Tagged cruises

Discovery Wildlife Tours in Breathtaking Alaska

All Aboard Yacht Charter Alaska Cruises Makes for Unique Tours

by Andrea Verdin

Summer is perfect for exploring the Great Outdoors. You want to be one with nature, communing with animals and exploring uncharted territory. However, that’s hard to do when you’re booking a trip with a big tour company that caters to thousands of guests at a time. In order to get the thrill of kayaking up to a brown bear, or seeing an eagle perched atop a glacier, you may want to book an Alaskan cruise with All Aboard Yacht Charter.

Kayak with brown bear in Alaska with All Aboard Yacht Charter
Kayak with brown bear in Alaska with All Aboard Yacht Charter — Courtesy photo

All Aboard Yacht Charter Alaska Cruises are different from the bigger cruise lines in a variety of ways — a smaller boat, a smaller group of people, and a less rigid schedule. This leaves plenty of room for a person yearning for a true nature getaway to relax, unwind and explore Alaska’s natural beauty in peace.

With a maximum of 12 guests on each Alaskan cruise, guests’ days are spent cruising and sightseeing, watching whales, fishing, hiking, beach combing and bear viewing. Late afternoon Discovery anchors in a secluded bay where guests have the opportunity to explore by kayak or skiff, help the crew set crab pots or just relax on board. Humpback whales are regularly seen breaching, lunge feeding or tail slapping and often come very close to the boat. It is not uncommon to spend an hour or an afternoon watching humpback whales, orcas, dall’s porpoises, sea lions, sea otters, bald eagles and a variety of sea birds that also inhabit the Alaskan waters.

According to Discovery Captain Ben Swanson, off boat excursions are the true highlight of each cruise. Guests can pull their hiking boots on and traverse on bear trails through lush temperate rainforest to clear salmon streams. Admiralty Island has the densest population of Brown Bears in the world and is a popular site for Bald Eagles, so be sure to keep your camera handy.

Brown Bear meets an off boat excursion from the All Aboard Yacht Charters team
Brown Bear meets an off boat excursion from the All Aboard Yacht Charters team

“We try to show guests a little bit of everything,” said Captain Swanson. “We can see whales, then hike and soak in natural hot springs. We are obviously so different from a traditional cruise ship. We let guests see what others don’t ever see. We go off the beaten path into desolate bays.”

Based on the number of guests aboard the Discovery and their interests, each trip into Alaska may be completely different. If a group prefers to kayak, they may, and if they choose to take their cruise on land, they may also spend some time in a terrain that is limited to a special few.

“One thing that is pretty special about our cruises is that we are able to go ashore in Southeast Alaska,” said Captain Swanson. “We have a permit to go to shore or fish because we have all the permits required, which many of our competitors don’t. If guests say they would like to hike on the beach, we have the ability to let them.”

Discovery by waterfall FT IMG_6179 Guests on bow IMG_6195

If guests prefer to lounge about the Discovery, there’s still plenty to take in. With wrap-around windows, every seat has a spectacular view of the Alaskan beauty that surrounds the ship.

The All Aboard Yacht Charter Alaska Cruises take place on the 1931 classic yacht MV Discovery, a beautiful fantail yacht. At 87-feet in length, this boat has a perfect blend of old world charm and modern conveniences.

“The windows surround the whole boat,” said Captain Swanson. “We have over 30 windows, and even on a rainy day, a guest can sit in the salon and see all the wildlife, or come to the wheelhouse and sit in the co-pilot’s seat with a cup of hot chocolate. We have wrap around decks that let guests walk around the whole boat, or relax in the fantail lounge outside.”

Don’t think that just because the Discovery is a smaller ship that you’re not going to get world-class treatment. Each cruise has a chef that will not only provide extraordinary culinary experiences, but he will also meet any dietary needs or restrictions that a guest might have. As an added bonus, any fish that are caught by guests can be enjoyed the same evening after they were caught.

MV Discovery Salon - Forward in eveningIMG_0549 MV Discovery Salon - Dining

 

Captain Swanson and his team have a vast amount of knowledge about the Alaskan terrain, and they know how to keep each guest happy throughout the experience, which is truly solidified by the experience of sharing this once-in-a-lifetime trip with others.

“People are so enamored with the boat when they arrive, and it’s really neat to share that with someone,” said Captain Swanson. “We end up staying up every night until 11:30, sitting and reflecting over a whale encounter or fish story that was moving.”

If you’re really looking for that kind of moving experience, this is the trip for you.

For more information on the All Aboard Yacht Charter Cruises, go to  www.AlaskaCharters.com, email allaboard@alaskacharters.com, or call (800) 767-1024 or (360) 898-7300 if outside the US.

Tren Crucero transports travelers throughout beautiful Ecuador

Tren Crucero: Seeing Ecuador through an Amazing Land Cruise

Going on a cruise always comes with certain expectations: meeting new friends at the bar, going on exciting excursions for the day, and making new friends. However, Ecuador’s ecotourism company, Tropic Journeys in Nature, have added a whole new layer of excitement to cruise travel with Tren Crucero, train cruises through beautiful Ecuador.

Tren Crucero transports travelers throughout beautiful Ecuador
Tren Crucero transports travelers throughout beautiful Ecuador

This isn’t your average train ride with uncomfortable, cramped seating and glimpses of the landscape as you fly by. The Ecuadorian train ride has been designed with luxury and sightseeing in mind, transporting travelers through a country dotted with volcanoes, mountainous terrain, and breathtaking flora.

The Tren Crucero’s journey begins in Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Andes crowned by majestic Cotopaxi Volcano, and ends in Guayaquil on the Pacific. Traversing 450 kilometers along the Avenue of Volcanoes, an early 20th Century steam-engine locomotive pulls passengers to heights of 3,600 meters and down to sea level.

While the idea of the train cruise is relatively new, the route travelers will take is not. As a matter of fact, Ecuadorians have traveled on the same line for over a century. The original Guayaquil and Quito Railways Company was created in 1897 with an expenditure of $12 million to link the two cities. As the track advanced, so did the telegraph. Posts along the route are the only remains of the telegraph used to send messages in Morse code.
Tren Crucero 2013

According to Jasci Carvalho, director of Tropic Journeys in Nature, the idea of uniting Quito, which is housed in the Andes, with the coastal city of Guayaquil came to President Eloy Alfaro.

“It was a huge, crazy challenge because of the difficulties made by a very dramatic landscape,” he said. “The venture lasted for a few years, but when roads and modern construction started to appear, the train and railway part of our cultural heritage was lost.”
Tren Crucero 2013
After decades of neglect, in 2008 Ecuador’s National Institute of Cultural Heritage officially declared the Railway Network in Ecuador as property belonging to the state’s cultural heritage and work began to begin restoring portions of the rail network. On April 30, 2013, Tren Crucero made its maiden voyage between Latacunga and Durán.

Now travelers can enjoy various aspects of Ecuador’s beauty, with Tren Crucero’s guests traveling southward to explore a rose plantation and learn the history of Ecuadorian roses, a major contributor to the country’s gross domestic product, and then dining in an ancient colonial house in Ambato.

Some of the world-renowned Ecuadorian roses travelers can see on the cruise.
Some of the world-renowned Ecuadorian roses travelers can see on the cruise.

“Ecuador is known for having the most beautiful roses in the world, and travelers can now see how they grow,” said Carvalho.

Conditions permitting, the train will stop to allow travelers to view the very active Ttungurahua volcano that is currently spewing ash and gas daily, followed by a presentation by an ice trader who will explain how he digs ice from a glacier on the Chimborazo volcano.

And that’s all in day one.

The beautiful volcano
The beautiful volcano Ttungurahua in all her majesty

The trip is filled with cultural aspects that couldn’t be enjoyed otherwise, including Guamote’s indigenous market, one of the last authentic markets in the Andes, with traders exchanging products as they did 4,000 years ago.

In between stops, the train will press on through geological formations in Alausi, dropping over 12 kilometers down Devil’s Nose. As the train progresses through Ecuador, passengers will sit in newly built carriages, each having a different motif and connection to Ecuadorian culture.

Travelers can socialize and lounge in luxury.
Travelers can socialize and lounge in luxury.

“Each seat is more like a lounge,” said Carvalho. “There is a bar, and even a carriage that is open so that passengers can stand, stretch their legs and see the environment outside while enjoying the weather. The train is like a hotel without the beds.”

Carvalho feels that a big draw is the novelty of seeing the vast changes in the country’s terrain.
Tren Crucero 2013
“We drop from a high altitude, over 3,000 meters, to sea level,” he continued. “It’s quite amazing. The last day of the journey is interesting for train lovers because a steam train takes us along the coast to Guayaquil. The train is rebuilt in the traditional style, and is quite impressive. We cross many villages along the coast, with people stopping to wave as we pass. It’s a great way to finish a dramatic journey of change.”

But what many will find appealing, apart from the beautiful sights, is the fact that Tren Crucero has a joint venture with local entrepreneurs, who benefit from train operations.
Tren Crucero 2013
“Travelers are now stopping in places where once nothing was going on, which is helping develop their capacities,” said Carvalho. “This is a big development. In the past, Ecuador has only been known for the Galapagos Islands, where there is always something going on. Now we have something on the mainland that is able to compete in terms of beauty and infrastructure to the island.”

For information and reservations contact Tropic Ecological Adventures LLC, go to Website: http://www.destinationecuador.com/, or call +593-02-2234-594 / (202) 657-5072 (US) / 593-2-222-5907 (EC) / 1(888)207-8615.

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