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Pacific Catalyst

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Friday Harbor, WA, USA
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About Pacific Catalyst
Unique small ship cruises in the sheltered inside passage of SE Alaska, British Columbia, and the San Juan Islands of Washington as well as the Sea of Cortez, Baja California aboard the historic wooden vessels M/V Catalyst & M/V Westward. A larger cruise ship alternative...a smaller, more intimate, cruising experience.
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Pacific Catalyst
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Cami M wrote a review Jul 2022
1 contribution
The absolute best way to see the natural beauty of Glacier Bay park in Alaska. The Captain, naturalist, chef and engineer/first mate were so knowledgeable and friendly! Our first trip to Alaska was way more amazing than we had anticipated. The chef was amazingly talented and the naturalist was extremely experienced and knowledgeable.
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Date of experience: June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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lil h wrote a review Feb 2022
Minneapolis, Minnesota19 contributions7 helpful votes
This is my second trip with this group. I went to Alaska 10 years ago and now the Sea of Cortez. The boat is beautiful and is an experience itself being 98 years old. The rooms were very comfortable with there own bathroom. The food would make gourmets weep with desire. Every meal was beyond good. We had activities everyday that responded to what was happening in terms of weather, fish migrations, and the groups interests. I was so inspired by my trip in the Sea of Cortez that I stayed on an extra week. Some one had canceled due to covid so I took their place. Oddly I felt safer on the boat due to very limited contact with anyone other then the small group on the boat. We had two teen age girls with us. They had the time and trip of a life time. This is no ordinary vacation this is truly a life experience. I can not recommend it enough!
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Date of experience: January 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Paul H wrote a review Oct 2021
California120 contributions55 helpful votes
This was our third trip on Westward - Southeastern Alaska. We did Sitka - Petersburg. The Westward is amazingly stable boat and Bill has been doing Alaska for 17 years so he knows all the secluded and protected coves. Westward goes where the big boats can't go. Still we hung out once because a smaller cruise boat had a bunch of people ashore - we waited until they pulled anchor! This is not a trip about miles covered. Anchor every night rather than run. Move during the day to see the sights in day light. We saw humpbacks every day - one swam under the boat (Bill stops or slows). Saw them bubble netting!. Saw Orcas just about every day. Tracie is a great chef with wine pairings and delicious deserts. 8 passengers, 6 kayaks, 1 rubber boat. Got up close to a calving glacier. Walked on a moraine. Soaked in a hot spring. Only down is no fishing or crabbing.
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Date of experience: August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Nancy wrote a review Jul 2021
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I have taken two trips with Pacific Catalyst, one on the Catalyst along the inside passage from Juneau to Petersburg. Bill was our charming and capable skipper, Tracie our amazing chef, and Caroline our delightful and knowledgeable naturalist. My second trip, in May 2021, was on the Westward from Juneau to Glacier Bay. Our crew were the same people. I cannot imagine a better crew or better boats to see the detail that we saw. And we mostly saw everything without the company of other boats. All the guests on both trips were interesting people and we all got along fine. I still rave about the food that Tracie prepared. She's very talented in the kitchen. The walks on shore and the kayak trips offered close up glimpses of the abundant nature around us. I'd go again and again for all the trip and crew has to offer.
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Date of experience: June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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dlbrunda wrote a review Jul 2021
The Woodlands, Texas32 contributions7 helpful votes
My wife and I took the Sea of Cortez, 10 day Baja California trip with Pacific Catalyst on the Westward in February. It was a fantastic trip full of amazing wild life. We started in Loreto, had a nice small group dinner and breakfast and then headed out by van to Laguna San Ignacio. We did two "panga" trips to see the gray whales. On one excursion, we saw babies with their mother. On the other, we had a young male come right up to the boat and float along beside us where we could touch him and look at him in detail. Just amazing. After spending the night there, we headed back to Loreto where we boarded the Westward. We only had one other couple on board so there was seven of us counting the crew - Bill, Tracy and Carlos. Every day was an adventure. We saw many dolphins and whales - blue, humpback, grey and orcas. Some came very close to the boat. Bill and Carlos are always monitoring the situation and getting us in the best possible spot to view the whales without disturbing them. We saw other wild life like seals, sea turtles and birds. We especially enjoyed the pelicans diving for their dinner. some from great heights. We also kayaked and snorkeled but we mainly were on the Westward or were hiking on one of the many islands along the way. Another highlight of this trip is swimming with the whale sharks. Unfortunately, we didn't get to do this as scheduled on the Westward agenda due to a closure of the La Paz bay to boats due to expected high winds. Fortunately, we were staying additional days in Los Cabos. We rented a car and drove back to La Paz and swam with the whale sharks separately. It added to the time and expense of the trip but this is definitely an A-plus experience and there are only a handful of locations around the world where you can do this. We highly recommend it. As for the accommodations and the crew, we were very happy. The rooms on board are fairly large and comfortable. Carlos is an avid naturalist and his enthusiasm alone is contagious. He has been doing this for many years but he still loves it. His knowledge of the wildlife incredible. Bill is a solid captain and maintains the ship extremely well. Tracy is a gourmet chef and always has something different for you to try. In summary, if you like nature, solitude, a family/friend and intimate small ship environment, you will love taking this trip.
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Date of experience: February 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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