southern tip. In 1872, a German arbitrator, Kaiser Wilhelm, settled the debate by establishing the U.S./Canadian boundary and “gave” the San Juan Islands to the United States.

This would not be the final colorful story to be told. The islands were settled in an initial bawdy “wild west” fashion. Even into the 1930s, as some communities claimed to be "civilized," the islands had plenty of bootleggers who were utilizing the intricate waterways around the islands to trade their goods during Prohibition.

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Seattle, Washington

For thousands of years, the coastal First Peoples lived in abundance along the shorelines that now surround Elliott Bay and the city of Seattle. The city is named for Chief Sealth. A respected local elder, Chief Sealth befriended the first non-native settlers, including the Denny party who arrived in 1851.

Logging of the great forests surrounding Elliott Bay commenced almost immediately upon arrival of the first white pioneers, who began to supply the building demands of the city of San Francisco and other developments along the west coast. This was Seattle’s first link to becoming a key import and export arena along the Pacific Rim. By the time gold was discovered in Alaska in the late 1800s, Seattle became the foremost launching pad and supply center for gold and adventure seekers bound for the “Last Frontier” of the Alaskan wilderness.

Today, Seattle’s multi-cultural population is approximately 652,000. Lumber and other exports are still important to the regional economy, as is the pioneering spirit that fostered the development and success of high-tech companies such as Microsoft and Boeing. Take a stroll along the Emerald City’s bustling waterfront and see a grand mixture of old wooden piers now housing restaurants, the Seattle Aquarium and the like with a view of the modern shipping docks in the background. Soak in the surrounding natural beauty of Mt. Rainier, rising to a height of 14,411 feet, and the Olympic Mountains to the west across Elliott Bay. Green and white Washington State Ferries constantly ply the southern Salish Sea (aka Puget Sound) to and from outlying water-bound areas.

The 1962 World’s Fair icon, the Space Needle, touches the skies at 600 feet. Have a meal in the Needle’s revolving restaurant and gain a spectacular 360-degree view in an hour. In its early days, the restaurant revolved faster—but that didn’t work so well for the diner’s digestion! Sip a latte in the heart of coffee culture at Pike Place Market and watch the "flying fish" while inhaling the colorful array of fresh-cut flowers, fruits, and vegetables and browsing local artisan stalls. Visit Seattle’s first neighborhood, Pioneer Square, with historical brick buildings brimming with art galleries, boutiques, and diverse restaurants.

Seattleites are distinguished as the number one readers in the U.S. Although some may attribute that statistic to Seattle’s rainy reputation, this city actually receives only about 35 inches of rain annually—less than all the major cities on the Eastern seaboard! That is because the Olympic Mountains on the Olympic Peninsula absorb much of the moisture from the Pacific before it reaches Seattle. The marine air does moderate the temperature in Seattle and is cause for days of overcast skies—thus its reputation for rain. Seattle enjoys about 16 hours of daylight in the summer and 16 hours of darkness in the winter.

View of Sitka, Alaska, from the harbor

Sitka, Alaska

The city and borough of Sitka are situated on Baranof Island and the southern half of Chichagof Island in the Alexander Archipelago and was originally settled by the native Tlingit people. Old Sitka was founded in 1799 by Alexandr Baranov, then governor of Russian America, when he arrived and set up a colonial trading company chartered by Tsar Paul I.

Tlingit warriors however, opposed the settlement and conflict resulted in the deaths of four hundred Russian inhabitants and the enslavement of the rest. Only a few managed to escape. Baranof returned in 1804 for the Battle of Sitka, the last armed conflict between Europeans and Alaska Natives. Following their victory, the Russians established a permanent settlement.

Sitka was the site of the ceremony in which the Russian flag was lowered and the U.S. flag was raised after Alaska was purchased by the U.S. in 1867, an event re-enacted every October 18 (Alaska Day).

There are 24 building and sites in Sitka that appear on the National Register of Historic Places, many reflecting their deep Russian and Tlingit heritage. Gold mining and fish canning paved the way for the town's initial growth, but it wasn't until WW II when the Navy constructed an air base in the area that Sitka came into its own. Today, Sitka is the fourth-largest city in Alaska.

Extend Your Experience

Photo of the exterior of the Four Points by Sheraton hotel in downtown Juneau. UnCruise Adventures offers a stopover package at this hotel for its guests before or after their UnCruise trip.

Hotel Stay

JUNEAU – FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON
2020 RATES: From $195

Centrally located and overlooking the waterfront, this newly renovated and upgraded hotel features spacious water view rooms and is within walking distance to Juneau’s shop, restaurants, and the Mt. Robert’s tram.

Summary

Stopover Package at the Four Points by Sheraton Juneau (formerly the Goldbelt Hotel) includes meet and greet service at the airport, transfer from the airport to hotel, water or mountain-view room, tax, and baggage handling.

Exterior night-time view of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Seattle, with the Space Needle in the background

Hotel Stay

SEATTLE – CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL
2020 RATES: From $190

Sleek and modern, and with proximity to the city’s attractions that can’t be beat—the Crowne Plaza is an amenity-rich home base for getting to know the Emerald City. Take in stunning views of Seattle from your spacious room, or step outside and explore it by foot.

Summary

One- and two-night stopover packages at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Seattle include airport meet & greet; airport/hotel/vessel transfers; deluxe room accommodations; and taxes & service fees.

Vessels for this Itinerary

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S.S. Legacy

The one-of-a-kind Legacy—or “whale whisperer” as many will tell you—is the fastest in the fleet. Capable of 15 knots, she sails to the farthest reaches spinning yarns of adventure along the way. Like the crew and guests having the time of their lives, she hums with each new opportunity. It’s no wonder that for many of the crew (and office folk), she’s a first love that never fades. And, a welcoming hub for souls looking for adventure.

Onboard Features: Sea Dragon (the launch pad for adventure); kayaks, paddle boards, inflatable skiffs, hiking poles; two on-deck hot tubs; fitness equipment and yoga mats; piano; DVD and book library; wine bar; and elevator (with access to three of the four public decks).

Cabin Features: TV/DVD player; hair dryer, bathrobes, conditioning shampoo, body wash; binoculars; reusable water bottles; in-room safe deposit box

Destinations: Alaska, Columbia & Snake Rivers

 

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  • 86 guests
  • 43 cabins
  • 34-35 crew members
  • 192 feet in length
  • 40 feet wide
  • Cruising speed of 11 knots
  • Registered in United States
  • 2.5:1 Guest-to-crew ratio
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103-104, 319-320
Fixed double bed; view window; private bath with shower

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105-111, 206-210, 303-308, 311-318
Fixed queen, double, or twin beds; view window; private bath with shower

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211-214
Queen or twin beds; view window; private bath with shower

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101-102, 201-202, 309-310
Queen, fixed queen, or twin beds; view window; private bath with shower (trundle available for triple)

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301-302
Fixed queen bed; refrigerator; wrap-around view windows; private bath with shower

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300 sq. foot entertainment and sitting area with wet bar, refrigerator, media center; 300 sq. foot master bedroom with king bed; view windows; private bath with Jacuzzi tub and shower (sofa bed for triple/quad)

Wilderness Explorer

Daring and ambitious, and a wee bit salty. The Wilderness Explorer was destined for Alaska’s deep waters from the first moment she slid into the drink. A strong “sea boat” with feet, she is not bashful or apologetic in her unflinching drive to seek out secret niches. Embracing change, the crew is known to try the untried, whether it’s gaining access to an unexplored trail or a new recipe with locally foraged ingredients. Bold with a capital Brrr, she is also our only boat to have over-wintered in Southeast Alaska, for not one, but two wicked cold seasons. Get to know her, and she’ll warm your heart.

Onboard Features: EZ Dock kayak launch platform; bow-mounted underwater camera; kayaks, paddle boards, inflatable skiffs, hiking poles, snorkel gear/wetsuits; on-deck hot tub; fitness equipment and yoga mats; DVD and book library

Cabin Features: TV/DVD player; hair dryer, conditioning shampoo, body wash; binoculars; reusable water bottles

Destination: Alaska

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  • 74 guests
  • 37 cabins
  • 28 crew members
  • 186 feet in length
  • 38 feet wide
  • Cruising speed of 11 knots
  • Registered in United States
  • 3:1 Guest-to-crew ratio
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215; 302
Queen or twin beds; view window; private bath with shower

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105-106; 207-214; 303; 305-306; 309-312
Queen, twins, or fixed double bed (105-106); view window; private bath with shower

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107-114; 202-206
Queen or twin beds; view window; private bath with shower

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301, 304, 313-314
Fold-down queen bed; large picture window; private bath with shower

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Navigator - 104
L-shaped twin beds; view window; private bath with a shower