Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of clothes do I bring?  Will I need to ‘dress’ for dinner?

We are very casual (see our “Packing Suggestions”) — the emphasis is on layers as the weather is variable.

Do I really need rubber boots and rain gear?

Yes!  In a temperate rain forest rain is possible year-round.  A lightweight waterproof shell and rain pants, layered over pants, shirt and jacket, will ensure your comfort during the many off-boat activities we offer.  Rubber boots are essential on these trips, especially since the trails can be quite wet and muddy.  It is not uncommon to be in up to your ankles in mud or cross small streams on some of our hikes.  Many guests forgo hiking boots altogether and stick with rubber boots with an extra pair of wool socks for cushioning.

Trip insurance – is it worth the extra cost?

You’ve spent a lot of time and effort planning your trip to Alaska.  Unforeseen circumstances could spoil your ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ adventure.  Travel insurance can cover a number of contingencies and provide peace of mind.

Can we celebrate a special occasion aboard?

Yes.  Just let us know before you embark and the crew will be ready to help you celebrate in style.

Should I worry about seasickness?

You’ll be traveling on the sheltered waters of the inside passage; and sleep at anchor each night.  If you are prone to motion sickness, it’s best to consult your physician beforehand and choose either a prescription or OTC remedy.

What’s the best kind of luggage to bring?

Space is limited on board – we recommend 1 or 2 large soft-sided pieces (like rolling duffel bags) per person.

Tipping/Gratuities: what’s the “right” amount and how is it usually handled?

Recognition for exceptional service is entirely at your discretion.  Guests who wish to tip usually give the Captain about 10% of the cost of the cruise from each person in their party at the end of their trip (cash, check or credit card).  Tips are pooled and shared by all crew members.  Let your satisfaction with our service be your guide.

Are there any other additional costs?

l Round-trip airfare to Alaska  l Travel insurance   l Possible fuel surcharge | Beginning in 2017, fishing licenses are now included

Is there telephone, fax or e-mail access available aboard?

Our boats carry communications gear to conduct official ship business and to ensure your safety, but we do not have phones or Internet access for guests.  Your cell phone or a laptop equipped with a cellular wireless card may get intermittent service.  AT&T has the best coverage – Verizon, not so much.

Is there television aboard?

There is an entertainment center with a TV-VCR-DVD unit in the main salon – for viewing movies and naturalist presentations – but broadcast reception is unavailable.

What amenities does the Boat Company provide in my cabin?

Your cabin is ‘move-in’ ready with hypoallergenic bedding, en-suite bathroom with toilet, stall shower, shampoo, conditioner, soaps, lotion and hair dryer, 110-volt outlets, a flashlight and high-power binoculars for wildlife viewing.

Do you provide laundry service during the trip?

No, but the ship’s drying locker may be used to dry your wet clothes.  See Packing Suggestions for tips on planning.

Is the tap water in my stateroom safe to drink?

All the tap water aboard is ‘potable’ – fresh from our reverse-osmosis water makers.

What kind of electricity is supplied?  Will I need an adapter?

All the electrical outlets supply 110 volt current – the same as homes throughout North America.  If you are coming from outside the United States and Canada, you may need a plug adapter for any personal electronics you bring.

What will the weather be like?

Alaska’s Inside Passage is a temperate rain forest.  Rainfall averages about 3½“during May and June, trending upward to 7½“ in September.  Temperatures average in the mid-60s during the day and mid-40s at night, but range from 80s to 30s—layers are the key to comfort!  Bring a light day pack so you may shed and add layers when off the boat.

Will we see the Northern Lights?

Not likely; the summer nights don’t get dark enough, there is often a lot of cloud cover, and we won’t be quite far enough north.

What about bugs – do I need to bring bug spray?

Biting insects are not as prevalent in the Inside Passage and peak in July.  Pack your preferred brand of insect repellent and we will also have head nets and a variety of sprays, lotions and creams aboard.  “Deep Woods OFF” and “Ultrathon” (by 3M) work well.  Here is a recent guide from Consumer reports

Will we see glaciers?

We always visit the glaciers south of Juneau in Tracy Arm.  You’ll see glaciers calve and – weather permitting – the crew will even take you in for a closer look by skiff or kayak.

What kind of wildlife will we see?

Brown and black bear throughout the summer – stream fishing in fall. Dolphins and whales – especially humpbacks – abound; we’ll call all hands on deck when they are spotted.  Orca (killer whales) and sea otter are less common but also present.  Seals on ice floes with new pups as we travel up Tracy Arm to view glaciers, and we usually visit a sea lion rookery each trip.  Deer, of course, and different kinds of birds – notably bald eagles, hawks and other raptors – may be observed on hikes or along the shore when at anchor.

Is smoking permitted onboard?

Smoking is not permitted indoors but is allowed on deck – on the lee side in an area set aside for you – so the smoke is carried overboard.  Both decks have a covered companionway.

I’ve heard that Marijuana is legal in Alaska – may I bring Marijuana products on the cruise?

The short answer is No – while the State of Alaska has legalized recreational and medical Marijuana – and you may see stores selling it in Juneau and Sitka – Boat Company vessels are under federal jurisdiction and will not allow Marijuana or any illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia aboard.

How do I pay for my trip?  Does the Boat Company accept credit cards?

The Boat Company accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express.  Deposits may be made without a surcharge but later payments will include a 4% convenience fee.

What kind of medical care is available on board?

We do not have a doctor or nurse on board – but at least one crew member is a certified “Wilderness First Responder” and all crew are current on first-aid, CPR and use of an on board defibrillator.  Each ship carries oxygen for emergency use.  Captains can arrange emergency medical evacuation as well as Med-Link remote communication with a physician.  We recommend that you carry your regular medications in your hand luggage – including extra supplies to cover any unexpected circumstances or travel delays. If you have received treatment for any significant medical condition, please carry a recent report along with any pertinent information from your physician.  We also urge you to review your health insurance coverage before your trip.  We strongly recommend that you secure travel protection.

I have special dietary concerns. Can they be accommodated?

With advance notice, our chefs are happy to accommodate you.  Use the Passenger Registration form to alert the galley to any allergies or special dietary requirements you may have and attach more detailed instructions if needed.

Who will my fellow passengers be?               

Boat company passengers hail from all over the world – though predominantly from North America – and are generally easygoing, adventurous and curious about the Tongass National Forest and its conservation.  More than 70% each year are either returning guests or have been referred by previous passengers.  We work hard to create congenial groups on each trip and can give you an overview of the others who will be traveling with you.

I’m not much of a “joiner”—do I have to participate?

There are no required activities.  You may happily spend your entire trip curled up in the salon with a good book – or watch it all go by from a chair up on the skiff deck; while sipping coffee or a chilled glass of wine.  The crew will meet daily with guests – to advise you on hiking, kayaking, fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities. You are free to choose.

I don’t know anything about fishing – will someone help me?

Yes – our deckhand/guides are happy to help novices.  They’ll get you started, but their primary job while ashore in bear country is to ensure group safety, so this won’t allow for prolonged one-on-one individual attention.  We will provide your fishing license & King salmon stamp (if needed).

Do I need to buy a fishing license before the trip?

We will provide your fishing license & King salmon stamp (if needed).  You will need to show the crew a photo id when you fill out the form.

Can I bring the fish I caught in Alaska home with me?

Yes!  The crew will clean; fillet and vacuum seal your fish before stowing it in the walk in freezer on board.  At the end of your trip, they will pack your catch in an insulated easy to carry box for your flight home.

I’d like to bring my kids or grandkids – do you provide child-care?

We do not offer separate babysitting services – however, the crew is skilled at including kids in all the activities and in tailoring hikes, fishing and wildlife to their level.  Some families opt to bring a ‘nanny’ along to mind their little ones.