Hand crafted, unique small ship cruises: the Inside Passage of SE Alaska, British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest, San Juan Islands and the Sea of Cortez, Baja Mexico.
Pacific Catalyst

Humpback Whales, Sea of CortesWhy Choose Pacific Catalyst for Your Next Cruise? We realize that there are many companies offering “adventure” cruises and that based on advertising alone it is difficult to know which voyage will satisfy your criteria. The most distorted words in cruising literature are “sustainable”, “small”, “intimate” and “gourmet.” Rather than use those words we’ll tell you about ourselves and let you decide.

  • Our itineraries have been carefully refined over decades of local experience. We explore selected regions in great depth, taking the time to reveal the unique aspects of each one. Our itineraries don’t require us to rush past hundreds of miles of beautiful coves, inlets and fjords to stay on schedule, so we don’t have to travel at night.
  • Each anchorage is selected because it provides the best of what our guests come to SE Alaska, the Pacific NW or the Sea of Cortez to see. One offers the opportunity to walk through a forest following trails built by generations of brown bears, another features a stroll past endemic cactus on an isolated desert island, and yet another climbs to the edge of a dramatic cliff-walled fjord.
  • Our food is elegant, locally sourced, and artfully presented. Our chefs perform their culinary magic with ingredients from local providers wherever possible, including organic farmers who make deliveries with a small row boat, and buy fish directly from local fishers. Our guests frequently comment that the cuisine is an unexpected highlight of their trip.

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  • Our wooden vessels are unique and both are powered by their original engines. Catalyst was built in 1932 as the University of Washington’s first research vessel. Westward was launched in 1924 and was the very first boat built specifically to convey charter guests in Alaskan waters. She is designated as a Historic Place by the National Park Service. Our antique engines are very efficient, using only as much fuel in an entire season as some of our competitors consume in a week.
  • Our boats are quiet, having electrical systems that allow us to go for up to 12 hours at anchor without running a generator. The sounds of whales blowing in the distance, thrushes singing in the surrounding forest, sea turtles breathing in the nights’ cove, or water cascading down nearby cliff faces are essential parts of a wilderness experience. We want you to hear them.
  • With our small capacity we are able to go ashore in areas designated as Wilderness by the Forest Service, where group sizes are limited to twelve persons. Larger vessels cannot send their guests ashore in Wilderness Areas, or can do so only when they divide into multiple groups, thus diluting the sense of community born of common experience that occurs on our trips and is key to what we do.
  • All of our walks and kayak paddles are guided by our naturalists. We seek to show you the places that we love and are representative of the SE Alaska, Pacific Northwest or Sea of Cortez ecosystems. We feel that a small, intimate guided group is the best way to accomplish that objective.

So, why not join us for your next cruise.

The trip of a lifetime on a beautiful, classic ship; unbelievable food, knowledgeable naturalist and captain, intimate – everything you could want!

Cathy J., Passenger