Journeying Into Alaska’s Backcountry

Posted on September 21, 2010 by

Eagles circle the clear skies above me, curious sea lions poke their heads out to observe our group of kayakers and the fishy smell of salmon fills the air. We are paddling through Southeast Alaska’s Walker Cove, a narrow inlet branching out of Misty Fjord, flanked by plundering cliffs that reach up to heights of 150feet. Not only is wildlife abundant here, but the region’s raw nature and opportunities for adventurous activities make for an eye-opening sojourn.

Seakayaking in Alaska

Exploring Alaska’s Inside Passage

It’s the last day of our ‘un-cruise’ experience onboard American Safari Cruises’ Safari Quest vessel as we get a taste of its brand new InnerSea Discoveries voyage. The past week had seen us hiking through lush temperate rainforests, sea kayaking in salmon streams, exploring giant glaciers, flying onboard an Alaskan floatplane and cruising amidst giant icebergs. Each day offered a distinctive experience – the landscape changed from frosty fjords to turquoise green freshwater lakes from one day to the next. In the morning we could be hiking through a glacier and by noon trekking through muddy rainforests.

Icebergs at Le Conte Fjord, Alaska

I had come to experience Alaska’s wilderness with the promise of an unconventional experience, veering far from the massive cruise crowds and visiting unexplored grounds – and I was not disappointed. My travel mates included a group of outdoor writers and photographers, most of whom had traveled to Alaska several times before. By the end of the trip, our expectations had been far exceeded.

Walking on Baird Glacier, Thomas Bay Alaska

Un-Cruise Experience on InnerSea Discoveries

In 2011, InnerSea Discoveries is launching its new small-group adventure voyages in Southeast Alaska aboard two newly refurbished expedition vessels.  This new travel experience created by parent company, luxury yacht cruise line American Safari Cruises, is specially catered to active travelers looking to go beyond the tourist towns and dive deep into Alaska’s backcountry, without emptying their pockets.

So what’s an un-cruise experience? On the InnerSea Discoveries voyages, there are no massive crowds, a ridiculously tight schedule, long lines to get off the vessel and mediocre food. It’s easy to see how a voyage on InnerSea Discoveries differs greatly to usual cruise trips: the yacht has a capacity for only 49 (max), the itinerary is not fixed and depends largely on wildlife, guests are free to pick their preferred expedition activities and instead of port falls to touristy towns, the voyage brings guests through Alaska’s backcountry, anchoring in fjords and glaciers.

American Safaris vessel

The moderately-priced voyage (fares begin at US$1,795 per person for a one-way cruise) sail from Juneau to Ketchikan and back. Each of the vessels is equipped with 26 staterooms that are immaculately furnished with Tempur-pedic mattresses, iPod docking stations and private showers. An on-deck hot-tub allows you to unwind to a view of the glaciers while optional massages will spring you back to life after an active day under the sun.

An on-deck hot tub on InnerSea Discoveries

tn_IMG_0857 Gourmet meals are served in the form of buffets. Due to the active itinerary, nutrition is of top priority so expect a blend of nourishing values and gastronomic flavors.

Besides the amazing naturalist-guided daily activities, there are also optional tours such as jetboat excursions, cave exploration and overnight camping available. These optional add-ons are usually priced at around $200-$250.

My favorite part of the voyage? Coming back to the warmth and comfort of the cruise after a day of adrenaline-packed activities. With warm, delectable food and smiley, genuine staff onboard awaiting our return, cruising has never been that rewarding and relaxing.


Over the next week, I’ll be writing more about my experience with InnerSea Discoveries. Stay tuned for more updates on my adventures in Southeast Alaska.

Disclaimer: My experience was sponsored by American Safari Cruises and InnerSea Discoveries, but all opinions are my own.


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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

10 Responses to “Journeying Into Alaska’s Backcountry”

  1. Marina K. Villatoro September 22, 2010 12:06 am #

    What a wonderful place! I hope to be able to visit that place, for now my trips are paused because I want my kids to grow a bit more so they are able to remember all those adventures.

    • Nellie September 22, 2010 6:37 pm #

      Yes Marina, Alaska was outrageously stunning! I'm sure you'll get the chance to visit when your kids are a little more grown up, it'll be cool to bring them along.

  2. masa February 9, 2011 6:30 pm #

    great points altogether, you just gained a new reader. What would you recommend about your post that you made some days ago? Any positive?


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