Looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure in Alaska? That's what it's all about at InnerSea Discoveries, which debuted in 2011 and is back for a second year. The two-ship company focuses on getting adventure-minded vacationers into the most beautiful and wildlife-filled corners of Southeast Alaska's Inside Passage and is the brainchild of Dan Blanchard and Tim Jacox, who revolutionized luxury cruising in Alaska in 1997 with the launch of American Safari Cruises. This time around, the duo has aimed to offer a more affordable way for adventurers to explore the region. Operating as a sister brand to American Safari, InnerSea Discoveries costs less than half as much as its sibling, with pricing starting around $300 per person per day (American Safari trips often start at $850 per person, per day or more). The ships are a bit bigger than at American Safari, with room for 60 to 76 passengers, not everything is included in the price, and the crew-to-passenger ratio of about one to three is not quite as impressive. But in many ways, the concept is similar. By foregoing calls in Southeast Alaskan towns such as Skagway and Haines, InnerSea's ships will have more time to explore the many remote (and little-visited) bays, fjords, and glaciers of the region. The company says the voyages should appeal to adventurers who thrive on new experiences and want to push themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Passenger Profile -- The company draws a relatively young, outdoorsy type of customer -- the kind of people who shop at outdoors store REI, says one manager. Most passengers will be in their mid-30s to mid-60s in age, with a smattering younger and older, and multigenerational families are expected to be a solid market, as the line won't have the age restrictions imposed at sister American Safari Cruises.
Ships -- While the line is relatively new, its two ships aren't. In fact, the ships are quite familiar to some experienced Alaska cruisers. InnerSea Discoveries launched with the 76-passenger Wilderness Discoverer and the 60-passenger Wilderness Adventurer. Parent company American Safari acquired the vessels in 2009 from a bank that had held them since the bankruptcy of Glacier Bay Cruise Lines in 2006. The two ships, originally built for 80 and 66 passengers, respectively, have gone through a top-to-bottom overhaul over the past year. Sample nightly rates per person: Lowest-price outside cabin from $256 for a 7-night Inside Passage cruise on the Wilderness Adventurer.