With an emphasis on choices, American Safari Cruises is announcing its dates and rates for its four luxury mega-yachts and five destinations for 2009 through mid-May 2010 in a new comprehensive brochure now mailing to travel agents nationwide. The long-range information is designed to help agents confirm their clients' preferred departures, stateroom categories, vessels, destinations and charters; the yachts' small guest contingents equate to limited availability.

The company's four yachts are the 145-foot, 36-guest flagship Safari Explorer; the 120-foot, 22-guest Safari Quest; the 112-foot, 12-guest Safari Escape; and the 105-foot, 12-guest Safari Spirit. All four sail in the summer season on different itineraries in Alaska, some that include two days in Glacier Bay National Park, where guests are able to go ashore to walk isolated beaches or hike wilderness trails. In the fall, the Escape and Spirit cruise on itineraries in the Pacific Northwest and Columbia/Snake rivers, the Quest moves to Mexico's Sea of Cortés for two itineraries, and the Explorer moves to Hawaii for unique inter-island cruising between the Big Island and Maui.

Built specially for Hawaii waters, the Explorer offers a previously unavailable exploratory cruise approach. As large cruise ship capacity diminishes, ASC's Hawaii itineraries gear up for a Dec. 19, 2008, launch. "Our brand of unstructured inter-island cruising is new to Hawaii," says Tim Jacox, vice president of sales and marketing. "We'll follow the wildlife, offer opportunities to meet and learn from the locals, and always leave a small footprint."

The brochure also emphasizes choices in pre- and post-cruise land tours, all with the same luxury quotient and up-close perspective as the yachts for a seamless, consistent travel experience. For Alaska, stopover packages are available in Juneau, Petersburg, Sitka and Prince Rupert, B.C., as well as land extensions at remote fly-in wilderness lodges for canoeing, bear viewing, heli-hiking and fishing. In addition, the company can customize longer stays in Denali National Park and points north.  In Hawaii, there are extensions at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel on the Big Island and the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Maui, and in Mexico at the Posada de las Flores in Loreto and the Fiesta Inn in La Paz; golf packages can be arranged at both active warm water destinations.

Other choices for 2009-10 include theme cruises for Kids in Nature (families and youngsters), scuba diving, astronomy, photography, native cultures, life lists, golf and holidays. All vessels may be booked by the stateroom or as a full-yacht charter for families and friends traveling together or for special occasions such as weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries, reunions and corporate incentive programs.

While each ASC yacht has its own personality, all feature sea kayaks, mountain bikes, motorized shore boats for up-close exploration, equipment particular to the destination such as snorkel gear in Hawaii and Mexico and insulated Mustang suits in Alaska, an on-deck hot tub, exercise equipment, a variety of stateroom choices (some with step-out balconies), exceptional meals prepared with fresh local ingredients, and complimentary fine wines, microbrews and premium spirits. All staterooms have private baths (some with Jacuzzi tubs), DVD players and Tempur-Pedic mattresses. Per-person, double-occupancy fares begin at $3,995 depending on the itinerary, and include all transfers, port taxes and fees, from-yacht excursions, entry into national parks and preserves, ongoing presentations from a professional naturalist, local experts, and a CD photo journal of the entire voyage.