Exterior of mc Elite Galapagos catamaran with gold hull & 3 white decks, cruising in calm open water on a sunny day.

The M/C Elite in Galapagos is a contemporary, upscale catamaran ready to indulge her guests. Like her sister ship Endemic , Elite’s 8 spacious and stylish suites are split across two decks and offer ultimate relaxation while inviting the archipelago in. Each suite’s wall of windows is part sliding glass door, opening on to a private balcony. Plentiful indoor and open air common areas invite guests to mingle, with options for private moments as well. The M/C Elite Galapagos ship sparkles with a mix of teak, wood, glass and marble.

Why Sail Aboard M/C Elite

Choose the Elite Galapagos catamaran for some of the largest passenger cabins available, plus amazing views from anywhere on board. Her chic style, modern construction and generous ratio of nearly 1:1 crew members to guests create an extravagant experience where no detail is missed.

AdventureSmith Explorations has been aboard the Elite catamaran firsthand, and can help you compare this luxury vessel with other small cruise ships and yachts offering  Galapagos cruises , Galapagos luxury cruises and private Galapagos yacht charters . Read our dedicated Elite Galapagos Review written by one of our specialists, or consult this page further for a detailed description of the catamaran, including ship specs, deck plan, cabin images, photo gallery and current links to all Elite Galapagos cruise itineraries , dates and rates. Our small ship cruise experts have been aboard nearly every first-class Galapagos cruise ship and can be your ultimate resource to discover if this is the best choice for your travel needs.

The outdoors are welcomed in on board the M/C Elite in Galapagos, thanks to her wall-to-ceiling windows in each suite, plus generous view windows in all indoor common areas. Her private guest bathrooms even feature frosted glass walls, bringing in natural light. Private balconies offer respite while various al fresco dining and lounge areas encourage guests to get acquainted. Finally, sleek dual hulls are designed for speed and stability while cruising aboard the Elite catamaran in Galapagos. The Upper Deck is safely accessed by an internal staircase in addition to an external stairwell that accesses all three passenger decks.

Onboard Facilities

Designed by Golden Galapagos Cruises, an Ecuadorian operator with over two decades in the Ecuador and Galapagos travel industry, the 2019-built M/C Elite in Galapagos features a stunning panoramic concept. Guests can spot wildlife from almost anywhere on board, ensuring a superior experience aboard this trendsetting mega yacht.

Briefing Area

A top bilingual naturalist guide offers daily briefings and select lectures on board the M/C Elite in Galapagos. A bright, open Main Deck lounge plays host to these information sessions. Here, find shelves lined with reference books, dual flat screen TVs with cutting-edge sound, plenty of view windows and generous seating for all 16 guests.

Dining, Bars & Lounge

A vibrant art deco dining room and bar share space with a nautical-themed living room on board the Elite catamaran in Galapagos. Comfortable couches circle around a flat screen TV, hemmed in by a wall of glass. Two long dining tables seat all guests for each indoor meal, beside a small buffet. Breakfast and lunch are typically served from the buffet while dinner is plated. The Elite’s chef prepares Ecuadorian and international dishes, and is happy to accommodate a selection of special diets with advance notice.

Activities & Expeditions

The M/C Elite Galapagos ship is equipped for both relaxation and daily activity. Guests are treated to regular opportunities to swim, snorkel, paddle, hike, photograph amazing wildlife and explore marine habitat by inflatable pangas. An excursion bag, wetsuit and snorkeling equipment (mask, snorkel and fins) are assigned to each guest for the duration of the cruise. Water bottles are yours to keep. Special two-person see-through kayaks (4 total) make spotting Galapagos marine wildlife even easier, and 2 stand-up paddleboards offer a unique solo paddling option. Also available on board are walking sticks, yoga mats, kettlebells, dumbbells, binoculars (one pair per suite), a laser pointer for stargazing and a Sky Deck Jacuzzi.

Crew & Guide

With a nearly 1:1 guest-to-crew ratio, the Elite catamaran in Galapagos ensures her guests are happy. Her crew of 11 includes a cruise service officer who acts like a hotel manager. And the Elite’s naturalist guide acts as a walking reference book, ready to answer questions about the archipelago’s unique history, geology, wildlife and more.

Cabins & M/C Elite Deck Plan

The M/C Elite catamaran in Galapagos offers 8 Golden Panoramic Suites, with 4 on the Main Deck and 4 on the Upper Deck. These suites are some of the largest in the Galapagos, with open floor space in addition to a bed(s), desk, sitting area with sofa bed (available for a child under 12 traveling with parents), closet and drawers. Every suite is convertible between either one matrimonial king-size bed or two twin beds. Private ensuite bathrooms bathed in natural light are equipped with toiletries, a hair dryer, and hot and cold water. Each suite also offers its own temperature controls, a safe, 110- and 220-volt electrical outlets, a wall of windows and a private balcony. One single cabin on the Upper Deck is also available, without a single supplement, for odd-numbered families or small groups.

A comfortable king sized bed with stunning views from your balcony enjoying the beauty of the Galapagos while aboard the Elite

All 8 suites are 378-398 sq ft with one king-size or two twin beds & private balcony. Four suites offer a sofa bed for triple occupancy (only for a child under 12). Two Main Deck suites interconnect, as does one Upper Deck suite with the Single Cabin. Forward-facing Main Deck suites feature panoramic views.

A comfortable single twin with all the amenities to be enjoying the beauty of the Galapagos while aboard the Elite

Cabin #10 on the Upper Deck is 205 square feet with a single twin bed and may only be booked for an odd-numbered group. Contact AdventureSmith for details.

Deck plan of mc Elite Galapagos catamaran, with 3 passenger decks, 8 suites & 1 single cabin.

Hear It from Travelers Who Have Explored with Us

We enjoy adventure travel and wildlife. The Galapagos Islands combined these two and are not like anywhere else in the world. It was a magical trip!

It was absolutely fantastic! Can't say enough good things about the crew and the boat. We were also a little spoiled because due to covid there were only 6 passengers :)

Overall, it was a great trip, very well planned, and Leslie's assistance was very, very good. We enjoyed all of the primary places we visited: Quito, Napo Wildlife Center, Galapagos Islands, all for different reason.

We enjoy adventure travel and wildlife. The Galapagos Islands combined these two and are not like anywhere else in the world. It was a magical trip!

Accommodations Review

The room and boat were even better than we thought they'd be. The rooms were comfortable and spacious - the balconies were amazing. It was definitely the best looking boat we saw in our travels. It was worth what we paid for it. A small boat is a must and the Elite was excellent. 

Meals Review

All the meals were excellent and the service was exceptional.

Itinerary Review

Overall this was the trip of a lifetime and we wouldn't change anything about it. We participated in all the activities that were offered and thoroughly enjoyed all of them. We were able to experience everything we'd hoped for.

Transportation Review

Being in a foreign airport can be difficult, but the arrangements made for this trip were great. When we were leaving Quito, we were greeted by one of your representatives as soon as we walked in the door of the airport. He guided us through until we got to security. A guide met us when we landed and was with us until we boarded our boat. When we were leaving, another guide was at the airport with our boarding passes, so that leg of the trip was seamless also.

Crew & Guides Review

We had two guides on our two combined trips - Carlos and Enrique. They were both very knowledgeable and excited about all that we saw, even though they've probably seen everything before. They were both very professional but very approachable and friendly.

Featured in this Traveler Review

  • Elite Galapagos Cruises

It was absolutely fantastic! Can't say enough good things about the crew and the boat. We were also a little spoiled because due to covid there were only 6 passengers :)

The boat is beautiful and modern. Can't say enough good things about the trip and the boat/crew.

The food was amazing.

AdventureSmith Explorations Review

Thank you for your help in organizing, will definitely be reaching out when we're planning our next big vacation.

The crew did a lot to make it a special and luxurious experience ("BBQs/parties" on the top deck with music, warm towels after we got back from snorkeling, special drink orders, for one snorkel we were supposed to see hammerhead sharks and didn't so the guide offered an ad hoc 30 minute trip for us, they literally made the bed every single time we left the cabin, 4 or 5 times a day, made a surf and turf special dinner on the last night). The guide and crew were all great - our guide was not only super knowledgeable but funny and developed a rapport with everyone on the boat.

Also I didn't know this at the time but one thing that is cool about this boat vs. some of the other ones is it's owned locally and all of the guides and staff are from the Galapagos, and all the food etc. is caught locally and sustainably. It sounds like some of the bigger multinational boats like Silversea use guides and supplies from the mainland.

Our stay in Quito at Casa El Eden was very special. The owner, Mario, is the most charming and nicest person on the planet, and always the most helpful in every way. The location is also great and we recommend this hotel in the historic district very highly.

Also in Quito, for the absolute best airport hotel experience EVER, the EB Hotel is beyond measure. It's amazing on every level - hospitality, the people, the set up, the rooms, the location, the service, the wine and food, the included breakfasts (incredible!), the coffee set up - simply everything is beyond anyone's expectations, and it's a great price.

As can be common, especially when traveling in many foreign countries, the vegetarian meals were average most of the time, sometimes great.

Our guide at Napo, Mauricio, was amazingly great, as was our guide in the Galapagos Islands, Carlos Gonzales. We feel very fortunate to have had both of them. They're absolutely fantastic.

Re: the arrangements made for the seating on our domestic flights. We requested higher grade seats whenever possible, i.e. business class, etc. and this did not occur on any of our 4 domestic flights. This was disappointing. Other than this, the transportation arrangements were excellent.

Leslie was great. Her advice for preparation was most helpful and her attention to most details was perfect. Certainly our initial contact and further discussions with Leslie were leading factors in the choice of destinations for this trip.

Traveler Advice

Enjoy Quito. It's fascinating, very good food, and Casa El Eden with Mario is very special. Stay at EB Hotel for any Quito airport layovers. This is by far the best airport hotel experience we've ever had by far. Go to Napo. It's unique, gorgeous, and the diverse flora and fauna is outstanding, along with the people.

  • Ecuador Amazon Adventure - Napo Wildlife Center
  • Leslie Camacho

Get Aboard the Galapagos Elite

This ship is an AdventureSmith favorite for private  Galapagos yacht charters . For charter pricing and details,  contact us  to connect with a charter cruise specialist.

Board the upscale and spacious 16-guest Elite mega catamaran to cruise the Galapagos in style. Enjoy panoramic views and active days with a well-versed guide during your Elite Galapagos cruise of 4-15 days.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Learn More About the M/C Elite Catamaran & Her Sister Ships

Let our experts help you compare the Elite Galapagos catamaran to the other 16-guest ships in her sister fleet. These ships will all have similar services, onboard style and amenities, as well as the stability and speed catamarans are famous for. Our experts are standing by with unbiased advice, personalized to you, and can help you find the best ship at the best price.

Contact Us - Elite

Travel is best planned one-on-one, and we’re here to help you with your specific needs.

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Alya | Galapagos Catamaran


Alya Galapagos Catamaran Cruise programs

Alya catamaran infrastructure, alya catamaran services, alya catamaran facilities.

Living room The Main Deck is where you will find the living room. These are its main characteristics:

  • Artist style decoration
  • Coffee Station & Bar
  • Panoramic Windows
  • Entertainment centre
  • Vegetarian and vegan food options
  • Buffet style breakfast and lunch
  • Two menu options available for dinner:
  • 2 Water and Coffee Stations
  • 1 cappuccino station
  • Exclusive molten glass decoration

Alya Catamaran Cabins

  • Fernandina Island, Punta Espinoza
  • Isabela Island – Tagus Cove
  • Tower Island - Prince Phillip's Steps
  • Floreana Island, Devil's Crown
  • Bartolome Island, Pinnacle Rock
  • Galapagos land Iguana
  • Marine iguana
  • Galapagos giant tortoise
  • Darwin's finches
  • Frigate birds
  • Blue-footed boobie, Flightless cormorants, and many more

Galapagos Cruise


Puerto Ayora | Sea Lion | Galapagos Islands

Protect Your Trip »

6 top luxury alaska cruises for 2024 & beyond.

Book a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to The Great Land on one of these top luxury ships.

Top Luxury Alaska Cruises

Veranda of Aquamarine Suite on Crystal cruise ship.

Courtesy of Crystal

Cruising to Alaska on a small luxury ship affords a very different experience than sailing through The Great Land on a larger vessel. On a smaller luxury ship, you'll enjoy the expected perks like fewer passengers and more personalized service – but you'll also physically get closer to the boundless wilderness, abundant wildlife, icy blue glaciers and majestic snow-capped mountains that you've waited a lifetime to see.

While the fares to sail on such vessels are quite a bit higher than those of larger cruise providers, the all-inclusive (or mostly all-inclusive) prices typically include all-suite accommodations with balconies, all meals, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, 24-hour room service, Wi-Fi access, gratuities, welcome bottles of sparkling wine, pillow selection, some shore excursions and butler service. Best of all, you won't feel like you're being nickel-and-dimed while on board. As a special touch, the attentive crew members may even learn your name and memorize your preferred pre-dinner cocktail.

Unlike many mainstream lines, most luxury Alaska cruises do not offer pre- and post-cruise tours to extend your adventure. However, you can plan these experiences on your own through third-party providers.

Alaska Tour & Travel has pre-cruise packages that include visits to Denali National Park & Preserve and the small, quirky Alaska towns of Homer and Talkeetna. You can also see a different side of Alaska via a train ride on the Alaska Railroad, take a national parks tour that includes Kenai Fjords National Park or head northbound to Fairbanks , one of the best places in the world to see the northern lights (if you visit during aurora season, from late August to late April). In addition, the company can plan a self-drive tour from Anchorage to Seward, which includes a stay at a wilderness lodge, helicopter flightseeing over Knik Glacier and guided tours in the parks.

The following luxury cruise lines will ensure you make the most of your voyage in Alaska – one of the most magical destinations on Earth.

Find your perfect cruise

Silversea Cruises

Pool deck on the Silversea Nova.

Courtesy of Silversea Cruises

Silversea Cruises' small luxury ships are designed for adventurers interested in visiting a mix of Alaska's top ports and more rugged, off-the-beaten-track locales. Extended itineraries offer stops in less-visited destinations like the towns of Haines and Wrangell. On board, guests can expect a personalized experience that includes luxurious ocean-view suites with butler service, multiple gourmet dining options, complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, and attentive service with one of the highest crew-to-guest ratios in the industry.

Base fares for Silversea's 2024 and 2025 Alaska itineraries start at $3,250 per person. If you upgrade to Silversea 's door-to-door fare (which starts at $5,200 per person), you'll receive private chauffeur service from your home to the airport (and back home upon your return) and round-trip flights, with business class upgrades in some destinations.

Silversea also offers immersive pre- and post-cruise land experiences, departing from Seward, Alaska. Highlights include sightseeing flights over Denali National Park & Preserve or into bear country to see Alaska's magnificent grizzly bears. In Vancouver, travelers can take a flightseeing transfer to Victoria to tour the 55-acre Butchart Gardens or board the Rocky Mountaineer for a two-day train ride through the Canadian Rockies.

Silversea's Alaska itineraries extend from May to September, with voyages ranging between seven and 16 days. The line's newest and largest vessel, the 728-passenger Silver Nova , sails its inaugural Alaska season in 2024 along with two smaller ships, Silver Muse (596 guests) and Silver Shadow (392 guests). There are 35 Alaska voyages available in 2024. In 2025, luxury cruisers can hop aboard one of 45 scheduled voyages on either Silver Nova or the 596-guest Silver Moon .

For a seven-day itinerary, consider a sailing from Seward, Alaska, to Vancouver, British Columbia. This voyage cruises the Hubbard Glacier and the Inside Passage and stops in the Alaska towns of Juneau, Skagway, Sitka and Ketchikan. Complimentary excursions in Ketchikan include a tour of Saxman Native Village; a visit to Bonfire Bay Oyster Farm, featuring a sea-to-table oyster tasting; the Alaskan Cultural, Culinary & Lumberjack show; the Alaskan Lodge Adventure & Seafeast and a day as a fisherman aboard the Aleutian Ballard, as seen on Discovery Channel's "The Deadliest Catch." You can also opt for a Selected Shore Excursion (for an additional cost), such as mountain biking or a private fishing trip.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Bed in the Concierge Suite on the Regent Seven Seas Explorer.

Courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Cruises' elegant Seven Seas Explorer sails the line's Alaska itineraries in 2024 and 2025. The lavish 746-guest ship was coined "The Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built" when it debuted in 2016; among its impressive features are the 3,875-square-foot Regent Suite and a high-end collection of art displayed throughout the ship, including works by Pablo Picasso.

Alaska voyages with Regent in 2024 and 2025 start at $4,799 per person. Upgraded 2-for-1 all-inclusive fares (starting at $5,499 per person) cover elegant all-balcony suite accommodations; round-trip airfare (business class on international flights); a one-night pre-cruise hotel package; free two- or three-night land programs; free unlimited shore excursions; free unlimited beverages (alcoholic and nonalcoholic); complimentary specialty dining; and prepaid gratuities. You'll also receive complimentary airport transfers, unlimited Wi-Fi access and valet laundry service.

Every suite style includes a private balcony, roomy closets and upscale finishes. Concierge Suites (and above) add cozy in-room amenities like cashmere blankets, perfect to bundle up in while you take in the scenery. Meanwhile, Penthouse Suites (and higher) include a private butler who can book excursions, make dinner and spa reservations, unpack your luggage, arrange for a private cocktail soiree in your suite and indulge any other special requests.

Between May and September 2024, Regent sails 22 Alaska voyages. There are 16 Alaska sailings scheduled for the same period in 2025. Itineraries range from seven to 14 nights. For plenty of scenic cruising days, consider a round-trip itinerary from Vancouver departing May 28, 2025. The cruise includes five relaxing days at sea, where you'll enjoy scenic cruising through the Inside Passage (twice), Hubbard Glacier (twice) and Endicott Arm Fjord. Ports of call in Alaska include Wrangell, Juneau , Skagway, Sitka, Seward, Icy Strait (Hoonah) and Ketchikan. You'll also have a full day in Victoria, British Columbia, before returning to Vancouver.

While in Wrangell, consider the Tongass Botanical Forest Walk excursion. Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the U.S., with towering old-growth trees and unique flora, fauna and ecosystems. While in the temperate rainforest with your naturalist guide, look for local wildlife like Sitka black-tailed deer, porcupines and birds of prey. Other complimentary excursions at this stop include a round of golf at Muskeg Meadows Golf Course; a canoe trip through Wrangell harbor and nearby islands, and a heritage tour about Tlingit culture and the history of the town.

Nobu restaurant on a Crystal cruise ship.

Recently relaunched Crystal offers just seven voyages in Alaska aboard Crystal Serenity in July and August 2024. The 740-guest luxury vessel was refurbished in 2023 and features the line's signature top-notch service, elegant interiors and suites, and personal butler service in every room category.

Other perks and amenities include plush bathrobes and Sicily's Ortigia bath products; an impressive passenger-to-crew ratio; prepaid gratuities; complimentary beverages; and outstanding cuisine, including Umi Uma (an exclusive Nobu restaurant at sea, available only on Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony ). Guests can also feast on Italian cuisine at Osteria d'Ovidio; book an exclusive dining experience at The Vintage Room; indulge in Parisian cafe-style fare at The Bistro; opt for American cuisine at Waterside Restaurant or take their pick of several other casual indoor and alfresco options.

Cruisers also have their selection of unique shore experiences curated by Crystal's parent company A&K Travel Group, such as a ride on the world's largest zip line in Hoonah (Icy Strait Point); dog sledding and glacier flightseeing in Skagway; fishing and wilderness dining in Ketchikan and the Wildlife Quest and Fin Island Lodge experience in Sitka, boasting a feast of Alaska king crab and wild salmon.

Crystal offers seven- and eight-night round-trip voyages from Vancouver , as well as one-way cruises from Vancouver or Seward, Alaska. Select itineraries – like the July 30, 2024, voyage from Vancouver to Seward – offer a scenic cruising day in the Seymour Narrows in British Columbia. On this sailing, you'll also enjoy a day at sea cruising Hubbard Glacier, as well as stops in Ketchikan, Sitka, Hoonah (Icy Strait), Skagway and Sitka in Alaska. Or, opt for the July 2, 2024, round-trip sailing from Vancouver for three scenic cruising days in the Inside Passage, Endicott Arm and the Seymour Narrows.

The line's Aug. 13, 2024, round-trip sailing from Vancouver features a special guest: Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, the executive chairman of A&K Travel Group. As such, the cruise will include an exclusive gala dinner and other unique experiences. Other special voyages welcome marine biologist and National Geographic photographer Flip Nicklin, who will share personal stories from his extensive career and expert insights about humpback whale habitats and behaviors.

catamaran cruise ship

Tips on Trips and Expert Picks

Travel tips, vacation ideas and more to make your next vacation stellar.

Viking Ocean Cruises

The Restaurant on a Viking cruise ship.

Courtesy of Viking

Viking Ocean Cruises' 11-day Alaska & the Inside Passage cruise is available on 11 dates during the 2024 season. It sails from Vancouver to Seward (or the reverse) on the 930-passenger Viking Orion . In 2025, the line offers the same itinerary on 22 dates between May and September, split between Viking Orion and its sister ship, the 930-passenger Viking Sea .

Viking's destination-focused itineraries are curated for travelers who are interested in history, science, culture and cuisine, as they feature onboard enrichment like lectures by Viking's resident historians. You'll also find regionally inspired dishes in The Restaurant and special access to unique tours and excursions ashore.

The line's mostly all-inclusive fares cover accommodations in spacious all-veranda staterooms and suites; beer, wine and soft drinks at lunch and dinner; meals at all the dining venues; one shore excursion in every port; free Wi-Fi access; 24-hour specialty teas, coffees and bottled water; complimentary access to The Nordic Spa & Fitness Center; and other upscale amenities.

Voyages traveling northbound from Vancouver include one day of scenic cruising through the Inside Passage before stopping in Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, Skagway and Icy Strait Point in Alaska. The eighth day of the cruise sails through picturesque Yakutat Bay, which includes the Hubbard Glacier. The ship then calls on Valdez, Alaska, before the trip ends with two days in Seward.

While in Valdez, take an optional tour to explore the incredible scenery surrounding the small fishing town. Viking offers a kayaking trip to see the Valdez Glacier; a scenic cruise through picturesque Prince William Sound to view the Columbia Glacier; a wildlife cruise where you can look for humpback whales, orcas, porpoises, sea otters and bald eagles; a helicopter ride over the area's rugged, icy wilderness; or a UTV adventure through the Chugach Mountains to Mineral Creek Canyon.

Seabourn Cruise Line

The aft pool on a Seabourn Cruise Line ship.

Courtesy of Seabourn Cruise Line

Between May and August 2024, Seabourn Cruise Line will host 20 Alaska voyages aboard the Seabourn Odyssey , before the ship leaves the cruise line in the fall. In 2025, the line offers 27 Alaska sailings on Seabourn Quest. Both yacht-inspired ships accommodate up to 458 guests and feature Seabourn's signature all-inclusive amenities, including luxurious oceanfront suites with verandas; personalized service; complimentary fine wines and premium spirits; complimentary dining; and caviar served throughout the sailing. You'll also have a complimentary W-Fi package and an in-suite minibar stocked with your favorite beverages. Ashore, sign up for exclusive programs like shopping for fresh salmon, halibut and Alaska king crab alongside a Seabourn chef.

Guests booking Seabourn Quest for 2025 will be able to sample the line's new dining concept, Solis. Inspired by destinations in the Mediterranean, the menu features a fresh, modern take on traditional dishes and whimsical cocktails. The restaurant is a collaboration with master chef and culinary partner Anton Egger and senior corporate chef Franck Salein. In addition to dishes like salt-encrusted whole branzino and Tuscan-style steak, guests will also find a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes.

The seven-day Alaska Fjords & Canadian Inside Passage itinerary on May 31, 2024, aboard Seabourn Odyssey, sails from Juneau to Vancouver and includes a day in either Tracy Arm or Endicott Arm, depending on the ice conditions. From there, you can take one of the optional guided excursions: Ventures by Seabourn. These tours are an additional cost but offer opportunities for up-close Zodiac, kayaking or catamaran experiences in the wilderness to see glaciers calving and view local wildlife, such as black bears, mountain goats, seals, wolves and seabirds.

You'll also enjoy many days of scenic cruising on this voyage, and have the opportunity for more optional adventures in Rudyerd Bay (Misty Fjords). The ship makes additional stops in Wrangell, Alaska, and Prince Rupert, British Columbia, before disembarking in Vancouver.

If you want to see stunning Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, then consider booking the seven-day Alaska Inside Passage & Glacier Bay sailing on May 10, 2024, from Vancouver to Juneau. This itinerary also includes the Seymour Narrows and Snow Pass, cruising Queen Island Sound and the Lynn Canal. There's a stop for Ventures by Seabourn activities like kayaking and Zodiac rides in the Inian Islands. The Alaska ports of call on this voyage are Ketchikan, Sitka, Icy Strait Point and Haines. You'll disembark in Juneau.

Bed in cabin on PONANT Le Soléal.

Francois Lefebvre | Courtesy of PONANT

French luxury expedition line PONANT offers 10 Alaska cruises in 2024; itineraries span between seven and 11 nights. Aboard the 264-guest yacht-style Le Soléal, you'll meet up to 10 naturalist experts and guides specializing in geology, history, ornithology or marine or land mammals. Guests can attend onboard lectures and embark on Zodiac landings with the guides.

The ship features elegant staterooms and suites, a library, a spa, a hair salon and a gym. Guests will be treated to movies in the theater, wine tastings and cooking demonstrations throughout the expedition. All fine dining meals, 24-hour room service, an open bar (including an in-room minibar) and complimentary and unlimited Wi-Fi access are covered in the pricing.

Two of PONTANT's eight-night voyages from Vancouver to Sitka are in partnership with Smithsonian Journeys and are curated for English-speaking travelers. Fares for these expeditions include transfers to and from the ship and a shore excursion in each port. On board, you can attend talks and discussions hosted by two Smithsonian Journeys experts: geologist Scott Burns and natural history filmmaker John Grabowska.

On these voyages, there is a sea day after departing Vancouver. You'll cruise through the Johnstone Strait, where you'll have an excellent chance of seeing humpback whales and orcas. After a day spent in the Inside Passage, the ship will call on the village of Metlakatla, Alaska, on the western coast of Annette Island, which is home to the Tsimshians from British Columbia. Other unique Alaska ports of call in this itinerary include the commercial fishing town of Petersburg, the Tlingit village of Kake and the small fishing community of Alfin Cove.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Gwen Pratesi is a U.S. News & World Report contributor and an avid travel adventurer who fell in love with Alaska on her first visit to the state many years ago. She's returned several times both by land and sea to explore the state's vast wilderness and abundant wildlife, and to chase the northern lights in one of the best places on the planet to view them. Pratesi used her extensive knowledge of Alaska and the cruise industry to write this article.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Most Affordable Alaska Cruises
  • The Best Time to Cruise to Alaska
  • Alaska Cruise Packing List: Must-Have Items
  • The Top Alaska Cruise Lines
  • The Top Antarctica Cruises

Tags: Travel , Cruises , Alaska Vacations

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Why Are Cruises Still Calling in a Haitian Port Amid Level 4 Advisory?

I n recent days, escalated strife in Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince has garnered attention from around the world. Given the rampant gang violence and a mass prison break on March 3, the U.S. State Department reiterated its Level 4 Travel Advisory (“Do Not Travel”), while the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued a security alert advising all U.S. citizens to depart the country as soon as they could.

Yet, amid this backdrop of turmoil in the capital city, some cruise ships continue to make port calls at a private resort destination with stringent security measures and controlled access. This day-use property in Labadee, privately owned by Royal Caribbean , is situated on a secluded peninsula located approximately 130 miles (about a 6-hour drive) north of Port-au-Prince.

A Royal Caribbean spokesperson told CNN Travel that the company is carefully monitoring all activity in the area. However, Labadee is available exclusively to Royal Caribbean’s guests and employees. Travelers arrive by ship, disembark directly onto the resort property and are required to remain within the private destination during their entire time ashore. All shore excursions are also held within the private resort area, so none have been canceled. 

“The safety of our guests and crew is our top priority. Our global security teams are closely monitoring the situation in the area. At all times, we remind guests to remain aware of their surroundings while ashore and follow all State Department guidelines. Should any changes be required, guests will be notified directly,” a Royal Caribbean spokesperson said in a statement.

Scheduled calls into Labadee in the coming weeks include several prominent Royal Caribbean ships, such as Independence of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas and Odyssey of the Seas. Additionally, Celebrity Cruises , a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Group, also features Labadee as a port of call for several of its vessels later in the year, including Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Apex and Celebrity Ascent. 

Still, given the elevated levels of concern about traveling to the troubled Caribbean country—whose government declared a state of national emergency after the escape of thousands of prison inmates earlier this month—should cruise passengers be concerned about setting foot on Haitian soil (or, sand, rather)?

But, Is It Safe?

Cruise Critic’s Editor-in-Chief, Colleen McDaniel, referred to Labadee as, “Royal Caribbean’s insulated private destination.” She emphasized, “As a cruise line private destination, Labadee is only accessible to cruise ship guests, and the experience is completely owned and run by the cruise line, using the destination to serve as an extension of the onboard experience.”

“That said, for any concerned travelers—whether traveling by land, air or sea—it’s always recommended to familiarize yourself with any travel alerts from your home country,” McDaniel added, noting that guests who still don’t feel safe with the onshore arrangements always have the option of staying onboard the ship. Ultimately, the choice about whether to disembark on Haitian shores is a personal one. 

Royal Caribbean guests who have visited Labadee in recent days seemed to have nothing negative to say about the private resort destination. Tampa resident Alexandra Graham, 45, told CNN that Labadee was, “very well run and had lots of things to do.” She said that they didn’t even learn about the jailbreak, which occurred the same day, until returning to the ship in the evening. She said, “Frankly, we felt very safe.”

Another recent cruiser from Tampa, Erica McNamara, 32, called the day in Labadee her “favorite stop of the entire trip.” She was sailing aboard Odyssey of the Seas on a six-night cruise from Fort Lauderdale, an itinerary that also included Perfect Day at Coco Cay (Royal Caribbean’s private resort in the Bahamas) and the Dominican Republic. “My cousins went snorkeling, my parents did a catamaran trip and my three-and-a-half-year-old thought the tram was the coolest thing ever,” said McNamara.

Oasis of the Seas in Labadee Haiti


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