whale tail emerges from the water in the foreground as a small ship is anchored behind it with mist and mountains in the background on a cloudy day in the eastern passage of alaska
seals relax on floating icebergs with green water around them in alaska's eastern passage
a lone island with an illuminated rocky base and vibrant green trees stands alone in glassy water on a misty day in alaska
5 travelers gather on the bow of an Alaska small ship looking forwards at a glacier at the end of the green watered fjord, sandwitched between a mountain range, seen on Alaska's Eastern passages cruise
silhouette of an adventure traveler looking out at the eastern passage in alaska while a bonfire burns in the foreground
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North America Alaska Cruise

Alaska’s Eastern Passages

Over 8 days the Alaska’s Eastern Passages cruise offers a diverse experience of Southeast Alaska aboard the intimate 12-guest Catalyst yacht. See everything from fishing towns to wilderness solitude and islands to glacial fjords. This small ship’s goal is to provide the most remote wilderness experience possible, with up-close wildlife encounters while enjoying the amenities of this ship. Navigate through ice-filled fjords, visit a tidewater glacier, search the shores for brown bears and enjoy the peaceful silence as the Catalyst stops her engines to watch and listen to humpback whales. Kayak up a narrow inlet that John Muir called “an ocean filled Yosemite” and follow bear trails through rich estuarial meadows.

Bear viewing at the famous Pack Creek Zoological Reserve is a goal on every departure, with select high-season dates making this excursion especially exciting. Listen for wolves, wind through icebergs, paddle beside 5,000-foot granite faces, go in search of moose, hike a glacial moraine and more. Alaska’s glacial wilderness supports a diversity of wildlife as varied as the landscape. On water, there is the probability of sighting humpback whales, orcas, porpoises and Stellar sea lions as well as numerous seabirds. On terra firma, look for black bears, brown bears and mountain goats.  

Alaska’s Eastern Passages itinerary cruises between Juneau and Petersburg, Alaska; offering a main southbound route and a reverse northern route. As with all small ship Alaska cruises, while there is a general planned itinerary, each trip differs depending upon the time of the tidal currents, the weather conditions, wildlife viewing opportunities and the wishes of the guests on board. The Catalyst averages three to four hours of travel per day, allowing plenty of opportunity for exploring by foot and by kayak. The routes and anchorages are chosen to provide the best available opportunities to experience the rich and diverse environment of this temperate rainforest.

This trip was featured in National Geographic Magazine’s Top 50 Tours of a Lifetime. If you want to experience remote Alaska with an intimate crew, or experience it with your own group via our private Alaska yacht charters, then Alaska’s Eastern Passages is your small ship cruise!

Read on for details about this trip, or discover more about AdventureSmith’s Alaska cruises.



Itinerary

Southeast Alaska's Eastern Passages Itinerary

The 8-day Alaska’s Eastern Passages Cruise begins in Juneau, Alaska, and cruises southbound to end in Petersburg, Alaska.

Route map of main & reverse Alaska’s Eastern Passages small ship cruise, operating between Juneau and Petersburg with possible visits to the Brothers Islands, Pack Creek, Wood Spit, Dawes Glacier & Ford's Terror.
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Day 1
Embark Juneau, Alaska

Passengers are welcome to come on board at 12:00pm, stow gear and get familiar with the vessel. Following a brief safety orientation, the ship will be underway by 12:30pm, headed south down Gastineau Channel and out into Stephens Passage. After a full lunch, the crew will introduce themselves and share their roles aboard Catalyst. After cruising south for several hours, turn east and enter Endicott Arm, probably seeing the first icebergs while crossing the sometimes turbulent entrance bar into the inlet. Spend the first night anchored along the shore, not far inside the inlet. Listen for wolves howling as the long northern twilight fades from orange to purple to black, turn in, excited about the adventure ahead.

Accommodations

Catalyst

Meals

lunch, dinner

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Days 2 - 7
SE Alaska's Eastern Passages

Catalyst will navigate through ice filled fjords to enable guests to visit a tidewater glacier and search the shores for brown bears, and Catalyst will stop her engines so guests may watch and listen to humpback whales. Kayak up a narrow inlet that John Muir called “an ocean filled Yosemite” and follow bear trails through rich estuarial meadows. Each trip varies depending on the weather; some highlights may include:

The Brothers Islands

The Brothers are a group of small islands positioned in the middle of Frederick Sound. Be alert for humpback or orca whale sightings. This is one of the prime summer feeding grounds for the migratory humpback and it is rare to not encounter a pod. Catalyst may shut down her engine and just drift, in order for guests to watch the feeding orca. Later Catalyst will drop the hook in an idyllic anchorage, where the sounds of breathing whales, Steller sea lions hauled out close by, or the screech of an eagle are heard across the water. Here explore a temperate rainforest and test your kayak skills, discovering sea creatures in exposed tide pools.

Pack Creek

Seymour Canal is home to the highest concentration of bald eagles in Southeast Alaska, and its rich waters support a large population of energetic Dall’s porpoise. The destination is the Pack Creek Zoological Reserve. Pack Creek has been a place where, for over 60 years, brown bears and humans have lived in close proximity. The bears have had generations to become accustomed to the presence of people. If this is not available, Catalyst will explore another area of Admiralty Island to look for brown bears and explore their habitat.

Wood Spit & Dawes Glacier

Watching for whales, pass Wood Spit, the terminal moraine of Dawes Glacier, where a hike will introduce you to the fascinating geology of this glacial area, its Tlingit culture and gold rush history. The spit is frequented by deer, wolf, nesting bald eagles and an array of water birds. At the face of Dawes Glacier, Catalyst will linger for awhile to witness the calving and booming of the burgs.

Ford’s Terror

A seldom visited anchorage, Ford’s Terror is surrounded by 5,000-foot granite faces. The mist hanging to the precipices makes it feel like the vessel is suspended in time. Here, kayak through the tidal rapids (at slack water of course) and paddle into the majestic inner fjord. Hike the highlands of Ford’s Terror’s unique, glacial-caused ecosystem of alpine, bog and forest and view the raging tidal rapids from above. After the hike, head out the Endicott Arm watching for bear, moose, wolves and whales. Possibly stop for a walk through a brown bear-frequented meadow before continuing north. In the evening, enjoy a final night with fellow shipmates and share images and memories of the week.

Accommodations

Catalyst

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Disembark Petersburg, Alaska

A few hours’ travel brings the ship to Petersburg, where it will be tied up at the dock at about 10:00am, early enough to catch the morning flight to Juneau and on to Seattle, or to get settled into your room in town so that you can explore this Scandinavian fishing village in more detail.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations; excursions; entrance fees; leadership; crew; all meals indicated in itinerary; local guides and permits, unless otherwise indicated in the itinerary.

Exclusions

The cost of air flights, unless otherwise indicated in the itinerary; airport transfers; airport taxes; passports; visas; immunizations; insurance of any kind; laundry; excess baggage; items of a personal nature; medical costs; costs of hospitalization; additional expenses arising from the delay or extension of a trip due to weather, political disputes, illness, failure of transportation, or other causes beyond our control.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $1,000 is required per person at the time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 150 days – 50% of deposit
150 to 90 days – 100% of deposit
90 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Alaska’s Eastern Passages Cruise begins in Juneau, Alaska (JNU), and ends in Petersburg, Alaska (PSG). Plan flights to arrive to Juneau by 10:30am on day 1 of the itinerary, for the 12:00pm boarding and 12:30pm casting off. Plan flights to depart Petersburg no earlier than 11:30am on day 7, following the 10:00am disembarkation. Guests are welcome to drop off luggage to the ship earlier in the day if needed. We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include hiking, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, photography, glacier viewing, whale watching and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

A single cabin (Cabin 4) is available. There is a 50% single supplement for single travelers in a double cabin. Cabin 5 sleeps up to 4 guests and is ideal for families with children. Please inquire with an AdventureSmith Specialist for discount pricing for the third and fourth person booked into Cabin 5.

Families & Children

Children should be at least 12 years old to enjoy this cruise. Travelers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Whole-boat charters can accommodate younger guests.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 15 or 21 days of booking (depending on plan) for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Reverse Southeast Alaska's Eastern Passages Itinerary

The 8-day Reverse Alaska’s Eastern Passages Cruise begins in Petersburg, Alaska, and travels northbound to end in Juneau, Alaska.

Route map of main & reverse Alaska’s Eastern Passages small ship cruise, operating between Juneau and Petersburg with possible visits to the Brothers Islands, Pack Creek, Wood Spit, Dawes Glacier & Ford's Terror.
Read More
Day 1
Embark Petersburg, Alaska

Arrive to Petersburg, Alaska. Passengers are welcome to come on board at 12:00pm, stow gear and get familiar with the vessel. Following a brief safety orientation, the ship will be underway by 12:30pm. After a full lunch, the crew will introduce themselves and share their roles aboard Catalyst.

Accommodations

Catalyst

Meals

lunch, dinner

Read More
Days 2 - 7
SE Alaska's Eastern Passages

Catalyst will navigate through ice filled fjords to enable guests to visit a tidewater glacier and search the shores for brown bears, and Catalyst will stop her engines so guests may watch and listen to humpback whales. Kayak up a narrow inlet that John Muir called “an ocean filled Yosemite” and follow bear trails through rich estuarial meadows. Each trip varies depending on the weather; some highlights may include:

The Brothers Islands

The Brothers are a group of small islands positioned in the middle of Frederick Sound. Be alert for humpback or orca whale sightings. This is one of the prime summer feeding grounds for the migratory humpback and it is rare to not encounter a pod. Catalyst may shut down her engine and just drift, in order for guests to watch the feeding orca. Later Catalyst will drop the hook in an idyllic anchorage, where the sounds of breathing whales, Steller sea lions hauled out close by, or the screech of an eagle are heard across the water. Here explore a temperate rainforest and test your kayak skills, discovering sea creatures in exposed tide pools.

Pack Creek

Seymour Canal is home to the highest concentration of bald eagles in Southeast Alaska, and its rich waters support a large population of energetic Dall’s porpoise. The destination is the Pack Creek Zoological Reserve. Pack Creek has been a place where, for over 60 years, brown bears and humans have lived in close proximity. The bears have had generations to become accustomed to the presence of people. If this is not available, Catalyst will explore another area of Admiralty Island to look for brown bears and explore their habitat.

Wood Spit & Dawes Glacier

Watching for whales, pass Wood Spit, the terminal moraine of Dawes Glacier, where a hike will introduce you to the fascinating geology of this glacial area, its Tlingit culture and gold rush history. The spit is frequented by deer, wolf, nesting bald eagles and an array of water birds. At the face of Dawes Glacier, Catalyst will linger for awhile to witness the calving and booming of the burgs.

Ford’s Terror

A seldom visited anchorage, Ford’s Terror is surrounded by 5,000-foot granite faces. The mist hanging to the precipices makes it feel like the vessel is suspended in time. Here, kayak through the tidal rapids (at slack water of course) and paddle into the majestic inner fjord. Hike the highlands of Ford’s Terror’s unique, glacial-caused ecosystem of alpine, bog and forest and view the raging tidal rapids from above. After the hike, head out the Endicott Arm watching for bear, moose, wolves and whales. Possibly stop for a walk through a brown bear-frequented meadow before continuing north. In the evening, enjoy a final night with fellow shipmates and share images and memories of the week.

Accommodations

Catalyst

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
Disembark Juneau, Alaska

Disembark Juneau and be transferred to the airport, or to get settled into your room in town so that you can explore this Alaska’s capital in more detail.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations; excursions; entrance fees; leadership; crew; all meals indicated in itinerary; local guides and permits, unless otherwise indicated in the itinerary.

Exclusions

The cost of air flights, unless otherwise indicated in the itinerary; airport transfers; airport taxes; passports; visas; immunizations; insurance of any kind; laundry; excess baggage; items of a personal nature; medical costs; costs of hospitalization; additional expenses arising from the delay or extension of a trip due to weather, political disputes, illness, failure of transportation, or other causes beyond our control.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $1,000 is required per person at the time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 150 days – 50% of deposit
150 to 90 days – 100% of deposit
90 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Reverse Alaska’s Eastern Passages Cruise begins in Petersburg, Alaska (PSG) and ends in Juneau, Alaska (JNU). Plan flights to arrive to Petersburg by 11:00am on day 1 of the reverse itinerary, for the 12:30pm boarding and 1:15pm casting off. Plan flights to depart Juneau no earlier than 11:30am on day 7 of the reverse itinerary, following the 10:00am disembarkation. Guests are welcome to drop off luggage to the ship earlier in the day if needed. We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include hiking, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, photography, glacier viewing, whale watching and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

A single cabin (Cabin 4) is available. There is a 50% single supplement for single travelers in a double cabin. Cabin 5 sleeps up to 4 guests and is ideal for families with children. Please inquire with an AdventureSmith Specialist for discount pricing for the third and fourth person booked into Cabin 5.

Families & Children

Children should be at least 12 years old to enjoy this cruise. Travelers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Whole-boat charters can accommodate younger guests.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 15 or 21 days of booking (depending on plan) for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

This ship is an AdventureSmith favorite for private charter. Contact us for charter pricing and details.

May 16 - May 23, 2021
Catalyst • 8 days
arrows going opposite directions
From $5500USD
Per Person
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May 25 - Jun 01, 2021
Catalyst • 8 days
From $5500USD
Per Person
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Jun 03 - Jun 10, 2021
Catalyst • 8 days
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From $5500USD
Per Person
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Jul 04 - Jul 11, 2021
Catalyst • 8 days
From $5500USD
Per Person
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Jul 13 - Jul 20, 2021
Catalyst • 8 days
arrows going opposite directions
From $5500USD
Per Person
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Jul 22 - Jul 29, 2021
Catalyst • 8 days
From $5500USD
Per Person
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Jul 31 - Aug 07, 2021
Catalyst • 8 days
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From $5650USD
Per Person
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Aug 09 - Aug 16, 2021
Catalyst • 8 days
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From $5650USD
Per Person
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Aug 18 - Aug 25, 2021
Catalyst • 8 days
arrows going opposite directions themed trip icon of a blue bird flying
From $5650USD
Per Person
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Aug 27 - Sep 03, 2021
Catalyst • 8 days
themed trip icon of a blue bird flying
From $5650USD
Per Person
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arrows going opposite directions Reverse
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Yacht
Catalyst

Catalyst is a historic 12-passenger yacht with a warm wood interior that takes guests back to a time when crafstmanship was the rule, not the exception. Her original 1932 Washington Diesel engine is the only one like it in the world.

Expert Reviews

Reviews from Our Experts So You Know What to Expect

Tiffany Corbell • July 11th, 2014
Expert Review: Journey to Alaska's Inside Passage

Tiffany Corbell, Adventure Specialist, reviews the 7-day Inside Passage Catalyst. Her days aboard the Catalyst were filled with wildlife viewing, delicious meals and magical kayaking amongst the fog.

Chris Harter • June 3rd, 2008
Expert Review: Inside Passage Catalyst Plus Denali

An AdventureSmith crew member reports on his 7-day Inside Passage cruise aboard the Catalyst and trip to Denali National Park.

Testimonials

Hear It from Travelers Who Have Explored with Us

"Everything About the Catalyst Was Perfect"

Everything about the Catalyst was perfect. Every kayaking and hiking event was amazing, again, always with information about the geography, natural history, and general history of Alaska. I came home feeling like I had a better understanding of Alaska.

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5 /5 Star Created with Sketch.
Accommodations
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Meals
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"The Catalyst Was a Joy"

We loved this trip. It was a high point of our life together. The Catalyst was a joy. Its character (beautiful craftsmanship and design) as well as how it traveled and fit so well into the beautiful environment. We felt very close to the ocean, the forests, and the surprising life that we encountered.

Overall
5 /5 Star Created with Sketch.
Accommodations
4 /5 Star Created with Sketch.
Meals
5 /5 Star Created with Sketch.
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"Never Had a Better Trip"

We've done a fair amount of travel and have never had a better trip. We wanted to travel with a small group vs a monster cruise. Good travel companions. Small group made it an especially comfortable and friendly environment.

Overall
5 /5 Star Created with Sketch.
Accommodations
5 /5 Star Created with Sketch.
Meals
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Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Extend Your Trip

Additional Travel Options Before or After Your Cruise

Add to Wishlist
6 Day Land Tour
Denali Backcountry Explorer

Spend 3 nights at a remote backcountry lodge situated 90 miles inside Denali National Park. Unbeatable wildlife viewing, landscape photography, guided hikes, fishing, dog sleds and an Alaska railroad ride can be customized to complement any Alaska small ship cruise.

From $2365USD
Jun Jul Aug Sep
Add to Wishlist
5 Day Land Tour
Brown Bears of Katmai

Alaska bear viewing in Katmai National Park is one of the state's greatest wildlife spectacles. From your home base at Brooks Lodge, see the brown bears of Brooks River. This independent package includes hotels in downtown Anchorage and a seaplane flight to Katmai.

From $1725USD
Jun Jul Aug Sep
Add to Wishlist
8 Day Land Tour
Ultimate Alaska Adventure

This action-packed 8-day land trip pairs helicopter rides with dogsledding, horseback riding, kayaking, hiking, rafting and more. Three authentic remote lodges on the Kenai Peninsula are your base to relax and refuel for the next day's journey.

Special Offer
From $6050USD
May Jun Jul Aug
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7 Day Cruise
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The 7-day Sea Wolf Glacier Bay Adventure aboard the historic 12-passenger Sea Wolf is the only small ship cruise entirely inside Glacier Bay National Park. Paddle among glaciers, hike in old growth rainforest, explore tidal inlets and cruise among whales in Glacier Bay.

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Cruise Alaska with Alaskans aboard the 12-guest, 65' yacht Discovery. Enjoy Alaskan hospitality, cruising, hiking and kayaking along Prince William Sound's glaciers and fjords. See a new side of Alaska, farther north and much less traveled than the Inside Passage.

From $2900USD
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Alaska’s Eastern Passages

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