New opportunities to explore Alaska’s spectacular Glacier Bay, the Columbia and Snake rivers, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés and the Pacific Northwest are announced in American Safari Cruises’ new 2010 brochure, now being distributed to travel agents nationwide. The brochure release coincides with the debut of the company’s retooled Web site, www.amsafari.com, scheduled for mid-August.
In Alaska, ASC will increase its eight-day, seven-night double-entry sailings into spectacular Glacier Bay National Park over 2009 by 100 percent. On similar itineraries roundtrip from Juneau, the company will operate three luxury yachts: the 145-foot, 36-guest Safari Explorer, the 120-foot, 22-guest Safari Quest, and the 105-foot, 12-guest Safari Spirit. Every departure of the April 30 to Sept. 10, 2010, season includes a rare two consecutive days in Glacier Bay where ASC guests are permitted to explore by sea kayak and shore boat, and to go ashore to hike and walk on glaciers, something that large-ship passengers cannot do.
"The National Park Service regulations call for a maximum of 12 passengers from any vessel on hikes at one time," explains Tim Jacox, ASC executive vice president of sales and marketing. "With the small guest contingents on our yachts, we can easily operate within this proviso, so all our folks are able to get on shore to explore on foot. We’re the only cruise line that can do this. It doesn’t work for large cruise ships with thousands of passengers or even for smaller cruise ships with 100-plus onboard. That exclusivity of experience is our hallmark."
In addition, guests will use onboard kayaks and shore boats to search the shores of Glacier Bay for bears, moose, wolves and mountain goats; they’ll also be looking for whales, seals and birdlife, including puffins. Other highlights include a visit to the tiny fishing village of Elfin Cove or roadless Tenakee Springs, the prime humpback whale-viewing waters of Frederick Sound and Icy Strait, steep-walled Endicott Arm and Admiralty Island. Prices begin at $4,895 per person double occupancy.
On its Rivers of the West itinerary, ASC has scheduled 13 eight-night, seven-day spring and fall departures on the Columbia and Snake rivers of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, including four sailings that will have a wine and food theme and visit prominent wineries in the area. The one-way cruises between Portland, Ore., and Lewiston, Idaho, focus on the history, culture, wilderness and wildlife of the area, take guests through a series of locks on the Columbia, and include a jet boat ride into Hells Canyon. Departures run in March, April, October and November. Prices begin at $3,995 per person double occupancy. The wine and culinary cruises on April 3, Oct. 8 and Nov. 6 and 13 begin at $4,295.
In response to past guests’ requests, the Safari Spirit is returning to the Sea of Cortés for 12 eight-day, seven-night sailings Nov. 21, 2009, through March 20, 2010, roundtrip from La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur. The 12-guest yacht is popular with small families and groups that want to charter the vessel for a private getaway or special occasion. Prices begin at $6,995 per person double occupancy; the full charter rate is $89,995.
Pacific Northwest cruises aboard the Safari Spirit depart in September and October roundtrip from Friday Harbor, Wash., and explore the San Juan Islands of Washington state, the Gulf Islands of British Columbia and the impressive passages of Vancouver Island, including Desolation Sound and acclaimed Princess Louisa Inlet. Included are visits to Victoria and nearby Butchart Gardens, a state marine park, historic Roche Harbor and the lively city of Vancouver. Prices begin at $6.095 per person double occupancy.
All three yachts carry two-person sea kayaks, motorized shore boats, an on-deck hot tub, exercise equipment, comfortable salon with large-screen TV for viewing videos, staterooms with DVD players and private bathrooms, a library and a complimentary bar with premium spirits, fine wines and microbrews. Meals are served at a single sitting and feature exceptional cuisine prepared with fresh, local ingredients. The guest-to-crew ratio is 2 to 1. The flagship Safari Explorer also features a sauna and onboard masseuse who provides complimentary massages and yoga sessions.