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Published in: Cruise News

The Alaska season now starts in March, at least for small-ship operator Alaskan Dream Cruises, which kicked off this year earlier than ever based on demand with a March 17 departure.

“It was just like we expected, it was fantastic with humpback whales, grey whales, and even a brown bear emerging from hibernation, and all with beautiful weather,” said Zakary Kirkpatrick, marketing director for the Allen-family owned business. “We’re excited to have extended the season beyond May to September.”

The company says it is the only Alaska-owned small-ship cruise line. The Allen family can trace its shipping history back to 1970, when it started running sightseeing tours on a sunken yacht it refloated and refurbished.

Since then Allen Marine Tours has become a significant tour operator in Southeast Alaska, and is a major provider of shore excursions for the big cruise lines. And along the way, as opportunities presented themselves, the company acquired ships and started to offer its own cruise product.

That now totals five ships, ranging from the 10-passenger Misty Fjord to the 74-passenger Chichagof Dream. Plans are on the table to add more capacity and tonnage.

Nature and Culture

The early-year itineraries run five nights, and will be back in 2019.

For those adventurers willing to book Alaska’s Spring Wilderness and Wildlife Safari, the five-night program starts at $3,290 per person on the 10-passenger Misty Fjord, sailing roundtrip from Sitka.

As the calendar moves, the core offerings for the brand are a trio of cruises: seven, eight and 10 nights.

Each cruise features a cultural heritage guide, there to connect passengers with indigenous groups shoreside.

Visits are offered with three native cultures: the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian, which the company said are located in some of the least visited parts of Southeast Alaska.

There is also a naturalist on each cruise and all ships feature expedition gear: small boats, kayaks and more, all of which are included in the ticket price. The only extra charge is for alcohol, although beer and wine are included with dinner.

Aboard, guests can find a relaxed ambiance with no formal requirements.

The company’s core seven-night offering starts at $3,950 per guest and runs open-jaw from Sitka to Juneau. It’s a blend of some known destinations, smaller towns with an expedition experience, exploring Saginaw Bay and Kake, Petersburg, Frederick Sound, Tracy Arm Fjord, Orca Point Lodge and Glacier Bay National Park.

The company's lodge experience (more are planned) offers guests an exclusive experience in a lodge, featuring food service and amenities.

The 10-night offering is more premium, at $6,190 per guest, with added days in Wrangell, Thorne Bay and Metlakatla.

“Raw wilderness days” are part of every cruise, said Kirkpatrick, with kayaking and hiking a key part of the program that caters to mainly active guests.

Food is locally sourced, and all ships have an open bridge (the company calls them wheelhouses) policy.

“People are responding to our message that we are Alaska’s only locally-owned cruise line,” Kirkpatrick noted. “People come away having experienced all of it, with a sweeping view of what Alaska is all about.”


About the Expedition Market Report:

The 2018 Cruise Industry News Expedition Market Report presents a complete 127-page overview of the entire expedition market, including capacity projections through 2027, and profiles of 30+ major players, with exclusive interviews and insight, along with trends, original data, operational coverage and much more. Original reporting, analysis and research.

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