Please bring luggage to the hotel lobby in the morning for pick-up and transfer to the ship (assistance provided as needed). Walking about 1 mile with stops throughout the morning (more depending on personal preference); stairs at St. Michael's Cathedral and Russian Bishop’s House.
At the hotel, the breakfast buffet will feature choices including eggs, breakfast potatoes and meats, oatmeal, fruit, juice, coffee, tea, milk, water.
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 himself. 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. 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. Then, led by a local expert, we will explore downtown Sitka on foot with stops at key sites including the Russian Bishop’s House and St. Michael's Cathedral. 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 to meet the coach to embark the ship.
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, coffee, tea, water.
We will then transfer to and board our vessel 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 2 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 necessary, be assured that the ship staff will assist with boarding the catamaran and with transferring you to the ship. We’ll then gather for a social hour before dinner as an opportunity to recap the day’s activities, preview what will happen tomorrow, and get to know our fellow participants better amidst amazing scenery. Enjoy complimentary hors d‘oeuvres as well as coffee, tea, and hot chocolate; other beverages available for purchase.
In the pleasant dining room aboard the ship, we’ll 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. Coffee, tea, milk, hot chocolate and water are included; other beverages available for purchase. Menus change daily, usually including a seafood or meat entrée.
A member of the staff will 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.