Chuck West, a young pilot, once flew over Alaska and it was its magnificent wild beauty that inspired him to become a pioneer in the tourist business here. Starting with sightseeing and air tours, he founded a small-ship company, the precursor of today's Cruise West. Since acquiring its first mini-cruise ship, the Spirit of Glacier Bay, in 1989, the company has grown to offer a wide range of cruises in the Alaskan waters, the Columbia and the Snake rivers, the Pacific Northwest, California wine country and Mexico's Baja Peninsular. There are seven vessels accommodating from fifty two to hundred and fourteen passengers and a day-sailing motor-yacht accommodating seventy passengers, which are carried to the Cruise West destinations.
One of the first Cruise West destinations was Alaska with its unique wildlife, scenery and towns. Today, the company's cruise tour itinerary includes the best that this land can propose. In the period from May to late August it is the main cruising area. Small ships enable close discoveries of rarely visited areas of southeast Alaska, Metlakatla, Glacier Bay and Prince William Sound.
Cruise West gives an opportunity to see the local fauna, many species of which are close to extinction - whales, eagles, sea lions and sea cows. Moreover, now visitors can get a more complete impression of the state's treasures by spending some time in Anchorage, at the Denali National Park and Fairbank and traveling to these places by passenger coaches and Alaskan trains. If you like nature and want to be close to it, choose one of the Cruise West Alaska voyages.
A voyage to the Bering Sea recreates the experience of the Danish explorer Vitus Bering. The whalebone repository, the specific native culture, the cliffs and shores with grizzlies wandering along and petrified wood on a deserted beach - all this seems to promise a really exciting adventure.
Coastal Odyssey Cruise offers many wonderful sights of the ports, which cruise ships rarely reach, puffins in Glacier Bay, seals and sea otters in the Kenai Fjords and bears on the Admiralty Island are among this unique ones. It would not have been called Odyssey Cruise, if these were the only places for visiting. Coastal Odyssey + Denali continue into Alaska's interior, where guests are carried to by coaches and railway. They spend two nights at Denali National Park and an overnight in Fairbanks.
Glacier Wonderland Cruise is the way to incredible tidewater glaciers, tide pools on uninhabited islands and wildlife - eagles, otters and whales. Spectacular wildlife sights are also available with Glacier Wonderland + Denali and Glacier Wonderland + Denali & Fairbanks.
The Gold Rush Inside Passage takes you to the route of Klondike Gold Rushers of 1898, from Seattle to Juneau or reverse. Gold Rush+Denali also contain a journey to Alaska's interior.
The Cruise in Harriman's Wake enables to follow the route of another great expedition, Edward Henry Harriman, which was undertaken in 1899. It is a voyage between Vancouver, B.C. and Nome, Alaska.
And, finally, the Inside Passage Daylight Yacht Tours Cruise and Wilderness Inside Passage Cruise are specially organized cruises opening the magnificent hidden riches of Alaska.
There is another cruise among the Cruise West destinations, where you have a chance to enjoy beautiful scenery and to learn interesting facts about the American history - the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
No matter what season you take, you will experience the same spectacular scenery, calm water cruising, volcanic peaks, awesome forests, and an extraordinary, ever-changing palette of colors during a river cruise along the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Each new river cruise season presents a new and exciting perspective of the people, the heritage, and history.
All voyages with Cruise West, including those to Alaska, the Columbia and Snake rivers, are voyages of discovery. Even if the Cruise West destinations are not at all unknown to you, you will have a chance to look at them through a new prism and make your own small discoveries.