I wanted to write a report about our cruise with Innersea Discoveries since there wasn't much info out there about them when I was planning our trip.
The travelers included me and my husband (in our mid 40's) and two 14 year old boys. We chose Innersea because we wanted to see the Inside Passage but didn't want to go on a large cruise ship to do it. We wanted to trade formal night, casinos and shows for kayaking and hiking. We also wanted to spend more time in untouched wilderness rather than visiting a port every day.
Our trip started with a two day stay in Juneau. On the day we flew in, it was sunny and 77 degrees. After picking up a rental car at the AJ dock (Alamo) and lunch at the Hangar we headed out to the Mendenhall Glacier area. The people working the desk at our hotel recommended that we drive "out the road" but after our long flight we wanted to do something more active. The first stop was at the creek where the salmon had just started to run the day before. No bears were there, but it was neat to see all of the fish. We hiked out to Nugget Falls and then hiked the East Glacier Trail. It was later in the afternoon when we started and we saw very few people. It seemed that most people were hiking the trail in a clockwise direction while we were headed the other way, with the steps towards the end of the hike. It was a great walk through the rain forest with all of the green and moss. By the end of the hike everyone was hungry so we stopped at Bullwinkles Pizza on Mendenhall Mall Rd for dinner. It was fairly quick and inexpensive meal with decent pizza. An excellent choice for a family with teens and seafood allergies. Our home for the next two days was the Driftwood Lodge which was a simple, clean and economical hotel close to a lot of downtown attractions. We appreciated the kitchenette and two bedrooms of the room that we had reserved.
The next day was our planned trip to Pack Creek. I can truly say that this was the highlight of our whole trip! I had reserved permits on February 1 as soon as they were available on line and arranged a flight with Ward Air. When planning this trip, I wrestled with the decsion to go with a guide or not. The cost per person for a guided trip was $500-$600 per person. Without a guide, the whole trip for the four of us cost. $860 or $215 per person. I decided to go without the guide and after the trip was very happy with my decision. After some brief paperwork in the office at Ward Air, our pilot drove us out to the floatplane pond and we were on our way. A 20 minute trip over forested islands went quickly and before we knew it were landing at Pack Creek. We were met by a ranger who checked our permits, went over some safety rules and showed us where the bear proof containers for food were. A short walk along the beach took us to the first bear viewing area where there was already a bear stretched out taking a nap. We spent four hours watching bears catching salmon, cubs playing in the water, cubs playing on the beach and a sow chasing a teen male bear away from her cubs. A sow and her cub walked to within 15 feet of where we were standing before moving on to take a nap. We then spent an hour walking to the tower viewing area where we saw two bears catching salmon and eating them. Our time at Pack Creek went too fast and we had to rush back down to the beach to meet our floatplane. For most of the time we were there, it rained steadily and there is no shelter so be prepared for cold weather and rain. Also find ways to rain proof your camera, because you will want to have it out at all times. After arriving in Juneau, we drove "out the road" and hung out at Auke Recreation area and St Therese.