Port side of Ursus small ship cruising in Alaska.
Stern of Ursus while cruising in Alaska.
Bridge on Ursus ship in Alaska with nautical maps, binoculars, view windows & bear photos hung on wood-paneled walls.
Dining table and bar area aboard Ursus.
Standard cabin aboard Ursus with twin bed, sink, and door way.
View Photos


year built
73 feet

The Ursus provides accommodations for up to 8 passengers on coastal grizzly expeditions on the Alaska Peninsula. Ideally designed for exploring the remote waters of coastal Katmai National Park, the Ursus (Latin for “bear”) is 73 feet long with a deep displacement hull and an exceptionally seaworthy design with a high bow and fine horseshoe stern. She carries a full complement of modern, state-of-the-art navigation and safety equipment.

Ursus Review

AdventureSmith Explorations’ Ursus review includes a detailed description of the small ship including deck plans and a photo gallery.  Our Alaska experts have been aboard the Ursus firsthand. Please read our Ursus review below then contact our experts to compare the Ursus with other ships offering Alaska small ship cruises and private Alaska yacht charters.

The Ursus is AdventureSmith’s only partner sleep-aboard vessel sailing in the remote reaches of Katmai National Park. Choose this vessel if you want to witness Alaska’s famed brown bears up close in a wilderness environment. Being specifically designed for shallow water navigation, the Ursus allows her guests to cruise close to shore, watching bears foraging in the meadows and clamming on the tide flats. Accommodation aboard is simple and expedition focused, with no-frills cabins featuring upper/lower single berths and shared bathroom facilities.

History of the Ursus

The Ursus was originally built in 1984 as a crab fishing boat called the Time Bandit, which plied the storm-tossed waters of the Bering Sea and gained fame in the Discovery Channel TV series The Deadliest Catch. In 1989, the vessel was transitioned for research use by the National Park Service, Alaska Department of Fish and Game and other agencies conducting scientific study and monitoring. She has since been converted and comfortably appointed for custom marine charter use. In addition to Alaska bear cruises, the Ursus has outfitted two international filmmaking projects: the 2012 BBC/Discovery Channel documentary Great Bear Stakeout, and an NHK (Japanese public television) program on orcas hunting gray whales and humpbacks.

Common & Dining Areas Aboard Ursus

Inside, the ship is intimate and simply appointed, yet she provides ample space and facilities for activities. A well-lit galley and dining space are the site for convivial conversation over gourmet meals prepared each day by the onboard chef. Fresh Alaskan seafood, including halibut, salmon and crab, highlight many of the dinners. The ship also has a small library, computer, DVD and CD player on board. 

Expedition Leaders Aboard Ursus

The Expedition Leaders who guide Ursus’s grizzly adventures are professional naturalists and bear experts. The vessel takes pride in employing Alaska’s most qualified, dedicated and passionate natural history guides, and her Alaska Expedition Leaders average more than 15 years’ experience each. They also receive additional training from leading World Wildlife Fund scientists as the organization is also a partner company for Ursus’s Katmai bear cruise itineraries. These Expedition Leaders regale guests with their in-depth knowledge while remaining close at hand to ensure safety and comfort in every respect.

Cabins Aboard Ursus

The Ursus accommodates eight travelers in four cabins with upper/lower berths. Guests share two toilets and two showers. 

Standard cabin aboard Ursus with twin bed, sink, and door way.
Standard Cabin

Four cabins feature twin beds with upper/lower berths and an ensuite sink. Each pair of cabins share a toilet and shower.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

test message
View Wishlist