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Pacific Catalyst

Pacific Catalyst is a family owned and operated company offering one of the most authentic cruise experiences available in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. 

Pacific Catalyst History

Husband-and-wife team Captain Bill and Shannon Bailey have had a lifelong love affair with old boats. Over the years they have lived in, worked on and restored countless wooden boats, each with her own unique story and history. In the 1980s they moved to the Pacific Northwest where Bill worked as a commercial fisherman and in this capacity he was introduced to the wonders of Alaska. In 2005, Shannon and Bill purchased a history research vessel, the Pacific Catalyst (which has her own fascinating history) and began operating small ship cruises in the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia and Alaska. 

About this time AdventureSmith Explorations' founder, Todd Smith, was seeking a more authentic and active cruise option in Alaska. Todd visited Bill and Shannon at their home in Friday Harbor, Washington, and a great partnership was born. Since then, AdventureSmith has confidently introduced travelers to the Pacific Catalyst and they are always delighted by the personal feel, local hospitality and authentic experience offered aboard Pacific Catalyst Alaska cruises.     

Pacific Catalyst Cruises

Pacific Catalyst offers guests a uniquely authentic experience that will provide a lifetime of memories. Itineraries are carefully crafted to showcase the very best of Alaska, British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. Shannon and Bill love being able to introduce guests to places they have discovered over years of exploration. Aboard the one-of-a-kind Pacific Catalyst, they are able provide the perfect conveyance for a return to the age of authentic exploration.

The Pacific Catalyst's warm interior, with its decades old varnished wood paneling, takes guests back to a time when craftsmanship was the rule rather than the exception. The slow pulse of an original 1932 Washington Diesel engine, the only one like it in the world, makes the Catalyst a living creature, with a strong iron heart. Large battery banks allow her to go for 12 hours without starting an engine to disrupt the quiet solitude that is at the core of a Pacific Catalyst trip. The Pacific Catalyst is one of very few boats operating in Alaska that is a true family operation. 

Food is a sacred thing aboard the Pacific Catalyst. Bill and Shannon believe that food aids and abets the spirit of community on their vessel. Meals are prepared from fresh, natural ingredients, including produce that is purchased from local Alaskan or San Juan farmers and fisherman. They use as few processed foods and as many local and organic ingredients as possible.

The crew aboard the Pacific Catalyst is an extended family, and many have returned for years in a labor of love to enjoy time aboard this special vessel. The typical crew complement will include a captain, engineer, naturalist, chef and two deckhands. A company and a vessel with as much history and character as the Pacific Catalyst attracts a special kind of crew. Our guests consistently comment that getting to know the crew aboard the Pacific Catalyst, with their lifetime of stories and experience is a highlight of their trip. 

Why Choose Pacific Catalyst

The intimacy of Pacific Catalyst cruises make this company ideal for friendly travelers looking for authenticity and connection. Choose Pacific Catalyst to support a captain-operated company and true Pacific Northwest locals.