11479
Alaska
Alaska's Inside Passage Up Close
The mighty glaciers and dramatic fjords of Alaska’s Inside Passage are incredible. Aboard an expedition ship, learn about this untamed land and its stunning diversity of wildlife.
Rating (4.88)
Program No. 11479RJ
Length
10 days
Starts at
5,995
Special Offer
Flights start at
FREE
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
10 days
9 nights
26 meals
9 B 8 L 9 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
Arrival in Sitka, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Sitka, AK
D
Westmark Hotel Sitka

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m. If you arrive before your room is ready, you may store your luggage at the hotel until check-in is available.

Afternoon: Upon arrival in Sitka, we will be met by Road Scholar staff and transferred to the hotel. Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table outside the meeting room, to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to learn when and where the orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: In our private meeting space at the hotel, we’ll enjoy a buffet meal which will include an entrée, salad, starch, coffee, tea, and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any program changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Each afternoon before dinner aboard the ship, we’ll have a social hour to recap the day’s activities, preview what will happen tomorrow, get to know our fellow participants better and see amazing scenery. As a tasty treat, enjoy complimentary hors d‘oeuvres as well as coffee, tea, and hot chocolate; other beverages available for purchase. Evenings aboard the ship will often include a presentation for the group, unless specified otherwise. It might be a narrated slide presentation, a talk, an opportunity for questions and answers, or just a good story. Durations of hikes will be dependent on the group pace and ability level, which can vary. Unless specified otherwise, transportation on land will be provided primarily by motorcoach, requiring the going up/down of a few steps when getting on/off. Periods in the schedule labeled “Free Time and “At Leisure” offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable while going out to explore on your own, engaging in available activities independently, making new friends among fellow Road Scholars, or simply relaxing. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions for activities. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the full day ahead.

DAY
2
Explore Sitka, Traditional Arts, Embark Ship, Daily Preview
Northern Southeast Alaska - Inside Passage
B,L,D
Baranof Dream

Activity note: Please bring luggage from hotel rooms to hotel lobby (assistance as needed). During Sitka field trip, walking up to 1 mile with stops. Stairs at Russian Bishop’s House and dance performance. Van or small bus will be available for those not wishing to walk to the sites visited in Sitka.

Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet at the hotel includes oatmeal, French toast, eggs, breakfast potatoes, bacon, sausage, fruit, orange juice, tea, milk.

Morning: After bringing our luggage down and checking out of the hotel, we’ll reassemble and walk to the oldest museum in Alaska, the Sheldon Jackson Museum, which holds many artifacts that were collected by Sheldon Jackson. In 1877, Sheldon Jackson began his work in Alaska as a Presbyterian missionary and, while working with the Alaska Natives, he saw the need to preserve their history and culture for future generations so he amassed an extensive collection of cultural artifacts, many of which are on display in the museum. After a brief introduction to the museum, enjoy some time to explore the exhibits independently; docents will be available to answer any questions you may have. Then we will explore downtown Sitka on foot with stops at key sites including the Russian Bishop’s House and the Sitka Sound Science Center. One of Alaska's most charming communities, Sitka lies in a protected harbor rich in natural resources and has a complex history dating back over 8,000 years beginning with the Kiksadi Tlingit people as the native residents. Serious Russian interest began in 1725 when they began to explore the Pacific coast of North America until they eventually established, after much fighting with the Tlingit people, Sitka as an administrative center. At the conclusion of the field trip, we will have some time in Sitka for independent exploration. Most points of interest are within walking distance of each other. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. We’ll then regroup at a predetermined time and place and walk to a traditional replica clan house, featuring beautiful Native Tlingit artwork, where we will continue our experience of life in Sitka by seeing native Tlingit NaKaHidi dancers performing traditional dances and songs, some thousands of years old. Afterward, the dancers in full regalia will invite us to have our pictures taken with them and chat informally.

Lunch: In our private meeting room at the hotel, we’ll choose from a selection of pre-made sandwiches along with dessert items, fresh fruit and sodas, water, coffee and tea.

Afternoon: We will then board our ship for our embarkation from Sitka. After boarding, we will meet the Captain and crew and have an orientation session outlining safety procedures as we get underway. After we settle in, we’ll transit two beautiful, twisty narrow passages where we can look for sea otters, bald eagles, and other creatures. Depending on the order of ports, we may board a 65-foot catamaran and rendezvous with the ship 30 miles outside of Sitka Sound near Peril Strait. If this is happens, be assured that the ship staff will assist with boarding the catamaran and with transferring you to the ship. Each evening aboard ship, there will be a social hour before dinner as an opportunity to recap the day’s activities, preview what will happen tomorrow, get to know our fellow participants better, make new Road Scholar friends, and see amazing scenery. As a tasty treat, enjoy complimentary hors d‘oeuvres as well as coffee, tea, and hot chocolate; other beverages available for purchase.

Dinner: In the pleasant dining room, enjoy plated meals prepared by professionally trained chefs using fresh, organic, and locally produced foods plus one complimentary glass of beer or wine with all dinners aboard the ship. Coffee, tea, milk, hot chocolate and water are included; other beverages available for purchase. Menus change daily, usually including a seafood or meat entrée.

Evening: A staff member will provide an overview of tomorrow’s activities as well as discuss the local history and culture. The ship’s public address system allows participants to hear programs in the forward lounge (where most of our onboard programming occurs) or in the comfort of staterooms.

DAY
3
Frederick Sound, Kake
Northern Southeast Alaska - Inside Passage
B,L,D
Baranof Dream

Activity note: Walking with guide 1 mile or even surfaces through Kake. Totem Carving Demonstration, Tlingit Dance Performance.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship, we’ll have plated meals featuring fresh, organic, and locally produced foods including items such as pancakes, cereals, egg dishes, and breakfast meats with coffee, tea, milk, hot chocolate, juice and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Morning: Today’s destination, one of the unique bays along Fredrick Sound, which is virtually unknown to many travelers. We will spend the morning cruising through this delightful and lovely, yet rarely visited, part of Alaska. View the temperate rainforest, waterfalls, and pristine beaches from the comfort of the ship, scan the skies for birds and the shores for wildlife. We will also have the opportunity to view marine life up close via small watercraft with expert staff.

Lunch: Aboard the ship, we’ll have plated meals featuring fresh, organic, and locally produced foods with coffee, tea and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll continue cruising along Fredrick Sound, arriving in Kake in the afternoon. While in Kake we will have the opportunity to explore the beautifl city with a local guide. We will viewing a totem carving demonstration, visit the world's largest totem pole, and witness a live Tlingit Traditional dance performance. We’ll then enjoy our social hour before dinner.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Onboard staff will lead an orientation to procedures for tomorrow’s outdoor activities in Hobart Bay.

DAY
4
Hobart Bay or Thomas Bay, Inside Passage Lecture
Northern Southeast Alaska - Inside Passage
B,L,D
Baranof Dream

Activity note: Levels of activity are dependent on personal preference. Climbing in/out of 22-foot skiffs and kayaks assistance provided as needed. Each group that goes out will be accompanied by 2 staff leaders. Hiking about ½ mile, expected duration of approx. 1 hour, but will be dependent on pace of the group; moderate incline on gravel road. Up to 1 hour in boats on a long, slow paddle.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: After arriving at Hobart Bay or Thomas Bay, we'll begin our wilderness adventure with a full day of exhilarating outdoor activities. You will have the choice to explore the bay via 2-person sea kayaks or on 22-foot skiffs for quiet exploration. Kayak launchers make it easy to get into kayaks that are then slid into the water slowly. Groups will be limited to 10-12 on the skiffs providing room to easily maneuver and catch sight of wildlife and take photos as well as watch for eagles or bears along the shore.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Continue exploring this secluded bay. A variety of marine life and birds are visible as well as an occasional black bear roaming the shoreline. We’ll also go ashore for a short hike to a view point along a gravel road in the late afternoon passing a muskeg/bog with some unusual plants, including a carnivorous species! We’ll then enjoy our social hour before dinner.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Our Road Scholar Group Leader will give a presentation on more fascinating aspects of Alaska’s Inside Passage.

DAY
5
Tracy Arm Fjord, Waterfalls, Wildlife Watch
Northern Southeast Alaska - Inside Passage
B,L,D
Baranof Dream

Activity note: N/A

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Perhaps Alaska’s most scenic fjord, Tracy Arm, a photographer’s paradise, is a narrow inlet of ocean running between cliffs or steep slopes. Tracy Arm twists and turns for more than 30 miles through some of the most dramatically scenic landscapes anywhere, dotted with thousands of icebergs from twin glaciers -- North Sawyer and South Sawyer -- at the end of the fjord. Wildlife is seasonally prolific, with whales and sea lions, seals on floating ice, bears, deer, mountain goats, wolves, and smaller animals inhabiting surrounding forests, and bald eagles and other birds flying above. Along the way, our staff will narrate and point out the highlights.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: We’ll wind our way back down the arm, pausing to view some of the spectacular waterfalls that spill out of the granite cliffs along the fjord. Weather and sea conditions permitting, we will also have the opportunity to ride the skiffs with our expert leaders to explore either the North or South Sawyer Glacier. As we depart Tracy Arm, we will cruise into Frederick Sound to scout for humpback whales and other marine mammals in these world-renowned whale waters. We’ll enjoy our social hour before dinner.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Taku Harbor, Orca Point Lodge
Northern Southeast Alaska - Inside Passage
B,L,D
Baranof Dream

Activity note: Activity levels are dependent on participants’ personal preferences during independent exploration.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Arriving in Taku Harbor, which is a small bay located on the eastern shore of Stephens Passage about 22 miles southeast of Juneau, we will be able to participantin kayaking, walking, and DIB tours.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: We will continue to explore Taku Harbor, watching for an abundance of marine animals, wildlife on the shores, and the pristine Tonga National Forest. Following our exploration we will head to Orca Point Lodge.

Dinner: As a special treat, we have an exclusive stop at Orca Point Lodge on Colt Island to enjoy a wonderful buffet meal of Alaskan salmon and all-you-can-eat King Crab. A glass of wine, soft drinks, coffee, tea and water are included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At the lodge's touch tank, get “up close and personal” with Alaskan sea life and stroll on the private beach. If weather permits, enjoy a bonfire on the beach. We’ll then board the ship.

DAY
7
White Pass Railway, Skagway & Gold Rush, Free Time
Northern Southeast Alaska - Inside Passage
B,L,D
Baranof Dream

Activity note: Getting on/off street cars. Minimal walking on sidewalks and city streets. Train ride is approx. 40 miles roundtrip; about 3.5 hours.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Making our way up the spectacular Taiya Inlet, we’ll dock in Skagway. This famous gold rush town is also home to Klondike National Historic Park, which owns and has restored many of the buildings. We will take a narrated shuttle from the ship to the White Pass Railway depot, board the train, and take a narrated rail road trip up to the White Pass summit located in British Columbia, Canada, with spectacular views along the way. This narrow gauge railway route was built during the Klondike Gold Rush. Its proposed 110-mile journey through coastal mountains was considered impossible but became a reality in only 26 months of construction from 1898-1900. The railway operated as a business until 1982, then re-opened in 1988 for seasonal excursions.

Lunch: Aboard ship or at your own cost in town.

Afternoon: Free Time. You may wish to visit the Klondike National Historic Park's museum, go on a walking field trip with our Group Leader, or explore the town of Skagway on your own. The park offers park ranger walks at regularly scheduled times from the visitor's center. The ship is scheduled to depart mid to late afternoon. We’ll cruise back down the scenic Taiya Inlet and Lynn Canal towards Icy Strait as we head towards tomorrow’s destination: Glacier Bay. In the late afternoon, we’ll have our social hour.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Aboard the ship, enjoy an evening of native storytelling or other Alaskan tales.

DAY
8
Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
Northern Southeast Alaska - Inside Passage
B,L,D
Baranof Dream

Activity note: N/A

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Birders and wildlife watchers will want to be up and out on decks as we enter Glacier Bay early this morning. We will be joined by a National Park Service (NPS) Ranger who will lead our programming today. The NPS citation reads, “Covering 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines, and deep sheltered fjords, Glacier Bay National Park is a highlight of Alaska's Inside Passage and part of a 25-million acre World Heritage Site — one of the world’s largest international protected areas.” The entrance to Glacier Bay teems with wildlife, particularly sea birds. This is also an area frequented by feeding humpback whales. The Huna Tlingit people once lived here and consider it their spiritual homeland. A Native Tlingit interpretive naturalist will join the NPS Ranger to discuss their traditional ties to this stunning natural treasure.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our exploration of Glacier Bay National Park, the crown jewel of Southeast Alaska considered by many to be the United States’ Number 1 national park. Glacier Bay boasts the largest number of tidewater glaciers in North America, with the backdrop of the stunning 15,000-foot Fairweather Mountain range, some of the most stunning scenery anywhere, and a prolific array of wildlife including humpback whales, sea otters, puffins, mountain goats and much more, often amid calving icebergs. Watch for all these wonders from the deck of the ship (binoculars provided). The Ranger and naturalist will be on deck for commentary, to point out highlights, and answer questions. We’ll enjoy our social hour to reflect on the beauty of Glacier Bay.

Dinner: Aboard the ship, we'll enjoy a delicious farewell plated meal with standard beverages in the company of the captain. Toast to a successful program and share your favorite memories with your Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. As we head back to Juneau overnight, prepare for departure in the morning and get a good night’s sleep.

DAY
9
Arrive Juneau, Disembark, Glacier Bay, Alaska State Museum
Juneau, AK
B,L,D
Prospector Hotel

Activity note: The ship is scheduled to arrive in Juneau at approximately 7:30 a.m. Disembarkation from the ship will begin at approximately 8:30 a.m. Minimal walking on sidewalks and city streets; rides available upon request. Tram rises about 1,800 feet and takes a relatively short amount of time—about 10 mins. Total field trip will take about 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: After disembarking the ship and checking in to the hotel, we’ll reassemble and board a motorcoach for a field trip to one of Alaska’s extraordinary natural wonders: the Mendenhall Glacier. This river of ice is one of 38 large glaciers that flow from the 1,500 square mile Juneau ice field formed about 3,000 years ago. The glacier stretches 12 miles from the ice field down to its terminus at Mendenhall Lake. The glacier and surrounding area are protected by the National Forest Service as part of Tongass National Forest, the largest in the U.S., encompassing 17 million acres. The Visitor Center offers magnificent views of the Glacier and the lake, many displays and presentations, a short movie, and hiking trails. National Forest Service interpretive rangers will be available to provide information and answer questions as we explore independently. We’ll then explore Juneau via motorcoach as our driver provides commentary on our surroundings and the local history. Originating with the Alaska Gold Rush in 1880, the miners’ tent camp grew into a small town and then kept growing as mines produced millions of dollars in gold well into the 20th Century. Tourism expanded as adventure travelers were attracted by the surrounding old-growth forests, snow-capped mountains, glaciers, salmon streams, bear habitat, and migratory whale routes. En route, we will pass the Capitol Building and the governor’s mansion, among other city highlights.

Lunch: In our private meeting space at the hotel, we’ll have a light lunch of sandwiches, chips, fruit, cookies, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.

Afternoon: Following lunch, we will head to the Alaska State Museum for a self-directed exploration of the Museum, which is the repository for the state's history, highlighting the distinct native cultures of Alaska. Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. You may wish to take a walking excursion with the Group Leader or explore on your own visiting other interesting sites in Juneau including the Walter Soboleff Center, Mt. Roberts Tramway, Capitol building, or city museum.

Dinner: In our private meeting space at the hotel, we’ll enjoy a buffet meal which will include an entrée, salad, starch, coffee, tea, and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Enjoy a wrap up presentation at the hotel reviewing our adventures with Road Scholar staff. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
10
Program Concludes
Juneau, AK
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m. If departing this day, transfers will be provided to the airport.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the buffet will include menu choices such as eggs, breakfast meats, potatoes, yogurt, French toast, juice, coffee, tea and water. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback