I have always been a fan of small ship cruises, particularly to Alaska. There is just no better way to experience the glaciers, wildlife and scenery of that vast state than from a smaller vessel.
However, it appears that slots on small ships in Alaska will be at a premium this year. Here is news from a company called AdventureSmith Explorations, which sells cruises from many different small ship companies:
Considering an Alaska cruise vacation this year? Then best be an early bird, advises small ship cruise expert AdventureSmith Explorations (www.adventuresmithexplorations.com), the active travel company that secures matches between adventure-seeking clients and a treasure trove of expedition ships.
Todd Smith, founder and president, said a number of forces converging on this year’s Alaska cruise season mandate booking early. Travel is rebounding and with the State of Alaska doing more marketing, demand is up. Alaska sales are up over 30 percent from last year for Smith’s company alone that is poised to see its biggest-ever Alaska year. Plus Cruise West that once controlled 30 percent of the Alaska cruise inventory is no longer in business.
“Because of more demand at a time of less inventory, we’re suggesting that people make their travel commitments earlier than usual in order to assure themselves space on a small expedition ship of their choice,” Smith said.
He suggested that folks looking for a Cruise West alternative consider Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/60 aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird or Sea Lion. The industry’s top on-board naturalists and expedition leaders have been slated for this program.
Another option is the Alaska Island Spirit Cruise aboard the Island Spirit, http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/56 offering exceptional value and a combination of nature, wilderness and authentic port stops.
New to the scene are two redesigned vessels being introduced this season that are expected to fill up quickly because they offer a high level of land-based adventure activity, said Smith. These are InnerSea Discoveries’ Eastern Coves Adventure Cruise http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/38 and Western Coves Adventure Cruise http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/54 aboard either the 156-foot, 49 passenger Wilderness Adventurer or the 169-foot, 49 passenger MV Wilderness Discoverer.
For the first time in the history of Alaska cruising, guests aboard these two state-of-the-art ships will be able to pick and choose from such traditional activities as in-depth wilderness explorations by Zodiac, kayak or naturalist guided walks, to new, ground-breaking optional activities such as overnight wilderness kayaking, hiking and camping, expert fishing charters from the ship (local guides/boats rendezvous with the vessel to take clients fishing for the day) and flight-seeing. There will be some new activities included in the programming as well such as paddle boarding, caving and snorkeling.
Smith said that as many of the bigger expedition vessels are beginning to fill up, more travelers are considering AdventureSmith Explorations’ selection of adventure yachts.
“From luxury to floating base camps we have an active Alaskan yacht cruise for every ability and budget,” he said. For example, Smith points out:
Glacier Bay Adventure Cruise
Alaskan Safari Yacht Cruises
Active Inside Passage
Active Prince William Sound Discovery Cruise