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Discover Southeast Alaska (Sitka to Juneau)

The unyielding forces of nature are on full display throughout Alaska's Inside Passage. Mountains erode by the crushing force of massive glaciers, icebergs drift across aquamarine waters, and the life cycles of flora and fauna are compressed into the scant weeks of an arctic summer. During this expedition cruise, navigate narrow channels and waterways with skilled naturalists at your side—ready to encounter Alaska's abundant wildlife, breathtaking peaks and fjords, and ice-blue glaciers of unfathomable proportions.


NOTE: This program information is current as of 6/7/2023.

Program Highlights

  • See the spray of whales only yards away and venture into secluded inlets as you get up close to nature, whether from the decks of the Chichagof Dream or aboard its skiffs and kayaks.
  • Accompanied by expert naturalists, including an Orbridge Expedition Leader, learn surprising details about animal behavior, glacier activity, and the wealth of natural spectacles along these protected waters.
  • Learn about Alaska's culture and living history during a Native dance performance at a Tlingit Clan House.
  • Visit a salmon hatchery, the Alaska Raptor Center, and Sitka National Historical Park.
  • Take a guided tour of the Norwegian fishing community of Petersburg.
  • Cruise around the pristine waters of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve to see the sanctuary’s deep fjords, tidewater glaciers, and snow-capped mountain ranges.
  • Meet a National Park Ranger for a guided walk during your visit to Glacier Bay National Park.
  • What's included: 7 nights aboard the Chichagof Dream; all onboard hand-crafted meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 7 dinners—including a special Captain’s Farewell Dinner, and complimentary wine and beer at dinner; an onboard lecture program and educational guidance of two expert naturalists, including an Orbridge Expedition Leader, and a walk guided by a Park Ranger during a visit to Glacier Bay National Park; guided kayaking, hiking, walking, skiff excursions, and wildlife viewing; all port fees and entry fees to parks, preserves, museums, attractions, and special excursions as described in the itinerary; gratuities for Orbridge Expedition Leader, airport transfer drivers, and drivers/guides on included land excursions; airport transfers for guests arriving and departing during the suggested times.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Sitka – Embarkation 
Today, travel to Sitka from your home city or from Anchorage if you visited Denali National Park on the six-day Orbridge Pre-Tour.

After arriving, visit the Sitka Sound Science Center. This non-profit organization provides education and research on aquatic, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems of coastal Alaska.

Later, visit the Alaska Raptor Center—Alaska's foremost bald eagle hospital and educational center—with a local guide. Then, venture to Sitka National Historical Park, where you'll learn the history of the area that served as the battle site between Russian traders and the indigenous Tlingit. Stand in awe before the massive totem poles lining the park's coastal trail, and gain insight into their powerful symbols. 

Late afternoon, transfer to the Chichagof Dream for embarkation. Enjoy your first dinner on board as you get to know your Expedition Leader, naturalists, crew, and travel companions.
Overnight: Chichagof Dream (D)

Day 2: Icy Strait 
Relax on deck with your binoculars and a hot cup of cocoa as you sail through Icy Strait in search of wildlife, including orcas (killer whales), Steller sea lions, seals, porpoises, and magnificent humpback whales. Watch the treetops along the shoreline for bald eagles. Choose from activities such as kayaking, skiff rides, and hiking.
Overnight: Chichagof Dream (B,L,D)

Day 3: Glacier Bay National Park 
Arrive in Glacier Bay National Park, where scientists have found exposed rock that's believed to be more than 200 million years old. While at Bartlett Cove, visit the park lodge and visitor center or participate in a guided forest hike. Meet a National Park Ranger for a guided walk during your visit to Glacier Bay National Park. Watch for puffins, sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, mountain goats, bears, and eagles—and enjoy the spectacular scenery of Alaska.
Overnight: Chichagof Dream (B,L,D)

Day 4: Eastern Baranof Island / Lake Eva 
Spend the morning cruising through the Peril Strait to Hanus Bay. In the afternoon, enjoy free time at Lake Eva to kayak, take a guided hike, or join a skiff excursion.
Overnight: Chichagof Dream (B,L,D)

Day 5: Eastern Baranof Island  / Hidden Falls 
During a rare tour of the Hidden Falls Hatchery, learn about the release of Chinook, coho, and chum salmon fry and smolts, and the vital role fishing has held in Alaska for centuries. In the evening, share the day's adventures with your fellow travelers over dinner.
Overnight: Chichagof Dream (B,L,D)

Day 6: Petersburg / Frederick Sound 
Arrive early at the charming fishing village of Petersburg, founded by a Norwegian fisherman in the late 1800s. Tour the town with a local guide and see the local youth perform a spirited dance celebrating their Norwegian heritage. Explore the town on your own, then return to the Chichagof Dream for lunch. Afterward, take a skiff excursion for a beautiful guided hike at Petersburg Creek across Wrangell Narrows. Depart Petersburg in the late afternoon and sail through Frederick Sound in search of whales.
Overnight: Chichagof Dream (B,L,D)

Day 7: Tracy Arm Fjord 
Today experience Tracy Arm, a narrow fjord that winds through towering mountains and massive glaciers. Witness the “calving” of glaciers as gigantic chunks of ice break and crash into the water. Watch for harbor seals that often dot the ice floes and mountain goats on nearby perches. In the afternoon, (with conditions permitting), glide through and discover coves or bays by kayak or skiff, soaking in the splendor of some of the most untouched wilderness in the world. Recount your trip highlights with fellow travelers tonight during a Captain's Farewell Dinner.
Overnight: Chichagof Dream (B,L,D)

Day 8: Auke Bay / Juneau – Disembarkation / Depart Juneau
Disembark this morning after breakfast and take your complimentary shuttle to the airport for your flight home or to your accommodation if you reserved a post-night in Juneau. (B)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner 

(Itinerary subject to change.)

Activity Level

Moderate

This program offers a variety of activities: skiff rides, walking, hiking, and kayaking. Activities are not strenuous for guests with average mobility. Walks and hikes are leisurely in pace to allow guests the opportunity to see and learn as much as possible about the region. Skiffs provide the mode for much of the exploration on this program and sure-footed guests can enter/exit them with little trouble. The Chichagof Dream crew is diligent in assisting guests while boarding and exiting the ship and small craft. Guests with no previous experience can easily handle the double kayaks. We expect that guests on this program can walk with good balance and go up and down stairs easily without assistance, as the Chichagof Dream does not have an elevator.

What's Included

  • 7 nights aboard the Chichagof Dream
  • All onboard hand-crafted meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 7 dinners—including a special Captain’s Farewell Dinner, and complimentary wine and beer at dinner
  • An onboard lecture program and educational guidance of two expert naturalists, including an Orbridge Expedition Leader, and a walk guided by a Park Ranger during a visit to Glacier Bay National Park
  • Guided kayaking, hiking, walking, skiff excursions, and wildlife viewing where humpback whales, orcas, brown bears, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, arctic terns, bald eagles, and other populations are frequently spotted
  • All port fees and entry fees to parks, preserves, museums, attractions and special excursions as described in the itinerary
  • Gratuities for Orbridge Expedition Leader, airport transfer drivers, and drivers/guides on included land excursions
  • Airport transfers for guests arriving and departing during the suggested times

Accommodations

Chichagof Dream

Accommodating 76 guests, the 207-foot Chichagof Dream was designed to go where large ships cannot—navigating guests to the best views possible of the surrounding nature-filled landscape. Experience Alaska up close as you watch for wildlife from skiffs or kayaks and learn about the indigenous peoples of the region. On board the ship are your knowledgeable crew, Orbridge Expedition Leader, and expert naturalists who share their hospitality, uncanny knack for spotting wildlife, and fascinating secrets behind the bountiful beauty that surrounds you.

The ship's well-appointed, intimate, and unassuming style allows travelers to experience the true heart and soul of Alaska. The Chichagof Dream features expansive viewing areas on the bow and aft outdoor promenade decks, a hull design optimized for supreme comfort in Alaskan waters, and forward-facing windows in the spacious lounge that extend from the deck to the ceiling, offering panoramic views off the bow.

Enjoy a relaxed cruising speed ideal for viewing the endless surrounding fjords, glaciers, and wildlife. The ship offers complimentary expedition gear while touring, including rain jackets, rain pants, and boots. Plus, each stateroom is outfitted with binoculars. Nothing will be missed as you leisurely traverse the channels, bays, and islands of Southeast Alaska.

After each exciting day of exploration, enjoy delectable hors d’oeuvres and convivial conversation in the lounge before delighting in a five-star dining experience—where talented onboard chefs create mouthwatering masterpieces using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

During free time, take advantage of the open wheelhouse policy. Visit the captain and officers on the bridge, view the charted course, hear ship-to-ship communications, and listen to stories from experienced Alaskan mariners.

Or perhaps experience the ship's Himalayan salt cave, theorized by some to provide holistic properties via halotherapy. From the Greek “halos,” which means “salt"—this spa treatment uses dry aerosol micro-particles of salt or minerals inside of an arid space to simulate the microclimate of salt mines. 

Note: Bed size preferences are requested when passengers complete the guest information form. If no specific requests are made, double occupancy cabins will be configured with two twin beds. This applies to AAA and Deluxe categories. 

(Accommodations subject to change.)

Optional Pre-Tour

Denali National Park


Journey into the scenic wilds of America's most northern state, through Alaska's rugged forests and wildlife. Your destination: the magnificent, six-million acre Denali National Park and Reserve. Familiarize yourself with the park, walking its trails with a guide, and choose from optional excursions to personalize your adventure. Keep binoculars close at hand. This dazzling and vast wilderness is home to Dall sheep, eagles, wolves, migrating caribou, and grizzly bears—catching sight of them is a thrill not soon forgotten. A final highlight of this adventure includes an afternoon traveling aboard the historic Alaska Railroad with superior viewing from your upgraded GoldStar glass-dome seat.

Itinerary

Day +1: Arrive Fairbanks, Alaska
Welcome to Fairbanks! The city is also known as “The Golden Heart of Alaska,” a reference to the discovery of gold in 1902 and its location in Alaska’s interior. Meet your Orbridge Expedition Leader and traveling companions at a welcome reception, and prepare for your upcoming Denali activities and excursions. 
Overnight: Pike's Waterfront Lodge (R)

A special note for visitors: 

The Pretty Rocks area in Denali National Park’s Polychrome Pass has a slow-moving landslide that forced an early closure of the Denali Park Road in 2021. The National Park Service has announced that the road will be open for summer until mile 43 due to road improvements. 

Guests will continue to have access to magnificent wildlife, pristine land, and views of towering Denali (weather permitting) for an unforgettable experience throughout the needed construction phase. 

Your Orbridge Expedition Leaders and Murie Science and Learning Center  (MSLC) Naturalist have planned an itinerary that takes full advantage of opportunities to observe wildlife and the area's ecology, including more stops for in-field discussions and nature walks.

Day +2: Fairbanks / Denali National Park
Along with your Orbridge Expedition Leader, board a motor coach destined for Denali National Park, following the nearby Alaska Railroad route. Traverse through the scenic northern boreal forests of interior Alaska—where gold miners came to seek their fortune—enjoying a rich panoply of views of America's northernmost frontier. En route, visit the Trans-Alaska Pipeline viewpoint, stop for a tour at University of Alaska's Museum of the North, and continue to Denali along the George Park's Highway.

At the Museum of the North, discover Alaska Native cultures, natural wonders, diverse wildlife, and Arctic dinosaurs. This institution not only exemplifies Alaska, but preserves it. As a research museum, there are 1.3 million specimens and artifacts from which visitors can learn. Art, culture, science, and impressive architecture make the Museum of the North an interesting and enriching stop. 

Upon arriving at the park, take a short walk with your Expedition Leader to the Denali National Park Visitor Center for a brief orientation. View the exhibits or sign up for ranger-led talks, hikes, and other activities available during your stay in Denali. Afterward, board your motor coach for a short ride to Grande Denali Lodge. This evening, enjoy a lively dinner event where you'll explore fun and unique features of the park with a presenter from the Murie Science and Learning Center.
Overnight: Grande Denali Lodge (B,L,D)

You may purchase the following optional excursions in advance from our Guest Services team to enjoy during your free time in Denali. We recommend you reserve early for best availability as space is limited.

DogGoneIt Dog Sled Tour: An intimate visit to an Alaskan frontier home to learn about the lives of the world’s greatest athletes, sled dogs, and racing the Iditarod. $59/person and $39 per youth 12 and under

Denali Glacier Landing Flight: A 100-minute plane tour of Denali to view the continent's deepest gorge, glaciers, and surrounding peaks and valleys. Also land on one of Denali's pristine glaciers. 
$649/person and $579 per youth 10 and under 

Arctic Circle Flight: Enjoy expansive views of the Brooks Range, Yukon River, and Trans-Alaska Pipeline on this approximately seven-hour air-and-land tour. After your flight crosses the Arctic Circle, land in the Yukon-Koyakuk region and walk with a local resident guide as you tour one of only a few year-round, lived-in communities located this far north. 
$559/person and not recommended for youth under 10

Normal Orbridge cancellation policies apply whereby optional excursions are non-refundable within 90 days of departure. Not all excursions listed may be available. Availability is subject to sufficient participation and weather conditions. We recommend you reserve early for best availability as space is limited. For flight excursions, weight and minimum age requirements apply. Individual dressed weight and birthdate must be provided at time of booking.
 
Day +3: Denali National Park Wilderness Excursion 
Today, travel along the Denali National Park Road on a naturalist-guided, back-country adventure for incredible scenery and some of the best opportunities to view the majestic Mount Denali. This tour includes walks in Denali's wilderness to learn more about its landscapes, wildlife, and history. Enjoy a box lunch in this special setting. Be sure to have your binoculars ready to spot for the many species of plants and wildlife.

This evening is at your leisure.
Overnight: Grande Denali Lodge (B,L)

Day +4: Denali National Park
After breakfast, participate in one of the pre-purchased optional excursions or enjoy free time to explore Denali. Take advantage of the many self-guided hiking trails or informative ranger-led talks and activities offered in the park while marveling at the scenery.

Later, reconvene for wine and hors d'oeuvres as you listen to Alaskan homesteader, Jimmie Hendricks, as he relives his journey and lifelong dream to explore Alaska and make it his home. Be amazed by his years of training, hard work, determination, and eventual summiting of North America’s tallest peak. Masks are required for this presentation.
Overnight: Grande Denali Lodge (B,R)

Day +5: Denali National Park / Anchorage
After breakfast and a morning at leisure, depart from Denali National Park on Alaska Railroad's flagship train, the Denali Star, traveling through one of the most scenic stretches of the world-famous Alaska Railroad. It cuts through the northern boreal forests of interior Alaska where gold miners came to seek their fortune. Enjoy the panoramic views as you travel in your reserved seat and upgraded GoldStar, glass-dome train car.

At 2,363 feet, Broad Pass is the highest point and a migratory route for caribou. After the train stops to drop off guests in Talkeetna, delight in lunch and dinner aboard the train before arriving in Anchorage.

This evening, relax in your luxury hotel.
Overnight: Hotel Captain Cook (B,L,D)

Day +6: Depart Anchorage
Prepare for an early morning departure. Your group will take a complimentary transfer to the Anchorage International Airport and board the same flight to meet the Discover Southeast Alaska main program. (B)

Please download the Alaska Airlines app on your smart phone. You will need the app to check in for your flight and access your boarding pass.

R = Reception, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Pre-tour space is limited, so it's recommended to reserve early for best availability.

(Itinerary subject to change.)

Activity Level

Moderate

It is our expectation that guests on this program are able to walk a mile at a moderate pace, get in and out of a motor coach, and walk up a flight of stairs without assistance.

Accommodations

Pike’s Waterfront Lodge

Situated on the Chena River, Pike's Waterfront Lodge offers unbeatable views and warm, comfortable accommodations. Enjoy hotel amenities, including an aromatherapy steam room, fitness room, restaurant, cozy lounge, ATM, 24-hour guest laundry and gift shop.

Room Amenities: Chena River view room, air conditioning, flat-screen cable TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, microwave, mini-fridge, coffee and tea maker, safe, and en suite bathroom with hair dryer and Aveda® shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and soap.

Grande Denali Lodge

The Grande Denali Lodge is located just north of the Denali National Park main entrance on the slopes of Sugarloaf Mountain with unparalleled views of the surrounding Denali wilderness and the Nenana River Canyon. Spacious guest rooms, on-site dining, and dedicated staff make the Grande Denali Lodge the perfect place to launch all your adventures. Amenities include a restaurant, a bar and lounge, convenient shuttle services, a self-service laundromat, complimentary Wi-Fi, and an espresso/snacks stand.

Room Amenities: View room, air conditioning, cable TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, coffee and tea maker, mini-fridge and en suite bathroom with shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and hair dryer.

Hotel Captain Cook

Built by former Secretary of the Interior and two-term Alaska Governor Walter J. Hickel to help Anchorage's economy recover from the devastating 1964 earthquake, this renowned hotel boasts Alaskan history from its reclaimed teak interior features to artifacts and art illustrations from Captain Cook's 18th-century voyage. Expect exceptional Alaskan hospitality and service at its four restaurants, on-site shops, athletic club, and spa.

Room Amenities: Deluxe room, air conditioning, satellite TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, coffee and tea maker, bathrobes and slippers, safe, and en suite bathroom with shampoo, conditioner, and hair dryer.

(Accommodations subject to change.)

What's Included

  • 1 night accommodation at Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks, 3 nights accommodations at Grande Denali Lodge, and 1 night accommodation at Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage
  • 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners, and 2 receptions
  • Motor coach transportation from Fairbanks to Denali National Park
  • Hotel courtesy shuttle between Grande Denali Lodge, the Denali Park Visitor Center, town, and the rail depot
  • A full-day wilderness tour into Denali National Park (including a box lunch) with your Orbridge Expedition Leader and a Murie Science and Learning Center naturalist guide
  • A lively dinner event with a special presentation from a Murie Science and Learning Center educator, plus an engaging discussion with Jimmie Hendricks, a colorful local who will share his experiences of homesteading and eventual summiting of Denali
  • Transport aboard the distinguished Alaska Railroad with upgraded GoldStar Service, including reserved seating in the upper-level glass-dome car, priority seating in the dining room for lunch and dinner (with two alcoholic beverages/unlimited non-alcoholic beverages)
  • Services of an Orbridge Expedition Leader
  • Gratuities for Orbridge Expedition Leader, local guides, drivers, porters, housekeeping, and wait staff for included meals
  • Transfers between the airport and hotel for guests arriving and departing during the suggested times

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