Guests sit around a fire at Orca Point Lodge. Photo by Alaskan Dream Cruises.
True Alaska with True Alaskans
Family owned Alaskan Dream Cruises offers cultural expedition to the Last Frontier
As Alaska Natives and owners of Alaskan Dream Cruises, the Allen family had a clear vision of how they wanted to share Alaska’s Inside Passage with their guests. Their goal? To provide cruisers with the chance to experience True Alaska—the Alaska their family has come to know and love over many generations.
They knew in order to accomplish this, they would have to get beneath the surface, to venture off the common routes, to highlight destinations and wildlife areas very few guests ever have the opportunity to see. They’ve created and recreated Southeast Alaska itineraries for the past eight years to do just that. Headed in 2020, Alaskan Dream Cruises is adding a new vessel to make the journey into more untouched places even easier.
The Kruzof Explorer. Photo by Alaskan Dream Cruises.
New vessel, new waters
The new expedition vessel, the Kruzof Explorer, was a Bering Sea crab fishing boat that underwent major renovations—like updating the crab hold into a theater room where films and presentations can be shared with guests. Now a premiere passenger ship, it has just six state rooms accommodating 12 guests and an expansive dining room, bar and lounge area with panoramic views. Other amenities onboard include a high-speed Zodiac, sport fishing boat, kayaks and paddleboards for guests to use on daily adventures. The five-ton crane, which once hauled crab pots, will now load and unload the toys onboard, giving guests a glimpse into its past life as a crabbing boat.
Guests kayak near a glacier. Photo by Alaskan Dream Cruises.
It will also be one of the first vessels in Alaska to venture into remote areas of the Inside Passage like Klawock, Yakutat, Pelican, Lituya Bay and more. Visits to these communities, and others served on Alaskan Dream Cruises, are exactly the kind of True Alaska experiences the Allen family dreamed of sharing with guests years ago.
The Kruzof Explorer is sailing on three itineraries in 2020: a seven-night “Ultimate Glacier Bay, Wilderness, and Wildlife,” which spends three days exploring Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve; a nine-night “Remote Alaska Adventure,” immersing travelers in the southern half of the Inside Passage around Prince of Wales Island, the Alaska Native community of Klawock and remote Dall Island; and a 12-night “Alaska’s Grand Coastal Discovery,” traversing the entirety of the Inside Passage from Ketchikan to Glacier Bay and continuing north into the Gulf of Alaska, ending in the small fishing village of Yakutat, also known for its surfing.
Wildlife sweet spots
The Kruzof’s large outdoor deck is ideally suited for wildlife viewing, and the captain crafts a path each day to the best spots for wildlife watching. As pioneers of Alaska day cruises for nearly 50 years with its sister company Allen Marine Inc., Alaskan Dream Cruises’ staff have developed an innate sense of the region’s most abundant wildlife areas.
Animal sightings include both brown and black bears, mountain goats and Sitka black-tailed deer, occasionally wolf and moose are seen. Of course, Southeast Alaska is famous for its seasonal migration of humpback whales. Orcas (killer whales), Steller sea lions, harbor seals, Dall’s porpoise, harbor porpoise and sea otters are also frequently spotted in the area.
A killer whale. Photo by Alaskan Dream Cruises.
True Alaskan guides
The staff members onboard are also another aspect of what sets Alaskan Dream Cruises apart from other cruise lines. Alaskan Dream Cruises believes guests want to have a deeper understanding of the places they visit to gain a true appreciation of the Alaska way of life. Onboard True Alaskan Guides, often Alaska Natives themselves, are well versed in the indigenous cultures, legends and practices of the area and naturalists are there to focus on the biology, geography and ecology of the Inside Passage. Each onboard staff member acts as a personal guide throughout the voyage, accompanying guests on all shore excursions, on deck while viewing wildlife and in the lounge during the evenings.
The Alaskan Dream vessel. Photo by Alaskan Dream Cruises.
Fresh Alaska seafood
All meals are served in an open-seating dining room. Onboard chefs give guests a taste of Alaska with each meal, highlighting local ingredients and wild Alaska seafood, such as locally caught crab, halibut, shrimp and king salmon. Onboard pastry chefs are responsible for fresh baked bread and decadent desserts. The menu also features locally produced beer and spirits in the bar selections.
In 2020, the Kruzof Explorer pushes Alaskan Dream Cruises into an entirely new realm, but still with the classic service for which the small-ship cruise line is known. So even though Alaskan Dream Cruises has added new ports and a new vessel for 2020, passengers can still expect the same True Alaska hospitality the company has curated with each journey before.