Friday, 7 March 2008

Latest Alaska cruise ship also the smallest

There are a variety of cruise ships this summer in Alaska but the newest may also be the smallest.

American Safari Cruises' new luxury yacht, the 36-guest, 145-foot Safari Explorer, will make its first Alaska port call 30 May in Juneau. That will mark the start of its eight-day, seven-night roundtrip cruises from the Alaska capital.

Now undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation in Seattle, the Safari Explorer is the cruise line's fourth luxury yacht. It offers an active spa environment with a licensed masseuse for complimentary massages, yoga classes, a dedicated fitness area, on-deck hot tub and sauna.

"The 'real' spa is the natural one, of course, the great Alaska narrow waterways and islands for kayaking and guided hiking," said Tim Jacox, vice president of sales and marketing.

In common with other American Safari Cruises vessels, the new yacht carries double sea kayaks and motorized shore boats for close-up exploration of the Alaska wilderness.

The Safari Explorer will cruise from Juneau through 5 Sept. The itinerary focuses on wildlife – whales, sea lions, bears – and glaciers, including up to two days in Glacier Bay National Park and a full day hugging the fjord walls of Endicott Arm to view the rarely visited Dawes Glacier.

Following the Alaska season, the yacht will debut in Hawaii with inter-island itineraries.

Report by David Wilkening