Science at Sea – Alaska

Steve Spangler’s Educational Cruise to Alaska

Science at Sea is a week-long educational journey through Alaska’s inside passage with your host, Steve Spangler, and his team of award-winning naturalists and special guest lecturers. You’ll explore Juneau, Glacier Bay, Skagway and Ketchikan through a scientific lens as you learn more about oceanography, geology and the the history of humanity’s relationship with the environment and modern maritime issues.

Who should attend? In the past, we have hosted hundreds of educators (early childhood through college) and their families, science enthusiasts from around the world, fans of Steve Spangler who enjoy his work on television and social media, and many more who are excited to learn more about elements that make Alaska one of the most sought after destinations in the world.

The customized excursions, on-board lectures and elite access to our naturalists are only available to Science at Sea participants through our partnership with Holland America Line. After registering for Science at Sea, you will work directly with our private cruise consultant from Holland America to select your cabin and onboard amenities.

The Science at Sea experience sets sail from Vancouver. Space is limited to only 100 participants to provide the best, one-on-one learning experience possible.

Take an Inside Look at the Science at Sea Alaska Adventure

Science at Sea is Not Just for Teachers…

With a name like Science at Sea, you might think that this is just a trip for teachers. In fact, over 60% of the past participants have been non-educators… including family members, science enthusiasts and people who want to experience the beauty of Alaska and learn something about the science of this rich environment at the same time. Of course, children are welcome to attend. With Steve Spangler leading the adventure, you are guaranteed a once-in-a-lifetime experience that appeal to participants of all ages. Take a look at some of our participant’s favorite memories from past voyages.

Registration for Science at Sea is $1,895 (USD) per person. The registration fee includes the cost of private shore excursions, access to all of the Science at Sea Lecture Series with John Scheerens and Steve Spangler, paid admission to museums, and learning resources for each of the ports of call. Plus, you’ll start the journey with a kick-off breakfast and opening session with Steve Spangler at the Pan Pacific Hotel.

* Special group pricing is available – contact Carly Reed at (855) 228-8780 for details.

I could have never prepared myself for the unforgettable experience my family and I had. Breeching whales, calving glaziers, breathtaking views that will never be forgotten were just a part of our journey. Steve and John shared so much information I haven’t stopped talking about it with my students and my family. I’m already planning to be on board the next ‘Science at Sea’ adventure.

Jan Wisener – Nacogdoches TX

It was my best trip ever! The events were well organized and the days filled with fun and excitement. The boat rides to see the whales, orcas, seals, sea otters,etc. was my favorite part. The staff and crew of the ship and of the Steve Spangler team were all so friendly and professional.

Lynette Low – Hawaii

Folks, I was on the first Science at Sea trip and I can tell you this… you are in for quite an adventure. When you combine the dynamic personality of Steve and the shore excursion knowledge provided by John with the incredible raw beauty of Alaska, you’ll have a trip of a lifetime. I began looking forward to this trip when I stepped off he ship after the last one.

Stephen Chambers – Orlando, Florida


What Does Science at Sea Cost?

The price for the Science at Sea experience is $1,895 per person, plus the cost of your Holland America cabin.

Holland America cabin prices vary depending on the type of cabin you select – there 27 different cabin types from which to choose. You’ll work directly with our personal cruise consultant at Holland America to discuss cabin options and to get your cabin booked. Remember, all of your meals for the week are included in the cabin fee!

For budgeting purposes, here’s a quick overview…

  • Science at Sea conference – $1,895 per person (see details below)
  • Holland America cabin – starting at $1,400 per person
  • Airfare to and from Vancouver, Canada
  • One hotel night at the Pan Pacific in Vancouver

What’s included in the conference fee?

  • Steve Spangler’s pre-cruise kick-off workshop in Vancouver.
  • Private shore excursions in each of the ports of call
  • Onboard Science at Sea Lecture Series with our naturalists and the Spangler team
  • Customized learning resources and a few surprises
  • Access to featured museums in each port
  • One-on-one time with the Science at Sea naturalists, Steve Spangler and his teaching team
  • Curriculum support materials… and some special privileges onboard the ship for the Science at Sea participants

If you’ve taken a cruise in the past, you know that shore excursions alone (especially in Alaska) can exceed the cost of our week-long class. The Science at Sea fee includes the price of all of your shore excursions in each of the ports of call. During each of the days at sea, Steve and our naturalists will provide a variety of presentations ranging from the Alaskan wildlife experience to the science of glaciers and environmental science concerns. Knowing Steve, he’s bound to send you home with some goodies to help you remember this amazing experience.

Of course, you’ll need to set aside a few dollars for spending money if you want to take home a gift or two for the teachers at school who didn’t go on the trip!

Need some funding ideas?

Over the last 10 years, many of our participants have received funding in the form of cash awards and educational grants to attend Science at Sea. We’re honored to have the support of funding agencies like Fund for Teachers and Donors Choose over the years. Many teachers have funded this experience through their own grant writing efforts at the local, state and national levels.


  • Travel – Arrive In Vancouver, British Columbia – Canada
  • Day 1 – Science at Sea Kick-off Event – Depart Vancouver
  • Day 2 – Day at Sea – Inside Passage
  • Day 3 – Juneau, Alaska
  • Day 4 – Skagway, Alaska
  • Day 5 – Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, Alaska
  • Day 6 – Ketchikan, Alaska
  • Day 7 – Day at Sea – Inside Passage
  • Travel – Arrive In Vancouver, British Columbia – Canada

**This is the tentative schedule for 2024


We’re excited to introduce you to our naturalist, John Scheerens, who will participate in every aspect of the Science at Sea experience and provide us with his amazing insights and knowledge of the region.

John is considered the teacher of teachers in Alaska serving as the training consultant for most of the major tour companies throughout Alaska. John has been featured on ABC’s Good Morning America, ESPN’s Outdoor Adventure Series, and Outdoor Channels Pathfinder’s Series, and his educational tours have received the highest praise among his peers. We cannot think of the better tour leader for our Science at Sea experience.


He’s the science teacher you always wanted to have in school. Things just happen to fizz, pop, smoke and explode, and before you know it, you’re a part of his learning experience. His passion is to find the most creative ways to make learning fun.

One day everyone was sitting around the table and Steve said, “Let’s create the ultimate science class in Alaska…” The next thing you know, the Spangler team crew was planning an experience of a lifetime. As you’ll soon discover, Steve is the pied piper of anything fun, and he lives by the motto… make it big, do it right, give it class. While he makes his shenanigans look effortless, the real secret to his success is an amazing team of people who share Steve’s passion for creating unforgettable learning experiences.


When Steve comes up with an idea, things just don’t happen without extremely talented people around the table. In her normal job, Carly is the “keeper of Steve” and the manager for all Spangler events. If trash cans are exploding, Carly is one step ahead thinking about what to do when the police show up.

Carly joined the Spangler team in 2004 managing Steve’s speaking tour, summer institutes and his work on television. As Associate Producer for DIY Sci, Carly earned a Daytime Emmy nomination in 2017. Carly’s love for environmental science fuels her passion to make the Science at Sea program what it is today. From your first inquiry about the program to the last day of the adventure when she hugs you good-bye, this enormously talented young lady works tirelessly to make sure this experiences goes beyond your wildest expectations. If you see her running around the ship looking for Steve, just remember… it’s her job.


If something needs to be fixed, created, invented, changed, re-engineered, re-imagined or beamed to another planet, Bryan will come up with the master plan. Affectionately referred to as Higginsworth, Bryan works as Carly’s right hand man or “best boy” as he’s called in the office.

Bryan was an original crew member of the web series The Spangler Effect which eventually turned into the nationally syndicated television series DIY Sci. If you’re out in public with him and you hear someone yell, “Higginsworth!” you’re about to be mobbed by his groupies. Bryan is an accomplished photographer in his own right and never misses an opportunity to snap a picture of Steve on fire or getting ready to catch on fire. If you’re up late enjoying the night life that our ship has to offer, you’re likely to meet up with Higgins who is kind of like your adult camp counselor who likes to drink bourbon and sing songs at the piano bar.


If you ever wanted to earn your Junior Ranger badge for Glacier Bay National Park, Steve Schaller is the man who can make your dreams come true. We’re privileged to have Steve and his wife, Fay (also an educator for the National Park Service), embedded in our Science at Sea experience. Steve graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in Wildlife Management and has been pursuing his career in Environmental Education ever since. Steve worked as a seasonal ranger for a variety of national parks, moving from the sweeping vistas of the Everglades to the rocky coast of Olympic National Park.

It’s fun to watch Steve and Fay board our cruise ship from their ranger boat (while we’re moving!) on the day we enter Glacier Bay. You’ll soon see and experience Steve’s passion for introducing people of all ages to the science of Alaska through his outreach and distance learning programs.


We’re excited to have Mark Kelly – an award-winning photojournalist – join us this year for our Science at Sea adventure. Mark has published 14 photo books with over a quarter million copies sold. His books “Glacier Bay National Park: Alaska”, “Alaska’s Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glaciers”, and “Alaska: A Photographic Excursion” were each awarded a Benjamin Franklin Award by The Independent Book Publishers Association. Mark’s work in journalism has been recognized by the Alaska Press Club, the National Press Photographers Association, and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Best of all, Mark will join us in Juneau for our whale watching excursion and dinner at Orca Point Lodge to share a few stories, answer questions, take pictures with you and even sign a copy of his latest book. Ooops! Did we spoil the surprise?

Science at Sea Juneau
Science at Sea Skagway
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Vancouver is a beautiful west coast city with lots of wonderful things to see. Visit Stanley Park with just over 1,000 acres making this park the largest urban parks in North America. Nearly an island, a seawall walk runs almost completely around the perimeter offering terrific views of the ocean. Another favorite is the Capilano Suspension Bridge & Park features an amazing rope suspension bridge stretched over a deep canyon, rainforest trails, a totem park, and a tree-top adventure where a number of suspension bridges wind through the rainforest canopy.

Inside Passage

Our Science at Sea Lecture Series starts on our first day at sea. We’ll begin an exploration of the extraordinarily complex and unique natural history of the Southeast Alaska. This introduction sets the stage for an an-depth look at weather patterns, geology, glaciers, ocean and forest productivity, plant and animal distribution, and human interactions.


Juneau is one of Alaska’s oldest settlements and Alaska’s state capitol. Lots of history and interesting sites to see! Not far from the cruise ship dock, St Nicholas Russian Orthodox church stands as the oldest building in SE Alaska. On a clear day, the Mt Roberts Tram whisks you from sea level to the alpine zone with spectacular views of Juneau and surrounding mountains. Details on places to visit, shop, or eat are outlined in our morning introduction session.


Skagway played a key role in the dramatic Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-1898. We will follow that path to the gold rush by taking a train ride up White Pass. The narrow gauge White Pass Railroad took two years to build in the late 1800’s and was considered one of the engineering marvels of its time. We will board several of the restored-to-historical-accuracy rail cars for a three-and-a-half hour journey to the top of White Pass (one of the historical trail routes to Lake Bennett) in British Columbia.  Optional hikes in the afternoon to Dewey Lakes Trail and Smugglers Cove.

Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay National Park encompasses 3.2 million acres of designated wilderness. It is home to nearly half of the tidewater glaciers in North America, a 15,000 foot mountain range, the delightful and mysterious coastal rain forest, over 200 species of birds, grizzly and black bears, and a resident pod of humpback whales. Only four miles of roads and about ve miles of developed trails exist in this virtually untracked land larger than the state of Connecticut.


During our time in Ketchikan we will visit the Alaska Rain Forest Sanctuary & Raptor center. Wonderful trails through the rainforest will leads out to an elevated board walk over an estuary that is typically full of wildlife. After our walk we will visit the Alaska Raptor Center to learn more about the birds of prey that are such an important part of the ecosystem in Alaska. There are 14 complete totem poles on display with a resident by master carver Wayne Hewson who has been carving since 1989. He is a Tsimshian from Metlakatla, a Native community on Annette Island, 17 miles from Ketchikan.

Science at Sea Juneau
Science at Sea Skagway
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We’ve been working with Holland America Line on our trips since 2009 and are excited to be partnered again with them for our 2024 trip.  The Spangler team negotiated special pricing on all of the cabins ranging from economy-priced interior staterooms to luxurious veranda staterooms.

The kick-off event starts in Vancouver with a special breakfast & pre-cruise presentation at the Pan Pacific hotel hosted by Steve Spangler and our Science at Sea lead naturalist, John Scheerens. John will get you ready for your adventure with a preview of each of the customized shore excursions with his incredible insights and knowledge of the region. Steve Spangler will share some hands-on science activities you can use to teach some of the environmental science that is unique to Alaska. Don’t be surprised if Steve shares a few after-dinner science tricks you can use to amaze and engage your servers on a whole new level.



Call Carly Reed at 855-228-8780


Registration for Science at Sea is $1,895. You will work directly with our personal travel agent at Holland America to book your cabin and take advantage of our special group pricing. The registration fee includes the cost of private shore excursions, access to all of the Science at Sea Lecture Series with John Scheerens and Steve Spangler, paid admission to museums, and learning resources for each of the ports of call.


Steve Spangler created Science at Sea as a way to go beyond the normal “sit and watch” cruise experience to gain a more in-depth understanding of the ecology and history that makes Alaska a must-see destination. While Steve is well-known for his work on television and as a top science educator, the Science at Sea experience is not just for teachers. You’ll be part of an exclusive group of people who share a common interest in learning more, seeing more and experiencing more than you would on a typical Alaskan cruise.

Due to the size of our group, we will enjoy private shore excursions at each of our ports of call. Our naturalist is working with each of the shore excursion companies to craft an educational experience that is unique to the Science at Sea participants.

Attending Science at Sea was terrific! The information I learned, the sights I saw, the friends I met, and the memories made will always be treasured. I learned so much from Steve, fellow science teachers, and John and his wisdom of Alaska history and nature.

Tiffany Floria – Fitchburg Public Schools – Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Science at Sea is an experiential professional development program. As a geology college professor, I benefited from all aspects of this experience. I left energized and inspired to incorporate even more innovative teaching strategies into my virtual and traditional classrooms.

Dr. Elaine Fagner – McLennan Community College

Hands down one of the best weeks of my life. It was an amazing experience to learn from Steve, John and Chris. It was so nice to be surrounded by like-minded people who continue to challenge each other to be the best teachers we can be. I made connections that will last a lifetime. I am so grateful for this experience.

Nikki Stewart – Genoa Christian Academy – Delaware, Ohio

“Best Day Ever” is not strong enough to describe the Science at Sea program. From the moment we signed up to the moment we stepped foot back into Vancouver, we were part of something special. Every session on the ship was tailored for fun and engagement, each excursion was memorable, seeing whales and riding railways, to the personal touch to make you feel that each day was truly a day you will never forget. Science at Sea was life-changing and I can’t wait to share what I learned, the photos I took, and the experiences I created back into my classroom.

Jessica Minton – Houston High School – Germantown, TN

Thanks again for such an amazing Science at Sea 2022 experience. I will never forget the memories and lasting friendships I made.


Brad Rhew – Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools – High Point, NC

My family and I have returned for our 6th(!) Science at Sea trip. We come back because the people and connections we make on these trips are priceless. We always learn something new and get to share a genuinely unique experience each time. The Spangler team put together a top-notch team of folks to guide us on our adventures. We return from the trip refreshed, recharged, and ready to take on whatever comes next.


Ellen Peterson – Gillette Community College

While this is billed as a professional development experience for educators, non-educators like me had a fabulous time (and learned so much without even knowing it). That’s the magic of what Steve does. Our head naturalist, John Scheerens, was a wealth of knowledge and very approachable. Steve also kept us on our toes during our time at sea by presenting us with engaging science lessons. This trip is truly an Alaskan cruise with a huge bonus!

Josie Kesler – Curriculum Writer – Cypress, TX