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Last year brought the debut of this small ship line, founded by the owner of Sitka-based Allen Marine Tours, owned by an Alaskan family with a long history in the boating business (including day tours and boatbuilding) in the state. The company is operating two small vessels on 7-night summer voyages out of Sitka. Both the 42-passenger Alaskan Dream and 78-passenger Admiralty Dream visit Glacier Bay National Park (for a full day), Tracy Arm, Hobart Bay, Frederick Sound, and several other landmark Southeastern Alaska locations, as well as Juneau. Hoping to fill the vacuum created by the collapse of Alaska cruise pioneer Cruise West in 2010, the line aims at the same sort of market as that company: vacationers looking for a more intimate, hands-on experience visiting Southeast Alaska than can be found traveling with one of the big ship lines. The Admiralty Dream, in fact, came from Cruise West (where it sailed as the Spirit of Columbia). Shore excursions are included in the cruise fare, as are wine and beer with dinner. Cabins come equipped with hair dryers, bathrobes, and flatscreen TVs (though reception is limited).

Passenger Profile -- At press time, the line was just starting up and Frommer's had yet to test out the new product, but Alaskan Dream is aiming at the soft-adventure market. The line is going for a friendly, casual "jeans and sweaters" ambience.

Ships -- The 42-passenger, 104-foot Alaskan Dream is the line's flagship, a streamlined catamaran that previously operated as the Executive Explorer for defunct Glacier Bay Cruiseline. The ship serves up cabins with extra-large viewing windows, twin beds that can be converted to a queen, and head-style bathrooms (the toilet and shower share a space with the sink in the main part of the cabin); and a forward-facing lounge and dining room. The 78-passenger, 148-foot Admiralty Dream was built in 1979 for American Canadian Caribbean Line and has a patented bow ramp, which basically allows the vessel to beach itself, disembarking passengers right onto shore in wild areas without ports. Cabins on Admiralty Dream are snug but comfortable, and there's a main dining room and a small lounge with a bar. On both ships, meals are open seating. The crew is all American.