Pairing wilderness lodges with small ship cruises is a specialty of Todd Smith, small ship cruise expert and founder of AdventureSmith Explorations that represents expedition cruising worldwide and virtually all small ship adventure cruises that ply Alaskan waters.
Smith has compiled a list of favorite wilderness lodges matched to specific cruises to meet a growing demand for pre-or post-trip extensions to extend the Alaska experience. His team handles the multitude of logistical details that can involve lodge access by sea planes only.
Bear Track Inn, says Smith, “is the finest lodge in the quirky town of Gustavus, with a log cabin design, incredible activities and scrumptious meals.” It is paired with Glacier Bay Adventure Cruise because the cruise company and lodge are both locally owned and operated, making this one of the most authentic cruise tours in Alaska. The setting is Glacier Bay National Park.
Winterlake Lodge near the western edge of the Alaska Range is accessible only by float plane to an adjacent mile-long lake home to nesting loons and swans. It is paired with Discoverers Glacier Country Cruise because both expose guests, said Smith, “to pristine wilderness combined with exquisite cuisine and luxury accommodations.”
Kantishna Roadhouse dates to the early 1900s deep inside Denali National Park. The main lodge serving 32 cabins boasts a hand-crafted bar and Smoky Joe's Saloon. Set on Moose Creek, this is a base for exploring the Kantishna Valley with views of Mt. McKinley and the Alaska Range from nearby Wonder Lake. The roadhouse is the focus of Denali Backcountry Explorer and can be paired with any Alaska small ship cruise. Deigned to depart on any day this independent tour includes two nights in Anchorage, three nights at the Kantishna Roadhouse and the Alaska Railroad.
Kenai Riverside Lodge and Kenai Backcountry Lodge are paired to maximize travel time on the Kenai Peninsula. Smith suggests first visiting Riverside Lodge, a world-class fishing lodge and home base for adventures to Seward, the Exit Glacier, Coopers Landing or even Homer. He recommends that guests then raft down the Kenai River to the Kenai Backcountry Lodge to experience the hospitality of this historic and ecologically managed log lodge surrounded by a million acres of designated wilderness. These family-friendly accommodations can be paired with any Alaskan Family Cruise
Brooks Lodge symbolizes brown bears eating leaping salmon in the heart of Katmai National Park. This can be paired with Active Inside Passage Cruise that also specializes in bear viewing as well as glaciers, whales and extraordinary wilderness.
Camp Denali’s history is intertwined with the preservation of Denali National Park. Because of its history of conservation and dedication to education, this lodge is paired Camp Denali with Lindblad Expedition’s Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness, whose partnership with National Geographic shares these qualities.
Windham Bay Lodge is a former fishing lodge only accessible by boat from Juneau offering access to Tracy Arm Fjord, Admiralty Island and the Pack Creek Bear Viewing, whale watching in Frederick Sound and the Tlingit community of Kake. Lodge and cruise packages combine three nights at Windham Bay with four nights aboard the Alaskan Dream Cruises beginning in Juneau and ending in Sitka.
Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Explorations is based in Tahoe City, CA, along the northern shore of Lake Tahoe. In 2012, owner Todd Smith joined the ranks of Conde Nast Traveler's prestigious 13th Annual Travel Specialists List as the world’s expert on small ship expeditions. For information, availability and 2013 reservations Phone: 800-728-2875 toll-free, visit www.adventuresmithexplorations.com or Email: [email protected].