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
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
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 kentennis@cox.net   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
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
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
Before I launch into an “ Oh my god – it was wonderful! “ style review, I would like to offer a brief back ground detailing how I eventually ended up on this truly fabulous cruise. Two years ago I decided that for my birthday I ... Read More
Before I launch into an “ Oh my god – it was wonderful! “ style review, I would like to offer a brief back ground detailing how I eventually ended up on this truly fabulous cruise. Two years ago I decided that for my birthday I wanted to go whale watching; also I have always wanted to visit Alaska having seen the documentaries and been in awe of the place, so I started a search to see whether it was possible to do both at the same time. I didn’t know exactly what I did want, but I knew exactly what I didn’t want. The thought of a large cruise ship with thousands of people on board stopping for shopping in ports at every available opportunity, having to fight my way through crowds to get anywhere, and having to dress up for dinner made me feel nauseous. A few years ago my boss went on a small ship cruise to Baha to see grey whales, and I knew this was the type of thing that I would be comfortable with, so the search began and I narrowed it down to four companies, but eventually chose Uncruise. Their website is full of excellent information, photos and videos, and when I eventually pick myself up off the floor after seeing their prices (let’s be realistic about it!) I eventually decided these were the people I wanted to go with. We chose the luxury cruise on the Safari Endeavour as my husband and I are not the active outward bounds type, but we still wanted some activity options. We booked the cheapest cabin available and resigned ourselves to the fact that we would be living in a small cupboard for a week. A few months before the cruise I received the final paperwork, and a kit list. Not being the very out-doors type I didn’t have very much of the required equipment for this cruise and I couldn’t afford to spend loads of money on stuff I would only wear for one week, so I improvised with pretty much everything. Something that isn’t explained very well on the website is that as soon as you board the ship all passengers are issued with any waterproof essential kit they might need; wellingtons, a pair of waterproof trousers that fit over the top of your other trousers and a water proof coat if you don’t have one, so please don’t rush out any buy loads of stuff as all the essentials you need are available to you free of charge. Two of the most useful items I took with me were thermal leggings and thermal t-shirts, both purchased from E Bay at a very low cost. The leggings were very comfortable under the water poof trousers, which are not quite so comfortable over jeans or hiking trousers, and the thermal t-shirts I wore during all activities under another t-shirt, fleece/sweat shirt, and coat. I wore 3-4 layers most days. Also, when I received the pre-cruise paperwork I discovered that a gratuity for the crew of 5-10% of the total cruise cost would be expected – please be aware of this, as it does add to the overall cost of your cruise. Sunday 27 July arrived, and we walked down to the harbour in Juneau and saw the Safari Endeavour sitting waiting for us. The welcome we received from the crew was so enthusiastic it nearly knocked me over, and the first wonderful surprise was our cabin. It was not a small cupboard as I had expected, but two full size single beds with the space between being a little wider than the doorway. The beds were high enough to have a large storage area underneath for boots, shoes and luggage. Towards the back of the cabin was a good sized table and opposite was the private bathroom with corner shower and decent quality toiletries in a wall mounted dispenser. This was a small bathroom, but well designed. The whole of the rear wall was wardrobes and large deep drawers, so there was more than enough storage space for all your stuff. The meals on board ship are served at 7.30am, 12.30pm and 7.00pm respectively, and there is no flexibility surrounding these meal times; you understand why after being introduced to the staff and crew who are going to be spending the week looking after you. There are a choice of activities every morning and afternoon, and the activities are basically hard, medium and easy depending on your personal fitness level and what you would enjoy doing. To be able to organise all these activities for 84 guests the crew need to have everyone available at exact times and their level of multi-tasking and organisation is exceptional. You are given the details of the next day’s events and activities at 6.00pm in the lounge before dinner the previous day. If you are not able to get to the lounge the PA system is also in your cabin so you never miss any announcements. Your chosen activity time is then posted in the lounge at breakfast time the next day, and it is announced through the PA system 10 minutes before it is due to start, so you have enough time to get ready and assemble at the requested point. The food is excellent quality, but the portion sizes were smaller than I expected; I have always had really large meals when previously visiting America. The chef tells you each day what the choice of meals for the following day will be; there is a meat, fish and vegan or vegetarian dish as required. I did initially think I might get hungry but they work on the little-and-often strategy; there is a basket of cereal bars in the lounge at all times to pick at as you walk past, which are very welcome if you are going off the boat on an activity, or have just returned from one. In the afternoon there were large trays of freshly baked cookies in the lounge, and at 6.00pm; Cocktail hour in the lounge, a long table was laid out with lovely nibbles, which were very popular. All meals are served slowly, and wine and water is topped up all the time. Because of this I did not get hungry at all. “ A plan to deviate from “ is the theme of the cruise. Whilst a cruise route is set initially, the weather is Alaska is very unpredictable and therefore fast changes have to be made at very short notice. There had been an earthquake a few days before we arrived, and because of this one of the places we were trying to get to was blocked with icebergs, so the plan deviated. If any wildlife is sighted, or the captain gets informed of anything of interest the ship with change course. The emphasis is on seeing the very best wildlife and wilderness Alaska has to offer, and every possible opportunity is taken to achieve this. The crew are very hands-on when it comes to ensuring you have the best possible time; we were encouraged to try kayaking and after taking their beginners lesson we went out several times on our own and loved it. All guests are encouraged to get off the boat in one way or another and see the real beauty of Alaska, and I always felt very safe with the activities crew in whatever I was doing. There is however one instance I would mention to them. I had fallen behind on a walk at Glacier Point and ended up walking alone for some time. Having been warned about the dangers of brown bears and moose in the woods I did become a little afraid, so please be mindful of the slower members of your group. I met some wonderful people on this cruise from all different walks of life, and one of the things I liked the most was the “equal” attitude of the crew. Everyone got exactly the same smile and lovely warm attitude from all the crew irrelevant of who you were, where you were from, and what you did for a living. On the sad day when we had to disembark and say a very fond farewell to the wonderful crew and captain Jenna, as we walked back down the pier into Juneau a very unassuming gentleman approached us and asked if we had enjoyed ourselves. We assured him we had, and he told us he owned the company. I was a little shocked by this, as I really didn’t expect the owner of Uncruise to be waiting on Juneau pier to talk to us? If you were the actual owner of Uncruise, your cruises are the most amazing experience ever. I will definitely cruise with you again one day, as I had the most wonderful, memorable, exciting time ever.   Read Less
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
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
It's Spring 2015 and I simply cannot let the season escape without finally writing my review on the trip of a lifetime, that I was madly planning this time last year... The hubby and I came into an unexpected gift of money and ... Read More
It's Spring 2015 and I simply cannot let the season escape without finally writing my review on the trip of a lifetime, that I was madly planning this time last year... The hubby and I came into an unexpected gift of money and wanted to do something we could remember the person by, and would never have normally would have done...and I found it in and astonishing adventure on board the Safari Endeavor!! We booked the July 14, 2014 week long Discoverers' Glacier Country Un-Cruise out of Juneau, AK. That week in particular had a wonderful Marine Biology host, Jackie Hedgpeth who truly added to the already highly educated and informative staff on board. We were greeted on board on embarkation day by all the staff from our awesome lady Captain, Jenna Stevens down to dining and cabin crews. All folks on the Endeavor rolled up their sleeves and helped out any given time/day on launching kayaks in the morning to being nature guides in the afternoons..many enjoyed multiple roles..our evening table server, would be an expedition assistant leader the following day on a hike or kayak excursion. We truly got to know all the staff... who consistently and constantly reached above and beyond the call of duty to make sure, all on on board were welcomed, comfortable and got the utmost they wanted out of their daily/weekly adventures!!! Every evening in the Lounge all ...84....yes I said that ...84 passengers!!! joined together enjoyed our all inclusive bar libations while listening to talks from the Naturalist or crew on tomorrows upcoming adventures.. Let's stop for a moment and discuss that passenger number. Yes..only 84 passengers on board, what a phenomenon in the Cruise world!! This small ship cruising allowed for the unimaginable development of some great friendships on board...some folks we still keep in touch with to date, a year later! Folks from all over the Globe were on board..from England, Wales, Australia and all over the US. And on a personal note..2nd couple we met were form my hometown in Penna..small world! The staff and crew we got to know as well and shared many a story and photos on our nightly talks in the Lounge of the ship's adventures from the day. Can't tell you the camaraderie that developed over shared hikes, kayaking moments, whale sightings, glacier hikes...on and on to many to describe with the staff, crew and fellow passengers. Back to adventures!!! ....each evening the Expedition Guide would offer tomorrow's listing of adventures passengers can choose to participate in...both AM and afternoon varieties or, all day: from really tame walkabouts on the shore line, to glacier hikes, to half or full day kayaking, to half or full day hikes into wilderness. The hubby, a Georgia Exterra trail series runner was looking for full on daily wilderness adventures..I on the other hand enjoyed the luxury the ship had to offer as well as accomplishing a fine mix of mild AM adventures such as guided group Glacier hikes to afternoon kayaking along the shoreline. I eventually built up my adventure seeking skills to partake in the Hubby's regular all day adventure "crew" on an exciting all day, 8hr hike to a Glacier Lake that no other ship or passenger group got to attain last summer! Our outstanding Expedition Guide, Connor Adams was as great Team Leader who motivated all of us, including me who was definitely in the back 'o the pack shall we say.. to kick it up and we pushed ourselves so well thru the rain forest, he got permission from the ship's Captain to continue onto Swan Lake. What a thrill to share in this accomplishment of an awesome all day hike thru stunning rain forests of SE Alaska! No bear sightings, but fresh footprints were to be had! Super proud and exhausted when we returned to the ship in time for the fun event of Polar Bear Swimming which is an all passenger adventure, if you dare! Even in July the water was cold!! Let's talk about food and drink..the food was scrumptious to say the least! Usually 2-3 entree offerings at each meal and always a veggie option for anyone who doesn't do meat, or in my case who doesn't do seafood. I know, wrong place to be.. to not partake on the super fresh local seafood offerings, but hubby enjoyed it, every meal!! The crew offered any solution if you couldn't possible find anything to eat of the menu for each meal. One lunch was all seafood and they kindly made me a grilled cheese sandwich which I happily ate... All alcohol is included and the Bartenders in the Lounge were excellent,there was a special creative drink offered each evening as well as a full bar. Never failed on service or tastes.. 12 tables I believe, 8 along the viewing windows to catch the ever changing sea/landscape and view wildlife passing by and 4 center round tops were in the dining room. Which lends itself to enjoying getting to know all the passengers or eventually for us, we sought out our favorite group of new friends from England, Penna., NC and NY and shared our adventures of the day! The only complaint I would have about dining is you had to get down there fast at mealtime or the window tables would be taken! Not that you couldn't see but it was cool to be up close. Admiral Cabin....#202. Since it was a gift of money that drove this once in a lifetime adventure cruise, the hubby went full on every day adventure excursions and I went for one of the top of the line larger cabins! Quiet, just off the lounge, low traffic hallway and steps away.. in the jammies to get a morning coffee in the lounge... Comfy bed, wonderful private large viewing window(Upper deck cabins have windows along the outside walkways and passengers sd kinda bothersome), teeny tiny bathroom for us tall folks but super minor detail as you are so busy each and everyday in this Alaskan wonderland..no bothers. Wonderful cabin service on a daily basis if you want service or not...minimal required for us. One of the most outstanding features of the cruise was the desire of the Crew and Captain to offer ever possibility to educate us on, as well as to see, view and experience the wildlife in SE Alaska. One impossibly delightful evening, dinner was delayed as we had the show of a lifetime in front of the ship: a rainbow to the west, a pod of Orcas straight ahead and Humpback whales breaching to the right. The Captain slowed and then stopped the ship and all on board, included as always, the Crew were invited to experience the beauty of this sight. Unforgettable! The saddest day is knowing you are arriving back in Port and your disconnections with people you have gotten to know, and goodbyes are in front of you. The Crew all came out to see us off and it was bittersweet... Would love to partake in their Baja trips in the Winter to see the Humpbacks and other wildlife in a warmer climate. Same ship..same Crew..same Captain..what a dream. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
For my 70th birthday, my wife and I wanted to cruise to Alaska, but we wanted to avoid the very large ships used on most cruises. We envisioned mostly staying onboard watching the beautiful scenery with the occasional whale. On the Safari ... Read More
For my 70th birthday, my wife and I wanted to cruise to Alaska, but we wanted to avoid the very large ships used on most cruises. We envisioned mostly staying onboard watching the beautiful scenery with the occasional whale. On the Safari Explore,r we got much more, and it was great. Uncruise specializes in active cruises. Everyday activities included long and short kayaking trips, hiking and bushwaking, and zodiac tours of fjords. All activities were led by staff who were very knowledgeable about the local plants and animals. Whether on an activity or just cruising aboard the ship if an interesting animal was spotted, we just stopped and watched. We saw humpback whales, orcas, bears, sea lions, seals, eagles and a wolverine. After activities, we relaxed in a very comfortable lounge with an open bar policy or just watched the beautiful scenery. At night the ship stopped in a cove for a restful sleep. The staff attentive to our requests. My wife said she felt like a queen--ask and it was done. The cabins were adequately large and clean. Lunch and dinner were very good (not great) with adequate portions. Breakfasts were just average and lacked variety. The activities are focused on active adults and teens. The cruise would not be good for children (or anyone else) who needs to be entertained. There is no wifi and mostly no cell phone service. Overall it was a great experience and much better than we expected. In the end, we felt that our cruise on the Safari Endeavour, while expensive, was good value for the money. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
We traveled on-board UnCruise Safari Endeavor from Juneau to Ketchikan on September 2014, the last cruise of the season (7 nights). I cannot describe our experience in words, but I'll do my best. It was WOW! Big WOW!. Huge WOW! ... Read More
We traveled on-board UnCruise Safari Endeavor from Juneau to Ketchikan on September 2014, the last cruise of the season (7 nights). I cannot describe our experience in words, but I'll do my best. It was WOW! Big WOW!. Huge WOW! Everything was perfect & above it. We were amazed by the kindness of the staff, the comfort of the cruise, and the great beauty of Alaska. The glaciers were breathtaking. We saw many animals, as promised - whales, seals, sea lions, and many many birds. We experienced an amazing time, with great people, and we cannot stop talking about how great it was. It is not a cheap cruise, but you will get more than you wished for. More than you could ask for. This was THE BEST adventure we ever had, and I just wish we will be able to join one of their cruises in the future. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
We traveled the Sea of Cortes on the Safari Endeavour over the New Year's period. We chose this holiday because we were multi-generational group who all love adventure and active trips. Un-Cruise was recommended to us by our seasoned ... Read More
We traveled the Sea of Cortes on the Safari Endeavour over the New Year's period. We chose this holiday because we were multi-generational group who all love adventure and active trips. Un-Cruise was recommended to us by our seasoned expert travel agent. She knows cruises and she knows us, which is why we are still shaking our heads over the whole experience. To say it was a misfit is an understatement. But i have to say that we were in the slimmest minority of passengers who left unsatisfied. Most of the other passengers were delighted with the program, the staff and the ship. Here are the PROS as we saw them: The Sea of Cortes is truly a breath-taking landscape. It is such a remote and desertic place it is best visited on a ship. There were lots of other families on board so plenty of socializing opportunities for our children. We got to swim with shark whales and sea lions (pretty incredible). Staff is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the region. There is no internet onboard offering us a heavenly tech-free week. We really got to interact with our kids! Loreto, a small traditional Mexican town, we visited was a real 'find', tranquil, beautiful, authentic. They had a wonderful bar-tender onboard (Heather), the only staff member who rivaled our staff experiences on other ships. The CONS, sadly, well outweighed the PROS for our group: FIrst of all, the cabin and ship are very poorly maintained (from a cleanliness perspective). Our cabin, a Commodore Suite (their highest grade) never felt truly cleaned. This is partly because the cabins are maintained by the crew which also waits tables in the dining room. When we arrived in the cabin I mentioned to my mother that our duvet cover (a horrid navy blue thing that belonged in a college dorm) looked slept in. She was incredulous but, on our last day as we were packing up, the cleaning crew asked if they could come in to strip the beds while we ate breakfast. When we got back to our cabin to retrieve our carry-on luggage we saw that the beds were stripped but the duvet covers were indeed left on! DISGUSTING! The coverlet on the hide-a-bed was visibly filthy with brown dirt. Dirty towels were frequently left forgotten on the bathroom floor after the morning cleaning. Our shower curtain was similarly dirty from past use. The floor was vacuumed precisely once during our whole stay (sand and candy wrappers were left as evidence on the floor). Again, no one else onboard seemed put off by this so I think our housekeeping expectations may have something to do with our past cruising experiences on SeaDream, Seabourn, and Paul Gauguin where spotlessness is the norm. The staff is more reminiscent of a summer camp than a cruise ship or a resort: they are gung-ho but not really trained for ship service. They remind me of kids taking a break from college to do a bit of travel. Several of them are precisely that, few if any are career ship staff from what I saw. They are nice enough (although not really service minded at all) but wildly uneven and unsophisticated (they would forget the simplest requests like a glass of water, ice, a wine refill, an extra dollop of mayonnaise). The ship lacks polish in every respect, from the staff to the ghastly common areas to cabins and all the details are way more Best Western than luxury ship (and the prices are definitely in the luxury ship zone). Pillows, sheets, TP, toiletries were all strictly budget motel grade. There was never, until the very end with one or two (Ashley and Jeryd in the dining room stand out) the sense that the staff was concerned with getting to know our likes and dislikes, or what they could do to make our trip better. We hooted with laughter at Jeremy's proud proclamation that Uncruise prided itself on having "a plan from which to deviate" ethos. The only plan this ship deviates from is when weather makes whatever was on the books untenable. Otherwise, and here is where we were really fish out of water, Uncruise has the most rigid guest policy I have ever been held to. They must be scared to death of litigation: we were give ZERO allowance to do as we pleased on shore except when we were in one of the two towns we went to. One is not allowed to deviate in any way from the planned activities. Should you want to walk at a faster pace on the hikes, paddle a bit further in the kayak, go for an impromptu swim, eat at any time other that the hour set for each meal, well, pall, that is plan from which Uncruise will strictly NOT be deviating. The staff are infuriatingly unconcerned with your preferences. It's all about keeping to a schedule and maintaining everyone in a manageable group. It is adventure for the timid, the leery of autonomy, the utterly malleable. The very fact that in this spectacular landscape they have no place or inclination to serve drinks or even a snack in the open air (everything is served in the grim dining room- everyone at once) is a travesty. On a sunny day there is no comfortable place to sunbathe, not an outdoor cushion in sight, no staff to offer you so much as a glass of water. We were there on New Year's Eve. There was no attempt to decorate the ship or serve a festive meal. It was all so ho-hum. These are people who have no sense of occasion (and nor apparently did the guests- hardly any one did so much as change into a nicer shirt for the dinner- so sad!). In fact, this is how they manage the food service - breakfast is at 7:30 sharp (on holiday!) no and ifs or buts, and then at breakfast you are told what the lunch and dinner choices are and you are to give your preferences then for those meals!! Who doesn't love planning what they're going to eat for lunch and dinner at breakfast, on holiday no less! My son and I who are avid hikers and climbers had to stage an escape one day to scale a hill that caught our interest. I hated having to be duplicitous and sneak around the guides but they left us no choice. After that we felt a distinct chill from Jeremy the cruise director. He's a nice enough guy but he clearly likes his guests sheep-like and undeviant. Ah well, Uncruise is not for us. We like our freedom too much (and cleanliness and sophisticated service). But if you like everything planned to the un-th second, and an all-American crew, and super safety conscious adventure dolled out in thirty minute increments (as the majority of our fellow passengers did) - then this is for you. On a last note, the food was fine (not one memorable bite but not dreadful) but we all had upset stomachs the last few days until the day or so after we got back... The coffee is cafeteria bad. The butter is not real butter. The cocktail hour snacks were truly awful. There is no maitr'd to greet you at the entrance to the dining room and help seat the groups so it's a sort of undignified game of musical chairs at every meal. If you go, don't bother packing binoculars (they have plenty, sun lotion (again they provide reed-safe sunscreen), any sort of nice clothing (this is a strictly beige/sage-toned, Tevo sandal crowd). Do bring reading material and DVDs you're likely to have a lot of time on your hands between activities. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Have traveled on large ships and small and prefer now smaller expedition ships with lectures instead of entertainment. We had 42 passengers who were all well traveled and well educated. Average age was probably over 50. It was like going ... Read More
Have traveled on large ships and small and prefer now smaller expedition ships with lectures instead of entertainment. We had 42 passengers who were all well traveled and well educated. Average age was probably over 50. It was like going to camp but with gourmet food and drinks. Everything was very casual. The best part of the trip was the wonderful interaction among the guests and with the crew. Grey whale watching in Magdalena Bay was a highlight. We also saw blue whales, seals (you could snorkel among them), mobula rays, dolphins, and a myriad of birds. Depending on the weather each day offered snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, etc. The activities were guided and separated by difficulty levels. Free time was spent sitting on the upper deck or watching DVDs in your room. There is a DVD library available as well as reference books and some paperbacks. Yoga was offered each morning followed by breakfast. Two stops were made each day with various activities. During cocktail hour the next day was explained and you signed up for your activities. However weather often changed them. We did have a lot of wind and some rough seas so you might need medication. This was not a cruise for children although they offer designated children's sailings so they might work. Evenings were quiet with everyone to bed before 10PM. A couple of nights they did have evening lectures and once an onshore bonfire. We really enjoyed the cruise, the activities and the people. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
The drop down boxes on the review input form do not have an option for the Sea of Cortez or San Jose Del Cabo so I used what I had to file the review. The ship departed from and returned to San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California Sur, and ... Read More
The drop down boxes on the review input form do not have an option for the Sea of Cortez or San Jose Del Cabo so I used what I had to file the review. The ship departed from and returned to San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California Sur, and cruised the Sea of Cortez. We choose this cruise because it was focused on birding in the Sea of Cortez. The expedition leader kept that focus throughout the trip. A birding guide from the area was on board and stayed available on-board as well as during the excursions. Those passengers less interested in birding had most of the whale watching, snorkeling, hiking and zodiac cruises still available. There were 72 passengers on this 84 passenger boat. We met at the Barcelo Grand Faro for the transfer to the ship. Un-Cruise provided us with wristbands that gave us access to the amentities of the all-inclusive Barcelo prior to the transfer. We were on-board and away on time. The captain greeted us all and a photo book of guests and staff was prepared from our arrival photos. The book stayed in the lounge to help when names escaped the memory. The cabin was a bit small but we expected that. Most of our time was on the observation decks or in the lounge. We had asked for the twin beds to be pushed together as a king and found that left one of us up against the wall. We decided to keep the arrangement and it caused little problems for us during the trip. The food was very well prepared and menus varied. Service was friendly and professional. Meals were at a set time but seating was open. There was a very good early risers breakfast for those up early. The bar was well stocked with premium brands and the bartenders well trained. Drinks were quick to arrive and well prepared. The espresso machine was a big hit. Guest to staff on this boat was 72/36. This was the last cruise of the season in the Sea of Cortez and everyone was doing the additional work of getting ready to steam to Annacortes, Wa. for dry dock in addition to their normal duties but the work was always done properly and you always got a smile from the staff. The captain and other ranking officers were often out and made a point to visit with guests. There was a medical emergency mid-week that ultimately required that we change itinerary and get to a close spot for medical attention. Guests were kept informed of decisions made without intruding on the individuals privacy and the person was taken to a local hospital for treatment. I thought it was well handled by the crew. There was a presentation most nights about the cultural and natural aspects of the areas we visited but no nightlife other than that. They really do brake for whales. Spotters on the bridge kept expedition staff informed about any sightings and we frequently slowed down and spent some time with whales or dolphins. There are a couple of hot tubs and some exercise equipment but no pool. There are no specific facilities for children. The mountains' islands' and waters of the Sea of Cortez are ruggedly beautiful. Water temp of 70F was bit cool for us but the ship carries wetsuits and snorkeling gear. There was fitting and instruction the first morning then you used the same equipment all week. The Sea of Cortez was not an option in the drop down box so I used the Mexican Riveria to be able to file the review. The cruise departed from San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California Sur and returned there. Fellow passengers were generally middle-aged and up' as we are' and well traveled. It is easy to find an interesting conversation during the cocktail hour. The schedule for the next day and sign up sheets for excursions were handled after dinner. The itinerary was changed one evening because the wind had changed and we had an opportunity to visit a beautiful cove that was usually too choppy. The expedition team and captain kept looking at the conditions to give us the best experience possible.There were usually one or two snorkel outings, one or two zodiac tours. beach activities, and normally one highlight excursion. These included burro rides, swimming with sea lions, swimming with whale sharks, and a cultural walk in Loreto. We used a couple of afternoons specifically cruising to sight whales and dolphins. The expedition team kept things moving without being intrusive about it. It was clear in all their behavior that safety was a top priority and it was constantly reinforced. This was our third expedition style cruise and was very good. The ship, staff, and location combined for a great experience. We were in cabin 203. This is a captain class room with two movable twin beds. We had them set up as a king but meant one side was against the wall. We were OK with it but consider it before setting up your bedding request. There is a small desk and chair, a good sized wardrobe, and a small ensuite. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This experience was wonderful. The crew was exceptional. Very accommodating. Educated on what we saw and where we were going. If they didn't know an answer they'd know who did. They bent over backwards to make this an ... Read More
This experience was wonderful. The crew was exceptional. Very accommodating. Educated on what we saw and where we were going. If they didn't know an answer they'd know who did. They bent over backwards to make this an extraordinary experience. They sights were spectacular. We saw whales, porpoise, dolphins, sea lions, puffins, bear, mountain goats, and even a banana slug :) Annie the Cruise Director had a great pulse on what to do each day. I told her why I was on the cruise and she helped me make the right decisions. Every day there were numerous activities to be a part of from kayaking to shore walks, bushwhacking hikes to skiff tours. The food was surprisingly good and I was shocked at the choices they provided for every meal. I never felt stuck eating something I wouldn't want to eat. The Pastry Chef Stephanie created delicious deserts and pastries. I actually met her on the plane from Seattle to Juneau where she told me this was her first cruise in Alaska and she created desserts that were as delicious as the sights we saw. This was my first cruise and I had no idea what I was getting into and now I can't wait to do this again and when I do I'll go with UnCruise. Easy decision after the experience they provided. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
The Safari Endeavour is the second largest ship in the Un-Cruise line with 42 cabins. We went on one previous cruise on a large cruise ship and did not enjoy it. It was large and massive, dumping 2,000 people into each port. While ... Read More
The Safari Endeavour is the second largest ship in the Un-Cruise line with 42 cabins. We went on one previous cruise on a large cruise ship and did not enjoy it. It was large and massive, dumping 2,000 people into each port. While this trip is expensive it covered all activities, there were no additional costs involved. The not-so good - the cabins are small and our shower was particularly small. It was difficult to shower without getting the floor a bit wet. The two single beds could not be moved together in our cabin (which is noted in their catalog). Housekeeping was excellent, our cabin and bedding were very clean. Everything else exceeded expectations. We could go into bays and get close to glaciers, get even closer in kayaks (and look back on the large cruise ships that could just barely enter the bay). I felt an intimate connection with the fjords and the land. In the guided kayak trips there was one leader in front and one in back. The leaders were knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The dining room was a few feet above water level and the experience of eating as you glide past waterfalls and cliffs was delightful. I liked the fact that there was one seating per meal and you could sit at any table you wanted. Activities are geared to active retired people with usually three choices each morning and afternoon: bushwhacking, kayaking and a ride on a skiff. While hiking we saw salmon swimming upstream to mate, from the skiff we saw a family of bears catching fish, and on board ship we saw whales galore. At one point there were at least 6 whales swimming around the ship. This is a cruise that allows you to be intimate with Alaska. It was a fantastic experience. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
I've wanted to visit Alaska for years but a traditional cruise doesn't appeal to me. I was so excited to discover Un-Cruise. It exceeded my very high expectations. The crew is friendly, funny, professional and will do anything to ... Read More
I've wanted to visit Alaska for years but a traditional cruise doesn't appeal to me. I was so excited to discover Un-Cruise. It exceeded my very high expectations. The crew is friendly, funny, professional and will do anything to make sure you have a perfect adventure. We learned to kayak, went bushwhacking, took skiff rides around huge icebergs, and watched humpback whales leap and dance. We spent much of the week a little wet and a little cold, knowing there would be a hot drink waiting for us on deck when we got back to the ship. The food was exceptional. Portions were very reasonable --not huge, but you could ask for more. Evenings were fun and sometimes educational but not heavy lectures. Passengers gather in the lounge often to drink, snack, play games, or meet. We changed tables and meal companions daily. Un-Cruise also has the advantage of being a small ship with great flexibility, so if water threatened to be rough, the captain and cruise director changed plans to give us a perfect week. I can't say enough good things about our experience. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Alaska has been one place we have always wanted to visit and a cruise seemed the best introduction. The only problem was we didn't want to be on a big ship. Searching the internet led us to Un-Cruise. The Safari Endeavour was ... Read More
Alaska has been one place we have always wanted to visit and a cruise seemed the best introduction. The only problem was we didn't want to be on a big ship. Searching the internet led us to Un-Cruise. The Safari Endeavour was heading for it's summer playground of Alaska from Baja and we picked it up in Seattle. We started at a reception centre in the Crowne Plaza and made our way to the ship via a short city tour on a coach. At dock side the owner welcomed us on board. We were photographed before being shown by a member of the crew to our cabin where our luggage was already waiting. Cabin 303 was towards the front of the ship on the 300 deck. We wanted to be able to step out onto the deck straight from our cabin and the 300 deck is ideal for this. I've always been amazed at how much room they find in these cabins. The two single beds had plenty of storage under although one appeared slightly lower than the other. One full length and two half length wardrobes plus 6 large draws took all our clothes with ease. The desk was handy for odds and ends. Coat hooks took the waterproofs and dressing gowns. The bathroom was cosy. I'm not small and once I became custom with the shower curtain all worked out pretty well. Towels, soap and shampoo are provided but there isn't a problem on environmental grounds for using your own. The tap water is drinkable as the Safari Endeavour has it's own water producing system. It can make 500 gallons of fresh water every hour! Introductions by the owner, captain and other department staff were done in the lounge. Being the start of the summer season for the ship we only had 32 passengers, a ratio of 1:1 with the crew. We were going to be spoilt! Before we set sail we had an abandon ship drill. The great thing about Un-Cruise is there isn't a dress code, except when doing water based activities when life jackets are a must. We were gently reminded the cruise was Un-Cruise Adventures and one aim of the crew was to get you off the ship at every possible opportunity. I might add at this stage the crew were made up of 3 different departments: The Ship's Crew consisted of the Captain, his Mates, engineers and deck hands. They drove the ship, kept it going and made sure everything bolted down was ship shape. They also drove the skiffs and zodiacs for off ship excursions. The next section were the 'Hotel' staff. The cooks, bar staff, waiters and cleaners, the latter being the same. Lastly there were the Expedition staff. This group had the job of keeping us entertained, on our toes and off the boat! I would add to this group the 3 fitness instructors who also gave the complimentary massages at the end of our first week. The ship can hold 84 passengers. For the first 6 nights we had only 32. The last 7 nights we gained another 30 or so. Naturally we noticed the difference but we never felt crowded. The lounge can hold the full amount of passengers as can the dining room (one sitting per meal) The other public areas like the decks rarely felt crowded. What was nice was the crew also joined in watching whales etc. I'm told they hold early morning yoga lessons and afternoon stretching sessions. I must have missed those... Whilst in US waters we were able to get off the boat and explore places very few go to. Double man kayaks, paddle boards and skiffs are used most of these days. Bush hikes also are led by the expedition staff. Lessons are given on using the kayaks and some like my better half were taken out on one with a staff member. My back doesn't allow me to use a kayak and I found the skiffs restricting my photographic needs. I mentioned this to the 3rd mate when he asked me how things were going. Within minutes he invited me onto a zodiac for an hour exploring the bay we had stopped at! Port of calls included Friday Harbor were we had a 1/2 day to explore and visit the whale museum (included), Ketchikan (full day) were a local gave us a tour of the old town (included) and we picked up extra passengers, Wrangell (morning) where we were given a tour of the local chief's lodge (included). The hotel staff looked after us so well. Within a day they were all calling us by name and had started to learn our likes and dislikes when it came to food. Generally the food was very good but we do prefer simple fair. Breakfast might have a special omelette etc but bacon, sausages, egg and hash browns were also on offer as was cereals and oats. Early risers also had a continental style affair available in the lounge at 6:30. Some availed themselves of both. During the trip my wife celebrated her birthday for which a cake and song was given at dinner. The following day was our 35th wedding anniversary and a small treat was also cooked up by the galley staff. Lunch was generally one option other than a vegetarian version. Often we would just ask for a sandwich which wasn't a problem. Dinner had a meat, fish or vegetarian option. Fine wines are served with meals and all drinks are included with this cruise. A pity we don't/can't drink... After dinner one of the Expedition staff would give a short talk on their specialist subject. I stopped by for the knots demo and sky at night but the urge to be on deck watching for wildlife won me over. I think later in the season I wouldn't get any sleep as I tried to be on deck during all daylight hours. This may have been a little different if we had a typical Alaskan shower. The thing is we only had one time when we got wet during an off boat excursion. I don't think I can describe or give justice to the scenery we saw. We did see a brown bear and a black bear but it was a little early in the season for them. Some saw orcas but I missed them but humpback whales were plenty and so were bald eagles. Sea otters, porpoises and other wildlife and birds were also snapped. I can only finish with a short appraisal of our final full day: We woke up at about 6am to find ourselves slowly making our way into Endicott Arm towards Dawes glacier. We waived between growlers (small icebergs) until we could see the end of the glacier about a mile away. Breakfast then out to listen to the glacier creak and explode as the force of nature pushed it towards us. In turn we climbed onto the zodiacs and made our way through the floating ice towards the wall of blue. We kept to about 1/4 mile away but calving ice still made the zodiac rise and fall with the waves. Hot chocolate was served. Once all were back on board the ship retreated to a small side bay where passengers and crew were invited to take a Polar Bear Plunge. A good many jumped in, I chose to take photos. After that some went out in kayaks and paddle boards and I will confirm some came back with fresh ice for their drinks. By early evening we made our way out of Endicott Arm into Stephens Passage. Here we encountered so many humpbacks. I must have spent 4 hours snapping away. By 10pm I thought I'd better get some sleep. At 11pm a tannoy announcement stated the Aurora Borealis had made an appearance. The deck filled with dressing gown clad passengers and crew. As it disappeared porpoise started to dance at the bow of the ship. It was a perfect way to finish what had been a perfect Un-Cruise. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This small ship experience is as good as it gets! This was higher priced than the big ships but twice the Alaska experience and ten times the service and included activities. Incredible wines and top shelf liquors included. We had the ... Read More
This small ship experience is as good as it gets! This was higher priced than the big ships but twice the Alaska experience and ten times the service and included activities. Incredible wines and top shelf liquors included. We had the smoothest and fastest embarkation and disembarkation ever. The owner even came on the ship the last day to say goodbye. All the crew members lines up to shake you had or give you a hug when you got off the ship. Very emotional for all the passengers. Most guests were couples of all ages and a few singles. One couple even got engaged on the ship. Young children might have been bored, but they do have special sailings to include kid activities. This was our 5th Alaskan Cruise but by far the best of all. We are going on a family Alaskan Cruise trip in a few month on a large ship but will miss the Un-Cruise experience . Un-Cruises are the very best!!!! Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Alaska had always intrigued us. We had associated it with the Artic, oil, Anchorage, amazing scenery, wildlife and large cruise ships. The amazing scenery and wildlife were of interest to us but not the large cruise ships. Then someone ... Read More
Alaska had always intrigued us. We had associated it with the Artic, oil, Anchorage, amazing scenery, wildlife and large cruise ships. The amazing scenery and wildlife were of interest to us but not the large cruise ships. Then someone told us about the Inside Passage. We discovered that we could explore this on a small ship. So we booked a seven night trip from Ketchikan to Juneau with Un-Cruise Adventures. We and the 58 other passengers on the Safari Endeavour were treated to an amazing experience by 35 enthusiastic crew members. We went at the beginning of May expecting cold weather and rain most days. Southeast Alaska is the thin coastal part of Alaska north of Vancouver. It can be very wet as the annual rainfall is 1,550 mm. We were told to bring layers of clothing, raingear, wellington boots, gloves, scarves and beanies. In the event apart from some drizzle in Ketchikan, there was no rain, the skies were blue every day on the ship, and the sun shone during the day. While we took some cold weather clothing, the raingear and wellington boots were provided on the ship. We were told that May and September are the best months to explore the Inside Passage, and so we were very fortunate to have picked May. We were on Safari Endeavour’s first trip of the season. The crew was fresh and enthusiastic. The ship wasn’t full (it can take 84 passengers). The people in the three small towns we visited during the week were happy to see us. The curator of the excellent Ketchikan museum told us: “We can’t wait for the cruise ships to arrive at the start of the season, and we can’t wait for them to leave at the end of the season!” At the height of the season there can be as many as five large cruise ships - each with more than 2,000 passengers - in any of these small ports at one time. The number of visiting tourists then outnumbers the number of local residents significantly. We flew from Seattle to Ketchikan. From the 1800s this small isolated frontier town has relied on fishing, salmon canning, timber and the occasional gold strike. These days fishing and the large cruise ship tourists are the main source of income for the town. We spent a night in Ketchikan at the Inn on Creek Street, an old Victorian hotel with an excellent restaurant next door. Creek Street was the red-light district up until the 1950s. The next morning we walked up along the creek past the original houses on ‘Married Men’s Walk’, named for its original purpose! At the top of the creek is a salmon run which helps the salmon migrate upstream in June. That’s when the bears come out of hibernation to feed. We spent time in the museum and walked along the waterfront where there was one very large cruise ship and our own very small ship away in the distance. We were glad that we were on the small one! We had a comfortable twin-bedded cabin on the Safari Endeavour. It had generous storage and a small but adequate en suite. The food on board was excellent. It was varied and delicious, very attractively presented, served by a small team of staff, and cooked by a small team of real professionals. The chef came into the dining room every day to give us a description of the food to be served at lunch and dinner. There was a choice of a vegetarian or other option, and he also catered for other special requests. One afternoon the chef gave us a tour of his galley. What his team produced in such a small space was miraculous. The barman in the lounge, Daniel, created different cocktails and served special snacks every evening. As an added bonus all the drinks were included in the price of the trip! The Southeast Alaskan scenery is stunning. There are vast empty seascapes, with high mountains covered with rain forest and still capped with snow in May. Everywhere there were high waterfalls cascading the melting snow down into the sea. Most mornings we anchored in a secluded bay, and were given the option of at least two activities – a walk (easy, more difficult or a bushwack), kayaking, paddle boarding, or a trip on a skiff (a large 14-person rubber duck). Swimming could also be an option, but the water was freezing at this time! Each activity was led by a guide, each of whom was an expert in wildlife. One specialized in bears, another in whales, and another in sea otters and sea lions. One of the guides gave an illustrated talk on their subject in the lounge after dinner most nights. Lindsay, the whale expert, had studied whales in Namibia and South Africa. When she took us out on a skiff in Traitors Cove and spotted a pod of humpback whale, she whooped with joy. One day we stopped in Wrangell, an isolated town of only 2,400 inhabitants with a small fishing harbour. Noticeable was the large stack of shipping containers. This is because the only access to all the towns in Southeast Alaska is by sea or air. We were treated here to a presentation about the local Indian culture, the Tlingit tribe, in a replica Indian long plank house. There was also an excellent small museum in the town which gave us a good insight into life here in the early settler days. On other days we walked in a rain forest, kayaked for the first time, walked along a beach exploring all the pools and beach life, and went out in skiffs exploring the scenery in other isolated locations. We saw many sea animals - whales (mostly humpbacks and some orcas), seals, sea lions and sea otters. These otters intrigued us. They swim on their backs with a small rock under one of their flippers. They use this to smash their catch before swimming off with the rock safely back in place! Bird life is fairly limited apart from Bald Eagles. They look like the African Fish Eagle but with a different call. Also fairly common are flocks of guillimots. They spend much of the time under water before coming up in a different spot. On land we had hoped to see brown and black bears and moose. It was too early to see the bears although one was spotted on the shore one day. On one of our walks our guide saw the backside of a departing moose. All we saw was its spoor and droppings. On the last day we sailed 55 km. up the Endicott Arm to the most amazing Dawes Glacier. The ship could not anchor as the fjord is 800 feet deep. We all climbed into the skiffs and went up close to the glacier. We watched as it was calving (large parts falling off into the fjord). This was one of the highlights of the week – as was the celebration afterwards. Our guide took us into a sheltered rocky cove and produced hot chocolate laced with peppermint schnapps – a brilliant drink! On the way back to the ship, she picked up a small piece of glacier ice from the fjord, and offered us shots of peppermint schnapps over ice! And to make this last day even more special while watching whales after dinner, we caught a glimpse of the northern lights! We ended our week in Juneau, the capital of Alaska. It’s another small frontier town with some impressive state administration buildings squashed in between the sea and the mountains. Over breakfast the Un-Cruise chief executive came on board and greeted us warmly. The vibe among the crew made all the difference to this trip. They all mucked in and did everything. The waiting staff also cleaned the cabins; the captain and his officers, as well as the massage and yoga staff, helped launch and organise the returning skiffs and kayaks for the activities. The whole atmosphere was very personal. On the last night at dinner the captain introduced every single member of the staff, and when we disembarked the following morning, each member of staff was on the quay to bid us goodbye. Alaska’s Inside Passage is amazing. It’s scenery and wildlife are incredible, and taking a small ship with such personal attention is the way to go! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We wanted to see Alaska, but are not fans of big cruise ships, nor did we want an extreme nature cruise. This cruise fit the bill. Nice size, nice crew, interesting passengers. Beautiful scenery. I would highly recommend. ... Read More
We wanted to see Alaska, but are not fans of big cruise ships, nor did we want an extreme nature cruise. This cruise fit the bill. Nice size, nice crew, interesting passengers. Beautiful scenery. I would highly recommend. The outstanding item I want to highlight was the bartender Daniel Harding. Not only a great bartender in general, his Irish Coffee was the best I have ever had! The Buena Vista in San Francisco should take lessons from Daniel! We went in May and loved watching the humpback whales. Glaciers were outstanding and we learned much about several that we got to see up close. Watched what is called caving…calving? Pretty spectacular. You are pretty remote the entire time and cell service is sparse if any. It was nice to be disconnected from civilazation! They even offer on board massage, which I passed on. Others spoke highly of the massage and even one was said to call it "a spiritual event". Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2016
If you want to see Alaska from the ship's railing twenty stories above the water or from the inside of the ship's casino, then take a big ship cruise. You may see whales, porpoise, or sea lions in the water but simply wave ... Read More
If you want to see Alaska from the ship's railing twenty stories above the water or from the inside of the ship's casino, then take a big ship cruise. You may see whales, porpoise, or sea lions in the water but simply wave goodbye to them as you and your 3000 fellow passengers sail on by so you don't show up late at your next port of call to buy overpriced trinkets and jewerly. UNCRUISE has smaller vessels to enhance the Alaska experience. Their largest vessel accommodates 88 passengers. "Passenger" is really an unfair descriptions for UNCRUISE guests because we were much more than passengers, we were full participants in the nature experience. UNCRUISE is considered a soft adventure cruise because the description is totally accurate. UNCRUISE believes you really cannot experience or fully appreciate the wild beauty of the 49th state unless you are actually along the ship railing only 20 feet from the water so you can actually feel and smell the spray of the sixty foot humpback whale cruising within 50 feet of the ship. Get on a zodiac skiff and be able to get close to the incredible majestic glaciers. Reach over the side and pick up crystal blue glacier ice. Knowledgeable guides took us into the woods and described the flora and fauna so you get an education along with the experience of being in wild pristine nature. We saw black bears with baby cubs on the shore. We were so close we didn't need binoculars to determine that the black spots on the shore weren't a muskrat or beaver. Since UNCRUISE doesn't have a set time table to be in the next port of call they have flexibility to ensure you take full advantage as wildlife appears. This was quite an advantage for us as we saw a pod of orca whales ahead of our vessel. The captain shut down the engines a safe distance from the whales in hopes that they would come towards us. The sight we saw was incredible as the pod of 12 orcas moved steadily toward us. They came within 20 feet of the vessel and breached the water and spy hopped for over 20 minutes. They seemed like they were putting on a once in a life time show just for us. Because of the flexiblity in schedule the captain was able to stay right there and provide enough time to really take in the full splendor of those beautiful creatures. Try doing that on a mega cruise ship. Even if the ship had the flexibilty to stop, it would take over a mile to fully stop. The orcas would have been long gone. I'm not knocking large cruise ships but they're not for me. The large cruise ships are great for many people who enjoy extragant floorshows and a casino, but you really miss so much of the true Alaska experience. If you love delicious locally sourced fresh seafood and produce you will really be impressed with the food options on UNCRUISE. The scratch made pastries are unbelievable. I really believe one of the best things about the UNCRUISE experinence is the crew. You will never experience a more attentive, caring, and professional crew. After the very first day they will know you by name. They will know what you drink and how you like your coffee. It is a personal relationship with the crew and your shipmates. I have taking three cruises with UNCRUISE and at the end of each and every one new relationships have been forged and precious memories created. What else can I say, UNCRUISE is the best. Read Less
33 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We were looking for something in a small boat cruise that included lots of moderate to strenuous outdoor physical activity and as up-close to geography and wildlife as possible. The Un-Cruise "Exploring Muir's Wilderness" ... Read More
We were looking for something in a small boat cruise that included lots of moderate to strenuous outdoor physical activity and as up-close to geography and wildlife as possible. The Un-Cruise "Exploring Muir's Wilderness" fit the bill to a T. From no-hassle check in to the nice touch of their delivering our luggage to the airport after debarkation (leaving us time to dally/shop in town for several hours before catching their shuttle to join it for airport for check-in), the administration was practiced, hospitable and generous. We got to see whales breaching, sea lions roaring, sea otters doing that cute on-their-back swimming thing, both black and grizzly bears from a safe distance, glaciers up close and calving, more bald eagles than anyone would want to try to count, and on and on. Their recommended equipment listing was spot on - don't short-change its elements, as you'll need it all by cruise end. Hiking -"Bush-whacking" they call it - into the forest, off-trail, was great, as was kayaking around islands and along shorelines. "Meandering" ashore was nature walk interesting, but more demanding than some cruisers anticipated - don't go if you have trouble with mobility, as there's not enough to occupy on board ship, and the whole ethos is diving into the locale. We were lucky in the weather, and we didn't expect luxury accommodations (as some reviewers obviously did - we weren't there for the froufrou, but for the get out and explore). My wife scores it as the hands down best vacation we've ever taken (I've got to think some more before I score it above Paris, but it's certainly close). We both agree that the best part, and what made it really stellar, was the crew. Every member, bar none, seemed genuinely pleased to be there and thrilled that we'd decided to join them. They were also interesting, intrepid in the outdoors, remarkably well educated, eager to share their extensive knowledge of the state/wildlife/geography/flora/fauna, and honest to admit if they didn't know (and then immediately track down someone who did!). The lounge was comfortable, the meals excellent (meat/fish/veg or combine them entrees every dinner, and best-ever breakfast bacon - don't miss that!). The rooms were a bit Spartan (albeit with more storage than we expected), but cleaned daily spotless and daily re-despotted. If you're looking for a small ship outdoorsy getaway, you'll find you only use them to sleep/change/bathe - there's plenty of out-of-room to do. Overall, accommodations were nicer than the two previous small-ship cruises we've taken (on other cruise lines). A single complementary massage per passenger and two available hot tubs were welcome after some of the activities. Their "Plan-free" claim is not license to freelance - and in the Alaskan wilderness, letting hikers or kayaks go off on their own would be downright dangerous - this is not Disneyland or Monaco - but is flexible to adjust to weather, avoid other cruise ships, react to reports of interesting wildlife activity nearby, etc. The only negative I can even imagine is that Alaska's so enormous, there's no way to cover it, and the week we were onboard was limited to the southern Inside Passage, so you'll need to go beyond it to see the northern bulk of the state. As for meeting the advertised criteria, nothing negative to report at all - even the martinis were beyond excellent. If the above is what you're looking for, I'd certainly recommend it heartily! 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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