humpback whales inside passage alaska cruise

Humpback whales feed in the Inside Passage

Whale watching, sea kayaking in glacial fjords, and hiking in temperate rainforests delight us every day on our journey from Juneau to Petersburg aboard our private expedition vessel.

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Alaska's Inside Passage route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $4250  
Length: 7 days
Arrive: Juneau, Alaska (or reverse)
Depart: Petersburg, Alaska (or reverse)
Lodging: 6 nights aboard a 75-foot historic boat with six cabins, some with private bath
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Small Boat & Yacht Cruising, Wildlife & Natural History, Sea Kayaking, Whale Watching
Trip Level: Daily choice of easy to moderate sea kayaking and hiking, 2-6 hours a day (no previous kayaking experience necessary)


  • Explore one of Alaska’s prime wildlife areas by historic small ship
  • Sea kayak amid icebergs and beneath towering granite walls
  • Hike on glacial moraine and in old-growth cedar, hemlock, and spruce forests
  • Watch calving glaciers, bald eagles, and breaching whales
  • Optional extension to Denali National Park

Fabulous trip. The itinerary brings the Inside Passage ‘up close and personal.’ The crew, one and all, are professional, capable, and fun to be around.Jane T.—Unionville, CT

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Experience remote wilderness on the grandest scale imaginable in the Inside Passage, Alaska’s storied waterway along the southeast coast, where glaciers crackle in lovely fjords and the sea is filled with whales, orcas, porpoises, and sea lions. Our discovery of this epic realm is aboard a historic 13-guest wooden vessel that brings you deep into hidden places big ships can’t even dream of entering. With our on-board naturalists sharing insights into the local botany, natural history, and native culture, you’ll kayak into narrow inlets like Ford’s Terror, hike in majestic old-growth forests, and encounter incredible wildlife, from endangered humpbacks to bears and bald eagles. At day’s end, you’ll savor the welcoming comfort of our boat and enjoy a delicious meal in a beautiful anchorage.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Juneau, Alaska / Ford’s Terror (Southbound Departures)

Boarding in Juneau, cruise to Limestone Inlet, where you’ll enjoy an introduction to sea kayaking (no prior experience is necessary). Later, a skiff ride upriver may reveal bears, jumping salmon, and nesting waterfowl. Dodging icebergs as we enter Endicott Arm, look for whales as they dive for krill or “bubble net” for herring, and linger at Dawes Glacier to watch new bergs calve. At Ford’s Terror, a spectacular natural amphitheater, paddle beneath sheer 5,000-foot granite walls wreathed in ephemeral mists.

Days 3-5
Admiralty Island / The Brothers

After a hike in the highlands of Ford’s Terror, head for Admiralty Island, with its plentiful brown bears and bald eagles. Setting out for The Brothers Islands, you’ll watch for humpbacks and orcas in this prime summer feeding ground and listen to their ethereal songs with the ship’s hydrophone. From our idyllic anchorage, the sound of breathing whales or the call of an eagle drifts across the evening calm.

Days 6-7
Thomas Bay / Scenery Cove / Petersburg

If the whales are around, we’ll spend time shadowing their movements, then head to Thomas Bay, watching for black bear on the beaches. Anchoring at Scenery Cove, a skiff ride brings us upriver, then you’ll hike the glacial moraine of Baird Glacier. We dock in the charming fishing town of Petersburg, with its Norwegian and Tlingit heritage, and depart on Day 7 or extend your adventure to Denali National Park.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 1+, easy to moderate, according to our trip grading system. The expedition vessel serves as our mobile base camp. We explore remote coastlines and fjords by day, then enjoy the comfort of the ship in the evening for good food, fine company, and a comfortable bunk. With just a few hours of cruising each day, there is plenty of time for walking, wildlife watching, or sea kayaking all in the company of an on-board naturalist who shares insights into the local botany, natural history, and native culture.

You should be ready for a variety of weather conditions. Layered clothing works best in the changing weather conditions typical of the Pacific Northwest Coast and Southeast Alaska. Layers are easier to pack and more versatile than a single heavy coat. Don’t bring down jackets or ski clothes (they don’t dry well in the damp climate). Good rain gear is essential; it will enable you to remain comfortable in the wind or rain. Bring your high rubber boots (or use the ones provided on board) for wading and for use in the kayaks and small boats (we will wear these everywhere we go).

No previous kayaking experience is required. Unlike whitewater kayaking, sea kayaking skills can be learned quickly and easily. The waters of the Inside Passage are protected from the open ocean and are generally calm. It is not our intention to kayak on stormy days or when sea conditions are truly "rough" with high winds and waves (such occasions are infrequent in these waters during the summer). Nevertheless, unpredictability is the rule for the weather in Alaska, and we cannot guarantee good kayaking weather throughout. And with such a comfortable “mother ship,” we can always opt out of any kayaking or hiking to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and the great views from on board.

Complimentary beer and wine is offered on board. You are welcome to bring any special wines or liquor you enjoy. The boat carries tonic, club soda, and soft drinks.

Explanation of Trip Levels


Departures & Leaders

Jun 5-11, 2016

Jun 12-18, 2016   *
Jun 19-25, 2016
Jun 26-Jul 2, 2016   *
Jul 3- 9, 2016
Jul 10-16, 2016   *
Jul 17-23, 2016
Jul 24-30, 2016   *
Aug 7-13, 2016   *
Aug 21-27, 2016   *
Aug 28-Sep 3, 2016
Aug 13-19, 2017

Departures travel from Juneau to Petersburg or if marked by an asterisk (*), from Petersburg to Juneau.

Departures are available throughout the summer, but we strongly recommend you reserve your trip well in advance in order to get your preferred dates and cabin category. Cabins 1 and 6 feature private bathrooms, the other cabins have shared facilities. Contact us early to request your dates!

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2016

Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy

CategoriesCruise Price
Cabins 2-5 with shared bath $4,250
Cabins 1 and 6 with private bath $4,830
Single supplement for Cabin 2-3: $2125
Cabin 4 is a single cabin with no supplement
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Denali Extension
   from: $2035

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: $600
100 days prior to departure: Balance

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $100 per person
91-150 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
90 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Deck Plan


Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Trip Naturalist and Captain
  • Accommodations aboard a 75-foot research vessel
  • All meals included
  • Beer and wine
  • Kayaks, paddles, radios, PFDs (life jackets), and boat safety gear

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

Airfare to/from points of embarkation and debarkation of the boat, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, accommodations in Juneau or Petersburg, travel insurance, optional gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights made necessary by airline schedule changes or other factors, expenses such as immunizations (if any), and other expenses of a personal nature.

Arrival & Departure Information

Note: This Arrival & Departure information reflects our Southbound itinerary. Northbound itinerary begins in Petersburg, Alaska, and ends in Juneau, Alaska.

You are responsible for your own transportation arriving to Juneau, Alaska (or reverse), and departing from Petersburg, Alaska (or reverse). For more detailed information, including transfers, please download the Detailed Itinerary.

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule.

2016 Departures

Meeting Place:
Juneau, Alaska (or reverse)
Date: Day 1

Suggested Arrival Airport:

Juneau, Alaska (airport code JNU)
Suggested arrival time: before 11 am
Petersburg, Alaska (or reverse)
Date: Day 7

Suggested Airport for Departure:

Petersburg, Alaska (airport code PSG)
Suggested departure time: after 11:25 am

Our Inside Passage Expedition Vessel

Alaska, USA

Our 75-foot research vessel is a historic wooden boat that accommodates up to 13 guests. Constructed in 1932 as a marine research boat, she can maneuver around icebergs, follow whales, get close to glaciers, and tuck into tiny coves that most passenger vessels wouldn’t even dream of approaching. Delicious meals, including fresh-caught seafood, are served by the chef in the warm, wood-paneled salon, and a fleet of kayaks (six doubles and three singles) on board add to the spirit of exploration and discovery.

Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions option:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Sarah Drummond

Departure Dates: June 5-11, 2016, June 12-18, 2016, June 19-25, 2016, June 26-July 2, 2016, July 3- 9, 2016, July 10-16, 2016, July 17-23, 2016, July 24-30, 2016, August 21-27, 2016, August 28-September 3, 2016

Sarah graduated from Maine’s College of the Atlantic, where her studies emphasized general ecology, island ecosystems, and art. Sarah was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellowship and completed a year of travel in Argentina, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, and Greenland, ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Caroline Olson

Departure Dates: June 5-11, 2016, June 12-18, 2016, June 19-25, 2016, June 26-July 2, 2016, July 3- 9, 2016, July 10-16, 2016, July 17-23, 2016, July 24-30, 2016, August 21-27, 2016, August 28-September 3, 2016

Caroline was raised in North Dakota, a mere 150 miles from the geographic center of North America—the spot on the continent where one cannot be further from the sea. Her first experiences with the ocean came at the age of 15 in the far north of Canada, yet by the time she graduated from ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:


Denali Extension

Fantastic Wildlife Viewing and Active Excursions in Denali National Park

Photography, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History
6 days  -  Level 1

Client Comments

Fabulous trip. The itinerary brings the Inside Passage ‘up close and personal.’ The crew, one and all, are professional, capable, and fun to be around. Jane T., Unionville, CT This was the best trip ever. Hiking, kayaking, glaciers, bears, whales, sea lions—magical! This happily did not resemble a cruise ship and we loved the adventure! Peter and Kay L., Westport, MA My second WT trip and I can't wait for the next one! Jennifer T., Guttenberg, NJ We couldn't have expected more from this trip in terms of intimate exposure to wild nature. The crew is fantastic and each one of them brought an extra dimension to the trip. Margit T., San Anselmo, CA The trip was quite incredible. The crew was fantastic, the itinerary extremely well planned, and we ate well, slept well, and had a compatible group of guests. It was only just a taste of Alaska—we are ready to come back! Elaine A., New Rochelle, NY The scenery, kayaking, whale watching and hiking made it very memorable, and the food was over-the-top great! Bob B., Bethesda, MD
The boat is beautiful, the food divine, and the scenery unparalleled. We loved every minute. Melissa A., San Francisco, CA The ship was so comfortable. The owners (captain and wife-naturalist) were super professional and so responsive to individuals in a low-key way. They are pros! And the cook was phenomenal. Meredith C., Washington, DC The trip was great! Beautiful scenery, great boat, and the crew and trip leader were the best. They went out of their way to see you had an enjoyable trip. Nancy G., West Salem, WI A superb experience in every way. Stan K., Raleigh, NC Would do it again in a heartbeat. Great boat, crew, and fellow travelers. Excellent food. Lynne F., Hastings, NE Fabulous! My first visit to Alaska and I want to come back. Darcel G., Lahaina, HI The crew was professional, knowledgeable, and fun! We enjoyed breathtaking scenery and many spontaneous wildlife experiences. Dan and Brigid M., Salinas, CA