Dark whale tail sticks out of calm waters with forested hills in the foreground and snowy peaks in the background on the Alaska Explorer land and sea tour.
Group of Southcentral Alaska travelers photograph a large iceberg as their tour leader paddles them beside it during the Alaska Explorer trip.
Yacht with white exterior & 3 red kayaks on top sits and looks toward a large blue glacier during the Alaska Explorer: Kenai Peninsula & Prince William Sound tour.
Bald eagle with spread wings flies over golden waters during the Alaska Explorer: Kenai Peninsula & Prince William Sound tour.
Alaska Railroad train moves beside glassy water, among forested hills on a sunny day, during a Kenai Peninsula land and sea tour.
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North America Alaska Cruise

Alaska Explorer: Kenai Peninsula & Prince William Sound

On this 8- or 9-day Southcentral land and sea adventure, go in search of Alaska’s vast grandeur. Depart Anchorage for Alaska’s wild country. Explore the 250-mile arc of the Chugach Mountains, cloaked in temperate rainforest and crowned with ice. Rivers spawned from jagged glaciers course their way to the sea. In the frigid waters of Prince William Sound, wildlife flourishes, and we’ll look for whales, seals, sea lions, otters, puffins, bald eagles and more off the bow of our chartered classic yacht. To the south, rugged peaks rise on the Kenai Peninsula where glacier-fed lakes fill lush valleys, and world-famous salmon runs offer legendary fishing. In just 8 days with up to only 7 other travelers, experience the essence of authentic Alaska!

Highlights are many along this Alaska Explorer: Kenai Peninsula & Prince William Sound adventure. Enjoy a private 4-day Prince William Sound cruise aboard a classic yacht. Ride along the world-renowned Alaska Railroad. Raft the gentle Placer River through the stunning Chugach mountains. And survey glacier-clad peaks, lakes and salmon rivers from an included flightseeing adventure aboard a floatplane. When combined, these itinerary high points offer a comprehensive Alaska experience in one all-inclusive package.

Begin the adventure with 2 nights at the renowned Hotel Alyeska, a chateau-style hotel nestled among mountains and glaciers. Then move to the Summit Lake Lodge for 2 nights in a deluxe log cabin in the remote heart of the Chugach National Forest. The remainder of this Alaska land and sea tour is aboard the 12-guest Sea Star, a 1960s-era yacht kept in mint condition. Step back in time aboard this lovingly maintained ship and immerse in her private yacht feel during this intimate Prince William Sound cruise. Teak accents, cozy accommodations, gourmet food and a passionate crew add to the experience.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Alaska trips and Alaska small ship cruises.



Itinerary

Alaska Explorer: Kenai Peninsula & Prince William Sound Itinerary

The Alaska Explorer: Kenai Peninsula & Prince William Sound land and sea adventure operates round-trip from Anchorage, Alaska, with day tours out of Alyeska Resort (including a rafting trip), a ride along the Alaska Railroad, flightseeing along the Kenai Peninsula and and a Prince William Sound cruise.

Route map of Alaska Explorer: Kenai Peninsula & Prince William Sound land & sea tour, operating round-trip from Anchorage.
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Day 1
Arrive Anchorage to Alyeska Resort, Girdwood, Alaska

Flying over the expanse of Cook Inlet with the Alaska Range rising beyond, land at Anchorage International Airport no later than 3:30pm and meet the expedition leader. Leaving the city quickly behind, head to Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, following Turnagain Arm. This 45-mile inlet is famous for its bore tide, one of the biggest in the world, which rushes back into the fjord’s exposed mud flats as a wall of water moving 10-15 miles per hour. Keep an eye out for beluga whales near the mouth of Turnagain Arm when the salmon are running in late summer.

Alyeska, roughly an hour southeast of Anchorage, is Alaska’s premier ski area, offering a host of summer outdoor activities as well. Set in a lush glacial valley in the Chugach Range, Alyeska lies within the northernmost temperate rainforest in North America. Spend tonight and tomorrow night at the deluxe Alyeska Resort at the base of the mountain. Time permitting, ride the tram to the alpine summit, with vistas of seven glaciers, snow-clad peaks and the glacial-fed inlet far below.

Accommodations

Hotel Alyeska

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Alaska Railroad to Spencer Glacier & Placer River Float

Begin the day with a hike through North America’s northernmost rainforest to Winner Creek Gorge, on an easy trail that begins just out the hotel’s back door. The expedition leader points out the varied lush vegetation along path, from towering Sitka spruce and western hemlock trees to giant devil’s club, salmonberry and thimbleberry bushes. Next, transfer to the railway platform in Portage to board the historic Alaska Railroad for a journey deeper into the Chugach Range. About 10 miles up the Placer River Valley, reach the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, disembark and enter a lush tract of remote roadless wilderness. Created in partnership with the Chugach National Forest, this rail spur expands access to some of Southcentral Alaska’s most beautiful coastal mountain terrain, with views of valley glaciers, waterfalls, deep canyons and dense deciduous forest on either side.

Flowing down from the icefield above, Spencer Glacier reaches a terminus in the meltwater lake of the same name, famed for its flotilla of glittering blue icebergs that calve from the glacier’s towering face. The sight is a living laboratory in which to witness the effects of climate change, with the glacier receding rapidly in recent years and spawning a tremendous amount of ice during warmer summers. Board a stable raft to float among the icebergs on Spencer Lake, getting a close-up view on just how much lies below the surface of each whimsically shaped ice sculpture drifting on the lake’s surface. The mellow Placer River has its source in Spencer Lake, and the raft guide steers into its flow, turbid with glacial silt. It’s a rare chance to sit back and soak up the quiet, listening to the gentle waves lap against the raft’s hull, observing the different braided channels of the river’s ever-shifting course, and watching for possible moose, black bear or bald eagle sightings along the banks. Late this afternoon, return to Alyeska by rail and road.

Accommodations

Hotel Alyeska

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 3 - 4
Kenai Peninsula: Skilak Lake & Glacier Flightseeing

This morning, revel in more dramatic scenery while driving south to the Kenai Peninsula. Stop en route at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage to view iconic large mammals up close. With a mission to preserve Alaska’s wildlife through conservation, education, research and care, the AWCC takes in orphaned and injured animals, housing them in large natural enclosures on the sanctuary’s 200+ acres. Among the many species at home here are brown bears, black bears, lynx, wood bison, moose, elk, muskox, caribou, porcupine, foxes and raptors.

Follow a scenic road corridor through the Kenai Mountains–Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area, a designation that recognizes the area’s unique cultural, geographic and historical features. The destination for the next two nights is a historic log lodge and cabins on Summit Lake, an authentic piece of “Alaskana” in a quiet setting far from tourist crowds. From this base, enjoy access to the Kenai’s varied ecosystems, from low-elevation temperate rainforest to boreal forest in the interior and tundra-covered alpine heights. The nearby Kenai River is one of the world’s most famous salmon streams, attracting anglers from all over the world. Explore the little-visited Skilak Lake area, with views across its vast turquoise expanse, and a portion of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, which protects nearly 2 million acres of wildlife habitat, including the western slopes of the Kenai Mountains, forested lowlands, rivers, wetlands and chains of lakes. This diverse mosaic of habitats is home to mountain goats, Dall sheep, caribou and elusive wolverine and lynx, as well as moose, wolves and black bears. On hikes, stop frequently to study plants, observing how the vegetation zones change from boreal forest to subalpine to alpine habitats.

During this time on the Kenai, get a feel for Alaskan culture and lifestyles, meeting local people, understanding the history and importance of fishing, and learning about subsistence bush living, including hunting, gathering berries and building homestead cabins. The guide will reveal some favorite local spots not known to most travelers, for an insider’s perspective on a part of Alaska most visitors don’t see. Also survey this rugged wilderness from above on a floatplane ride, looking down on lakes, rivers, ice-crowned peaks and a tapestry of mixed forest—and maybe even some moose or bear.

Accommodations

Summit Lake Lodge

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Arrive Whittier & Embark

Head north this morning to Whittier, a small town on the west edge of Prince William Sound that’s accessible only via a single-lane tunnel through the mountains. Surrounded by pristine wilderness at the head of Passage Canal, it’s the main departure point for marine journeys into the sound. Head to the marina to meet the Sea Star, the privately chartered classic yacht and floating home base for the next three nights. Once aboard, settle into cabins and have lunch as Sea Star moves out into the sparkling blue waters. Prince William Sound encompasses 3,800 miles of coastline, a ragged maze of fjords, bays and coves dotted with islands that harbors some of Alaska’s greatest marine wildlife concentrations.

Accommodations

Sea Star

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 6 - 7
Prince William Sound

Explore all the wonders of Prince William Sound on a flexible itinerary aboard the chartered boat. A rainforest of Sitka spruce and western hemlock surrounds, while 150 glaciers crown the peaks above (including 17 tidewater glaciers), known for dramatically calving massive chunks of ice into the sea. More than 220 species of birds, 30 species of land mammals and at least a dozen marine mammal species are found in the region. While cruising along the crenellated coast, look for humpback, sei, fin and minke whales, orcas, porpoises, Steller sea lions, harbor seals and abundant sea otters.

Visit Egg Rocks to see the boisterous Steller sea lion colony there and get an eye-level view on marine life while kayaking in Shoestring Cove. Also visit Esther Island Salmon Hatchery and Rookery Falls. Explore wild shorelines up close in a small skiff and step ashore on uninhabited islands to trek along empty beaches. With plenty of time to be patient, wait in front of massive tidewater glaciers to watch icebergs slough off their faces, hitting the water with a thunderous crash. Alone in this huge, wild expanse, where the only sounds are the wind and gulls and lapping water and the only inhabitants are wildlife, the power of the wilderness is palpable.

Accommodations

Sea Star

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Disembark Whittier to Anchorage, Alaska & Depart

After one last hearty breakfast aboard, Sea Star weighs anchor and sets a course back to the Whittier small boat harbor for disembarkation. Within 2-3 hours, depending on tunnel flow and timing, make the 60-mile return journey to Anchorage to meet departing flights.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast, lunch

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations; meals from dinner on Day 1 to lunch on the final day; drinking water throughout the trip; services of expedition leader and local guides; airport transfer on Day 1 and final day; most gratuities; all permits, entrance fees and taxes.

Exclusions

Travel to and from the start and end point of your trip; alcoholic beverages; some gratuities; passport and visa fees (if any); optional activities; items of a personal nature (phone calls, souvenirs, etc.); airline baggage fees; airport and departure taxes (if any); required medical evacuation insurance; optional travel protection insurance; insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a nonrefundable deposit of $500 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 121 days – 100% of deposit
120 to 61 days – 50% of total trip cost
60 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.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all eligible guests must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The Alaska Explorer: Kenai Peninsula & Prince William Sound land and sea adventure begins and ends in Anchorage, Alaska (ANC). Plan flights to arrive to Anchorage by 3:30pm on Day 1 of the itinerary. Plan to depart Anchorage after 5:00pm (in 2021) or anytime (in 2022) on the final day of the itinerary. Airport transfers are included on day 1 and on the final day of the trip.

Activities

The Alaska Explorer adventure does not require a high degree of physical fitness. However, a diverse slate of activities does require general mobility and fitness. In order to get the most out of your experience, you must be able to walk over uneven, natural terrain and inclines, potentially in muddy or slippery conditions, and you must be able to climb stairs unassisted. Some longer hikes may be available for those who desire. For the time spent exploring the protected waters of Prince William Sound, seas are typically calm, although conditions can be variable and guests prone to motion sickness should take precautions. To participate in shore excursions, please be prepared for wet landings, in which you will climb out of the Zodiac or kayak and step into shallow water while wearing waterproof boots, before stepping ashore. Shore excursions may include short walks over potentially wet, muddy, sandy, rocky, uneven and sometimes trailless terrain. Guests will have the opportunity for optional kayaking in Prince William Sound, weather and sea conditions permitting. Though no prior kayaking experience is required, general fitness and mobility, including the ability to get into and out of a kayak, are essential. Travelers are not required to participate in every activity, but all participants must be generally physically fit and have the ability to walk at least two miles without assistance.

Room Configuration

Single travelers wishing to book a double-occupancy room may do so at a $2,895 supplement (2021 & 2022) in addition to the per-person listed rate in select cabins upon availability. Solo travelers willing to share, please ask your Adventure Specialist about the possibility of matching with a roommate, upon availability; note that 50% of the single supplement may be charged if a roommate cannot be secured.

Families & Children

Due the expedition nature and isolated location of this program, children must be 16 years old at time of departure.

Travel Insurance

Emergency medical evacuation insurance is mandatory for this trip, with a minimum recommended coverage of $250,000 per person. If you decline the operator’s insurance, then you must provide proof of third party insurance. Trip cancellation insurance is optional but highly recommended. Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; 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/expedition leader’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising and land tours unique.

Variable Departure Details

2022 rates and dates are tentative and will be allocated to guests on a first-come, first-serve basis. Your Adventure Specialist will confirm details at time of booking.

Rates & Dates

Trip Rates & Dates

Jun 05 - Jun 13, 2022
9 days
From $11895USD
Per Person
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Jun 16 - Jun 24, 2022
9 days
From $11895USD
Per Person
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Jun 27 - Jul 05, 2022
9 days
From $11895USD
Per Person
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Jul 08 - Jul 16, 2022
9 days
From $11895USD
Per Person
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Jul 20 - Jul 28, 2022
9 days
From $11895USD
Per Person
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Jul 31 - Aug 08, 2022
9 days
From $11895USD
Per Person
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Aug 11 - Aug 19, 2022
9 days
From $11895USD
Per Person
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Aug 15 - Aug 23, 2022
9 days
From $11895USD
Per Person
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Accommodations

Learn About the Small Ship & Hotels on Your Itinerary

Yacht
Sea Star

Step back in time aboard the classic 12-guest Sea Star, a 1965-built private yacht that treats her guests to itineraries along Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, Prince William Sound and Inside Passage.

Hotel
Hotel Alyeska

Nestled amongst mountains and glaciers near Girdwood, Alaska, the Hotel Alyeska at the Alyeska Resort offers luxurious accommodations, direct wilderness access and a celebration of Alaskan Native culture.

Lodge
Summit Lake Lodge

Set in the heart of the Chugach National Forest, the historic Summit Lake Lodge features 6 historic rooms and 16 deluxe log cabins set on scenic Summit Lake. Enjoy authentic Alaska at this lodge 80 miles southeast of Anchorage, near the Kenai River and its world-famous salmon fishing.

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.

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Alaska Explorer: Kenai Peninsula & Prince William Sound

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