The owner of American Safari Cruises will give the brand a sister line, called InnerSea Discoveries, that will focus on the Alaskan wilderness, eschewing traditional port calls.
Slated to debut in 2011, the new brand will be less expensive than American Safari and will target adventure travelers, said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing for InnerSea and American Safari.
InnerSea will take passengers on wildlife- and wilderness-focused itineraries through Alaska's Inside Passage on the 80-passenger Wilderness Discoverer and 66-passenger Wilderness Adventurer, two ships formerly operated by the now-defunct Glacier Bay Cruiseline.
InnerSea acquired the ships last summer and will put them through an extensive renovation before they launch service for the brand.
The ships will offer two, seven-day itineraries between Ketchikan and Juneau, but they won't stop in any ports along the way. Instead, they will spend the cruise sailing through fjords, around glaciers and through the islands and coastal cruising areas of Southeast Alaska.
The itineraries will take passengers on Zodiacs to explore glaciers and wildlife up close and will make landings to take guided hikes through remote areas, spelunking trips and kayak excursions.
The ships will also carry their own fully equipped fishing boats.
The two brands' parent company, also called InnerSea Discoveries, is headed by CEO Dan Blanchard, who was American Safari CEO from 2001 to October 2008.
When Blanchard bought American Safari in February, he said he planned to add more brands to the new InnerSea Discoveries portfolio. InnerSea is the first of those brands.
Jacox, who along with Blanchard is a Cruise West alum, said InnerSea would distinguish itself from other Alaska expedition brands such as Cruise West, which he said spends a significant amount of its time in ports.
"We are reaching into areas that other small ships don't even go into," said Jacox. "In lieu of going into ports and spending a day there, those many, many hours will be spent doing a multitude of [outdoor] activities simultaneously."
Jacox expects that combining two cruises into a 14-day trip will be popular, especially among international passengers.
InnerSea will be substantially less expensive than luxury operator American Safari Cruises, whose three vessels range in capacity from 12 to 36 passengers. Guests pay from $850 to $1,500 per day and often charter the smaller ships.
InnerSea cruises will start at about $300 per passenger, per day; items such as alcoholic beverages will cost extra, but espressos will be included, said Jacox.
Most of the price difference will result from the size, he said.
"Once the [passenger] number goes up, the price point comes down," he said.