Third ship added to Victoria-based Maple Leaf tours

Victoria-based ecotourism company Maple Leaf Adventures is adding a third ship to its fleet for 2018.

Victoria-area residents can get a preview of the ship, Cascadia, and its trip schedule at local slide shows this summer: May 23 in Oak Bay and June 13 in Sidney. Contact Maple Leaf Adventures at 250-386-7245 for information.

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Designed specifically for expedition cruises, the new 138-foot catamaran provides luxury accommodations for up to 22 guests, while being able to travel to the wildest, natural places on the West Coast. The vessel’s small size and small guest numbers provide a human-scale experience that respects the carrying capacity of coastal inlets and communities.

Cascadia will operate its first trips in British Columbia this fall, and her regular itineraries will include Haida Gwaii, the Great Bear Rainforest, Vancouver Island, the fjords of southern B.C. and a wine cruise in the Gulf Islands

All-inclusive prices for these multi-day adventures range from $3,900 to $11,450 per person in 2018. Fall Great Bear Rainforest trips booked before May 31 include free flights between Vancouver and the trip’s start and end ports.

As with Maple Leaf Adventures’ trips on its other ships, Maple Leaf and Swell, hallmarks of the experience will be access to wildlife including bears and whales, and coastal characters, from researchers in the field to First Nations leaders.

“This is the perfect ship for very high-quality trips, as it was custom-made for this purpose,” said Kevin Smith, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Adventures. “People around the world are starting to realize B.C. is an amazing destination for safari-like holidays, but no luxury expedition cruise exists here. This will be the first ship on the coast to combine eco-expeditions and luxury.”

Maple Leaf Adventures will spend up to $1 million in Canada on a vessel refit to update systems and décor and outfit the vessel for B.C. prior to the 2018 season. Local art will give the vessel the feeling of a West Coast lodge. Previously, it operated boutique cruises in New Zealand and French Polynesia.

Cascadia’s trips will be operated with the same ecotourism principles as the company’s award-wining journeys on its popular classic vessels Maple Leaf and Swell.

The company’s leaders, who are all from the B.C. coast, acquired the third vessel due to long waiting lists for the existing ships, and to the future demand they forecast from more travellers choosing meaningful adventure travel.

For information about the ship and its trips, go to MapleLeafAdventures.com or telephone 250-386-7245.

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