The new Kruzof Explorer joins the Alaskan Dream Cruises fleet this summer, as the former Bering Sea crab fishing vessel will offer an intimate experience for 12 guests, according to Zakary Kirkpatrick, marketing director.
The ship will sail a nine-day remote wilderness exploration. Guests aboard will have access to a sport fishing boat, a high-speed zodiac, single and double kayaks and paddleboards. The itinerary sails from homeports Sitka and Ketchikan.
Among the highlights, the ship will visit the western coast of Chichagof Island in the West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness, a stretch of Southeast Alaska that few have seen. Later in the day, the ship stops in Pelican, a tiny fishing village in Lisianski Strait.
For guests wanting serious expedition, the Allen-family owned company has added the Last Frontier itinerary to its 2019 deployment.
“That focuses on remote wilderness, areas away from ports of call, which there are only a few. There is hiking, kayaking, rides in the skiffs in shallow waters, and a high level of activity.”
Owned by Alaska native company Allen Marine Tours, Alaskan Dream Cruises has significant infrastructure in place as its parent company is a major player in Alaska shore excursions and tours for the big-ship cruise industry. Over the years, they have slowly and methodically built up their cruise business, with vessels ranging from the 10-guest Misty Fjord, which starts sailing five-night cruises in March, to the 76-guest Chichagof Dream.
“The Misty Fjord is sailing around Sitka Sound and the guests are having the time of their life,” said Kirkpatrick, in a late March interview. “They saw humpback whales yesterday and there are some kids aboard who are into paddleboarding, and they are paddling around remote islands of Sitka.”
On the larger Chichagof Dream, the company offers its core product, a seven-night Glacier Bay & Island Adventure itinerary, offering a mix of wilderness days, small fishing towns and a native village visit, along with plenty of adventure activity.
Deployment is split into the Signature Series, a mix of expedition and culture and the Adventure Series, which is targeted toward more active guests seeking a high-level of activity.
Other ships include the 58-guest Admiralty Dream, the 49-guest Baranof Dream and the 40-guest Alaskan Dream.
The experience is all-inclusive, according to Kirkpatrick, including complimentary beer and wine with dinner. For suite guests, alcohol is all-inclusive.
The culinary emphasis is on fresh Alaskan cuisine, sourcing the freshest seafood on a daily basis in Southeast Asia.
“Ocean to table,” said Kirkpatrick. Most dinner menus have three options: fish, meat and a vegetarian dish. On most of the fleet, all three meals are sit-down, full service.
Guests are looking for an immersive experience, with activities off the ship. Nightlife is educational enrichment, with naturalists and Alaskan guides delivering presentations on everything from culture to wildlife.
“We don’t feel the effect,” said Kirkpatrick, of the booming Alaska cruise market and influx of big ships. “It is two different markets.”
Deployed through 2020 as of May, the company was expected to open its 2021 deployment in the third quarter.
About the Expedition Market Report:
The 2019 Expedition Market Report by Cruise Industry News is a comprehensive overview of the booming expedition market, profiling 39 operators, over 40 new ships and projecting capacity growth through 2027. The 196-page PDF is a deep dive into all aspects of the expedition cruise market.