Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Luxury expedition cruises by classic schooners on the Canada and Alaska coasts



Explore the fjords, islands,  rainforests and wildlife of Canada and Alaska’s west coasts, on a boutique  expedition cruise by sail.

Maple Leaf Adventures, an award-winning  local company, operates cruises of one to two weeks in length aboard its  restored, classic, wooden schooners.

Destinations include Canada’s  Great Bear Rainforest, Haida Gwaii, Vancouver Island, and Alaska’s Inside  Passage.

You’ll feel as if you’re on a private yacht with friends who  happen to be expert local guides.

Trips feature an exceptional  crew-to-guest ratio (8 or 9 guests and 4 or 5 crew) and include a dedicated  naturalist and gourmet chef. The ship’s crew are also experienced wildlife  guides and mariners, and give guests exclusive access to some of the coast’s  prime wildlife viewing areas and cultural sites. Village interpreters share  their stories with guests as well during shore visits.

Trips feature  whale watching, bear viewing, exploring remote beaches accessed by zodiac,  sailing, cultural history, and visits to coastal communities. Guests are  welcome to lend a hand to help sail the two-masted schooners and to take the  helm.

A typical day starts with coffee and breakfast, often on deck at  anchor, and continues with an exploration ashore. Then cruising among the  islands, whale and bird watching from the ship or zodiac, another shore  excursion, sailing and anchoring in a quiet cove with exploration ashore (a  wild, remote beach perhaps, or the Haida village SGang Gwaay, a UNESCO  World Heritage Site, or a bear viewing valley). The three-course dinner is  often served in the ships’ gleaming, wood-panelled dining salons – a wonderful  place to relive the day’s adventures over a glass of wine.

Maple Leaf  Adventures trips are listed as one of the Canadian Tourism Commission’s  “Signature Experiences”, a Frommer’s “Best Travel Experience” and one of  National Geographic Traveler’s “50 Tours of a Lifetime”. In 2012, the Tourism  Industry Association of Canada also awarded Maple Leaf the Parks Canada  Sustainable Tourism Award for its dedication to Canada’s natural and cultural  heritage.

Trip dates: April through October every year.
Prices: from  Cdn $1450 to Cdn $6100 depending on trip length and location.
Trip  locations: Alaska, Great Bear Rainforest, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve,  Haida Gwaii, Vancouver Island
Gateway airport: Vancouver, BC or Seattle,  WA
Info: +1-250-386-7245 or www.MapleLeafAdventures.com

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