Plan a luxury safari in the US with American Safari Cruises

When most people think of a “safari” they think of hiking through the bush of South Africa or trekking through the jungles of Costa Rica in search of exotic animals native to the region.

But here in the US we have plenty of our own wild animals to see and going “on safari” here doesn’t have to mean doing one of those drive-though “wild animal” parks where non-native animals like zebras and giraffes flock to your car for the food they know you’re going to throw at them through your open window.

For a more upscale safari trip in the United States, check out American Safari Cruises, which offers small-group ultra-luxury all-inclusive sailings around North America. There’s aren’t your typical mega-cruises. The vessels are yatchs and are limited to 12, 22 or 36 guests. All meals, airport transfers, alcoholic drinks and shores excursions are included in the price. And according to the company’s website, they institute green and sustainable practices, and give back to the communities they visit on each safari.

Some of the safaris offered include spotting whales, black bears, grizzly bears, bald eagles, mountain goats and wolves in Alaska, birdwatching and snorkeling with sea turtles and exotic fish in Hawaii, and looking for whales, sea lions, seals, black bears and deer in the Pacific Northwest.

Cruises range from 7 to 14 nights and rates start at about $5000 per person.

Disney Cruise Line heading to Alaska in 2011

Starting May 3rd 2011, Disney Cruise Line will be offering an Alaska itinerary. The 7 night Alaska cruise starts in Vancouver and after day at sea will take guests to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, followed by another sea day before arriving back in Vancouver.

The cruise will be offered on board the Disney Wonder, their 964 foot long, 2400 passenger vessel. The Disney Wonder offers guests three pools, 6 youth clubs, 7 lounges and bars, 9 restaurants and of course a whole host of Disney themed entertainment.

For a modest fee, parents can check their little ones into one of the on-board kids clubs, allowing them to enjoy themselves without the kids for a couple of hours.

The Disney Wonder currently sails in the Bahamas, Mexican Riviera and the Panama Canal, so the repositioning to Alaska during the summer is an interesting choice – I’m guessing it has something to do with a drop in passenger numbers on cruise lines, especially in that area, along with overcapacity. The Alaska Cruise market is still relatively popular, so this Disney gamble should mean they’ll be able to fill their ships quite easily.

If you are interested in a Disney Alaska Cruise, you’ll be able to book your voyage starting September 28th 2009. In addition to the Alaska route, Disney will also be offering 2 repositioning cruises from Los Angeles to Vancouver (April 27th 2011) and Vancouver back to Los Angeles (September 20th 2011).

(Via: Anchorage Daily News, thanks Matt!)

GADLING’S TAKE FIVE: Week of June 17

The week is out of here, but before you hit the town or one of Kelly’s many book recommendations for the first official weekend of summer make sure you give these plugs one more spin.

5. A Peek into the Future of Dubai:
From the sound of things Dubai will be a circus of exotic hotels and filled with many more amusements to tickle your fancy before you can say ab-ra-ca-dab-ra. If you’re like me and you hope one day to see it without all the crazy tourism development you better make plans to go now. Otherwise cloud hotels could be fun.

4. A Quest for a Cheap Car Rental:
Summer is here and it is time to hit the road. If you are in need of tips to help you save a buck or more try this one.

3. World Nomad/LP Filmmaker Scholarship:

Here’s an incredible opportunity for budding filmmakers with a desire to travel around the world. The scholarship application deadline closes somewhere around August 15th so hurry young travelers.

2. Travel Stories That Are Rated “R”:
Okay, so these travelers tales AREN’T for everyone. Some of them like Willy mentioned are very off and bizarre even for us here at Gadling. Should your curiosity get you going and you wonder what happened in Vegas or Paris or even Cape Town that didn’t stay where it needed to be, check a few of these stories out.

1. Alaska without the Cruise Ship Part 17: Some Final Thoughts:

Neil’s fantastic Alaska dispatch has come to a close, but never fear! You can still revisit each part by clicking on the fancy icon to the right or the link right above which will allow you to explore them all over again and again and again until one day you finally decide to go on your own. The pictures of Alaska are great, but you got to admit it looks a whole lot better in person.