Connecticut-based tour operator Tauck is launching a new ‘Alaska’s Inside Passage’ cruise for 2019 that will be highlighted by up to six daily shore excursion choices, with all selections already built into Tauck’s all-inclusive prices.
The new eight-day itinerary will sail southbound from Juneau to Vancouver with departures on July 20 and Aug. 3, with a northbound sailing scheduled for July 27. All three departures are aboard the 240-passenger Ponant small ship Le Soléal.
White Pass railway, Yukon, kayaking, canoeing and sled dog pups
Typical of the multiple shore excursions available on most days are the six choices in Skagway. Travelers can opt for a 30-minute tour of the town by streetcar, coupled with a scenic ride on the historic White Pass narrow gauge railway. A second possibility is an excursion through Alaska and into Canada’s Yukon, featuring visits to a wildlife museum, the native village of Carcross, Saskatchewan’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police Heritage Center and the Dog Musher’s Village. Yet another option is travel by vintage rail car to Fraser, British Columbia, disembarking at Bernard Lake for a kayak excursion.
Choice number four is a rail journey to White Pass Summit, continuing on to Fraser, the Yukon Suspension Bridge and lunch at Jewell Gardens on the site of an historic pioneer farm. Or, travelers can look for whales and sea lions during a 75-minute cruise to Glacier Point, followed by a canoe trip and short hike in the shadow of a glacier. The final choice is a drive from Skagway by way of a 4×4 truck and a customized, summertime dogsled ride at a dog musher’s camp. Later, participants will spend time with sled dog puppies.
Besides offering a wealth of shore excursion choices, the itinerary is also notable for leveraging Le Soléal’s modest size and superior navigability. Along with Skagway, the ship will visit Sitka and Haines and spend a day exploring Tracy Arm Fjord. Frequented by far fewer cruise ships than Glacier Bay, the 27-mile-long Tracy Arm is very narrow (in places, no more than a half mile wide) and home to eagles, seals, bears and whales. The fjord is flanked by cliffs rising more than 3,000 feet, punctuated by waterfalls cascading down their steep rock walls.
BBC Earth exclusives
Tauck’s Alaska cruise is offered in partnership with the award-winning nature documentary filmmakers at BBC Earth, the creators of such popular series as ‘Frozen Planet,’ ‘Life,’ ‘Blue Planet’ and ‘Planet Earth.’ Travelers will get to see a collection of short, Tauck-exclusive filmed vignettes produced by BBC Earth that provide insights and perspectives on Alaska’s wildlife and landscapes.
A lecture and meeting with BBC Earth filmmaker Chris Morgan is scheduled during Le Soléal’s stop at Ketchikan (southbound departures) or Sitka (northbound itinerary). In addition, naturalist, author, lecturer and 30-year US Forest Service veteran Dave Govatski will be on hand to share insights throughout the cruise.
New cruise to Svalbard, more Iceland, Antarctica, Norway sailings
The Alaska program comes as Tauck expands capacity on its expeditionary itineraries, adding a new cruise to the Svalbard archipelago, increasing departures of its Iceland, Antarctica and Norway cruises, and doubling its overall passenger capacity to Alaska and the polar regions.
‘With Tauck Small Ship Cruising, cold is definitely hot,’ Tauck CEO Dan Mahar said. ‘Through our partnerships with Ponant and BBC Earth, and by leveraging our 93 years of destination expertise to offer an amazing array of shore experiences, we’re helping our guests to enjoy incredible, life-enhancing experiences in places where the big ships seldom, if ever, go.’
Along with all shore excursions, pricing for ‘Alaska’s Inside Passage’ starts at $6,990 per person plus airfare and includes all gratuities, on-board beer, house wine and spirits, airport transfers, port charges and more.