Cruise West (www.cruisewest.com), the world’s leading provider of small-ship explorations to the most fascinating destinations on earth, has enhanced its first in class Alaska experience for 2010 with more Zodiac excursions, more time in Glacier Bay National Park and more included shore excursions.
The line offers four outstanding Alaska itinerary options. Getaway cruises --The 4-night Glacier Bay Highlights aboard the 84-guest Spirit of Discovery (19 departures, round trip Juneau), and the 4-night Glaciers of Prince William Sound aboard the 78-guest Spirit of Columbia (19 departures, round trip Whittier); and two inside passage cruises – the new 7-night Alaska’s Inside Passage aboard the 102-guest Spirit of Endeavour and 138-guest Spirit of Yorktown (25 departures, round trip Juneau), and the 10-night Gold Rush Inside Passage aboard all four ships (12 departures, one-way between Seattle and Juneau).
Guests can expect more wilderness cruising and opportunities to view wildlife. Two of four Alaska itineraries offered by the line: Glacier Bay Highlights and Alaska’s Inside Passage spend two nights in Glacier Bay – Cruise West is the only cruise line offering this deep an immersion into one of America's most spectacular National Parks. Guests will wake up in front of a spectacular glacier; explore secluded inlets of the park searching for Stellar sea lions, Harbor seals, sea otters, birds (including Puffins), mountain goats and bear; and participate on a nature walk with a Park Ranger at Bartlett Cove.
Cruise West has added an included ‘Ultimate Explorers Experience’ in Sitka on all Alaska’s Inside Passage voyages. Guests will enjoy a private Naa Kahídi dance performance by the Tlingit people. Held in a traditional style Tlingit Clan House, the dancers dress in traditional regalia and move to the sound of a resonating box drum and mesmerizing songs that have been handed down through the generations. Further, there will be a guided tour of the 107-acre Sitka National Historical Park, where the battle was fought between the Russians and the Tlingits in 1804; and a tour of the popular Alaska Raptor Center that is known for rehabilitating bald eagles.
The new Alaska’s Inside Passage itinerary also features more wilderness cruising by inflatable excursion craft and a stop in historical Wrangell with an included tour of the local Wrangell Museum. Notable optional shore excursions also available in Wrangell include bear viewing from the Anan Bear Observatory and taking a jet boat up the Stikine River.
Exciting pre- and post- cruise land options are offered on all itineraries. Cruise West is the only cruise line that provides a land tour extension featuring a 3-night stay at the six million acre Denali National Park and Preserve park, included in all standard land tours. Guests have more time to explore the park and enjoy included exclusive lectures by naturalists from the Denali Education Center and Alaska Geographic. For guests seeking an even more in-depth and active Denali adventure before their cruise, the company offers a more exclusive and intimate experience at two rustic interior park lodges: Kantishna Roadhouse or North Face Lodge.