Tuesday, 25 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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