Road Scholar : Home
Alaska's Inside Passage Up Close

Program Number: 11479RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/16/2013 - 8/24/2013; 8/13/2015 - 8/21/2015; 9/4/2015 - 9/12/2015; 5/26/2016 - 6/3/2016; 6/2/2016 - 6/10/2016; 7/8/2016 - 7/16/2016; 7/15/2016 - 7/23/2016; 7/22/2016 - 7/30/2016; 8/11/2016 - 8/19/2016; 9/2/2016 - 9/10/2016;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: Alaska
Price starting at: $5,299.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising
Meals: 23; 8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners    

Famed for deep glacial fjords, spectacular mountains and lush temperate rainforest, Alaska’s Inside Passage and Glacier Bay National Park offer natural and scenic gifts rivaled only by the rich histories of the indigenous nations who have lived here for millennia. Experience magnificent sights and sounds as our guides create opportunities to view each glacier in a unique way. Enjoy native Tlingit dances in a replica clanhouse, explore secluded bays via sea kayak or guided watercraft and touch Alaskan sea life, all in the company of experts who narrate your experience with in-depth analysis of this yet untamed land.

Activity Particulars

Optional walking up to a mile at a time on maintained trails, some uneven or wet terrain on shorelines.

Order of ports may vary depending on program date. Please note that some departures operate on the Admiralty Dream. The August 4th spends the first night of the program on board in Sitka and ends in Juneau.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Sitka, Alaska, 1 night; aboard Admiralty or Baranof Dream, 7 nights.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

Days 1-2:
Arrival Sitka, Alaska / embark Admiralty or Baranof Dream:

Discover Alaskan history at the Sheldon Jackson Museum, Russian Bishop's House and St. Michael's Cathedral. Enter the Sheet’ka Kwan Clan House for a colorful performance by the renowned NaKaHidi dancers. Board a catamaran for a "Sea Otter & Wildlife Quest" in beautiful Sitka Sound, home to abundant wildlife. Lodging first night: Centrally located hotel.

Day 3:
Windham Bay or Hobart Bay:

Visit one of these spectacular bays home to our wilderness adventure base camp where we'll enjoy sea kayaking, guided watercraft exploration and wildlife viewing.

Day 4:
Tracy Arm:

Explore the length of this glacier-carved, jade-green fjord, tracing the sheer granite face of cliffs that rise 4,000-feet above the sea, punctuated by a multitude of waterfalls and populated by harbor seals.

Day 5:

Go back in time to the Klondike Gold Rush as you ride the White Pass and Yukon Route, a narrow gauge railway completed in 1901 to carry miners over the mountains to the gold fields.

Day 6:
Auke Bay / Juneau / Orca Point Lodge:

Experience the massive ice field of the Mendenhall Glacier, then explore Alaska's thriving capital followed by a warm greeting by the Orca Point Lodge crew. Beachcombing, fresh Alaskan salmon and king crab will be tonight's entree followed by an evening campfire.

Day 7:
Glacier Bay National Park:

A National Park Service Ranger and a Tlingit Cultural Guide will board the ship at Glacier Bay to present onboard commentary on the park’s stunning scenery, including tidewater glaciers.

Day 8: Eastern Baranof Island:

Cruise the scenic region of Eastern Baranof Island (Red Bluff Bay or Kelp Bay) with opportunities to view humpback whales, brown bears and smell the fresh air of Southeast Alaska!

Day 9:
Sitka / disembark / departure

Admiralty Dream

The Admiralty Dream, a three-deck American small ship, can carry 52 passengers exclusively for Road Scholar. Watch the magnificent scenery pass you from the forward-facing Vista View Lounge.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Lee Vale

Lee Vale spent the first 11 years of his life living on his family’s 43-foot wood fishing trawler, The Idle Hour. His commercial fishing family then settled in Yakutat, Alaska (pop. 691), which he still calls home. Lee’s love for southeast Alaska is reflected in the positions he has held as a Glacier Bay National Park & Wrangell St-Elias National Park and Preserve cultural interpreter and shore-side ranger. He joins us this season eager to be back on the water and share his stories about life in Southeast Alaska.
Meals and Lodgings
   Westmark Hotel Sitka
  Northern Southeast Alaska - Inside Passage 1 night
   Admiralty Dream
  Northern Southeast Alaska - Inside Passage 7 nights
 Westmark Hotel Sitka
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Convenient downtown location within walking distance of historical and cultural sites and shopping.
  Contact info: 330 Seward St
Sitka, AK 99835 USA
phone: 907-747-6241
  Room amenities: Flat screen TVs with cable, free high speed Internet access, in-room coffee makers, hairdryer and iron / ironing board.
  Facility amenities: Room service, fitness center, on-site restaurant and lounge, complimentary high-speed wireless Internet throughout hotel, guest computer available, coin-operated guest laundry and free airport shuttle (for scheduled flight times only).
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Contact the hotel directly Please make arrangements for additional nights directly with the hotel.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Admiralty Dream
Type: Cruise Ship
  Ship Information: The three-deck American small cruise ship is 166 feet long and can carry 68 passengers on exclusive sailings for Road Scholar. The first thing guests notice when stepping into the Vista View Lounge aboard the Admiralty Dream is light, air, and views - wide picture windows port and starboard, and a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows facing forward. Backing the delightful scene are a bar and library with exquisitely detailed woodworking. Ample outside deck space and easy access to the extra-roomy bow area are perfect spots to view the sights around you. Smoking is prohibited anywhere inside the vessel including all staterooms. Smoking is permitted on selected outside decks.
  Contact info: N/A
Sitka, AK 99835 USA
phone: 907-723-3281
  Smoking allowed: No

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
You should try to arrive in Sitka, AK, by 7:00 PM for dinner. If Travel Services is arranging your flights, they will make every effort to get you to Sitka by this time. You will be staying at Westmark Hotel Sitka that night.
  End of Program:
Arrive in Sitka at 7:30 AM. The group will disembark following breakfast at approximately 8:30 AM. Please arrange for flights no earlier than 11:30 AM. You will be staying at Admiralty Dream the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. A picture ID (passport, state issued ID, or driver's license) will be required to board the vessel. Please include detailed information about your travel plans on the Participant Information Form including flight number, airline carrier, date and arrival time INTO Sitka and OUT OF Sitka so that shuttle service can be arranged for you. The Required Information For Ship Boarding and Rain Gear Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Sitka is not accessible by road. The only way to get a vehicle to Sitka would be to bring one aboard the Alaska Ferry. Parking would be available if a participant chooses this option, but not at the program's site location, and at a considerable cost.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Northern Southeast Alaska - Inside Passage
  Nearest city or town:  Juneau, AK
  Nearest airport:  Juneau, AK
  From End of Program
  Location: Northern Southeast Alaska - Inside Passage
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Sitka, AK


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Alaskan Dream Cruises
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


5 minutes 




1.5 miles


Alaskan Dream Cruises, the Road Scholar provider, will provide free shuttle service from the Sitka airport to the hotel the day the program begins. An Alaskan Dream Cruises representative will meet you in the baggage claim area. Please include detailed information about your travel plans on the Participant Information Form including flight number, airline carrier, date and arrival time INTO Sitka so that shuttle service can be arranged for you.


Sitka, AK


To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Alaskan Dream Cruises


Alaskan Dream Cruises, the Road Scholar cruise provider, will provide free shuttle service from the ship to the airport or a local hotel the day the program ends. Please include detailed information about your travel plans on the Participant Information Form including flight number, airline carrier, date and departure time OUT OF Sitka so that shuttle service can be arranged for you. Participants staying after the program are responsible for booking their own transfer to the airport.

Driving Directions
  Continental USA Sitka isn't accessible by car. The only way to access Sitka is via air (Alaska Airlines is the only commercial carrier to service Juneau - or by ferry (Alaska Marine Highway- The Alaska Marine Highway has two sailings a week from Bellingham, Washington. Alaska Airlines has flights daily from Seattle or Anchorage.
Elevation Note: The White Pass Railway tour will briefly (less than 1/2 hour) be at about 3,000 feet. No walking.

Equipment Requirements: Rain gear is highly recommended. Alaskan Dream Cruises has rain coats and pants available in many sizes, too, for your use. Comfortable walking shoes are necessary (they will probably get wet, so a good waterproofing is also recommended.) Binoculars are also highly recommended, but will be provided on the ship. A windproof jacket or parka is required (this could be the same jacket used for rain gear).
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival and program start/Free Time
(Friday, August 16)
 Arrive To: Arrive in Sitka and check into the Sitka Westmark Hotel. You will meet your Road Scholar group leaders in the hotel lobby and will be provided with additional program materials. An orientation and introductions are provided at dinner.
 Dinner: Dinner will be at the hotel.
 Evening: Following dinner, your expedition instructor will provide a presentation on the voyage. Your Road Scholar group leader will provide additional information.
Accommodations: Westmark Hotel Sitka
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Sitka/Sitka/Evening presentation
(Saturday, August 17)

Note: The group will explore Sitka by foot walking up to 3/4's of a mile. There will be stairs at St. Michael's Cathedral, the Russian Bishop’s House and at the dance performance. In the afternoon participants will transfer from dock to ship in Sitka by 65 ft. catamaran. Alaskan Dream and Road Scholar will make every effort to accommodate those with special needs. Please contact us in advance if you have any concerns.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at local restaurant
 Morning: Today we explore one of Alaska's most charming communities, Sitka. The Kiksadi Tlingit people have lived in the area for 8,000 years or more. Sitka, located on the outer coast of Southeast Alaska, sports a naturally protected and excellent harbor that made it attractive to European explorers, too. Sitka became the administrative center to Russian America, and you can stand on the very site that witnessed the change-over of Alaska from Russia to the United States in 1867. We will begin our adventure in Sitka with a bus exploration of downtown Sitka, visiting the Russian Bishop's House and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral. From there, you are free to explore Sitka on your own. Most of the points of interest are within walking distance of each other.
 Lunch: A snack will be served during the dance performance with lunch following on our Wildlife Quest, but you may choose to have lunch on your own in Sitka if you wish.
 Afternoon: We continue our exploration of Sitka. Enjoy Native Tlingit NaKaHidi dancers performing traditional dances and songs, some thousands of years old. The dance is performed in a traditional replica clanhouse, featuring beautiful Native Tlingit artwork. Afterward, the dancers in full regalia invite you to have your picture taken with them or chat informally. This afternoon we board a small boat for a "Sea Otter and Wildlife Quest" exploration of Sitka Sound. We will transit two beautiful, twisty narrow passageways on our way to Peril Strait. The scenery is magnificent and wildlife sightings, particularly bald eagles, are common. The boat will rendezvous with the Admiralty Dream near Peril Straits, 30 miles from Sitka. We will meet the Captain and crew, receive an orientation, and get underway for our big adventure.
 Dinner: Each evening we present a Recap and Social Hour in the Vista View Lounge. Appetizers are served and your Road Scholar team will recap the day's activities and preview the next day. It's a wonderful opportunity to relax with some excellent appetizers and a cold or hot drink, get to know your fellow Road Scholar participants, make new friends, or just watch the magnificent scenery of Southeast Alaska roll by. Following our evening Recap, we'll enjoy our first gourmet dinner in the dining room.
 Evening: Following dinner, a presentation will be made by a member of your Road Scholar staff that previews the upcoming week aboard the Admiralty Dream.
Accommodations: Admiralty Dream
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Hobart Bay
(Sunday, August 18)

Note: Activities in Hobart Bay are at particpants' option. Zego runabouts and kayaks require the ability to climb in and out of the boats. Assistance is provided.

 Breakfast: Eat breakfast onboard
 Morning: We arrive at Hobart Bay and spend the day exploring the Bay via kayak and small outboard-driven Zego runabouts, where you are the Captain of your own vessel. We will also have the opportunity to explore old logging roads aboard Kawasaki all-terrain vehicles.
 Lunch: Have lunch onboard as we continue to enjoy Hobart Bay.
 Afternoon: We continue our day exploring Hobart Bay.
 Dinner: Following tonight's Recap, we enjoy a leisurely dinner.
 Evening: Your Road Scholar group Leader will provide a presentation this evening.
Accommodations: Admiralty Dream
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Hobart Bay/Tracy Arm
(Monday, August 19)
 Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast on board.
 Morning: Take an early morning kayak before breakfast to catch sightings of wildlife that rises at dawn, then depart for Tracy Arm. Tracy Arm may well be the most scenic fjord in Alaska. Or anywhere else for that matter. A narrow, twisting 30-mile fjord winds through soaring cliffs of granite and thousands of glittering icebergs. It culminates at the prolifically calving Sawyer and South Sawyer tidewater glaciers. Thousands of harbor seals dot the icebergs, and other wildlife proliferates too. This is an impossibly scenic place and a photographer's paradise. Along the way, our staff narrates the highlights for you.
 Lunch: Lunch on board as we continue our exploration of Tracy Arm.
 Afternoon: We wind our way back down the arm, pausing to view some of the spectacular waterfalls that spill out of the granite cliffs that line the fjord.
 Dinner: Following tonight's Recap, we'll have our dinner as we make our way out of Tracy Arm and begin transitting to Skagway.
 Evening: The Road Scholar staff lead an evening presentation.
Accommodations: Admiralty Dream
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Skagway/White Pass Railway
(Tuesday, August 20)
 Breakfast: Have breakfast aboard as we make our way up the spectacular Taya Inlet toward our docking in Skagway.
 Morning: The famous gold rush town of Skagway is also home to the Klondike National Historic Park, which owns and has restored many of the buildings. Although a busy cruise ship destination, Skagway drips with early Alaska history, and there are many interesting places to peruse. One of Skagway's more famous attractions is the impossibly scenic White Pass narrow gauge railway. Built at the height of the Gold Rush, it operates today as a tourist attraction and a very spectacular one at that. In the morning we will have some free time to explore Skagway.
 Lunch: We return to the Admiralty Dream for lunch or you are free to remain in town for lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: We will board the famous White Pass railway to the White Pass summit. Spectacular views are frequent, and an onboard narrator passes on nuggets of gold rush history along the way.
 Dinner: Tonight we enjoy our gourmet dinner aboard the Admiralty Dream.
 Evening: Some evenings we will present an "evening program" following dinner. Topics vary. Sometimes it may be a slide presentation, sometimes a talk, sometimes an opportunity for questions and answers, sometimes just a good story. Our PA system allows for guests to enjoy programs in the forward lounge (where most of our formal programming occurs) or in the comfort of their own staterooms.
Accommodations: Admiralty Dream
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Glacier Bay National Park
(Wednesday, August 21)
 Breakfast: Breakfast this morning is aboard the ship. We enter Glacier Bay early this morning to pick up our Ranger for the day.
 Morning: We will be joined by a National Park Service Ranger who leads our programming for the day. The National Park Service Naturalists are intimately acquainted with the mysteries of Glacier Bay, and explain them in detail. The Huna Tlingit people once lived in Glacier Bay and consider it their spiritual homeland. A Native Tlingit interpretive naturalist joins the National Park Service Ranger to inform and teach their traditional ties to this stunning Alaskan treasure. The entrance to Glacier Bay is teeming with wildlife, particularly sea birds. Also, this is an area frequented by feeding humpback whales. Birders and wildlife watchers will want to be up early and out on decks as we enter Glacier Bay.
 Lunch: Have lunch on board as we continue our exploration of Glacier Bay.
 Afternoon: We continue to explore the crown jewel of Southeast Alaska, Glacier Bay National Park. Rated the No. 1 national park in the USA by Consumer Reports Magazine, Glacier Bay boasts the largest number of tidewater glaciers in North America, the 15,000-foot Fairweather Mountain range, some of the most stunning scenery anywhere, and a prolific amount of wildlife including humpback whales, sea otters, puffins, mountain goats and much more.
 Dinner: Enjoy yet another gourmet meal following Recap.
Accommodations: Admiralty Dream
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Auke Bay/Juneau/Orca Point Lodge
(Thursday, August 22)
 Breakfast: We arrive in Auke Bay, which is 12 miles north of Juneau, while we enjoy breakfast on board.
 Morning: Following breakfast we will board our buses to visit the famous Mendenhall Glacier. One of Alaska’s most-visited natural features, the Mendenhall spills out of the Juneau Ice Field, an ice field the size of the state of Connecticut. The Visitor Center provides terrific views of the Glacier and the lake, many very well-conceived displays and presentations, a wonderful short movie, and some exquisite hiking trails. National Forest Service interpretive rangers will be available to answer questions. After our visit to glacier we will proceed to downtown Juneau to visit the Alaska State Museum, which features many historical displays and a significant collection of Alaskan Native artifacts. Then depart to a luncheon in town.
 Lunch: Buffet lunch in town.
 Afternoon: Post lunch there will be the following options. For those wanting to return to the ship a transfer will be provided back to the ship which sails at 4:30 p.m. Those wanting more time in town can choose to do the following: take a walking tour with your Road Scholar leader with a ride on the Mt. Roberts Tramway providing wonderful views of the surrounding area. The other option will be to take a self-guided walking tour and visit the tramway on your own. For both options there will be an assigned meeting time and place to board the motor coach back to the ship. Once we return to the ship, enjoy a social hour and hors d'oeuvres as we make our way to yet another exclusive stop: Orca Point Lodge on Colt Island. Here we will enjoy a wonderful dinner of Salmon and King Crab. At this beautiful lodge, get up close and personal with the Alaskan sea life by visiting the lodge's touch tank, take a stroll on the private beach, and meet one of the caretakers to learn about traditional gardening in Southeast Alaska.
 Dinner: Alaskan Salmon and King Crab dinner at Orca Point Lodge.
 Evening: Tonight your Road Scholar team will lead an evening program.
Accommodations: Admiralty Dream
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Red Bluff Bay & Baranof Island Cruising
(Friday, August 23)
 Breakfast: Breakfast this morning aboard ship while we enter Red Bluff Bay.
 Morning: We spend the morning exploring this delightful and lovely yet rarely visited part of Alaska. Rusted cliffs of Red Bluff Bay glow in the morning sun as you explore the old-growth rainforest, waterfalls and pristine beaches. As we make our way back to Sitka, we explore the remote east coast of Baranof Island.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch on board.
 Afternoon: We continue exploring Red Bluff Bay and Baranoff Island.
 Dinner: Join in the lounge for drinks and to discuss the days adventures, followed by our Farewell Dinner.
Accommodations: Admiralty Dream
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: ArriveSitka and disembark
(Saturday, August 24)
 Arrive To: We arrive back in Sitka early this morning where we disembark the vessel. Transfer to the airport, or to your hotel if you are staying beyond the program.
 Breakfast: Breakfast this morning is our last meal on board.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Author: James Michner

Alaska Trees and Shrubs

Author: Leslie Viereck and Elbert Little

Alaska's History: the People, Land and Events of the North Country

Author: Harry Ritter

Description: This is a small, easily readable "digest" of Alaska's history. It is great for a quick overview and it is a good size for tucking into a suitcase or reading on a plane.

An Alaska Anthology: Interpreting the Past

Author: Edited by Stephen w. Haycox and Mary Childers Mangusso

Description: This anthology is a compilation of essays by noted Alaska historians, geographers and naturalists and is easy to browse and read in small segments. The essays cover Alaskan history from the days of Russian-American Company domination to the threat of nuclear testing by the Atomic Energy Commission and provide an understanding of the events, themes and those involved in the development of the state.

Guide to Marine Mammals of Alaska

Author: Kate Wynne

Description: This book covers all 29 marine mammal species of Alaska. Each whale, porpoise, dolphin, seal, sea lion, walrus, sea otter, and polar bear is described and illustrated. Color photos and surface profile drawings show all Alaska marine mammals and compare similar species, and color range maps show distribution.

Guide to the Birds of Alaska

Author: Robert Armstrong

Description: This comprehensive guide provides the most current knowledge about the birds in Alaska.

Looking at Indian Art of the Northwest Coast

Author: Hilary Stewart

Nature of Southeast Alaska: A Guide to Plants, Animals, and Habitats

Author: Robert Armstrong

Roadside Geology of Alaska

Author: Cathy Connor

Description: Alaska is a mosaic patchwork, a collage of continental scraps swept in from the Pacific and added, one after the other, onto the far northwest corner of the continent. Here are the rocky foundations of Alaska, every bit as exotic as the landscape they support, just as varied and vital as the people who live in that landscape. Due to the rugged terrain and limited road access, this is not just a "roadside" book--it describes the geology of southeast Alaska as one might see it from the observation lounge of one of Alaska's comfortable ferries traveling the marine highway.

The Island Within

Author: Richard Nelson

Description: Richard Nelson a Sitka resident is recognized as one of the nation's best known nature writers. This is his account of his exploration of an unnamed Alaskan island which causes one to think about our own relationship with nature, and the importance of observing and participating in nature with reverence and a sense of wonder.

The Klondike Fever: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush

Author: Pierre Berton

Description: In 1897 a grimy steamer docked in Seattle and set into epic motion the incredible succession of events that Pierre Berton's exhilarating The Klondike Fever chronicles in all its splendid and astonishing folly. For the steamer Portland bore two tons of pure Klondike gold. And immediately, the stampede north to Alaska began.

The Sea Runners

Author: Ivan Doig

Description: In this timeless survival story, four indentured servants escape their Russian Alaska work camp in a stolen canoe, only to face a harrowing journey down the Pacific Northwest coast. Battling unrelenting high seas and fierce weather from New Archangel, Alaska, to Astoria, Oregon, the men struggle to avoid hostile Tlingit Indians, to fend off starvation and exhaustion, and to endure their own doubt and distrust. Although fictional it is based on an actual incident in 1853.

Tlingit Tales: Potlatch and Totem Pole

Author: Lorie K. Harris

Description: Legends of the Tlingit people.

Travels in Alaska

Author: John Muir

Description: Take a trip to last century's Alaska through Muir's clean, easy-going, enthusiastic prose. He wrote the way he took pictures, with insight, attention, care and genuine feeling.

You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

© Road Scholar 2015 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768