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Alaska Dream Cruises adds little-known ports

This item was written by Larry Bleiberg, former travel editor of The Dallas Morning News and Coastal Living magazine. Bleiberg is serving as Guest Editor of The Cruise Log while USA TODAY Cruise Editor Gene Sloan is away.

For most Alaska cruises, the Last Frontier is often limited to the same few ports of call. Small-ship cruising company Alaska Dream Cruises is aiming to expand that list.

Its 2012 season will include visits to such little-known ports such as Thorne Bay, Kasaan, Wrangell and Gustavus.

The new cruise line, which began sailing last year, is owned by Sitka, Alaska-based Allen Marine Tours, which has operated day tours in the state since the 1970s and also owns a boatbuilding business. The cruise line operates ships formerly used by the now-defunct Cruise West line.

Its 42-passenger Alaskan Dream will sail on three new itineraries in 2012: an eight-day trip that focuses on less-explored ports, plus 11- and 13-day trips through the Inside Passage.

  • The eight-day itinerary travels between Sitka and Ketchikan, stopping at the village of Kake, which claims the world’s largest totem pole; Petersburg, known as “Little Norway;” Kasaan, home to the only remaining Haida clan house in Alaska; Thorne Bay, once the largest logging camp in the world; and Misty Fjords. It also visits Hobart Bay, the cruise line’s adventure base camp, offering sea kayaking, all-terrain vehicle tours and small boat excursions. Rates begin at $2,269.
  • The 11-day itinerary also links Ketchikan and Sitka, and includes Juneau; Glacier Bay National Park and Gustavus, a small community at the entrance of the park; Skagway; Haines; and Wrangell. Rates begin at $3,399.
  • The 13-day Alaska’s Glacier Bay and Inside Passage Voyage follows a similar route as the 11-day cruise, but spends additional time exploring. Rates begin at $3,989.

Complimentary shore excursions are included in all the cruises.

The Alaska native-owned company has also refurbished its cruise ships. The Alaskan Dream, formerly the Executive Explorer, got new carpeting and paint, stateroom closets and a revamped forward lounge. The Admiralty Dream, formerly the Spirit of Columbia, got new paint and carpet and a redesigned forward lounge.

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