Quirky Cruise
October 24, 2016

Small Ship Cruise Line Review: Alaskan Dream Cruises

Alaskan Dream Cruises

Alaskan Dream Cruises is owned and operated by the Allen family, who are Native Alaskans. Their five small, comfortable, no-frills ships embark on interesting exploratory itineraries in Southeast Alaska visiting the smaller ports to include Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian Indian culture, home-grown Norwegian heritage and remnants of Russian America, plus wildlife ashore and at sea, fjords and glaciers. The parent company Allen Marine was established in 1970 and is now run by the third generation of Allens. The boat building business produced 19 ferries for NY Waterway, including the one that rescued passengers from a flight that landed on the Hudson River. The family also operates two lodges that are visited on some itineraries.


ShipsYears Delivered & Passengers: ADMIRALTY DREAM (built 1979 & 58 passengers); BARANOF DREAM (b. 1980 & 49 p); ALASKAN DREAM (b. 1986 & 40 p); CHICHAGOF DREAM (b. 1984/renovated 2017 & 74 p), and for charters MISTY FJORD (10 p). New to the fleet in 2019 is the KRUZOF EXPLORER, a former Bering Sea crab fishing boat converted to a spiffy 12-passenger cruise vessel with just 6 cabins.

Admiralty Dream. * Photo: Alaska Dream Cruises

Admiralty Dream. * Photo: Alaskan Dream Cruises

Passenger Profile: The line attracts all ages, and as some of the cabins have a third or fourth berth, the line is attractive to families who like sharing an out-of-doors adventure. On family departures, a youth expedition leader is aboard.

Passenger Decks: ADMIRALTY DREAM and BARANOF DREAM are three deckers, while CHICHAGOF DREAM and the catamaran ALASKAN DREAM have four. KRUZOF EXPLORER has just two. MISTY FJORD, available for charter, has two decks. None have an elevator.

Price: $$  Expensive, bearing in mind what’s included below.

Included features: Most shore excursions, kayaking, hiking and DIB watercraft explorations; rain jackets, pants and boots; evening hors d’oeuvers; a glass of wine or beer with dinner; and airport and hotel transfers. Optional excursions include salmon and halibut fishing, helicopter to a glacier, dogsledding, and rainforest ziplining,

Itineraries: 6, 8, 9, & 11-day Southeast Alaskan itineraries, previously May to September, now start the season in mid-March, with differing emphasis, leaving from Sitka, Ketchikan and Juneau, avoiding the big ship ports except for embarkation and disembarkation points. Ask about the several 8-day family cruises that feature a Youth Expedition Leader, suitable for ages 7 and up. Visits made to a science, raptor (birds of prey), and bear rescue center. A new 10-day itinerary for 2019 using the recently acquired KRUZOF EXPLORER operates July to early September between Ketchikan and Sitka and visiting Glacier Bay, Sitka, Admiralty Island, Tracey Arms, Wrangell, Metlakatla and Misty Fjords National Monument.

Alaska's majestic mountain scenery is best seen from a small ship, not from a towering floating block of flats. * Photo: Ted Scull

Alaska’s majestic mountain scenery is best seen from a small ship, not from a towering floating block of flats. * Photo: Ted Scull

Why Go? Local Alaskan expertise with three generations of experience; intimate atmosphere and shared experience aboard truly small ships while seeking out wildlife, native culture, small town life and the majesty of Alaska. Visits to Native villages will include one of more other these peoples – Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian. Animals that may be seen and black and brown bears, mountain goats, black-tailed deer, and possibly wolf and moose.

When to Go? Cruises operate from March to September over five different itineraries. MISTY FJORD, for example operates beginning in March. Visit Alaska as it wakes from the winter.

Cabins: All outside cabins with view windows and bed configuration of twins (some at right angles to one another), queens or doubles. Some cabins have a queen and single or two upper berths, designed for families.

Public Rooms: All five vessels have a forward viewing lounge and dining room, a bow viewing area, and open sun deck. Catamaran ALASKAN DREAM additionally has covered after deck.

Dining: One open seating for all meals with typical menus that reflect Alaska’s produce and seafood. The latter may include king salmon, halibut, rockfish, shrimp and crab.

Activities & Entertainment: Educational talks aboard and guided trips ashore and in DIB skiffs. Kayaking and hiking exploration. A custom-built kayak launcher eases boarding kayaks. Itineraries include an evening at Orca Lodge for dinner, exploring the beach, shoreline and marine-life pool.

Kayakers and a bear face off. * Photo: Alaska Dream Cruises

Kayakers and a bear face off. * Photo: Alaskan Dream Cruises

Special Notes: Open bridge policy for hobnobbing with the captain and mates (when conditions warrant). A related company operates pre- and post-add-on itineraries that includes fishing, hiking, exploring the rain forest, Denali National Park, etc. Be sure to read The Featured Articles to get the expedition line’s flavor.

Along the Same Lines: Un-Cruise Adventures and Lindblad Expeditions.

Contact: Alaskan Dream Cruises, 1512 Sawmill Creek Road, Sitka, AK 99835;; 855-747-8100 or 907-747-8100.



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Alaska, Coastal Ship & Line Reviews, Cruise Regions, Expedition Ship & Line Reviews, North America, Ship & Line reviews, Uncategorized

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