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wildlife & nature • 7 days, 6 nights

By Land & Sea: Explore Alaska’s Prince William Sound

Alaska
wildlife & nature • 7 days, 6 nights

By Land & Sea: Explore Alaska’s Prince William Sound

Alaska
See Dates
  • Group Size 12 People Maximum
  • Activity Level
    Easy
  • Travel Style
    On the Water

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from $5,970 USD per person
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Trip Overview
Overview

Join us aboard the M/V Discovery for an exciting exploration of the magical sheltered waterways of southeast Alaska's Prince William Sound. The Sound is a nearly untouched wilderness surrounded by the world's northernmost temperate rainforest, rugged mountain ridges, and gentle ocean waters. On this Atlas Obscura exclusive land and sea journey, we'll share a selection of our favorite destinations in the Sound, explicitly highlighted for their scenic beauty, wildlife viewing, and shoreside explorations. Daily excursions, including leg-stretching strolls along quiet shores, hikes through lush, inland meadows and old-growth forests, and kayaking through gentle icy waters, provide intimate encounters with Alaska's wildlife. Come along to enjoy a gentle maritime pace and epic scenery while traveling in the home of whales, sea lions, sea otters, harbor seals, bald eagles, and many more residents of this wilderness sanctuary.

Please keep in mind that itinerary changes will occur due to weather or to take advantage of seasonal opportunities like wildlife viewing, tide cycles, etc.

Highlights
  • Small ship cruising with flexible shore excursions
  • An intimate view of marine wildlife and pristine wilderness
  • Kayak in the protected bays and fjords
  • Hike wildflower meadows, old-growth forests, and shore-side vistas
  • Experience calving glaciers, whale watching, and breathtaking waterfall views
  • Thoughtful, home-cooked meals featuring locally caught seafood prepared aboard the ship

Itinerary

Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.

Additional Info

Pricing

The listed price of the trip is per person based on double occupancy.

Traveling Solo?

You’re in good company. Solo travelers typically make up about half of our small groups. With curiosity at the center of our experiences, there’s a natural camaraderie that develops over the course of a trip. Accommodations on board the Discovery are twin rooms, and you’ll be matched with another solo traveler. The only way to secure a private cabin as a solo traveler is to book a second space on the trip.

A single room may be requested for the first and last nights of the trip in Anchorage. Please inquire for availability and rate.

Cruise Accommodations

On this trip, we will be spending four nights aboard the 65-foot M/V Discovery. The lower deck includes sleeping accommodations for twelve guests in six cabins fitted with upper and lower berths and stowage space for personal items. The Discovery has two shared bathrooms with hot showers. Guests enjoy the panoramic scenery and wildlife viewing from the ship’s complete walk-around deck and expansive windows. The Discovery carries two large, outboard-powered, inflatable zodiacs used for shore visits. Single and double kayaks are stored onboard and used for kayak excursions. The Discovery is distinguished among other vessels in the small cruise ship category by maintaining status as a U.S. Coast Guard inspected and certified passenger vessel. This means it adheres to the strictest safety regulations, including annual examinations of the vessel’s structural, mechanical, and safety equipment in addition to requirements for captains and crew licensing, training, and testing. 

Arrival & Departure

Our trip begins with overnight bed and breakfast accommodations in Anchorage on Day 1. You may arrive in Anchorage any time that day and make your own way to the downtown hotel. Our trip concludes with a return transfer to Anchorage on Day 6, arriving between 5:30 and 6:30 PM, and hotel accommodations for the night. Most flights to the Lower 48 states depart late at night or in the wee hours of the morning.

We do not have the ability to satisfy extended travel requests in Alaska before or after the group trip. We will do our best to extend your hotel booking in Anchorage upon request and based on availability. We welcome you to extend your travels on your own arrangement.

Activity Level

Average agility is required to navigate the ship’s narrow stairway leading to the sleeping quarters and bathrooms in the lower deck or to access the smaller inflatable zodiacs for optional shoreside excursions. Trips to shore are customized to meet the desired physical activity level of the voyage and more specifically, the interests of the group. We do not hike on an established trail system, which means we may encounter stepping over downed trees, crossing a creek, uneven bog terrain, or walking along glacial outcroppings. Whether you want to go for a hike with a physical challenge or you prefer an easy walk along the shore, you’ll enjoy a range of experiences on the optional excursions. Or instead, you can experience the Sound’s spectacular beauty right from the walk-around deck or spacious lounge of our vessel. There are two guides on board to accommodate variations in activity levels. By far, the most important qualifications are a positive attitude, a spirit of adventure, a sense of humor, and a willingness to try new and different experiences.

Since this is a maritime trip, you should also be comfortable on and around the water. Be prepared for compact quarters and meals onboard. In addition to adventures ashore, you’ll have plenty of time to relax and take in the scenery.

About Your Crew

You will be in the experienced hands of the wonderful Dean Rand and Megan Ciana, owners and operators of the family-run M/V Discovery and licensed captains and naturalists. Captain Dean began his Alaskan maritime experience in the Bering Sea crab fisheries in the 1970s. He continued with commercial fishing ventures as well as forestry projects throughout Alaska and in the late 1980s began providing logistic support for maritime scientific research studies in Prince William Sound. He and his two daughters launched the Discovery in 1992, first in the coastal community of Cordova and then moved to Whittier in 1997. Dean is an accomplished shipwright and keeps the Discovery in top-notch working shape. Megan met Dean in 2010 and they were married in 2015 on a lush mountain hillside overlooking a glacier in Prince William Sound. Megan is a licensed captain, a licensed physical therapist, and an accomplished gourmet chef. 

Included
  • Accommodation throughout the trip, including 2 nights at a comfortable Anchorage hotel and 4 nights aboard the M/V Discovery.
  • All meals described in the itinerary with a complimentary onboard bar of beer, wine, and spirits.
  • Transportation between Anchorage and Whittier (approx. 90 minutes).
  • Experienced crew and naturalist guides as you cruise around Prince William Sound.
  • A great group of fellow Atlas Obscura travelers, excited to explore all that Prince William Sound has to offer!
  • Global Rescue medical evacuation insurance.
  • Private group shuttle between Anchorage and Whittier.
  • All user fees and use of equipment.
Excluded
  • Transportation to and from Anchorage.
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations.
  • Airport transfers.
  • Travel insurance (recommended).
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings.
  • Customary gratuities for the crew.
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Trip FAQ

In May in Alaska, you should expect low temperatures to dip into the 30s°F and daytime highs in the 40s to low 50s°F. A common scenario in Prince William Sound is to wake up to dense morning fog that typically burns off, at least in part, by the middle of the day. The average water temperature in Prince William Sound in May is around 46°F and therefore is not suitable for comfortable swimming, but we encourage you to try a refreshing polar plunge! On a sunny day in the right spot, you may find warmer surface waters. You should pack in layers and expect a range of temperature and climate conditions. Rain jackets, rain pants, rubber boots, and rubber gloves will be provided if needed due to inclement weather (rain pants and jackets sizes XS-XXL).

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Upcoming Departures

  • May 14–May 20, 2022
    from $5,970
    Book
Choose your own private trip dates
Inquire now about a private departure for friends and family. Trip cost may vary based on group size and travel dates.

Choose your own private trip dates

Inquire now about a private departure for friends and family.

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