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InnerSea Discoveries' Wilderness Explorer to sail between Juneau and Sitka in 2012

August 17, 2011 By: Elliott Mest Travel Agent


The Wilderness Explorer is scheduled to sail Alaskan itineraries in 2012 after being renovated. // (c) 2011 InnerSea Discoveries.

InnerSea Discoveries acquired the 76-guest Wilderness Explorer, formerly the 86-guest Spirit of Discovery, which will undergo renovations and sail adventure cruises between Juneau and Sitka, Alaska, beginning Summer 2012.

Beginning June 2, 2012, the Wilderness Explorer will sail weeklong un-cruise adventures between Juneau and Sitka, Alaska with three days spent exploring inside Glacier Bay National Park. A National Park Ranger will stay aboard the ship for the full three days to provide interpretation on the area’s history, culture, geography, flora and fauna. The park ranger, along with shipboard expedition guides, will also lead guests on hiking and kayaking expeditions within Glacier Bay. Other areas to be explored include Icy Strait, Chichagof Island and Peril Strait. In May and August, two-week cruises between Seattle and Juneau (and reverse) will be offered. 

The new Northern Passages & Glacier Bay itinerary will sail from Juneau on Saturdays linking it to the line’s two other vessels — the 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer and 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer – which sail between Juneau and Ketchikan, AK (and reverse) on week-long adventures beginning and ending on Saturdays. A three-week voyage combines a two-week roundtrip Juneau cruise with a weeklong cruise on the Wilderness Explorer.

Three cabin categories are available, consisting of 21 Trailblazer, 13 Pathfinder and 4 Explorer cabins. Bed configurations include twin or queen with many more made convertible during renovation. Cabins will feature flatscreen televisions with DVD players, iPod docking stations and eco-friendly bath amenities. All cabins feature a large view window.

During the renovation, two hot tubs will be added with one on the bow and one on the aft sun deck. A sauna and exercise equipment will also be added to the aft sun deck. The lounge bar will be expanded with the addition of 10 taps serving a selection of microbrews and cask wine. To ensure ample space for included adventure activities, a new swim step will be added to the ship’s main deck aft. The extra space will serve as a launch pad for excursions and host a state-of-the-art kayak launch platform able to quickly and safely launch five kayaks at a time.

Naturalists will also lead hiking and kayaking tours of varying lengths and activity levels. Other adventure activities include stand-up paddle boarding, open paddling, skiff explorations and whale watching. Snorkeling gear is available for a fee. Flexible itineraries and few set port times allow the ships to seek out wildlife and maximize viewing time for guests. 

Other shipboard amenities include complimentary on-deck yoga classes, DVD library and board games. A professional masseuse is included as part of the crew, and massages are available for a fee. An underwater camera mounted on the ship’s bow will stream video from the underwater world to flatscreen televisions in all guest rooms and the lounge. Meals on board will feature locally caught Alaskan seafood.

Prices for the 7-night cruises aboard the Wilderness Explorer start at US$3,095 per person, double occupancy, and include transfers and all activities except optional excursions. Port charges of US$167 per person per week, massages, spirits and gratuities are extra.

To book a cruise, email [email protected].

For more information, visit

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About the Author

Elliott Mest
Elliott Mest is the Associate Editor of Travel Agent magazine.

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By Elliott Mest | August 17, 2011
InnerSea Discoveries acquired the 76-guest Wilderness Explorer, formerly the 86-guest Spirit of Discovery, which will undergo renovations.