Few places left on earth offer the traveller as much untamed scenic grandeur as the great land of Alaska. Witnessing this vast landscape has a humbling effect on those who journey along its dramatic fjord and coastal scenery, past towering mountains, their foothills covered with never ending spruce forests. Words cannot adequately describe what it feels like to stand on the crest of an age old glacier, see a whale gracefully breach above the sea’s surface or watch a grizzly hunt for spawning salmon in the gushing Alaskan rivers.
Discerning travellers will appreciate this rich itinerary that explores the many facets of Alaska; tidewater glaciers, hidden fjords, massive ice-fields and huge mountains. The MS Caledonian Sky will follow a flexible course avoiding the lanes frequented by the big resort ships whenever possible. The day to day itinerary will be determined by weather and wildlife sightings and for a closer look, Zodiac craft will be used to explore the coastline and to land on isolated spots. With only 100 or so like minded souls, you will be able to appreciate the peace and beauty of Alaska, explore in small parties ashore and visit places which the passengers aboard the big ships will never be taken.
Please note price includes return flights to/from London. For non-use of these flights there is a reduction in price. Contact us for more information.
Great Land of Alaska itinerary:
Day 1 - LONDON TO ANCHORAGE.
Fly by scheduled flight via Seattle. Arrive late this evening and transfer to a first class hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 2 - ANCHORAGE TO SEWARD.
After breakfast, enjoy a sightseeing tour of Anchorage including a visit to the Anchorage Museum. Arrive into Seward this afternoon and transfer to the MS Caledonian Sky for embarkation.
Day 3 - PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND.
Waking up to a vision of massive glaciers and icebergs is a reminder of the advantages of small ship cruising. The MS Caledonian Sky makes its way past the icebergs and coves of Prince William Sound and weather permitting, we hope to explore Barry Arm and College fjord.
Day 4 - KAYAK ISLAND & ICY BAY.
This morning we arrive at Kayak landing where we will use our Zodicas to land for a walk. It is here that Captain Vitus Bering landed in 1741 after crossing the North Pacific from Russia. With Mount St Elias framing an imposing 18,000 ft, backdrop, we will explore the mighty Malaspina and Guyot Glaciers. Zodiac forays will take us to the head of this impressive bay, populated by hundreds of harbour seals. In the distance look out for black bears and mountain goats
Day 5 - HUBBARD GLACIER.
Today cruise the St Elias Range, the tallest coastal mountain range in the world. Enter Yakutat Bay to view Hubbard Glacier, at over 75 miles long the longest tidewater Glacier in North America, with a face six miles wide. This is one of the few advancing glaciers, and our small ship is able manoeuvre a comfortable distance off the face of the glacier and watch for “glacier calving”.
Day 6 - INIAN ISLANDS, ELFIN COVE & POINT ADOLPHUS.
This morning we anchor off the tiny hamlet of Elfin Cove, a remote village on Chichagof Island accessible only by boat or float plane. Upon our arrival, local resident Mary Jo Lordwild will join us on board the ship for a presentation on Elfin Cove and life in a boardwalk community. After tendering ashore by Zodiac, you are free to explore this unique and seldom-visited fishing community by strolling along the elevated boardwalk that serves as the town’s sidewalk and main street. Elfin Cove has something for everyone: photography buffs can try to capture the picturesque setting and colorful fishing boats on film; wildlife enthusiasts may be rewarded by the sight of a sea otter, harbour seal or bald eagle. During lunch we continue to Point Adolphus, across from the entrance to Glacier Bay. Observe the congregation of Humpback whales who spend their summer feeding in the rich upwelling which occurs here.
Day 7 - ADMIRALTY ISLAND.
This morning we arrive at The Brothers, a group of small islands off the southern coast of Admiralty Island. These remote islands are a photographer’s paradise. Look out for whales, Stellar sea lions and eagles. Sail over lunch to Admiralty Island which boasts one of the densest populations of brown bears in Alaska.
Day 8 - TRACY ARM & ENDICOTT ARM.
A journey along the winding Tracy Arm Fjord leads us some twenty miles through an ethereal wilderness of soaring peaks and high cliffs, crystalline icebergs and tumbling waterfalls to the foot of the twin Sawyer Glaciers.
Day 9 - PETERSBURG & WRANGELL NARROWS.
This morning we go ashore at the village of Petersburg, a commercial fishing harbour. From here we will take a nature walk looking for bears, dear, eagles and other large birds of the area. This afternoon we cruise the spectacular 35km long Wrangell Narrows. The winding narrows are only accessible by small ships such as the MS Caledonian Sky.
Day 10 - MISTY FJORDS.
This morning retrace a portion of Captain George Vancouver’s voyage through this region. The MS Caledonian Sky will cruise into Rudyerd Bay, one of the great bays of Misty Fjords National Monument. Gigantic granite domes and huge waterfalls are everywhere in this beautiful spot. It is a perfect time to view the salmon returning at the mouth of several small streams. If we are lucky, we might glimpse the great Alaskan brown bear, a frequent visitor to these streams.
Day 11 - PRINCE RUPERT.
Leaving Alaska and entering Canada we first visit the port city of Prince Rupert. This is one of the finest natural harbours in the world and is surrounded by lush forests and beautiful rivers Northern B.C. People have been living here for almost 10,000 years, and today we get a unique introduction into their fascinating culture. Sail through the stunning Grenville Channel. Part of the coast is home to the famous Kermode or “Spirit Bear”, a black bear (Ursos Americanus) with a completely white coat.
Day 12 - FJORDLAND.
Off the beaten path on a waterway far to the east of the usual ship route is one of the newest Canadian Parks, Fjordland. Seldom visited and truly magnificent, this area is packed with wildlife. Humpback whales, wolves, deer, eagles and bear are often seen here. In magnificent Kynoch Inlet the MS Caledonian Sky will manoeuvre close to a dramatic waterfall dropping directly into the fjord. Deep in Kynoch is an extraordinary place called Culpepper’s Lagoon. If tide and time permit we will lower our Zodiacs for an excursion into this seldom visited paradise. This afternoon cross the magnificent Queen Charlotte Sound.
Day 13 - ALERT BAY & JOHNSTONE STRAIT.
Today visit a true gem, the Umista Cultural Centre and Big House in Alert Bay on northern Vancouver Island. Visit the town and see the colourful totem park and cemetery. Walk the short distance to the “Big House” to watch a dance presentation by some Kwakwaka’wakw Dancers. In the afternoon cruise through the Johnstone Strait, one of the best Orca Whale watching waters in the world and later through Seymour Narrows.
Day 14 - VANCOUVER TO LONDON.
Disembark and enjoy a morning city tour and lunch before transferring to the airport for your evening return scheduled flight to London.
Day 15 - LONDON HEATHROW.
The MS Caledonian Sky accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in 57 spacious outside suites. Many have walk-in wardrobes and some feature tub baths. There will be seven categories of suites and sixteen suites will have private balconies. For those familiar with the MS Island Sky she will feel like a second home, although there are some differences. The dining room, lounge, Lido Deck and bar are all similar. However, the ‘Club’ on the MS Caledonian Sky has been transported to the very top deck. Here, there is a library and bar which leads out on to a lovely forward deck. The ‘Club’ has wonderful views with ceiling to floor windows.
If you like the MS Island Sky, we are sure you will also approve of her sister. And, of course it is important that we offer the very best of facilities. However, equally as important are the staff on board whether they are the vessel’s crew or our own expedition staff. Noble Caledonia’s reputation has been built on providing the very best in all areas. Their crew of 74 not only offer an excellent service they are also noted for their kindness and attention to detail. A well run ship with a warm atmosphere is what we are known for, and it is because most of our crew have been with us for many years that we are able to engender such an atmosphere.
Onboard there are 57 exceptionally spacious and well designed suites. The passenger accommodation is arranged over four decks and all suites have outside views. All feature a sitting room area and some have private balconies. Each affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring a country style wash basin, hot towel rack and vanity unit with sink and walk-in shower and/or bath tub.
Facilities in the suites also include walk-in or spacious wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool or desk, mini-fridge, flat screen television, telephone, programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted toiletries, air-conditioning and heating. Bottled water, towelling dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort.
The spacious and finely decorated public rooms include a large lounge where daily briefings and talks will be provided throughout the voyage and an elegant bar where a pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The bar also features a 24-hour tea and coffee station. In addition there is the Club Lounge on the Panoramic Deck which features a bar. The onboard travel library is the perfect place to relax with a book and is stocked with reference books pertaining to the places the vessel is visiting along with a selection of games and two computers with internet access. Daily newspapers and magazines are also placed in the library depending on local availability. Outside there is a rear Lido deck where meals are served in warm weather under shade. On the top deck there is a further observation and sun deck with bar service and comfortable deck furniture for sun bathing or relaxing with a book. There is also a small gymnasium onboard and hairdressers with appointments made on request.
With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the quality of cuisine will be of a consistent superior quality. Where possible and when it meets his high standards, our accomplished chef will obtain local produce in markets or buy the catch of the day from a passing fishing boat. Such purchases enhance the well stocked larders and bring a local touch to the varied menus. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffet-style, with certain items cooked to order and lunch and dinner is à la carte. When weather permits, breakfast, a buffet-style lunch and dinner are also served on deck. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with lunch and dinner. Afternoon tea is served in the lounge and tea and coffee are available 24 hours. With sufficient notice, most diets can be catered for on board.
For your comfort, safety and security
The vessel is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilisers to minimise the ship’s motion. The Captain and officers operate an open-bridge policy that allows passengers onto the bridge at most times with the exception of arrival and departure from port and during times of complicated navigation. Here you can check the ship’s progress by charts and learn more from the officers about your journey. There is also a dedicated channel on your television in your suite showing the routing of the vessel along with technical information and estimated times of arrival and departure from port. On board you will also find a clinic and doctor and a lift that serves all decks. Smoking on board is restricted to outside decks only.
Unlike many other cruise vessels, onboard the MS Caledonian Sky you do not need to worry about tipping staff as we have included them in your holiday price. In addition we tip all their guides and drivers along the way, thereby taking away the hassle of always having to remember to have some small change with you.