Often when one thinks of a luxury yacht charter, they picture soft sands and palm trees — and understandably so. Though you can never go wrong with a charter to warmer waters, the world has so much more to offer and experience, most of which the average Joe doesn’t know about. Luckily, Northrop & Johnson is here to enlighten you on destinations off the beaten path to travel to on your next journey aboard a superyacht.
From our top picks, we’re highlighting one of the most unique environments on the North American continent: Alaska.
“North to the Future”
From the heartwarming dogsledding tale of Balto, to Jon Krakauer’s austere Into the Wild, the vast magnificence of the Alaskan landscape has been subject to the spotlight of storytelling, nonfiction and more throughout time.
Second only to Abruzzo, Italy on Travel + Leisure’s top 50 trips for 2022, Alaska is saturated in a history of gold rushes, fishing tales and Beluga whales. Charter guests lucky enough to behold such a genuinely natural place will enjoy crystal clear waterfalls, dogsled rides and the tallest peak in the North American continent — epitomizing what it means to travel to the ‘last frontier’.
Completely incomparable, the sights to see in Alaska include a masterpiece of colors, trees, fjords, wildlife and experiences beyond your imagination. With crisp, fresh air and the luxury amenities of your charter yacht, you can soak up the midnight sun and rest easy when venturing up North. As for when to visit, Summer is the time to go as Alaska’s rugged nature calms and quiets a bit, welcoming guests to relax in its beauty.
With Northrop & Johnson’s dedicated team of Charter Brokers, you can curate the perfect trip up North aboard your luxury charter yacht. To help you get started on this incredible journey, we’ve highlighted some of the critical parts of an Alaskan itinerary. These meticulously designed plans are made to maximize your enjoyment, typically starting and ending with Juneau, or embarking in Juneau and finishing your journey at Sitka.
Just in: Juneau
Alaska’s capital is the perfect place to begin your journey, converging a decorated history, native culture and excitement. Hugging the coastline, the state’s largest city offers an array of things to do, from charming local art galleries to shopping hot spots for native novelties.
The crème de la crème of Juneau may just rest with the Mendenhall Glacier. Stretching about 14 miles, this gorgeous ice field is the hub of several unique adventures – indeed, you will not be disappointed. To start, take a ride via dog sled, feeling the fresh air as you’re pulled by the most adorable pups across the ice. Hop in a kayak and cruise along the icy coast – with clear, tranquil waters and natural surroundings; you won’t be disappointed. For our more active enthusiasts, Mendenhall is an excellent place for hiking – both glacier and regular. Nevertheless, at the minimum, you won’t want to miss taking the tram up to Mt. Roberts for stops at the salmon hatchery, Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center and more.
For passionate anglers, Alaska offers a multitude of choices for trawling waters. Holkham Bay is the perfect place to find a saltwater catch as the next stop on your trip. Blissfully boasting crystalline bay waters with roaming salmon and halibut, chunks of floating ice, and a visual masterpiece of seemingly endless fjords. Here, travelers can appreciate the juxtaposition of tranquil waters and exhilarating catches.
Not your thing? No problem. Holkham Bay is also the perfect place for views and experiential enjoyment. For your second day, charter a floatplane to pick you up on the water and take you to the skies. With a plethora of wildlife just within reach, your aerial tour of the glaciers will display breathtaking sights and majestic nature. Often when people travel to Alaska, they’re on the lookout for their ‘ceremonial bear’ – a mark of visiting the last frontier and essentially a rite of passage for travelers, given the impressive population of Ursid. Up in the air, you’ll have total views of the roaming creatures, ensuring you’ll spot a furry friend catching a meal for the day.
Up next, Tracy Arm Fjord is a phenomenal spectacle in the Alaskan wilderness, making it a must-see on your luxury charter. This serpentine 22-mile fjord champions Alaska’s name-to-fame, embodying the artwork of glacial influences on natural landscapes. As guests cruise along this stunning fjord in their luxury tender, they’ll witness the astonishing process of “calving” as incredible chunks of ice break apart from the glacier and cascade into the water.
Tracy Arm Fjord is also home to several species of magnificent wildlife. Here, mountain goats climb the highest peaks, adorable harbor seals play in the water, black bears forage the rocky intertidal pockets and even moose occasionally come out to say hello.
Often, charter brokers recommend spending two days in this gorgeous centerpiece to make sure you don’t miss out on the incredible opportunities available.
Whale, what are you waiting for!
From your anchorage in Frederick Sound, head West into the heart of ‘Whale Country’. Renowned as one of the best whale-watching spots globally, the depths of Frederick Sound are unequivocal. These beautiful waters are teeming with marine life, from massive humpbacks to awe-inspiring Orcas and even Dall porpoise – often found bubble-net feeding. Aboard your tender, you cannot go wrong exploring these magnificent adventures.
In addition to the water, Frederick Sound also features untouched islands with massive colonies of wildlife – in particular, the Steller sea lions. With an evening anchorage in Gambier Bay on Admiralty Island, a late afternoon trip aboard your tender promises sightings of brown bears and bald eagles – ensuring your journey is all the more extraordinary.
Every group has at least one animal lover. When chartering to Alaska, this is their time to shine. The last frontier is home to numerous places of refuge for endangered and injured animals, both from land and sea. One of our personal favorites is the “Fortress of the Bear.” This spectacular island is home to the highest concentration of brown bears and bald eagles globally. Here, dedicated wildlife specialists maintain these phenomenal animals’ care, protection, and recovery – a process you won’t want to miss.
For the Finale,
The spectrum of truly unique destinations is limitless given how expansive Alaska is. One of our secret spots is the elusive South Baranof Island, an incredibly remote, breathtaking and seldom-explored intrinsic exhibition. It features relaxing natural hot springs, abundant wildlife, majestic waterfalls and more. You’re sure to want to spend at least two days here, capitalizing on the abundant beauty and generous spectacle that encompasses Warm Springs Bay, Red Bluff Bay and Gut Bay.
You’ll cruise out of the Chatham Strait and into the Peril Strait at the end of your charter. Though the name sounds daunting, these waters are perfect for relaxation and appreciation. Here, you’ll find even more whale-watching hotspots, have the option to fly over Glacier Bay and even witness the various fishing voyagers on their trawling trips.
Whether you end your charter back in Juneau or at the beautiful town of Sitka, you honestly cannot go wrong. With Bear Country, kayaking opportunities and cave exploring, the last few days of your charter will bring your journey full circle as an Alaskan explorer.
The 157’ (47.9m) Trinity superyacht MIRABELLA is resplendent, relaxing and classy. Ideal for larger parties, this luxury yacht welcomes 11 guests and nine crew aboard, allowing five-star service and the best amenities for your Alaskan experience. Made for the alfresco lifestyle, MIRABELLA’s decks each present their own unique atmosphere and opportunities for your Alaskan adventure. The sundeck is, in essence, the hub. With sunpads, a Jacuzzi, plush lounging opportunities and hardtop shading, guests can rejuvenate in the fresh air as they cruise along the coastline. Her skylounge rivals its appeal, providing open-air dining, a full bar and lavish seating for guests to enjoy as they choose their pick of bespoke meals made by the onboard chef. The main salon spotlights cozy couches, a large flat-screen TV and formal dining forward. MIRABELLA’s five excellent staterooms each offer privacy, relaxation and en-suite baths. With an impressive 37’ 2020 Intrepid tender, an 18’ Brigg rescue tender, inflatable swim-platform and additional toys, MIRABELLA is ready to deliver.
This luxury superyacht cruises to Alaska in the Winter and Summer, starting at $160,000 per week, plus expenses.
Celebrated as one of the most successful and revered charter programs in Alaska, SERENGETI is a truly unique 130’ (39.62m) Westport motor yacht. Originally owned by the famous Johnny Carson, this luxury yacht was designed to prioritize comfort and relaxation, featuring Zero Speed stabilizers, a Jacuzzi onboard and plush lounging. She welcomes 12 guests within her phenomenal interior in five capacious cabins, each with its own cozy atmosphere. Extensively refitted in 2014, SERENGETI is outfitted with the latest luxury amenities and navigational technologies. She uniquely comes with a 34’ Regulator center console, perfect for sports fishing and shore excursions. Additionally, SERENGETI features an 18’ Novurania expedition tender, extensive toys and even a four-seater Big Mable inflatable.
She travels to Alaska during the summer, starting at a rate of $130,000 per week, plus expenses.
KAORI is a 125′ (38.1m) Palmer Johnson luxury sailing yacht perfect for your next Alaskan charter. Charming and warm, this luxury yacht has been meticulously cared for throughout the years. She welcomes eight guests into her cozy interior, providing five professional and dedicated crew. Her wheelhouse main salon is an excellent place to enjoy meals and socialize on your way through the last frontier, providing ample room, plush seating and a delightful ambiance. A champion of the alfresco lifestyle, KAORI boasts gorgeous teak woods, charming dining tables and a warm hot tub on deck. With luxury amenities, a 19’ Novurania tender and a playful selection of toys, your journey to Alaska is sure to impress.
KAORI cruises to Alaska in the summer, starting at a rate of $125,000 per week, plus expenses.
Next up is the immaculate 122’ (37.19m) Flagship luxury yacht SERENITY 122. Designed to brave the US Pacific Northwest, SERENITY comfortably hosts eight guests aboard in four sumptuous king-bed staterooms. Her adaptable enclosed flybridge perfectly complements the wildlife sightings of Alaska, keeping guests warm while they take in the views. After her most recent refit in 2017, SERENITY offers the latest luxury amenities within her sleek aluminum hull, as well as a full wet bar, Jenn-Aire grill, sunpads and more. With a 29’ North River Alaskan tender, high-tech navigational technologies, gym equipment and delightful toys, SERENITY fulfills what it means to charter a luxury yacht into Alaskan waters.
She travels to Alaska in the Winter and Summer, starting at $110,000 per week, plus expenses.