A Closer Look at the M/V Natural Habitat Ursus
Katmai National Park, Alaska
The M/V Natural Habitat Ursus, our privately chartered ship, is the ideal vessel for exploring the Katmai coast and viewing Alaska’s giant brown bears at exceptionally close range. A former fishing and research vessel reconfigured for small-group wildlife encounters, the Ursus is ideally designed for safely navigating the remote coastal waters of Katmai. Daily excursions take us ashore among some of Alaska’s most stunning scenery.
© Megan Schwartz / WWF
Our ship is ideally designed for our wilderness adventure, offering an exclusive opportunity to follow the bears along the shoreline as they fish, dig for clams and amble along the beach. The Ursus explores wild shorelines and intimate bays that are wholly inaccessible to cruise ships, allowing you to step ashore to observe the world's largest coastal grizzlies from just feet away.
© Brad Josephs
The sturdy ship was built in 1984 and dubbed the Time Bandit, navigating the stormy Bering Sea as a crab fishing boat before transitioning into a research vessel for the National Park Service and Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Changing its name to Ursus (which means bear in Latin), the ship has since been retrofitted and comfortably appointed for grizzly bear adventures, and has also outfitted international filmmaking projects such as the BBC/Discovery Channel documentary Great Bear Stakeout. The 73-foot long ship has an exceptionally seaworthy design with a high bow, horseshoe-shaped stern
© Corrin LaCombe
Enjoy friendly conversation and outstanding meals in the large gallery and spacious dining area. Each day, our onboard chef prepares gourmet fare that frequently features fresh Alaskan seafood such as salmon, halibut and Kodiak scallops. There is also a library and DVD player with a selection of regional documentaries for your leisure.
© Brad Josephs
Comfortable accommodations are provided for just eight guests in four double cabins with upper and lower berths. Each cabin has its own washbasin, while two bathrooms with showers and toilets are shared between the four rooms.
If you want to encounter Alaskan brown bears in solitude, on foot, in the Katmai wilderness, there is no better way than by traveling aboard the Natural Habitat Ursus. Cruising just offshore aboard our private chartered ship allows unparalleled access for bear watching, in the most intimate of contexts!
Header Credit: Justin Gibson
Wild Alaska Grizzly Encounter
Photo departures available