Sail Date: July 2014
My wife and I had a spectacular time on the Discoverers' Glacier Country itinerary this summer. The intimate small ship experience was wonderful - a chance to really get to know a group of like-minded adventurers. The crew was ... Read More
My wife and I had a spectacular time on the Discoverers' Glacier Country itinerary this summer. The intimate small ship experience was wonderful - a chance to really get to know a group of like-minded adventurers. The crew was fantastic - from the captain to the adventure guides to the stewards, everyone made you feel welcome, and it seemed like they really enjoyed being there and helping the guests have a great vacation. This is an itinerary for people who like nature more than visiting the casino and rushing through cheesy gift shops at a bunch of touristy ports. Every day you wake up in a new and beautiful place with lots of options for activities from relaxing on the ship to fairly strenuous hikes and kayak trips. I'm much more of an outdoorsy and active person than my wife is, and we were both able to find activities to suit our interests every day. Everyone is there to see the beauty of Alaska, and more than once a meal ground to a halt - in a good way - when a whale was spotted and everyone moved from their tables to the windows to get a better look. Speaking of the food, the "gourmet" food was generally quite good but a little uneven - a burnt roast here, an overcooked piece of fish there. The servers were charming and friendly, but courses could take a long time to come out, and occasionally they forgot to serve a course to our table! On the plus side, every meal had a selection of entrees, plus they would bend over backwards to accommodate you. My wife and I have some dietary restrictions but never had a problem because the kitchen was so adaptable. I also have to give the servers some credit - they also serve as the cabin stewards - how they have the energy serve three meals, make up the rooms, and do other tasks - and do it all with a smile - is beyond me. Our cruise was one where a naturalist was on board. She was not only highly knowledgeable, she was also a hoot! That was another plus. This was a great trip and I would recommend this itinerary to anyone without hesitation.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
We have enjoyed several Big Boat cruises in the past - but never again. UnCruise Adventure's Safari Endeavour accommodates 85 passengers and before you finish your week, you'll know most of them by first name - we even got ... Read More
We have enjoyed several Big Boat cruises in the past - but never again. UnCruise Adventure's Safari Endeavour accommodates 85 passengers and before you finish your week, you'll know most of them by first name - we even got invites to come visit their home from several. Accommodations are very comfortable - we had their basic cabin with two comfortable twin beds and private bath. Meals were EXCELLENT with several options (including vegetarian) at each meal. During the morning breakfast, you would learn about that day's meal options and make your choice. Every day, there were Morning and Afternoon adventure options ranging from high skill and exertion to more moderate walks and skiff rides. We are moderately active senior citizens and thoroughly enjoyed each activity. We had never done kayaking before but we did it here - and loved it The ship has dozens of ocean-going kayaks and has an easy-launch system that makes heading out and docking simple. Before we launched, we got lots of lessons and great tips. We enjoyed kayaking so much, we bought one after we got home. The ports of call were beyond our expectation. The ship is so small, we were able to motor right up into the channels where the glaciers live. We watched the Big Boats sit at the mouth of the channel and pass out binoculars. Once we got close to the glacier. the crew lowered kayaks and skiffs and took us even closer. We got some amazing photos. The crew was beyond attentive - they became our friends over the week and made this trip a memory we will never forget. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
First, some clarification: we were on Safari Voyager, not Endeavour...I believe this is a replacement for the damaged Safari Spirit, no longer in service. And we were on the Sea of Cortez off Baja California, Mexico, not the Mexican ... Read More
First, some clarification: we were on Safari Voyager, not Endeavour...I believe this is a replacement for the damaged Safari Spirit, no longer in service. And we were on the Sea of Cortez off Baja California, Mexico, not the Mexican Riviera. That was not listed as an option, though oddly, Cabo San Lucas as embarkation point was. My wife and I have travelled with Adventure Life about six times in the past decade, and have been more than pleased with each trip. The latest was the Baja Whale Bounty, on the Un-Cruise Line, our first experience with that company, and it was as good as it gets. The trip was a week on their luxury line, Safari Voyager. This was no floating casino like the huge cruises tend to be (hence the "Un-cruise" designation). The vessel was smaller, 65 passenger and about 25 crew. Cabins were clean and comfortable, maintained daily. Food was wonderful--the chef and his staff were amazing. Meals were varied and very tasty, with small enough portions that we were always satisfied but never stuffed. And that meant a dessert course with every lunch and dinner. The pastry chef also made fresh bread, a different kind every day. And for happy hour and after dinner, there was a well-stocked bar with anything one could ask for, and a skilled and charming bartender, all included in the price of the trip. The trip itself was pretty amazing. Whale watching while underway was pretty amazing -- one day we kept having schools of dolphin playing around the boat, while humpbacks kept breaching as if to compete for photo ops. We had an amazing trip to Magdalena Bay on the Pacific side, where grey whales and their calves would come right up to the small boats we were in. The rest of the trip was hiking, snorkeling, kayaking around beautiful islands in the Sea. We even had a once-in-a-lifetime sighting, when a pair of oarfish swam under our kayak and beached themselves. The oarfish is huge...these were each 15 feet long. They're a deep water species, only filmed alive first in 2001. One of our guides, with a marine biology degree, said that her profs told her that she would never see the oarfish, like the coelacanth and the giant squid, alive in her professional life, though one might wash up dead on the beach. They were wrong. The doomed critters were intent on dying, and probably coming up into shallow water from the deep had already doomed them. It was sad, but quite an experience. As wonderful as the trip itself was, it was made even better by the wonderful staff--every member was superb. They were knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, and lots and lots of fun. Any one we dealt with was just delightful, from the guides to the servers to the crew to the chef and his sous chefs, to the two wellness lasses--we each got a massage from one of them, and they alternated dawn and dusk yoga sessions. They all made us feel at home, and I can't thank them enough. As you can tell, we're quite satisfied customers!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2013
We got lucky and found Un-Cruise Adventures online. We wanted, and got, a wonderful small-ship adventure, totally unlike the corporate behemoths of the seas that hold no appeal for us. The descriptions in the company brochure, in print and ... Read More
We got lucky and found Un-Cruise Adventures online. We wanted, and got, a wonderful small-ship adventure, totally unlike the corporate behemoths of the seas that hold no appeal for us. The descriptions in the company brochure, in print and online, are reliable. We're very experienced, non-wealthy travelers, but our only previous cruise was another small ship, 30 years ago on the Nile. (That was great too.) We splurged for this one, but the up-front cost was cushioned a bit by the all-inclusive policy (including adult beverages). The daily, up-close encounters with glaciers and all the magnificent southeast Alaska scenery, and with a great variety of wildlife, were just what we hoped for. The sea was calm, the weather better than expected, the crew absolutely terrific. Guides accompanied small groups for each excursion, offering troves of information, helpful encouragement for inexperienced kayakers and hikers, and assurances of safety. We're 60-plus, reasonably fit but not athletic, and we found the daily choices of activities perfectly suited to our abilities and interests. Kayaking up a salmon stream; hiking along a deserted beach, through back country, or up the side of a glacier; cruising on a pontoon boat accompanied by orcas.... We brought back memories to last a lifetime and hundreds of gorgeous photos. The food was of a very high standard, usually with two choices of main course at each meal (and an option to try both), impeccably served in a casual atmosphere. The chef and pastry chef came up with delicious alternatives to accommodate a friend with a restricted diet. Our fellow passengers were mostly of similar age to us, a few younger and one in his 80s, with several Australians, New Zealanders, Brits, other Europeans, and Chinese in the mix. Despite the open bar and generous pouring of wine and beer at meals, I saw no sign of bad behavior. We're eager to sail with this company again on a different itinerary. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013
My family of four (including two teenagers), have traveled a lot but we had never been to Alaska and wanted to see as much as we could. With only a week to explore, the Safari Endeavor was the perfect size and added a bit of luxury to our ... Read More
My family of four (including two teenagers), have traveled a lot but we had never been to Alaska and wanted to see as much as we could. With only a week to explore, the Safari Endeavor was the perfect size and added a bit of luxury to our SE Alaska action packed week. We started our trip out with two full days in Glacier Bay National Park with a forest ranger, Kailin, who offered presentations on birds and glaciers as we cruised up to the Grand Pacific and Margerie Glaciers. We were able to get up close to the scenery and wildlife with kayaks, small boat tours and hiking opportunities. The next days were filled with several activity choices with our four well trained, knowledgeable, entertaining expedition guides, Matt, Conner, Jackie and Fancy. They took about a dozen people at a time on one of the many offered excursions. Matt our expedition leader, would go over our daily choices the night before with fun and thorough descriptions and creative names such as "leg stretcher" "boulder scramble" "gentle beach stroll" to define the various levels of activity from bushwhacking to small beach strolls to climbing ON glaciers. There were also guided small boat tours, kayak tours, open kayak and open up right paddle boarding on the beautiful blue, turquoise & green calm water. In between or after excursions, we usually hit one of the two hot tubs, of course still viewing the scenery and whales! We visited seven Glaciers and had excellent presentations on whales, geology, glaciers and the abundant wildlife we viewed throughout trip. The food was scrumptious, fresh and inventive. Every day presented with an early riser breakfast, full cooked breakfast, lunch, happy hour and three choices at dinner including local seafood, a meat option and a vegetarian option followed by a dessert prepared by a pastry chef. It was all so decadent I usually opted for surf and turf. Chef Mike was happy to accommodate any requests however I can say we all enjoyed everything they put in front of us. The ship has a lounge with Jerry our bartender, happy to make fun cocktails (drinks included- even premium) and cooled with GLACIAL ICE! There are many indoor and outdoor areas to view the wildlife. Also, our Captain Jenna would change the itinerary or timing as to maximize the wildlife viewing and experience. Super knowledgeable, friendly staff and really down to earth. I honestly can't say enough good things about our experience last week. I'm still trying to process all the fun we had and the "once in a lifetime" stuff we saw in one week: countless humpback whales up close, resident and transient orcas, brown bear, Dall's porpoise, a raft of otters, harbor seals, sea lions, puffins, eagles and many other birds. It was a truly incredible life experience for the four of us. WOW!   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
When we decided to go to Alaska, I was looking for a tour that would be intimate, active and real, without getting caught in touristy activities and gift shops. I also needed to find an approach that worked for both my young kids (6 and 9) ... Read More
When we decided to go to Alaska, I was looking for a tour that would be intimate, active and real, without getting caught in touristy activities and gift shops. I also needed to find an approach that worked for both my young kids (6 and 9) and my father (75). It seemed like an impossible task. Except it wasn't. We did an Un-Cruise "Luxury" cruise which threaded the needle perfectly. First, the boat is fantastic. Very comfortable, all amenities, excellent food and service, friendly staff. Barely felt a bump or wave. I have lot of unopened sea sickness meds because we never even thought about feeling woozy. We were impressed. Second, the excursions are fantastic. Each morning and afternoon they give you choices (kayak, small boat, hiking, beach walk, etc.) with various areas of focus and intensity. Even if you're not an "outdoorsy, adventurous person" you can TOTALLY do this. The guides are SOOOO knowledgeable, friendly, fun, engaging and helpful. They provide great rain gear, boots, binoculars, advice, and a TON of information. I feel like a went to graduate school in the week we were on this boat. It was VERY easy to have kids on this trip, even though it wasn't marketed as a kid or family trip. The staff engaged them, the kitchen made great kid-food for them, I always felt like they were safe, etc. I don't think I have one mediocre thing to include in this review. There's really no other way to do Alaska. I can't recommend this highly enough. My family is trying to decide which Un-cruise trip to do next. I feel like we discovered a real gem of an outfit here. Book it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013
Embarkation - Drop your luggage and check in at the Baranof Hotel in Downtown Juneau by 2pm. The group is led down to the ship around 5:00pm, by bus or a 10 minute walk. Good shopping is near by for you to pick up last second things like ... Read More
Embarkation - Drop your luggage and check in at the Baranof Hotel in Downtown Juneau by 2pm. The group is led down to the ship around 5:00pm, by bus or a 10 minute walk. Good shopping is near by for you to pick up last second things like another warm layer to wear under your outer jacket. If you couldn't get your bags to the hotel by 2pm, I don't think it would be a big problem, as they didn't put the bags on the bus until after 4pm. We lined up at the gangway to the ship across from the Goldbelt Hotel in downtown and went through a receiving line featuring the Captain and all of her officers. We got on the ship after 5:30 and were shown to our room, where the bags were waiting. This cruise can go to Glacier Bay first or last on the itinerary, depending on their reservation in Glacier Bay. Only a few ships are allowed in Glacier Bay each day. We went to Glacier last, even though the brochure itinerary indicates that Glacier Bay starts on Day 2. Stateroom: We had the Captain's Stateroom, which was the middle of 5 levels of staterooms. All staterooms on small boats are smaller than the rooms on larger cruise ships, but it was fine. We had adequate storage for our gear. The bathroom was small, a one person at a time arrangement. There were plenty of plugs to charge up all your stuff. There was a small flat screen in the room with a DVD player built in. The TV only carried internal channels, with the daily menus, ship position, etc. No CNN, no wifi, no cell service. No daily news headlines in a memo. You were out of touch for a week. There are no keys. When you left the room, it was unlocked. You can lock the cabin door from the inside. This presented no problem, however I wouldn't bring any valuable jewelry on this cruise. There are two locking drawers, which we didn't bother obtaining a key for. The HC/AC system worked well. Each stateroom has two robes, which were useful for trips to the jacuzzi. Each room also has a music player hung on the wall that connected to your IPhone 4S or earlier or IPod with the 10 pin connector. It played your music and charged your IPhone. We left the IPhone connected in this dock all week and played music thru it. The iPhone 5 can not dock in this device without the adaptor. Cell Service - While my iPhone was in the dock, it did receive occasional email downloads from scattered cell service picked up along the way from some small village. The signal was not strong enough to receive 3G Internet. Apparently, small towns that we pass have some cell service and emails & text messages are picked up. Your outgoing messages may take a while to get out, but they do go out eventually. So if you are really desperate for updates on stock market or sports scores, you could sign up for email or text alerts and you may get the information. Provided Gear - the ship provides each passenger with excellent rubber boots. They had most sizes. Each passenger was also offered 1st class rain gear (Helly Hanson): tops and bottoms, again for most sizes, XS to XL. Each stateroom had two aluminum water bottles that you could use in the room or take on your hikes. The ship had walking sticks for their hikes. Each room is equipped with one pair of binoculars. There were times when each person needs a pair. If you have a really unusual shoe size, you may want to bring your own rubber boots. These boots are essential, as on most of the walks you will walk in wet and muddy conditions. People wash their boots upon return from their activity and leave them outside their cabins to dry. When they make the call to go collect your boots and rain gear, move quickly to the boots to make sure you get your size. Very large and very small rain gear may run out quickly also. Dress & Laundry - there is no laundry service on the ship for passengers. You could wash your underwear in the sink and hang them on the string line in the shower. If you are going to hang something to dry, bring quick-dry stuff. Cotton underwear will take 2 days to dry and hanging space is limited in the room. No one dressed up for dinner, blue jeans and casual shirts were fine, no shorts for dinner. Most people came to dinner in their outdoorsy casual clothes. Dress for cold weather. Do not forget gloves and knit hats, they are essential. Bring sweatshirts and a warm jacket and quick-dry hiking pants. Blue jeans will take forever to dry out. Bring thick socks to wear inside the provided rubber boots. Bring a pair of hiking shoes for your everyday shoes and some flip flops to wear to the jacuzzi. Weather - The Juneau area in the summer can get brief periods of warm weather, but usually the highs are in the 60's with overcast skies and frequent light rain. While that doesn't sound too cold, out on the water it is considerably colder especially when you are on a moving boat. The temp drops even more near a glacier. The rain is usually light and a hooded raincoat will keep you fairly dry. No one used an umbrella. During the 7 days, we had 2 days of on & off light rain, one foggy day, 2 mostly sunny days and 2 cloudy days. We arrived back in Juneau in bright sunshine that lasted for 3 days. Even though it rains all the time in Juneau, you can get lucky in the summer months. According to the locals, this was the nicest summer in Juneau in 10 years. Food - Very good. Everyone eats together at specific times using open seating. You can sit with different people at each meal. There was one group of nine people that had a reserved table for all the meals, so they can accommodate groups. For dinner you have 3 choices, a meat, fish or veggie entree. For lunch & breakfast you have 2 choices. All meals are served, no buffet lines, except for one brunch that was served when the crew anticipated lots of whale watching. There is an early riser setup with bagels, muffins and oatmeal for those who want something before the 7:30 am breakfast. Portions are not large, which is nice. Compared to large ship cruises, you don't tend to overeat on this cruise. Meal times were usually 7:30 am, 12:30pm and 7:00pm. At breakfast each morning, you gave the staff your meal choice for lunch & dinner so they can prepare the food in the right amounts. You can change your mind at meal time. We often ordered a split order between 2 of the 3 entrees, which worked very well. The fish entrees were consistently excellent, fresh bakery every day, and we often cheered for the outstanding desserts. Beverages - All beer, wine, mixed drinks & soft drinks are included. There are 2 self service wine kegs open at all hours, along with coffee, hot chocolate & tea available at all hours. After dinner drinks were offered after dinner. The passengers ran the bar when staff wasn't available. Happy hour happens at 6:00pm where the crew puts out some great snacks. Wine is served with dinner. The wines were very good. Activities - Each day is different. A typical day might include a choice of 3 to 5 activities, including hiking, kayaking, boat tours on small boats, photo tours or maybe stand up paddle boarding. You pick 2 of those activities the night before and the crew does their best to schedule to give you your first two choices, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. You can do the same activity twice. The schedule is posted around 10:00pm so you can plan your next day. The ship is usually parked close enough to a glacier or land so that you have lots of scenery to enjoy on the boat if you decide to stay on board. The ship has a nice small library on Alaska and maritime wilderness topics, and plenty of DVD's to watch. There are expert talks on geology and wildlife related to Alaska. We were on a Photography cruise, so we had a professional photographer, Wolfgang, giving talks and leading photography walks and boat tours He was available to answer questions frequently and he socialized with the passengers at meals and on deck. The ship is small enough to get close to glaciers and can change course quickly to allow good viewing of whales. We changed course and schedules several times when we spotted Humpback Whales. We saw breaching, bubble net feeding, head slapping, etc. Sea otters and seals were plentiful, along with bald eagles, and birds and gulls everywhere. A few bears were sighted along the coastline, they were elusive. Hiking - The remote islands that the cruise goes to do not have trails (there are no people to cut them). Plus, the portion of the land where you walk is in tidal areas and the ground is very soft. As a result the "walks" can be quite strenuous. There are 2 kinds of walks on these shore lines, except at Glacier, where there are 3 levels of hikes: 1). The "beach walks" are across very rocky shore lines and the footing is slippery, you are watching your foot falls the entire time, thus it's hard to enjoy the scenery. The beach walks are risky, I was amazed that no one turned an ankle. You certainly couldn't get any cardio going, as you had to move slowly. I consider these walks to be moderate level, but no fun. 2). The other kind of hikes are called "Bushwhacks", where the hikers literally cut through rain forests, over soggy ground, slippery boulders, fallen trees, snap back branches. This was a strenuous walk to me (I'm not a big hiker) but the younger people on the hikes thought the Bushwhacks were only moderately difficult and lots of fun as they were blazing new trails, going where no one else had been. You need to wear your rubber boots on these walks. They are heavy, but essential. Kayaking - The ship has about 15 to 20 double kayaks, which are the "sit inside" type with "skirts". They have rudders and foot pedals for steering, which can be a little tricky to get used to. The kayaks are quite stable and fun to use. The launching & receiving deck is amazing and makes kayaking a great activity. There is always a staff member with each group of kayakers. Inexperienced kayakers had a bit of a learning curve, but no one flipped over, and most people figured it out pretty quickly. Wearing gloves really helps prevent blisters from stroking with the paddle. The ship also has a bunch of Stand Up Paddle boards, which they allow passengers to use when conditions permit. Wildlife - The crew made sure we got to see many types of wildlife on this cruise. We saw whales 3 times, eagles everyday, we saw bears from the boat a few times, salmon were jumping all over the place, we didn't see moose but we did see seals, sea lions, and otters. There were many birds to see, especially in Glacier National Park. Glacier National Park - We spent 2 days in the park. It started with a 2.5 hour stop at the visitor center which is at the Glacier Bay Lodge where there are several hiking trails. The lodge has free wifi that most people jumped on to look for important emails (they are hard to find). The Park Ranger came on board for 2 days and gave us a talk about what we were going to see in the park. We saw lots of birds and a few mountain goats during the next 6 hours on our way to the glaciers. We saw no whales and even if we did, ships cannot be within 0.5 miles of a whale compared to 100 yards in the rest of the US. We made it to the top (north end) of Glacier Bay by 8pm and stayed in front of Margerie Glacier until about 9:30 PM, then we back tracked a few miles to Reid Glacier and anchored. We had morning and afternoon activities on the second day near Reid Glacier including 3 levels of hikes, small boat tours and kayaking. The extreme hike was 5 hours, with a 1000' elevation gain. It was called the "Glacier Assault". Per Park regulations, only 12 hikers could go on any hike. There were 11 hardy hikers (plus the guide) who made this hike with no problems. At noon, the ship featured a "polar plunge" and about 12 passengers and a few crew members took a quick dip in the Glacier Bay waters (mid 40's) and all got out quickly and headed for the hot tubs. We got to see 2 glaciers at this stop. The last evening in Glacier Bay was our last on the ship and the crew did a slide show of all the pictures they took on the cruise and gave each cabin a thumb drive with all the slide show photos on them. They also took sign ups for future cruises if you gave them a $350 p/p deposit. That gave you a $1000 credit for (Heritage Cruises), a $500 credit for (Luxury Cruises) or a $250 credit for (Active Cruises) on your next cruise. You have 12 months to make the booking and 24 months to make the trip in order to use this credit. You have 45 days to call up and cancel your deposit for any reason. Every cruise offers. Discounts for booking your next cruise while still on the cruise. By cruise standards, I think this is a great deal. Photography - This is the trip for your long lenses. Photographing whales is tricky at best. You need to be ready every second with everything pre-set. You need a good camera with a high burst rate, maybe 6 to 9 frames per second. Point & Shoot cameras will not likely produce a good photo as the whales are changing position every 10th of a second. Set your camera on manual focus and pre-focus in the approximate focal plane where the whales are. Shoot in "shutter priority" with about 1/1000th of a second shutter speed and crank up your ISO to allow a high aperture number so you get a good depth of field. The ship has to stay about 100 yards from the whale, so bring out your longest lens. A tripod won't help when trying to find the whale through the long lens, the whales are moving around too much, but the fast shutter speed should eliminate some camera shake. The viewing areas on decks 2&3 get fairly tight along the rails, as everyone is shooting photos. The best place to go is the 4th deck, where you have room for a tripod. Video is a great way to capture the scenery. Still photos are great and can be very artistic, but you can pan with video and capture the immense scenery of Alaska that even a wide angle lens photo cannot. If you use the telephoto feature of a video camera, you must be on a tripod. It's impossible to get steady video clips in full zoom holding the camera in your hands. Remember to shoot in shorts clips when shooting video, 10 second clips max. It's much easier to watch that way. Never zoom while shooting. Pan very slowly. It's better to stop the video, move your camera, then start recording again. You cannot watch a fast panning video on the screen at home, you will just delete all those segments. Passengers - This was a younger crowd than you'll find on large cruise ships. The average age was about 50. Virtually everyone went on the shore excursions. The boat is not set up for wheel chairs as there are no elevators. You'll need to be able to climb stairs to take this cruise. Crew - A wonderful group of 34 hard working men & women, all with personalities and good English language skills. By the end of the week, we were like a big family. The Captain worked all the time. When we were at anchor, she was helping passengers into & out of kayaks. The Captain was happy to show you around the bridge. Disembarkation - You put your bags out by 7:30am, and go to breakfast. After eating you came back to the room to pick up your carry-ons and leave the boat to a farewell line of most of the crew. They took your bags to the airport if you were flying out that day or to the Baranof Hotel if you were not flying out that day. Buses then took passengers directly to the Baranof or to the airport if your flight was in the morning. Passengers with afternoon flights went to the Hotel, and then a later bus took them to the airport. We rented a car and stated in Juneau for 2 more nights. We did some more whale watching, did a Mendenhall River Rafting trip and explored Juneau. Avis has a rental car agency in the Goldbelt Hotel, right across from the Endeavour's dock. You can drop off the car at their airport location, with no extra charge. Misc Notes - No one seemed to get sick on this cruise unlike big ships where you hear lots of coughing after a few days. There is no ship store to buy cough medicine in case you do get a cough and you stop in no towns to go to the drug store, so bring your own just in case. You could probably get a few cough drops from fellow passengers. Summary - Small ship cruises are so different than large ship cruises. Big ship cruises are fine but small ship cruises are just amazing, everything is included and your experience is very personal, not one of thousands descending on some small town. Kayaking in Alaskan waters in front of a glacier is unforgettable. This cruise was all about adventure and getting to know fellow passengers and the great crew. Plus, there was no added costs once you boarded the ship, all excursions and drinks are included and there is no wifi to buy. We liked this cruise so much, that we have booked two more cruises with Un-Cruise. Email me if you have a question at   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
I made a commitment to myself to visit Alaska each summer and I've been successful so far. This year was by far the best trip I've ever had. I am not a fan of the big ship concept in Alaska. I want to see and enjoy the true ... Read More
I made a commitment to myself to visit Alaska each summer and I've been successful so far. This year was by far the best trip I've ever had. I am not a fan of the big ship concept in Alaska. I want to see and enjoy the true Alaska and have seen how quickly a large ship in port can disrupt the entire experience. For this reason I restrict my travels to small ships that allow me to see and do things with minimal exposure to the unnatural side of life. My trip on Un-Cruise this year was aboard one of their luxury vessels, the Safari Endeavour. I learned that their luxury yachts are named "Safari ..." and their adventure yachts are names "Wilderness ..." The ship was in excellent shape and was immaculate. The accommodations are what you would expect on a small luxury yacht, cozy yet ample, well-tended and the beds extremely comfortable. I slept like a rock. There is an iPod docking station in each cabin but no television or phone. What a concept to actually get to spend quality time with nature outside of our "connected" world. My husband's birthday occurred half-way through the trip and I was able to get cell service for a brief time to make a quick call. The crew are all very familiar with where and when cell service should be accessible. Don't expect it every day. There is room under each twin bed for storing suitcases and a large closet with lots of drawer space which was way more than I needed. I've read other comments about the small cabins and onboard noise and my only comment is that sailing with Un-Cruise is like cruising on a private yacht. You will always have smaller cabins, engine noise and moderate vibration which are normal and expected for the mode of transport. The smaller cabins more than make up for having to deal with 3,500 of your new best friends on the mega cruise ships and the engine sound actually works like white noise lulling me to sleep. The big plus was the included massage much needed after the glacier assaulted me and the two hot tubs that were the perfect spot for viewing the scenery each evening. My cabin was the closest to the hot tubs and what a plus that was. Since you are very active all day, most guests call it a night at a reasonable hour so foot traffic noise was never an issue. The hotel and dining staff proved themselves to be the most professional I have encountered on a small ship. I do not throw this out lightly. Everyone went above and beyond to insure that each and every guest had all of their needs and preferences met. They were all personable and friendly while still maintaining a professional image which is next to impossible to achieve in this environment. I was very impressed that they pulled it off. The chef was creative in her menu and the food well presented. I was really glad to see the portions sensible preventing waste. This was a first for me and left a lasting impression. Meals on the luxury ships are served off the menu in the dining room (as opposed to buffet lines) and the food was fabulous. I believe meals on the Un-Cruise adventure boats are served buffet-style. The bar staff did a great job of keeping us hydrated and smiling. They were always quick and very funny. Since the environment is cozy, we all seemed to congregate in the salon which is where the bar is located. This is the perfect place to start your morning as hand-drawn cappuccino/latte/espresso is also available from the bartender/barista. Our departure in Juneau was the sole port since our experience focused on secluded coves and unimaginable beauty. We rarely saw another ship and felt as though we alone had the Inside Passage to ourselves. This does not mean that there was ever a feeling of isolation, quite the contrary. The small ship experience affords what I aptly term summer vacation for adults although there were families onboard which added to the fun. It is a place where people come together to have a jolly good time and would be perfect for the small group that you host. For me its the perfect opportunity to get to know like-minded adventurers and share in various activities including kayaking, paddle boarding, glacier assaults and good old-fashioned hikes. Dress is very casual so ladies, you can leave the Jimmy Cs & Christian Ls at home. I dressed head to toe in REI and Ex-Officio. My one recommendation is a good pair of mucking boots although they are supplied if needed. I bought mine (Smoky Mountain Amphibian rubber-neoprene) a few years ago at a local feed store and they come in handy for wet landings on the skiff. I wore them daily. The exploration staff leading our journey were all experienced and then some and one of the exploration guides, also a college professor in Oregon, was the most knowledgeable Ive ever encountered. I learned more on this trip than all seven previous combined. They were always on hand to offer assistance or help introduce you to a new sport. New to kayaking no problem. Theres an introductory demonstration and once in the water, everyone seems to encourage and help each other. Ive kayaked for years but a simple word of encouragement to a newbie went a long way. Everyone was very active. Our Captain, Jenna Stevens, was also a surprise and she, too, left a lasting impression. She was out there pitching in with the guides getting the skiffs ready to launch always with a smile and kind word. She was available when needed and always looking out for the guests. Im not exaggerating when I say I am still in awe of everyone onboard, from the Captain on down. I have never been on a trip that I didnt hear grumbling of some sort from either guests or crew. This trip was the sole exception and it still amazes me. The entire crew set the gold standard for the cruising. Their continued efforts to insure a perfect trip did not go unnoticed by anyone. In trying to convince my friends to join me on my small ship travels I always use this comparison. If you go to the Super Bowl and have field-level tickets you are going to pay much more than if you are seated in the nose-bleed section. The same concept applies here. The small ships go where the big ships can't so obviously you will see an entirely different Alaska than they will. You actually get to see and experience the Inside Passage as opposed to watching it through your window or off your balcony. I am very protective of maintaining the dignity of this precious piece of America and being able to anchor is a secluded cove and clearly hear the sounds of nature and see bald eagles, bears, sea otters, sea lions, seals, whales and wildlife up close is indescribable. I can't recommend it enough. I've spent time in Alaska May through October and recommend July solely because three of my trips in July produced the best weather. Salmon run early July through the end of August and bear sightings on this trip were remarkable. I can't even count the number of whales we spotted. I finally made it to the 20-story high Dawes Glacier, topping my list, and what a welcome we received. A very large chunk of glacial ice broke off and not only calved but created a 375 foot high geyser for our viewing pleasure. Since we were already photographing the smaller calvings from our Zodiac, we caught the whole episode on both camera and video. Wow!!! As you can probably hear from my words, I am still awed by the trip.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
Up close and personal in Alaska. No ports, just following the wildlife, kayaking, paddle boarding and taking the zodiacs up to the shore for hiking and photography, while cruising so very close to the calving glaciers. As a seasoned ... Read More
Up close and personal in Alaska. No ports, just following the wildlife, kayaking, paddle boarding and taking the zodiacs up to the shore for hiking and photography, while cruising so very close to the calving glaciers. As a seasoned traveler with 50 cruises to date, I must say this was one of the best experiences I have had! I was initially a bit hesitant to cruise on such a small ship as I am not usually the kayak, paddle board or take long hikes type, but didn't want to do a 'big ship' for my first trip to Alaska. As the large ships cruised by at the required 8 mile distance from the glaciers, I was thrilled that we were able to sail within a mile and zodiac right up to them through the 'bergy bit' ice bergs. We had a Park Ranger onboard for two days. She was informative and well educated, taking us into small coves to find the wildlife easily. The crew was exceptional! They seemed genuinely happy and made us all feel like family from the first day. Both the Captain and the second in command were WOMEN! A first for me. An open bridge policy allowed guests to experience how the ship navigates and see the panoramic views. The ship is small and intimate, able to carry just 86 passengers. Everyone dines together and shares tables at meal time while enjoying the passing scenery from the wall to wall windows. Several times during the cruise our dinner was interrupted when whales were spotted and we all went rushing to the bow with our cameras. The chef, who is very talented, kept our meals warm until we returned. The pastry chef, who I compliment and curse at the same time because of my expanding waistline, created the most delicious cookies, scones and desserts I have ever had at sea. You cannot possible stop at just one. The panoramic view lounge at the front of the ship can seat everyone for happy hour. Our cruise was an all inclusive sailing, with drinks included. Great conversations with interesting people sparked many friendships that I think will last well past the cruise. Twin doors opening to the bow of the ship make it a great spot to watch for wildlife and step out for photographs. I was surprised to see a couple in their 80's on the ship with some mobility issues, but soon realized this ship is the best way for them to view the wildlife through the windows even though they couldn't participate in the off ship adventure activities. The cabins were minimal and small, but I found I didn't spend time there with so many things to do outside. The mattresses could have been thicker and more luxurious, as it felt like being at camp with just a mattress on a platform. The black out curtains didn't completely block the sunlight, so I woke with the sun at 4:15 am on many mornings. I was told they are looking into shades instead. That would be a welcome improvement. Drawer and closet space were ample. The bathroom was tiny, but efficient. Be prepared to truly un-connect. There is no Internet or cell coverage. A welcome change to unplug and enjoy the natural beauty for a week. Another first for me was having the entire crew lined up on the dock as we departed to say goodbye. It was touching as guests gave each crew member a hug and shared a special moment with the individuals that made it such a memorable week. The right ending to a perfect cruise and a heartwarming testimony for the cruise line. Overall, I give the Safari Endeavor a high rating and look forward to coming back to explore Mexico and Hawaii with them.   Read Less
Safari Endeavour Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.6
Entertainment 3.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.8
Fitness Recreation 3.0 4.5
Family 4.0 4.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.8
Enrichment 4.0 4.8
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 4.0 4.6
Rates 4.0 4.6

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