Austin-Lehman Adventures has announced the addition of four cruise programs inaugurating a new cruise division utilizing small expedition ships.
“Our past guests asked us to bring more small ship adventure cruises into our mix, and this is just what we’re doing,” says Dan Austin, ALA’s founding director. Beyond current offerings in the Galapagos, Glacier Bay and the Amazon, he says Antarctica is on the 2013 radar. The company has tested a cruise product in the Galapagos for several years. This year ALA added a land and sea Galapagos combo program, as well as cruises in southeast Alaska and on the Amazon River in Peru.
A new Ecuador / Galapagos Land & Sea, is an 8-day / 7-night tour that includes five nights aboard the M.C. Athala II, a private 16-passenger luxury yacht visiting the islands of Santiago, Bartolome, Isabela and Fernandina. While cruising, the sundeck is great for whale and dolphin spotting or relaxing in the Jacuzzi. In the evening there is no better place for stargazing. Upon reaching Santa Cruz Island guests transfer to the Galapagos Safari Camp, a luxury tented camp nestled in the lush highlands. For the remaining two days guests can choose to relax in the infinity pool or go active and take in the many personalized activities that the Camp offers. From $5,498 plus internal air and park entrance fee.
Alaska – Northern Passages & Glacier Bay: The 76-guest Wilderness Explorer is an expedition vessel that allows exploration of little frequented bays and coves of, among others, Glacier National Park, where passengers can explore the wilderness and traverse the richest whale waters in Southeast Alaska. A multi-activity program includes kayaking, hiking, skiff explorations, stand-up paddle boarding and whale watching. The 8-day/7-night cruises are from $3,862 per person (double), with weekly departures plying the waters between Sitka and Juneau.
“Austin-Lehman is proudly offering this trip in conjunction with InnerSea Discoveries, offering an alternative to traditional cruises by taking guests into areas that are not accessible to larger ships and on excursions that are exclusive, private and unavailable to most other travelers,” Austin says.
Peru – Amazon River Cruise: This 5-day/4-night cruise departs Iquitos, Peru, to romance the river and stop at riverbank communities of indigenous peoples. Passage is aboard the 14-passenger Delfin II offering casual and refined elegance with dining room, observation deck, bar, entertainment center, library and a hammock sun deck. This is a multi-activity cruise offering swimming with pink and gray river dolphins in the El Dorado River; spotting parrots and macaws in Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, the largest protected wetland reserve in the world; a nocturnal safari searching for spectacled owls, fish bats and caimans; and fishing for piranha. The rate is $3,000 per person (double) exclusive of internal air. See:
Ecuador – Galapagos Islands: Guests can select their own best time to travel on weekly 8-day/7-night year-round departures on a 20-passenger luxury yacht. New this year are two separate cruise itineraries, each maximizing opportunities to witness the magic and majesty of land, air and aquatic life in a mindful manner that minimizes stress on this fragile environment, notes Austin. One itinerary covers central and southern islands and the other northern and western islands. The point of departure and return for both trips is Quito, Ecuador. The per person (double) rate is from $3,550 (children age 12 and under receive up to 30 percent off). The rate does not include internal air and park entrance fees, transit cards and optional pre/post cruise lodging and tour packages.
In the March 2012 issue of Travel + Leisure, Austin-Lehman Adventures was recipient of the 2012 World’s Best Values Award for Tour Operators. ALA has also received Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Tour Operator Award for three consecutive years in 2009-2011. In 2011 the company was honored with the Global Vision Award for its Wheels of Change bicycle empowerment initiative.