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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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roberttC3850RT wrote a review Aug 2020
Central Point, Oregon6 contributions3 helpful votes
This year was the perfect time to board the Catalyst and leave issues, troubles and concerns behind for 10 days. The Catalyst is near perfect in the way she is setup and outfitted for a trip to Glacier Bay. The crew is every bit the equal of the Catalyst. They are a friendly, experienced, competent team dedicated to providing guests with a once in a lifetime outdoor & culinary adventure. While guests feast on gourmet meals, awesome landscapes, calving glaciers, whales, porpoise, bears, seals, otters, birds, wildflowers and more, the crew creates a family atmosphere among strangers!
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Review collected in partnership with this attraction
Date of experience: July 2020
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Richard M wrote a review Mar 2020
7 contributions1 helpful vote
We have just returned from our Baja cruise on the Westward with Wilderness Travel and Pacific Catalyst. Although our 11 days were shortened by 2 days due to the US State Department asking all Americans to return ASAP, this small boat cruise was the best of many we have experienced. The boat is a wonderful classic motor yacht built in 1924. First, wildlife. We had an encounter with a 2 month old California Grey Whale that in itself would have made the trip worthwhile, Then saw several Blue Whales, snorkeled with sea lions, saw many turtles, diving pelicans, and "mats" of disappearing Grebes on the sea surface. We missed the Whale Shark Swim having to cut the cruise short due to Covid 19. Second, the food. I can't say enough about Tracie's expertise. She regularly produces gourmet meals 3 times a day. If you are a foodie, the trip is worth it just for this experience. Third, the crew. Bill, Carlos and Tracie are a joy, as well as a font of knowledge. The bottom line here is that you quickly feel like family, not passengers. Once we all decided we had to get back to the States, they were very good about helping with arrangements and getting us where we had to be. Bill even took us to the airport and stayed with us through checking in to make sure all was OK.
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Date of experience: March 2020
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Response from Gertrud J, Manager at Pacific Catalyst
Responded Mar 26, 2020
Dear Richard, Thank you for taking the time to review Pacificcatalyst II, Inc. We appreciate your taking the time to do so. We are glad to hear that despite having to cut your trip short due to COVID-19, you enjoyed your time aboard Westward. It was a pleasure having you - and for me personally, to meet you and your spouse. Warmly, Gertrud
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Carol L wrote a review Mar 2020
Hartland, Vermont1 contribution
As we hunker down at home in Vermont in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I can't help but wish I was where I was a few weeks ago with spouse and 6 friends! This is our 2nd trip together w the Pacific Catalyst (did the Inside Passage on the PC) w this trip being on the Westward. To start with this boat is a historic treasure, an all wooden boat built for hunting and fishing in Alaska in 1924. Impeccably maintained by owner Bill Bailey, our captain, to travel on it is a privilege w its all wooden interior, 4 comfy, efficiently outfitted cabins, welcoming salon stuffed with books - and a fireplace (which we didn't need of course) and decks to relax and keep a close eye out for marine life. And then there is the crew of 3 - Bill, with his tremendous knowledge, wry humor and storytelling (a bedtime story at night - how about that?), TracieTiolo, a great mate and terrific gourmet chef who willing shared her tricks (yum!) and finally, Carlos Gajon Bermudez, naturalist extraordinaire w deep knowledge of the area and natural life, always enthusiastic for each adventure and incredibly patient and caring with all of our quirks, questions and needs. And then, of course, there is the adventure itself - overland to be amongst the grey whales (and they amongst us), charting a course to find quiet bays on uninhabited islands, desert hiking, kayaking w rays and turtles - and kamikaze diving pelicans, snorkeling with sea lions in early morning before others arrive, marveling at the grace of dolphins along side your boat and finally the privilege of swimming alongside the impressive and beautiful whale sharks. Baja - or Alaska - both adventures of a lifetime to savor. Go if you can while you can- unique, personal, unforgettable!
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Date of experience: February 2020
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Response from Gertrud J, Manager at Pacific Catalyst
Responded Mar 26, 2020
Dear Carol, Thank you so much for your glowing review! Being cooped up due to COVID-19 at this time, I can easily imagine how being on Westward would be so much better right now. We are glad you had a wonderful time and hope to see you again sometime in the future. Warmly, Gertrud
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pfwriterks wrote a review Sep 2019
1 contribution
I’m chuckling as I write this. I just took a look at a mailing from one of those mega cruise lines in which they describe their Alaska and Inside Passage cruise for 930 people. No, thank you. I grew up in a community about that size and don’t consider traveling with a small town a vacation. We’d been talking about taking an Alaskan cruise for over 4 years and finally did it this past August. Sitka to Petersburg. We wanted a cruise experience that would equal the small ship cruise we took on the Amazon a few years ago. The 8 days and 7 nights we spent on the M/V Westward surpassed all expectations. The crew, the places we visited, the chef-prepared meals, and the experiences we had are the reasons I’d recommend the M/V Westward to anyone who wants an intimate Alaskan travel adventure. The ship is a lovingly restored and beautifully maintained 86-foot motorized wooden yacht with a history dating back to the 1920s. I was concerned about the possibility of seasickness, but shouldn’t have been. The ship quietly glides through the inner waterways of Alaska guided by Captain Bill Bailey who has years of experience traveling the bays and crossings. More than once, we changed our course to avoid weather and waves. Our trip included 6 guests plus a crew of 3 with plenty of room for everyone to have their own space. The fireplace in the wood-paneled salon/library and the back deck for dining and taking in the sights were perfect for our boat full of travel and reading enthusiasts. The cabins are cozy, yet comfy, and each has its own bathroom. Many of the vintage fixtures are true to the boat’s history. And the bed surprised me—though smaller than ours at home, it was every bit as comfortable. Our crew of 3 included the ship’s Owner/Captain Bill, Chef/First Mate Tracie and Naturalist/ Photographer Caroline. All are professional and very personable. They know their stuff and know how to make travelers feel at home. Foodies, take note: the meals are extraordinary. Breakfast, lunch and a 3-course dinner (with wine pairings) are planned and prepared daily onboard by Chef Tracie using ingredients from her rooftop garden, a mid-trip produce rowboat delivery from an organic grower, and a bottomless pantry. Tasty. Creative. Healthy. We often stopped by the kitchen to visit with Tracie. We were told she happily adapts her menus to meet individual needs and wants—vegan, gluten-free, allergies, “I don’t like”—but we were easy to please. The experience: We took this trip because we hoped to see Alaskan wildlife while kayaking and hiking. We were not disappointed and learned a lot. Naturalist Caroline is a walking encyclopedia of Alaskan flora, fauna and other interesting stuff. We visited two salmon hatcheries; cruised up to Le Conte Glacier; hiked through lush green rain forests; saw black bears, brown bears, salmon, Bald Eagles, humpback and Orca whales, seals and sea lions, otters and a mysterious mink. And they weren’t just specs on the horizon; we saw them without binoculars! As a farewell souvenir, we received a thumb drive in a wooden case digitally documenting the trip. It features a custom slide show of Caroline’s trip photos and those of guests, our itinerary with an annotated map of the places visited and wildlife seen, 8 days of menus with food photos, plus other trip details. Thank you, Bill, Tracie and Caroline.
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Date of experience: August 2019
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Dave_Apex wrote a review Aug 2019
Apex, North Carolina2 contributions
We had a fantastic Southeast Alaska cruise aboard the historic motor yacht M/V Westward this month. Captain Bill, Chef Tracie, Naturalist Caroline and Engineer Jimmy went above and beyond to assure that the trip was an amazing experience as we cruised the inland passage between Juneau and Sitka. This particular trip was photography focused, and our photo leader, Wendy Shattil, provided expert instruction and support as well as photography themed programs throughout the cruise. We passed many large cruise ships on our way to a closer, more intimate experience with the beautiful landscape and wildlife. Glaciers calving, black and brown bears, humpback whales breaching and bubble-net feeding were among the many highlights of the trip. Every day was a new experience in sights, sounds and amazing food. Forget the big cruise ships, go on this 8 passenger ship for the experience of a lifetime!
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Date of experience: August 2019
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