The Alaska cruise season is quickly drawing to a close for this year, but Alaskan Dream Cruises, owned by native Alaskans, already is planning for 2016 with a new ship, the 74-guest Chichagof Dream, joining the fleet. The ship was recently renovated and will sail its inaugural voyage in June.
The four-deck ship features expansive viewing areas on the bow and aft promenade decks and new carpets and furnishings in public spaces and staterooms. The hull is designed for optimal sailing and comfort in Alaska waters.
“We’re entering our sixth year and our sights are trained on growth,” Alaskan Dream Cruises CEO Russell Dick says. “The Chichagof Dream expands our capacity and at the same time we’re consolidating our itineraries to concentrate on what our guests have really responded to.”
The 2016 season will feature three cruise itineraries, eight-, nine- and 11-day sailings, designed to allow active exploration of the local landscapes and culture. A program called True Alaska Exploration is a new feature with this cruise line. These are unscripted days for adventures, often a hike, wildlife encounters or wilderness discovery that the Allen family, the company’s founders, experienced during their personal explorations and asked staff to share with guests.
Alaska’s Glacier Bay & Island Adventure is an eight-day cruise between Sitka and Juneau, featuring wilderness days in remote bays for kayaking, wilderness hiking and exploration in shallow water expedition craft. Cultural immersion in the small towns of Kake and Petersburg is balanced with scenic cruising through Glacier Bay National Park. The Admiralty Dream, Baranof Dream and Chichagof Dream will make a total of 22 sailings on this itinerary between May 12 and Sept. 11. Rates start from $3,379 with a 10 percent early booking discount through Oct. 31.
The nine-day Alaska’s Inside Passage Sojourn travels between Sitka and Ketchikan taking guests to several unique towns: the Tsimshian community of Metlakatla; Thorne Bay, once the largest logging camp in the world; Wrangell, the only city in Alaska to have been under the jurisdiction of three flags and ruled by four nations; and Kasaan, home of the only remaining traditional Haida longhouse in the U.S. Guests spend time in Frederick Sound, a world-renowned site for whale watching, and sail through Tracy Arm Fjord, Misty Fjords National Monument and Glacier Bay National Park, offering some of the most spectacular scenery in Southeast Alaska. The Alaskan Dream will make 11 sailings on this itinerary between May 10 and Sept. 7. Rates start from $4,519 with a 3 percent early booking discount through Oct. 31.
Alaska’s Southeast Explorer expands the Sojourn itinerary into an 11-day journey, adding time in Skagway, a town steeped in Klondike Gold Rush history; the small fishing community of Haines; and Petersburg, Alaska’s “Little Norway.” The Baranof Dream and Alaskan Dream will make six sailings on this itinerary between May 18 and Aug. 28. Rates start from $5,799 with a 3 percent early booking discount through Oct. 31.
Naturalists and cultural heritage guides lend their expertise on each itinerary, sharing history and context with guests through presentations and informal conversations. In Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, guests learn from a park ranger and a Huna Tlingit cultural heritage guide as they share unique perspectives on the park’s natural wonders and history as an Alaska Native ancestral home.
Cruise fares include accommodations on the ship, all meals during the cruise, scheduled shore excursions, airport transfers, use of recreational equipment and standard onboard services. The Chichagof Dream joins four vessels in the Alaskan Dream Cruises fleet. The Alaskan Dream, Admiralty Dream and Baranof Dream carry between 40 and 58 guests and the Misty Fjord sails with no more than 10 guests.
Alaskan Dream Cruises was launched in 2011 by the Allen family, members of the Tlingit Kaagwaantaan clan. The Allen family also founded Allen Marine, Inc., a boat building company, in 1967, and Allen Marine Tours, which offers day cruise tours to travelers in Alaska’s Inside Passage.