- Full Itinerary
- Photo Gallery
- Travel Details
- Trip Reports
- Know Before You Go
- Other Trips You May Like
Enjoy a fabulous week cruising through Southeast Alaska, immersed in splendid scenery where wildlife abounds. We invite you to join expert ship naturalists and our seasoned guide as we take in this stunning Alaska cruise.
Indulge on the Safari Endeavor. This cruise ship offers an intimate exploration of one of America’s most revered landscapes—Alaska’s Inside Passage. Unpack once, and then simply enjoy ample time to explore, kayak, watch birds, and spot whales. This is a stunning cruise that can be as active (or not!) as you like. You will not forget your time among the fjords and glaciers.
- Enjoy a peaceful stay aboard the Safari Endeavor, a premier small ship with a bar, hot tub, exercise equipment, and more
- Experience Alaska’s rich abundance on long summer days, perfect for exploring
- Embark on a tour of Glacier Bay National Park guided by a National Park ranger; search for both Marbled and Kittlitz Murrelets, other wildlife and watch ice calving into the water
- Visit lush forests of Tongass National Forest as we cruise narrow passages through towering Hemlock and Spruce
- Spot Humpback, Orca, and Minke Whales on a whale-watching cruise on Icy Strait … marine mammals galore
Itineraries are guidelines; variations in itinerary may occur to account for weather, road conditions, closures, etc. and to maximize your experience.
Sat., June 29 : Arrivals in Sitka | Embarkation from Baranof Island
Hello, historic Sitka! First settled by Tlingit Indians, then a Russian fur trading post, Sitka is not only picturesque, but also has a rich cultural heritage. We suggest you arrive early to explore ahead of the start of our voyage. Sitka has scenery, history, a raptor center, a National Historic Park, and a fine local museum. It is a small city and one that is easy to get around.
Today, it’s all aboard! There is nothing like a hearty greeting from your guide and the crew, and some bon voyage bubbly as we start our adventures.
The Safari Explorer’s sundeck, bar, and bridge areas allow us commanding views of lush forest and endless shorelines in the maze of islands we navigate. Whales may appear at anytime, often close enough to the ship that we can hear them breathe. Mainland Baranof is said to have a higher population of bears than humans, so we watch the shorelines for our first possible sightings. Birding is varied and fun, including regular sightings of several species of loons, Tufted Puffin and other seabirds, and ever present Bald Eagle. The scale of scenery in Alaska is profound, starting with Baranof’s big and wild country; this island is almost as large as the state of Delaware.
Sun., June 30 : Krestof & Nakwasina Sounds
Today brings a rich taste of Southeast Alaska’s iconic beauty with secluded coves and lush, tree-covered islets. We are in the Alexander Archipelago of Alaska’s long panhandle and you find that there aren’t many straight lines along Baranof Island. Its western side is spattered with remote, uninhabited islands. In these quieter, protected from the wind waters, we explore via kayak, paddle board, or comfortable skiff. On the water we are on the level with curious sea lions and possibly whales. Ashore, rocky intertidal zones make good beach combing. Turn a stone or two to see what’s underneath as we listen to the “chirp” of Bald Eagles overhead. There are no groomed trails here, but we can explore with our ship naturalists on guided hikes that John Muir would approve of. Skiffs are always at the ready to take us out to explore.
With luck today we may spot Harlequin Duck, three species of scoters (White-winged, Black, and Surf), Common Merganser perhaps with chicks, Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher, and while ashore, tiny and busy Golden-crowned Kinglet and with them, beautiful breeding plumage Townsend’s Warbler.
Back aboard ship there are always treats; you can watch our progress with charts from the bridge, spot wildlife, sip your favorite beverage, and celebrate that you are here in the long days of sunlight. In the evenings naturalist guides offer presentations.
Mon., July 1 : Sergius Narrows | Neva Strait
Listen to calls of Swainson’s and Varied Thrushes as we cruise within the eerie, enigmatic feeling of these mature northwest woods. Morning fog catches like cotton balls on trees. The aptly named narrows we navigate today squeeze to only 300 feet wide in one spot and are a shallow 24 feet deep.
The shorelines are close and it’s good territory to go ashore—to walk, play, or study the region’s intriguing natural history. The forest floor is an elfin realm of fascination with mosses, liverworts, lichen, and wildflowers. As we skiff ashore, we pass Sea Otters, floating on their backs as they crack snacks rested on their bellies. Marbled Murrelet feed close to shore, while Glaucous-winged Gull swirl overhead.
Opening at Hoonah Sound, the squeeze is back on. We wind into Neva Strait, watching for Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Barrow’s Goldeneye, and Red-necked Grebe. Watch the scenery change in the late fading light, perhaps from your perch in the hot tub!
And meal time each day is a special treat, with big windows so we can watch wildlife and scenery while sampling fresh local seafood, a variety of international dishes, homemade pastries, and other treats. Celebrate Independence Day in a far-flung fjord of the 49th state. This is an all-inclusive voyage so drinks are on us— enjoy!
Tues., July 2 : Peril Strait | Chichagof Island
If you like, kick off the morning by joining your ship guides on-deck for some yoga stretches. Today we follow a twisting channel known for dramatic currents. Peril Strait runs 50 miles to Salisbury Sound. It holds sublime beauty and some tricky navigation. We should see working fisherman, and perhaps flocks of Brant Geese, Long-tailed Duck, Horned Grebe, and the ever-present Mew Gull are joined by Black-legged Kittiwake and Bonaparte’s Gull.
Meander through glacier-carved fjords along the Chichagof coast. Then stop. It’s a prime time to lower the kayaks and skiffs. Along the beaches we may spy Black Turnstone, Rock Sandpiper, or at a stream crossing, American Dipper. In the woods, listen for the call of tiny but vocal Pacific Wren. Offshore, watch for both Pacific and Common Loon.
Binoculars and cameras in hand, we set off on land and sea explorations, searching for giant trees and tidal pools. Closer inspection by skiff, moss-dripping trees run right down to the water and we scan the shorelines for birds. Any bears in there? Salmon streams dot the coastline—and where there are salmon, there are bears—both black and grizzly, which grow huge on this rich and abundant diet. With one of the world’s largest populations of these coastal grizzlies, also known as brown bears, it’s quite possible to see them. Experienced guides give safety guidelines as they explore and observe with us.
Wed., July 3 : Icy Strait
Nearly to the open waters of the Pacific Ocean, Icy Strait is remote and wild. Welcome the morning with a hot cup of coffee as you take in the grand views from the deck.
The plan today? Whales, seabirds, and marine mammals—Icy Strait, with its rich ocean upwelling, is a wildlife admirer’s dream. Alaska is known for whale viewing, and Icy Strait is the best of the best! Enjoy magnificent scenery as we watch for pods of Humpback that have swum back from Hawaii (and farther!) to feed in these nutrient-rich waters.
Spouts and fin slaps are certain giveaways and where whales feed there are often dense feeding flocks of kittiwakes, gulls, and alcids. We have excellent opportunity here, and in Glacier Bay tomorrow, to view Horned and Tufted Puffins, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Common Murre, Ancient Murrelet, and Red-necked Phalarope in good numbers.
We look for Orca, Minke Whale, and Dall and Harbor Porpoises, as well as Steller Sea Lion and Sea Otter. As we see the whales, we interpret their behaviors. We have great hopes of seeing them bubble-feed?grouping up under a school of fish, diving down, and rising to surround them while making a “net” of bubbles. Our ship’s naturalists are versed in everything Alaska—marine biology, plants, and even geology—a perfect topic today with such grand views.
Perched above around the bend, watch for mountain goats, and lower along shore, foraging bears. Up bay, glacial silt turns the water a milky white. Lounging Harbor Seal laze on bits of bergs. And if time allows, we tuck up in Tidal Inlet. End this very full day with your feet up, taking in the enormity of it all.
Thurs., July 4 : Glacier Bay National Park
Today we’re in for a real treat. What a privilege. At 3.3 million acres, this UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve is massive. At Bartlett Cove, a national park ranger comes aboard to share expert insight as we explore Glacier Bay National Park. The park service describes Glacier Bay National Park as a “land reborn, a living lesson in resilience.” And who wouldn’t be inspired by this stunning park? From ground-hugging plants that began on land scraped bare by glaciers, to roaring blocks of ice calving from tidewater glaciers and crashing into the sea, a day on the water in Glacier Bay is a thrill. For birders it’s also a great chance to see Kittlitz Murrelet, rare to see but much at home in this glacial realm where they breed high up on mountain hillsides. We often find them where glacial streams meet the fjord and we get fantastic views.
Have your binoculars handy: Bald Eagle patrol the skies, and smaller seabirds like Pigeon Guillemot are ever watchful. Throughout the day we may spy Orca, Minke, and even Humpback Whales. On land we look for Mountain Goat—one year we were incredibly lucky to spy a pack of wolves down on the distant beach stones. We cruise by South Marble Island, a birder’s slice of heaven. See Tufted and Horned Puffins, Common Murre, Pelagic Cormorant, and Black-legged Kittiwake. The sights and sounds (and smells) are amazing! Over 300 Steller Sea Lion use the island to haul out and pup—you can hear and smell them before you see them!
We cruise to the far end of John Hopkins or Tarr Inlet where glaciers calve into the water. Compare Margerie to Grand Pacific Glacier—one holding steady, the other retreating. Back at Bartlett Cove, if time and daylight allow, we may opt to take a forest hike around the park’s headquarters; and take a peek at some of the new cultural demonstrations as we say farewell to our ranger.
Fri., July 5 : Chatham Strait or Lynn Canal—Captain’s Choice
In this intricate part of the Inside Passage, long navigable passages stretch between island reaches of the Tongass National Forest. Chatham Strait and Lynn Canal both offer adventure aplenty and we go with our captain’s choice today. In deep, rugged fjords, we anchor on remote beaches to hike through moss-covered trees and rain-fed waterfalls. Or, some may stick to the water on a kayak excursion—don’t forget to look above and below the surface. A nosy seal could be watching your every stroke. Some may simply choose to birdwatch or beachcomb along the rocky shores—a final day to savor the splendor of Southeast Alaska. Black Oystercatcher may put on a show along the shoreline, in forests we look for Red-breasted Sapsucker, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Steller’s Jay, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Fox Sparrow, and possible White-winged Crossbill.
Tonight, we toast another grand day in Alaska. Then, we celebrate with a festive farewell dinner and “photo journal” from our expedition team. You Naturalist Journeys guide helps tally up the final bird and wildlife list for our voyage.
Sat., July 6 : Juneau | Disembarkation
We enjoy a final breakfast of fresh baked pastries before disembarking and saying a goodbye to the crew and friends, old and new. This morning, you transfer to the Juneau Airport, or alternately you may wish to stay on and explore a bit, take in local sites and Juneau’s excellent museum. Note that several flights back to “mainland” USA do not leave until midnight, giving you much of the day to explore. There is a nice waterfront area to stroll, and a tram that takes you up to tree line.
Cost of the Journey
Costs are as follows: We have reserved Navigator ($7700 DBL / $13,500 SGL) and Trailblazer ($7000 DBL / $12,300 SGL) cabins and one single Navigator cabin at $9800, cabins based on double or single occupancy, plus a $375 port tax/fee per person. The tour cost includes 7 nights aboard the Safari Endeavor, all meals onboard the voyage including alcoholic beverages, all excursions with professional guides, and miscellaneous program expenses, transfers and baggage handling between airport/vessel on embark/disembark days; entry fees to national parks/preserves; all from-the-ship adventure activities and equipment; wellness amenities: fitness equipment, and yoga mats. A photo slide show will be provided with images from your trip as a voyage keepsake. Not included is the flight into Sitka and out of Juneau. The tour cost also does not include items of a personal nature such as telephone charges or optional activities. We highly recommend a gratuity for local guides and the ship crew, which is recommended at $250 per participant.
Please note: Cruise payments are subject to the terms and conditions of the cruise company, UnCruise Adventures, we contract with and may be fully non-refundable. These terms and conditions are primary over those of Naturalist Journeys.
Naturalist Journeys’ Added Value: Why cruise with Naturalist Journeys? First and foremost, it doesn’t cost you more to cruise with us. You pay the same rate you would if you booked directly through the operator. That’s where the perks come in! When you book with Naturalist Journeys, you’re part of a group. We send a leader with you who adds excellent hosting and interpretation skills, and facilitates group interaction. We also send you a species list and trip report once the trip is over. So really, you get the benefit of a small-group guide without the added cost!
Please plan to make air travel plans only after the minimum group size has been met. We will send you a confirmation email as soon as the trip has been confirmed.
Arrival Airport: Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport (SIT)
Arrival Details: Plan flights to arrive June 29, 2024 no later than 2:30 PM.
Departure Airport: Juneau International Airport (JNU)
Departure Details: Plan flights to depart July 6, 2024 after 11:30 AM.
Travel Tips: We strongly encourage you to arrive a day early, on June 28, to ensure you do not miss the ship due to flight delays or cancellations. If you dxo arrive early, we recommend booking a room at the Westmark Sitka Hotel. If you want to explore Sitka, there is picturesque scenery, culture and history, a fine local museum, and the Sitka National Historic Park. It’s a small town that is very easy to get around.
If you want to stay in Juneau a little longer to explore or rest up before flying home, we recommend the Four Points by Sheraton Juneau. There are lots of things to do in Juneau including the Mendenhall Glacier, many hiking trails, and the Alaska State Museum. The waterfront area has many shops and restaurants and is nice to walk around. There is also a tram that takes you up to Mt. Roberts for scenic views of Juneau and the Gastineau Channel. Juneau is easy to get around with taxis or Uber.
Items of Note
Itineraries are guidelines; variations in itinerary and the order of days may occur to maximize your experience.
The Safari Endeavor
Polished, unwavering, and upscale, the Safari Endeavour may be the workhorse of the fleet but it’s her zest-for-life persona that’s remembered most. She looks sharp—a nod to the crew who work hard to keep her that way. Wood fixtures and accents shine and artwork highlights the warm and cool waters where she sails. No other UnCruise vessel covers more territory, and like her namesake, Captain Cook’s Endeavour, both the ship and crew are true explorers. Her roomy lounge, dining room, and sun deck are undisputed, but the Safari Endeavour claims to have the biggest heart, too.
Four decks are fully equipped for comfort and action. From the exercise equipment and lounge chairs in the Bridge deck, to the twin hot tubs on the Upper deck, to the Bow viewing area on the Cabin deck, to the library and dining room on the Main deck, everything you need is easy to reach.
The Lounge has a large flat-screen TV featuring closed-circuit channels which include a GPS map of the location of the ship and an under-bow camera. The lounge also has a limited library, filled with wildlife encyclopedias and binoculars are available for wildlife-spotting.
The Dining Room features open seating. Meals are served at table at set times, unless the activities have taken you far afield - in which case you will take a boxed lunch with you. Unlimited beverages, alcoholic and non, are included in the price of the cruise. Vegetarian options are always available. Dietary restrictions are happily accommodated with advance notice.
Onboard Features: EZ Dock launch platform; kayaks, paddleboards, inflatable skiffs, hiking poles; underwater bow-mounted camera; two on-deck hot tubs; fitness equipment and yoga mats; DVD and book library; wine bar.
Cabin Features: TV/DVD player; Tempur-Pedic mattresses; heated tile floor in all bathrooms; hair dryer, bathrobes, conditioning shampoo, body wash; binoculars; reusable water bottles
— 84 guests
— 42 cabins
— 230 feet in length
— 40 foot beam
— Cruising speed of 12 knots
— Built in 1983
— Registered in United States
— 2.5:1 Guest-to-crew ratio
Browse below for trip reports and species lists from past versions of this and other tours from this destination.
- May 2011
- June 2012
- July 2012
- May 2013
- May 2014
- June 2015
- June 2016
- August 2016 (Southeast)
- August 2016 (Sampler)
- June 2017
- August 2017 (Southeast Alaska)
- August 2017 (Alaska Sampler)
- June 2018
- August 2018
- June 2019
- August 2019 (Alaska Sampler)
- June 2021
- June 2021
- August 2021
- June 2022
- July 2022
- August 2022
- June 2023
- July 2023 (Southeast Alaska Cruise)
- August 2023
Ann Bugeda is a naturalist, birder and tour leader born and raised in Ohio now retired from a 35 year career in parks and conservation. Ann has led bird/natural history tours locally, regionally and internationally, including Magee Marsh/Ohio, Hawk Mountain/Pennsylvania, Cape May/New Jersey, Alaska, Idaho and Canada as well as throughout Central and South America including Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Guatemala, Ecuador and Peru.
During her career, much of it as Chief of Interpretive Services at Lake Metroparks in Willoughby, Ohio, she managed public education programs for all ages, community events and citizen science activities. She established a wildlife education and rehabilitation center at Lake Metroparks, supporting the recovery and release of numerous native species, most notably, Bobcat, Bald Eagle, and other raptors.
In her free time, Ann travels extensively with friends and family and does volunteer wildlife conservation work. Currently, she bands Purple Martins from multiple colonies along the Lake Erie shoreline and runs a saw-whet owl banding station on a local conservation property.
Other trips with Ann Bugeda
Essential Information +
This information is important for being prepared for your journey; we want you to have the best experience possible. If you only read one section, this one is key!
Ahead of Your Tour
- Please talk with your doctor about general health needs. We trust that you have talked with your doctor about general travel vaccinations you should have as precaution for travel. See the “General Health Information” section.
Travel insurance in case of serious medical emergency is strongly recommended. Full health coverage is available through Allianz Travel Insurance.
- Plan your flight reservations arriving into Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport (SIT) and departing from Juneau International Airport (JNU). Send a copy to the Naturalist Journeys office please.
- Soft sided luggage/duffel bags is easiest for packing. Pack essential medications in your carry-on luggage, as well as one day of clothing and optics in case of luggage delay.
Arrival into Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport
Please note. If you are delayed in travel, please FIRST call the number of your Guide. As a backup, contact our office (both numbers are on your emergency contact list).
The arrival airport for this tour is the Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport (SIT). Please plan to arrive no later than 2:30 PM on the first day of the tour. We STRONGLY recommend that you arrive the day prior to minimize any risk of missing the boat. If you do, Sitka is a wonderful town to explore ahead of time!
Departures from Juneau International Airport
The departure airport for this tour is the Juneau International Airport (JNU). Please plan your departures for after 11:30 AM.
Passports and Identification
The U.S. Coast Guard requires each passenger to provide identification & emergency contact information.
U.S. citizens or permanent residents may use a driver's license or other accepted government-issued ID. Passengers from outside the U.S. will need a valid passport to board the vessel. Passport and visa requirements are dependent on your nationality.
General Health Information
We will share your health information with your guide. This information will be kept confidential but is very important as we want to be best prepared in case of medical emergency. Do bring any prescription medications with you and its best if you have a copy of the prescription in case of loss. The crew is trained in both first aid and CPR and there are first aid supplies on board. There is not a physician on board.
Weather & Climate
The summertime climate in Southeast Alaska is usually quite mild, and there is a high chance of a high cloud cover during the day that keeps the heat at bay. Daytime temperatures range from the low 50s to high 60s, and at night and early mornings it will dip into the 40s. Since the journey takes place primarily on protected waters, windy conditions are not usually an issue. Additionally, rain is infrequent this time of year. However, it is always good to come prepared with rain gear that can double as a wind breaker layer.
Annoyances & Hazards
While the areas and waters we travel are mostly protected, in the event of high winds or open passageway crossings you may encounter rough water. Seasickness medication is kept on board all of our vessels. If you are prone to seasickness, you should consult your physician prior to your departure. The captain will update you when there might be extra motion so you can take the medication in enough time to be effective.
Good news! There aren’t mosquitoes in most of the areas we cruise in Southeast Alaska. If we do encounter them, your vessel crew can provide you with insect repellent. Mosquitoes are present in the Interior of Alaska and are most numerous in June and July. If you are concerned about mosquitoes while on a pre- or post-cruise land package, you should pack insect repellent.
For the protection of all guests, your onboard guides are equipped with bear spray during outings. Guests are not allowed to store bear spray in their cabin or carry it with them. If you are extending your Alaska travels pre- or post-cruise and bear spray is necessary, you may bring it onboard, but you MUST surrender it for safekeeping to the captain for the duration of your cruise.
Food & Drinks
The food on board has been described as pretty incredible. Expect handcrafted meals made from fresh ingredients showcasing the flavors of the region. Wherever possible, ingredients are sourced locally. Our operator is committed to sustainability and is proud to be the first cruise partner of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program.
Most special dietary needs can be accommodated. To help us out, please alert us of any food allergies or other dietary requirements you may have and to ensure the chef has enough notice. We recommend that you check in with the chef or hotel manager after boarding the ship to confirm your request.
Onboard water is treated and filtered. Re-usable water bottles are available on board if you didn't bring one along.
Packing, Clothing & Laundry
Please pack essential medications in your carry-on luggage, as well as one day of clothing and optics in case of luggage delay.
Dress is informal and is casual even at meals. Layering is a great way to stay comfortable during this trip. We suggest packing a medium/heavy jacket and layers. In Southeast Alaska, the wilderness areas we explore on foot can get pretty muddy, plus skiff landings may be wet landings where there's no dock at all. Having proper footwear and ankle support is absolutely essential. Both hiking and rubber boots are good, but if we had to choose, we'd lean towards the rubber boots (aka the "Alaska tennis shoe," also known as Xtratufs, Wellingtons, gum boots). Many guests add insoles for support and hike in their rubber "mud" boots!
Laundry service will not be offered on the ship. You may want to pack clothes that are easy to hand wash.
Many people ask how much money to plan to bring for spending money. While most all is inclusive on the ship, charges for personal items, gear shop purchases, and crew gratuities can be easily charged to your personal shipboard account and settled with one payment at the end of your cruise. Payment can be made by credit card or cash (USD) in all of our destinations. U.S. travelers' checks and personal checks are also accepted on cruises in our U.S. destinations.
If you plan on spending extra time either at the beginning or the end of the trip, the amount of spending money you bring depends on how much you want to shop. Where you do encounter them, shops will take VISA and MasterCard or American Express. Typical items people purchase include local souvenirs and T-shirts, caps, and natural history books.
Tipping is optional and completely at your discretion. If you would like to show our appreciation to your guides, the ship crew or anyone associated with this tour, it is entirely appropriate. Know that they appreciate anything you care to give and of course you can do more if you wish! We hope that you will be pleased with all professional services.
Here is a standard suggestion for tipping on birding trips:
- Gratuities for group meals are included
- Birding tour guide: US $10.00 - $15.00 per day per guest
- Note: If there is more than one guide, this can be split among them, so that is a total, per person, per day
- Transfer (airport shuttle) driver: US $2.00 - $3.00 per person
Gratuities will be shared among your onboard crew and are paid at the end of your cruise. Our operator recommends $250 per week per guest ($35/day per guest). Gratuities can be added to your tab along with any onboard purchases. For travel in the U.S., gratuities may be paid by cash (USD), check, travelers’ check, or credit card.
Cell Phones & Internet Service
The ship is equipped with communication devices designed to conduct the ship's business and for emergency purposes but wifi is not available for passenger use. Cell phones sometimes work near more populated areas. A satellite phone is available on the bridge of each ship for emergency use at additional cost.
In an emergency, family and friends can call 888-862-8881 Monday-Friday 6:00 am-6:00 pm or Saturday 7:00 am-4:00 pm.
Smoking is not permitted in any vehicle or in any situation where the group is participating in an activity together, such as a vehicle excursion or a guided walk. Vaping or smoking tobacco products is prohibited anywhere inside the ship. Vaping or smoking is only allowed on the outer aft deck in a designated smoking area. To protect the environment, guests should use the ashtrays provided and never toss cigarettes/cigars overboard.
For this tour, the crew will offer trips ashore in either a skiff, or you can opt to take a sea kayak or paddle board. Please listen to the crew to advise on conditions and safety.
Photo Release & Sharing
We take many group photos and share photos with the group. Please note that this is our policy, if you have an exception to it, we need to know ahead of your tour. And at the end of your tour, we will organize a chance to share photos via Dropbox or Google Photos.
By registering for this tour, you agree to grant to Naturalist Journeys and its authorized representative’s permission to record on photography film and/or video, pictures of your participation in the tour. You further agree that any or all of the material photographed may be used, in any form, as part of any future publications, brochure, or other printed materials used to promote Naturalist Journeys, and further that such use shall be without payment of fees, royalties, special credit or other compensation.
Please contact Naturalist Journeys by email at clientservices@naturalistjourneys or telephone at our office: (520) 558-1146 or toll free: (866) 900-1146 if you have any questions. Many thanks for traveling with us and we hope you enjoy your journey!
Packing List +
Please Pack Light!
Soft luggage is much easier for us to pack than a more rigid hard sided piece, so if you have the choice, please use your soft luggage. Be sure to have your name and address on the inside of the bag, as well as on the luggage tag on the handle. It is our hope that you can pack in one checked suitcase that does not exceed 45 pounds. Be sure to pack your personal medication, airline tickets, passport, binoculars, camera, and other essential items in your carry-on bag. You will want a day pack for field trips, so this is an ideal carry-on. Please reconfirm your airline’s baggage weight and size restrictions about a week or so before departure.
Southeast Alaska's weather will be a big influence on your packing plan. Summers are mild. Long days extend to 15-18 hours of daylight. Here in the heart of Earth's biggest temperate rainforest, precipitation is common. May-September, temps range from 55-65 but can soar to 70. Evenings dip to 40-50. If you're tempted to take the "polar plunge", the water will be mid-40s to low-50s. Conditions change week-to-week and historic averages are changing. Check the weather forecast via your preferred weather source for your cruise dates before packing.
Whatever the weather, each day brings adventures – kayaking, hiking, and skiffing about. Bring clothing that layers easily so that you can add or remove layers as conditions change throughout the day. It can be chilly near glaciers and on deck when the ship is underway, then much warmer when you go ashore. While you want to be sure you bring your "Alaskan Tennis Shoes," storage space in your cabin is limited, so pack efficiently. Watch this helpful video from our operator about Alaskan Sneakers.
Dress, Layering & Fabrics
Dress is casual. While on board, that means t-shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, jeans, khakis, even shorts. For outdoor activities, pack clothes that layer: convertible hiking pants, moisture-wicking base layers, and thermal underwear (top to bottom). Multiple thin layers are better than one or two thick ones.
A note on fabrics: moisture-wicking/quick-drying (wool, polyester, etc.) fabrics are most effective in keeping you warm and dry, especially when participating in off-vessel activities. Cotton absorbs moisture and is slow to dry in Alaska's damp environment, so keep cotton to a minimum.
Chances are it will rain and be windy. A heavy-duty, waterproof rain jacket and rain pants with waterproof, taped seams (made of Gore-Tex, Pertex, or a similar waterproof fabric) are highly recommended. Fleece jackets/pullovers and zip-up vests will be good for layering and warmth. Bring a scarf, gloves, and warm, water-resistant hat that covers your ears.
Whether it's heavy rain, ankle-deep water, or mud ... the "Alaskan tennis shoe" (aka a pair of calf-high rubber boots, Wellingtons, or gummies) is a must. Consider replacing the insoles with a padded set for more comfort. Hiking in Alaska is best in rubber boots, but you may also want to bring a pair of waterproof hiking boots. Water socks or multi-sport shoes are handy for paddle boarding. On board, a skidproof deck shoe is a good idea. Bring lots of moisture-wicking, quick-dry (synthetic or wool) socks.
It is best to bring your own rubber boots for best fit and availability. The ship will have a very limited supply aboard their vessels and youth sizes are not available.
Provided on Board
- Adventure gear & yoga mats
- Hairdryer, towels, toiletries (eco-friendly shampoo/conditioner/body wash)
- Refillable water bottles*
- Sunscreen & insect repellant*
- Fun and adventure!
*Please note: if you are going on a pre- or post-cruise land tour, be sure to bring your own refillable water bottle, sunscreen, and insect repellant.
Clothing and Gear
- Full-length or convertible hiking pants
- Moisture-wicking long & short sleeved shirts (polypropylene, merino wool, etc.)
- Thermal top & bottom base layers
- Sweaters, sweatshirts, long-sleeve fleece
- Casual t-shirts, blouses, jeans/khakis, shorts for on board
- Socks (synthetic or wool) for all activities
- Personal underclothing and pajamas (consider what dries quickly if you plan to do laundry)
- Bathing suit (optional)
- Heavy-duty, waterproof rain jacket and pants with waterproof, taped seams (made of Gore-Tex, Pertex, or a similar waterproof fabric)
- Fleece or hooded jacket/pullover
- Scarf, gloves, and warm hat
- Water-resistant hat that covers your ears
- Calf-to knee-high rubber boots for wet landings & walking in mud
- Waterproof hiking boots with tread or rubber boots with good insoles
- Comfortable deck style walking shoes for on board
- Hat with broad brim that covers ears/neck
Equipment and Miscellaneous
- Airline tickets or e-ticket verification
- Photo identification
- Passport (needed if your Alaska cruise route sails through Canadian waters)
- Money pouch, or someplace to carry your money and identification
- Binoculars with safety strap (a shower cap is great to cover these when raining)
- Camera, extra batteries/chargers, memory cards, lens cleaning supplies, instruction manual, safety lanyard
- Daypack for hiking and skiff rides
- Dry bag for camera, binoculars, snacks, etc. (optional, but strongly recommended)
- Flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries
- Walking stick – collapsible (optional)
- Sunscreen/lip balm with SPF (ideally waterproof)
- Sunglasses with neck strap
- Insect repellent
- Toiletry articles
- Paddling gloves (optional – for kayaking)
- Water bottle (can easily be bought in the airport and refilled daily)
- Notebook or journal and pen (optional)
- Field guides (optional)
- Heavy-gauge gallon-size ziplock bags for keeping things dry during transfers if raining
- Cell phone and charger
- Rechargeable power bank (optional)
WE DO NOT RECOMMEND TRAVELING WITH PRECIOUS OR VALUABLE JEWELRY – don’t tempt anyone and don’t bring things you’d regret losing - your mind will be at ease!
Medical and First Aid Items
- Personal medication (and copy of vital prescriptions, including glasses)
- Motion sickness preventatives if likely to be needed on boat, bus, van, etc.
- Personal first aid kit including medications for general and stomach ailments (Band-Aids or Elastoplasts, Imodium or Lomotil, antihistamine cream or tablets, eye drops, etc.)
- Insurance information
- Vaccination records
- Extra pair of eyeglasses or contacts
Suggested Reading List +
There are many titles of interest for Alaska; the following are a few that we have enjoyed that can get you started.
Merlin App. A phone-based birding app from Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology. Before departing the U.S., download the app for free, then from within the app, download the “pack” for Alaska
Coming into the Country John McPhee
Travels in Alaska by John Muir
Wildlife & Nature
History & Culture
Your guide will also have a selection of reference books and materials for participants to share. As an Amazon Associate, Naturalist Journeys earns from qualifying purchases, and may get commissions for purchases made through links on this page at no added cost to you.
Useful Links +
Nature, Wildlife & Biology
Audubon Alaska – Birding Juneau
Alaska Birds Checklists
Common Birds of Southeast Alaska
Alaska Birding Maps
Bears of Alaska
Endemic Animals of Alaska
Species of Southeast Alaska – iNaturalist
Conservation, Parks & Reserves
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
Sitka National Historic Park
Tongass National Forest
Alaska Conservation Foundation
The Nature Conservancy in Alaska
Alaska Wildlife Alliance
Geology & Geography
Geology of Alaska
“Geologist digs into the rocky history of Southeast Alaska” – Interesting Article, KTOO.org
Geography of Alaska
Southeast Alaska (Panhandle)
History & Culture
History of Sitka, Alaska
Alaska Native Peoples
Cuisine in Alaska
Helpful Travel Websites
Arrival: Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport (SIT)
Departure: Juneau International Airport (JNU)
National Passport Information Center
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Electricity and Plugs
Date, Time & Holidays
Photo credits: Banners: Breeching Orca by Peg Abbott; Glacier Bay by Peg Abbott; Humpback Flukes by Peg Abbott; Common Murres by Peg Abbott; Harbor Seal by Greg Smith; Kayaking Endicott Arm, courtesy UnCruise Adventures; Whale Watching by Skiff, courtesy UnCruise Adventures; Elfin Cove by Peg Abbott; Grizzly Bear by Peg Abbott; Steller Sea Lion by Peg Abbott; Red Fox by Greg Smith; Humpback Whale, Naturalist Journeys Stock; Gustavus Inn by Peg Abbott; Horned Puffins by Greg Smith; Sea Otter by Peg Abbott; Horned Puffins, Greg Smith; Sea Otter, Peg Abbott; Harbor Seal, Peg Abbott; Alaska Scenic, Peg Abbott; Grizzly Bear, Greg Smith; Alaska Scenic, Peg Abbott; Seal on Glacier Ice, Courtesy of Uncruise Adventures; Southeast Alaska Hiking Trail, Peg Abbott; Bunchberries, Peg Abbott; Shells, Peg Abbott; Elfin Cove, Peg Abbott; Swimming Bear, Courtesy Uncruise Adventures; Glacier Bay NP, courtesy of Matt Howard on Unsplash; Bald Eagle, Peg Abbott; Group in Kayaks, Peg Abbott; Glacier Bay, courtesy of Victoria Crocker on Unsplash; Humpback Whale by Steve Halama on Unsplash; Humpback Whale, Peg Abbott; Red-throated Loon, Greg Smith; Red-necked Phalarope by Greg Smith; Kayaks, Peg Abbott; Bear Watching, Peg Abbott; Moose, Dan Donaldson;