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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Although the accommodations are not luxurious, they were comfortable and adequate. The adventure was unbelievable! We spent little time in the room and most of our daytime hours were off the boat. We kayaked, hiked, went on skiff tours and ... Read More
Although the accommodations are not luxurious, they were comfortable and adequate. The adventure was unbelievable! We spent little time in the room and most of our daytime hours were off the boat. We kayaked, hiked, went on skiff tours and snorkeling was available. We saw humpback and orca whales, bald eagles, puffins, bears and even the Northern Lights!!! Unbelievable beauty and breathtaking experiences being so close to calving glaciers, misty islands, amazing tide pools and feeding bears. The staff was so enthusiastic and informed that it was contagious. I felt VERY safe all the time whether on the boat or kayaking or hiking. The food was terrific, varied and abundant and the on board staff so helpful and cheerful. There were games, movies and a bar for down times. The other guest were from all over the US and world and so much fun to hang out with. I would go again without any hesitancy! 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
My husband and I are not cruise people but this one ticked all our boxes. A small boat with only 60 passengers but very comfortable with great food, a fabulous crew and lots of interesting excursions. We enjoyed getting out into the ... Read More
My husband and I are not cruise people but this one ticked all our boxes. A small boat with only 60 passengers but very comfortable with great food, a fabulous crew and lots of interesting excursions. We enjoyed getting out into the Alaskan wilderness but it was made so much better by the young, energetic guides who were extremely knowledgeable but obviously loved their job too. The whole crew worked so hard at making sure that we were looked after 24/7. We saw glaciers calving; salmon running; bears feeding; and the whales! Everything was great from beginning to end. I supposed it helped that the weather was magnificent but even apart from that we're sure it would still have been lots of fun. Met some great people and really enjoyed every minute. Plenty of time to relax if you wanted to but also lots of trips onto the mainland or kayaks to really do some exploring. 5/5 from us for everything.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
The Safari Quest and its crew are top notch in every respect. I have never experienced more competent, capable, friendly, and helpful people as this crew. They made this adventure fun and interesting. The boat has a capacity of 22, but we ... Read More
The Safari Quest and its crew are top notch in every respect. I have never experienced more competent, capable, friendly, and helpful people as this crew. They made this adventure fun and interesting. The boat has a capacity of 22, but we had 13 guests. Rooms are comfortable, if small, but small is to be expected at sea. Food was absolutely outstanding. Every dinner had a choice of seafood or meat, with plenty of alternatives for vegetarians. Dungeness crab, one night, was outstanding. Another night, we had short ribs that the chef had braised overnight for 8 hours. Best I had ever eaten. Both my wife and I ate fish or seafood most nights (and she is not a fish fan). Day trips were wonderful. We visited many glaciers, saw lots of bear, seals, sea lions, sea otters, etc. I kayaked for the first time in my life. We had a National Park Service Guide on the boat for several days in Glacier Bay. She knew her stuff and was able in to communicate facts while keeping it interesting. We saw more humpbacks than I could have imagined. They seemed to cavort just for us. That was a highlight. Nice cabin. Small, as is to be expected, shipboard. Queen bed. Bathroom is small but functional. Shower (no tub) works well. Only downside is that cabin is next to galley and one or two mornings we heard galley noise around 6. Chef commmented to us that he made efforts to be quiet in the AM, but sometimes stuff happens. I think the room was better than those below, if not as nice as the 4 A deck rooms, which have sliding glass doors that open to the sea air and more storage space. Un-Cruise, the "cruise" line, is outstanding. I would try any of their boats. The owner came aboard one night, and the obvious rapport between him and the whole crew was something to behold. He is sincere and committed to the environment. His employees are dedicated to making a trip a true pleasure. This was the trip of a lifetime. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
My husband and I decided to mark our 50th birthdays with a trip to Alaska and this cruise (Discoverers' Glacier Country) was recommended highly by his folks. We liked the sound of it because we believed in a small-ship setting ... Read More
My husband and I decided to mark our 50th birthdays with a trip to Alaska and this cruise (Discoverers' Glacier Country) was recommended highly by his folks. We liked the sound of it because we believed in a small-ship setting we'd have more opportunity for close encounters with the landscape and wildlife. This turned out to be true. The cabins are extremely comfortable and spacious enough for a week's worth of luggage and gear. The view from our cabin's windows was always spectacular. While there is no TV or Internet reception available, there is a decent DVD library (if you have time and energy to use it after a day full of adventures). Common areas are well kept and cozy. The bar is well stocked, and you can help yourself if there's no crew available. The food was fine. It didn't blow us away, but it wasn't bad by any means. Service around meals was great in that choices were always available and special requests were smilingly honored. Servings were small to moderate, which I actually think is great. We had no trouble getting seconds if we were really hungry. Sometimes it took a while for tables to get served (which made a lot of sense when we saw later how food had to get from the kitchen in the lower level to the dining room level by dumbwaiter), but we weren't in any hurry. Life on board: We took advantage of a yoga class offered each morning before breakfast on the top deck. A beautiful way to start the day. After breakfast, the itinerary for the day is announced, including options for the day's activities. Typically there are activities available after breakfast and after lunch, such as hikes, kayaking, and skiff rides. Depending on itinerary, there might be pre-dinner or after-dinner activities. Generally you don't have to sign up; just show up. Throughout the day, wildlife and other unusual sightings are announced on the PA system so you can go out to view them if you wish. There is a hot tub on the top deck, which gets quite a bit of use. The exercise equipment, also on the top deck, is minimal but adequate. One free massage is included with the cruise, which was a great amenity. With only 18 cabins, the Safari Explorer is geared toward satisfying guests in all respects. When we expressed a desire for more independent hiking so our birdwatching would not slow down other guests, we were offered a crew member who would accompany us at whatever speed we wished (truly independent hiking not being an option because of the potential for bear encounters). The crew are aware that most guests are really interested in wildlife such as whales, dolphins, and bears, so activities are sometimes shifted around in order to satisfy this interest. For example, one morning that a hike had been scheduled, a pod of orca was spotted nearby. Instead of hiking, all the guests boarded two skiffs and followed the orca for a few hours, which was an amazing experience. Nobody missed the hike. We had a lot of amazing experiences on this cruise, partly as a result of the setting and pure luck but also because the Safari Explorer crew got us where we needed to be and provided guidance. For example, we watched bears catching salmon outside a hatchery; we witnessed humpback whales bubble-netting; and we kayaked to a glacier and watched (and felt!) it calve right in front of us. Service and accommodation of guests was really impressive. Even though Un-Cruise Adventures provides guests with a detailed packing list in advance, many items, such as rain gear, rubber boots, mosquito repellent, and water bottles, were freely available for guests to borrow. We always felt well taken care of. We could not have had a better trip. The Safari Explorer gets our highest recommendation. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Recently retired from teaching, we chose this un-cruise because of the opportunity to get into Alaska, not just see it. The Discoverer has 72 cabins, comfortable public areas, sun deck with seating and fitness equipment. Appeared that the ... Read More
Recently retired from teaching, we chose this un-cruise because of the opportunity to get into Alaska, not just see it. The Discoverer has 72 cabins, comfortable public areas, sun deck with seating and fitness equipment. Appeared that the ages of the participants ranged from late 30's to 70's. There were no children on this trip. We had been in Backcountry Denali for a week and arrived in Juneau to board the Wilderness. Our luggage was stowed on board by staff, we embarked meeting the captain and staff as we were shown to our rooms. Welcome cocktails, safety practice completed and supper. Meals were served at specified times, breakfast and lunch buffet and dinner plated and served. Dinner had 3 entree choices which you made during the day. Evening social hour provided snacks and a special drink. The bar was complete and the bartender well trained and personable. The chef and his staff were amazing. From Lamb chops, duck, smoked trout, crab, and various other beef and fish selections, we were amazed at every meal. Morning and afternoon activities were scheduled the day prior, as we motored in the inner reaches. Kayaking alone or guided, hiking in the Tongass forest or to glaciers, strolling the shores, touring in the sciffs, bushwhacking, paddle boarding, morning yoga, snorkeling, polar plunge - always led by experts so the experience was complete. All equipment was provided on the boat. There was a library in the public area, trivia contests in the evening, films, and time to get to know your traveling companions. We disembarked in Ketchikan, our luggage was taken to a hotel for us, we checked in to confirm our flight times, were provided with beverages and snacks, and we had the day to explore. Upon return to the hotel, our luggage was transported to the airport and we were checked in and motored also. This trip was all we had hoped for and more. It is for active explorers who want to get out and see.   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
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013
We took off in the Safari Explorer out of Juneau for a 7 night visit to Glacier country during the first week in August. We visited Glacier Bay National Park where we spent 2 days with a park ranger on board , Icy Strait, Chicago and ... Read More
We took off in the Safari Explorer out of Juneau for a 7 night visit to Glacier country during the first week in August. We visited Glacier Bay National Park where we spent 2 days with a park ranger on board , Icy Strait, Chicago and Baranoff Islands ,Frederick Sound, Ford terror and Endicott Arm. This was an expedition ship designed to see wildlife close and personal.We saw and followed humpback whales , sea lions, seals, sea otters, bears, bald eagles, puffins, and other birds, and saw the start of the salmon run. We took hikes in hardly touched forests and filmed bears catching salmon for dinner;kayak by glaciers with snow covered mountains for background. For those who wanted a more relaxed activity, there were the skiffs who took us on tours of the various islands and inlets. We saw the calving of Ward glacier. One day we practically followed humpback whales most of the day and saw bubbling feeding, and mother and calf breaching in front of our ship. The cabins were very comfortable and spacious for a 36 passenger ship. The staff and the service were top notch. All the meals and afternoon appetizers prepared by Nate the chef were 4 star all the way. On our arrival at Glacier Bay park, the basket full of King Crabs was waiting for us and we had them for dinner that night. All liquor was included in the cruise so at around 5 pm we started gathering by the full bar for cocktails. If the crew was busy, we fixed our own drinks. This is the cruise to take to Alaska. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2013
Just returned from 12 days with Un-Cruise Adventures on S.S. Legacy, Juneau to Seattle, and cannot say enough about the onboard style, the staff, the food, and above all, the 'adventure'. With the ability to spend as much time as ... Read More
Just returned from 12 days with Un-Cruise Adventures on S.S. Legacy, Juneau to Seattle, and cannot say enough about the onboard style, the staff, the food, and above all, the 'adventure'. With the ability to spend as much time as needed in any given location, we were treated to 3 hours (!!) watching humpback whales bubble feeding in Icy Straights; we 'swam' with porpoises just off the bow; we observed pods of orca up-close; and we came eye-to-eye with two curious humpbacks who used the bottom of the ship for a good scratch. Because Un-Cruise Adventures can stop for as long as they like, whenever they like, we experienced Alaska in a way no other company can provide. Add to that the tireless attention of the crew, exceptional dining (even the vegetarian dishes were incredible), the fun character interactions with the likes of John Muir, CJ and Ethel Berry, Sargent William Sharpe, and con-man Danny McSwain, and it was truly the trip of a lifetime. Excursions and alcohol are included, with optional excursions available (bear-watching, anyone?). Be sure to join in the poker game in the Pesky Barnacle. A real highlight and a great way to get to know fellow passengers even better! Un-Cruise Adventures is the only way to TRULY cruise into the heart and spirit of Alaska. We've cruised here on one of the 'big ships', and while it was a wonderful experience, Un-Cruise Adventures gave us the ultimate in Alaskan cruising. We can't wait to return! 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
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013
This was my first time in Alaska, and I liked the concept of an 'adventure' cruise with activities other than watching the ocean go by. This was what I wanted and just what I received. Since this was my first cruise, I had lot ... Read More
This was my first time in Alaska, and I liked the concept of an 'adventure' cruise with activities other than watching the ocean go by. This was what I wanted and just what I received. Since this was my first cruise, I had lot of questions for the sales staff. They treated me courteously, got back to me with answers and helped by providing options that worked. When the time came, they followed up to make sure everything was in order. Instructions provided were clear and easy to follow. A small cruise ship, not a floating hotel, was a must for me. A desire to meet the crew and most of the passengers was also a desire. Captain 'Marce' was easy to talk to and her crew was a reflection of her very good leadership. They were all friendly, helpful, very accommodating and very easy to work with. They were knowledgeable and provided assistance on just about everything necessary to make things like kayaking (my first attempt), polar plunges, snorkeling (including thermal suits to stay warm), paddle boarding, shore hikes, whale watching and everything in between more fun than I'd hoped. Meals were casual, but very good. Choices and amounts were also very good. Activities were categorized by amounts of effort in the activity. Activity choices varied from mild (skiff rides up close and personal with calving glaciers) to endurance kayak trips or shore hiking trips. If I had it to do over again, the only thing I'd change would be to lengthen the cruise duration. And next time, I will. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2013
My husband and I and 3 friends went on an Un-Cruise Adventures Inner Reaches of the Eastern Coves of Alaska --small ship cruise on July 27 to August 3 of 2013. We cruised from Juneau to Ketchikan aboard the ship named Wilderness ... Read More
My husband and I and 3 friends went on an Un-Cruise Adventures Inner Reaches of the Eastern Coves of Alaska --small ship cruise on July 27 to August 3 of 2013. We cruised from Juneau to Ketchikan aboard the ship named Wilderness Discoverer. The cruise definitely exceeded our expectations. We had been on a Cruise West cruise in 2010 before Cruise West ceased operating due to the economy. That cruise to Glacier Bay was wonderful but the Un-Cruise experience was even better (better food and more off ship activities). Because the Un-Cruise ships are small (Wilderness Discoverer accommodates 76 passengers and 28 crew) we were able to access small coves and waterways for a very memorable experience in Alaska's untouched areas. The ship was very clean. The staterooms are small but very comfortable. There is room under the beds to store soft sided luggage and a floor to ceiling cupboard with shelves for clothes and items you unpack. The private bathroom with shower that is in the stateroom is very small but manageable. It was hot on several of the days we were traveling and we were very pleased that the ship has AC and a control panel in each room (it also has heating which we did not need). The food was outstanding and the chef eagerly accommodated my food allergies. The crew members were extremely friendly, helpful and knowledgeable . We thoroughly enjoyed the off-ship expedition activities (all are included in the cost of the cruise) which were extremely varied and included things like kayaking, paddle boarding, skiff tours, hikes, snorkeling, swimming (for the braver travelers) etc. The expedition leader was very knowledgeable and accommodated passengers of all ages and physical abilities in the activities off the ship--as did her expedition crew members. The captain and expedition leader worked together to provide the best experience for passengers and were flexible with regard to the schedule and ship course, for example, making changes so passengers could spend more time viewing whales and bears and other animals or going to coves where animals had been sighted by other ships. We enthusiastically recommend Un-Cruise Adventures! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2013
From first contact in planning tto departure, guests were the focus of the entire crew and Un-cruise staff. Each crew member from moment of approaching the ship until after we were safely on our way to airport did even tiny thing in a ... Read More
From first contact in planning tto departure, guests were the focus of the entire crew and Un-cruise staff. Each crew member from moment of approaching the ship until after we were safely on our way to airport did even tiny thing in a personal, friendly, competent and efficient manner. Their excitement was infectious ,,,their knowledge and acts enhanced our experiences both with the ship and its amenities as well as the real reason for small-ship cruise choice: up close, intense and personal contact with Nature and Alaska. Our dream began in 1996... life was as life would be and finally our dream became reality and began June 2013... in all respects, our deepest gratitude to Un-Cruise, front office, captain, officers, staff and crew. Words of compliment in the English language are oft over- or mis-used. Our experience with Un-cruise: superb. We look forward to at least two more trips with it. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2013
Quite simply, this trip was the best trip we have ever taken. We cruised with Un-Cruise for the first time this summer and we boarded the Wilderness Explorer for a 7 night adventure cruise that left from Juneau, went through Glacier Bay, ... Read More
Quite simply, this trip was the best trip we have ever taken. We cruised with Un-Cruise for the first time this summer and we boarded the Wilderness Explorer for a 7 night adventure cruise that left from Juneau, went through Glacier Bay, the Northern Passages, and ended in Sitka. This was our 4th cruise and our first small boat adventure cruise. After the amazing experience we had with Un-Cruise, we will not cruise with another company. We began planning a trip to Alaska about 2 years ago and we requested some promotional material from Un-Cruise. From our very first encounter with their team, it was apparent to us that they were personable, professional, and an awesome place to do business with. The small boat only held 76 passengers and there were around 50 guests which made for a great guest to staff ratio. On board our boat was a team of expedition guides that were all naturalists. Our daily activities included guided bushwhack hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling and skiff tours. Each night our Expedition Leader met us in the lounge to discuss the next day's available excursions. We were able to select from a list of activities and the crew made all of them available for us. Each evening, one of the expedition guides presented on an aspect of Southeast Alaska, wildlife, and Glacier Bay. They were entertaining and very informative. The wildlife that we experienced was breathtaking. We saw in excess of 20 humpback whales, we saw countless bald eagles, sea otters, sea lions, and one day we even saw a brown bear from the boat! The highlight for us was being able to see a Killer Whale come completely out of the water and breach about 50 yards off of the starboard side right outside our room! The activities were not too strenuous. They did a great job explaining the difficulty level of each activity so we weren't over matched or under matched. It was a pretty neat experience to cruise on a small boat and actually meet and visit with the captain, the first mate, and the rest of the crew. The boat had an "open bridge" policy so we were able to go into the bridge and visit with the captain and crew while we were sailing. Something that we really appreciated was that the captain and crew stopped the boat when we came upon wildlife. What an awesome experience to stop the boat and watch humpback whales in their natural habitat un-rushed, un-crowded and un-believable. Un-Cruise carries our highest recommendations. We had such an amazing time on our cruise that we put down a deposit on board to cruise again in Hawaii with Un-Cruise. J&H Little Rock, AR Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2013
Where do I start? The ship (Wilderness Discoverer)- We were in the Navigator level cabin. It is the least expensive and on the lowest level. It is small( about 8x10) but though snug, we found it really neat. The window opens to the sea and ... Read More
Where do I start? The ship (Wilderness Discoverer)- We were in the Navigator level cabin. It is the least expensive and on the lowest level. It is small( about 8x10) but though snug, we found it really neat. The window opens to the sea and since you are on the lowest level it means no railings blocking your view and nobody walking by you window. That means no need to draw the curtain- who cares if a whale or dolphin sees you au naturale? The crew- Just the best! So friendly and happy to help you in any way possible. The food- Omigosh- everything was perfect. We all were constantly amazed at the variety and quality of the meals. The activities- Kayaking, hiking, and fun skiff rides to glaciers and land hike areas. Also, the polar bear plunge which is a jump from the ship into 38 degree water which is a one time event near the end of the trip. We didn't partake but about 20 did and it was a blast to watch them. The fellow passengers-they were so much fun and so interesting. We were a like minded group that were looking for more than sitting with 1000 others on those giant ships. The Un-Cruise company has done their homework. The crew made the time so special. Having been told how they pick their crew, I only wish all employers would follow their technique. We did the eastern cove, 7 day trip. The weather was gorgeous-hardly any rain and many sunny days. DO NOT be fooled. We were told how unusual that is. So if you read their suggested packing tips-believe them. It will most likely rain so be ready for it. A couple of tips. Many brought their own binoculars but they must have had 15 or 20 of their own in the lounge available for the use of passengers. They have many pairs of "wellies" or rubber calf length boots. I still would advise you bring your own. Finally, I really recommend the Un-Cruise experience. It was so much fun. In case you think it was perfect- well nothing is. When filling out the initial form for the trip, one question asked if I had a special occasion occurring during the trip and was told to write it in the blank and they would have the crew celebrate it with us on board. Well, i told them my birthday was on May 21 just 3 days into the voyage and I waited each evening for "something" to be announced but it never was. After contacting Un-Cruise afterward, they apologized for the error. Failure to communicate was the reason I think. What do I remember the most? The unbelievable silence after stopping paddling our kayak in Misty Fiord. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2012
What an introduction to Cruising.... 7 days all exclusive trip on a luxury yacht around some great scenery and wildlife. 21 like minded guests on board and we have already visited some of them after the cruise. From the welcome at the ... Read More
What an introduction to Cruising.... 7 days all exclusive trip on a luxury yacht around some great scenery and wildlife. 21 like minded guests on board and we have already visited some of them after the cruise. From the welcome at the local hotel until we disembarked 7 days later, everything was friendly, professional and most welcoming. The on board staff made the trip for us; they became companions on the adventure. I know they were working hard behind the scenes to make the trip what it was; from the cooks who surprised us every meal with their culinary skills, the very knowledgeable Expedition leader (who corrected the park Ranger a few times) to the Captain who navigated us into some great isolated places. Cabins were spacious; we didn't spend much time in ours as so much to see from the decks or on the kayaks/skiff. Great nature trips; kayaking amongst icebergs, brown bears and in front of glaciers, and walking in temperate rain forests and on glaciers to name but a few... We stopped at two places; Tenakee (small coastal community) and Bartlett Cove (Glacier Bay national Park Entrance) for walks and to meet locals. We saw a few large cruise ships steaming at 18knots in Glacier Bay whilst we kayaked and followed brown bears on the shore line; definitely the best way to see the Inside Passage. We often diverted to see wildlife, including humpback whales within feet of the boat, and views to get out of bed at 6am for. We have already booked our 7 days cruise in Hawaii in Jan 2014. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2012
My husband and I have traveled widely but never taken a cruise- we were always turned off at the prospect of mega-ships, crowds, long lines, activities that didn't interest us, and nickel-and-dime extra fees for everything. We ordered ... Read More
My husband and I have traveled widely but never taken a cruise- we were always turned off at the prospect of mega-ships, crowds, long lines, activities that didn't interest us, and nickel-and-dime extra fees for everything. We ordered Innersea Discoveries' DVD on Alaska and were sold within 3 minutes of viewing it. We were not disappointed. Here's what we experienced. Embarking/Disembarking: remarkably fast. Not impressed with "hospitality suites" at either end, which were really a large, chaotic meeting room with coffee and water available and a lot of people and luggage sitting around. Your fellow passengers: a smart, down-to-earth, curious group of people. Occasional references to their day jobs (or previous jobs) led you to believe there were some pretty high-powered people in the crowd, but no one flaunts anything here. Age ranges all over the board, average age probably 40 with some seniors (especially grandparents in family groups) and enough teenagers to keep a poker game going for most of the trip. The kids were wonderful- clearly the parents who had chosen this expedition knew their kids were they type who would enjoy the adventures. One intrepid 10-year old boy made the "polar plunge" off the ship 3 times. Things you can borrow from their supplies at no charge: insulated metal water bottles, hiking sticks, binoculars, boots. The boots are worn only with socks; bring some heavy wool ones. I didn't own hiking boots and these were perfect for climbing in and out of streams and occasionally sinking ankle-deep into muskeg (soft, spongy peat). A good pair of hiking boots would have been waterlogged and muddy. The snorkeling expedition includes the use of a well-protected wet suit appropriate for use in Alaska. Locally themed books and a wide variety of movie DVDs are also available to borrow in the lounge. A hair dryer is in each room. Food: Finally, after seeing way too many menus on land in Alaska where everything was fried and a vegan would starve, on board our ship there were plentiful portions of food that was truly good in both senses: made from fresh ingredients, and with enough options for people who wanted to eat healthy. One lunch was fresh-baked pita bread, curried chickpeas, Greek salad, chicken souvlaki, and tzatziki, a wonderful Greek sauce made with yogurt, dill and cucumber. Dessert was ginger-chocolate cookies. There were always some type of hors d'oeuvres at cocktail hour; once there were hot pretzels, which apparently required most of the crew to put together the night before. Another time there were oysters purchased from local vendors who came on the boat and talked about their work. They were available raw or grilled (with the captain manning the grill). Staterooms: Our room was the cheapest class on the ship; it was on the lowest level but still above the waterline with a nice-sized window. We realized that the two floors above us had rooms with windows facing out onto public walkways, which meant that if you wanted privacy you had to close your curtains. Our floor had only a tiny rail running around the outside of the ship with a handbar running up above it for crew use. It was, however, on the same level as the engine so a little noisier. We liked where we were and were happy to find that everything important fit into the room, or on hooks outside, or in the lockers up top where we stored the PFDs (personal flotation devices) for kayaking, our boots and our rain gear. The area under the bed also provides generous storage for a suitcase. Because the ship is small, everything was close by and there were no elevators. Our room was so convenient to everything we never even used one of the few public restrooms. Weather: unpredictable. We got much better weather than average on our trip, which was the second week in July. When we left Ketchikan it was miserable and rainy. We rarely saw those conditions after that and had a couple of days of full sunshine and air temps in the 50s. A couple of times the captain changed plans slightly to get into an area with better weather or to stay longer than planned if the area was sunny. I was out in shorts and a light jacket on the paddleboard one day and was fine. You really do need to pack layers to prepare for anything. Include a pair of sandals or flip-flops for getting around the ship; they're very informal on board but do require footwear in the lounge. My husband brought a parka and never used it; the day we went out near the glaciers in skiffs, we just loaded up all our other layers, including rain gear, and were comfortable. Activities: my husband and I have very different fitness levels- he's 15 years older and has a bit of a balance problem- and we both had a great time. I did just about everything in the promotional material- guided kayak tour, independent kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling dressed like Jacques Cousteau in heavy neoprene, hiking in caves and around boulders and logs, skiff tours. My husband took the lighter hikes, skiff tours and kayaking. This is all apparently quite dependent on weather, so we were blessed. The staff was pretty accommodating; they ended up going out with 3 different groups for snorkeling due to high interest. If there's something you REALLY want to make sure you do, let them know before they make up the schedule the night before. They're very good about describing difficulty levels, in detail so you get a good idea of whether it fits your own skill and fitness level. Extras: almost nothing is extra. The snorkeling was $30 per person and an overnight campout was $150 but had no takers. Alcohol is reasonable. Espresso is $2. Just about everything else is included. Staff: an amazing group of people, passionate about Alaska and about the ship. All mingled with the guests and answered questions; most made presentations on their area of expertise (intertidal marine life, salmon, etc.) or gave tours of their area (the engine room, the kitchen). The Chief Mate managed the entire project of taking the decrepit vessel bought from a bank that had foreclosed on it and left it sitting in the water for 5 years, retrofitting it for the kind of travel they wanted to provide. She participated in a lot of the manual labor and showed pictures of the work as it progressed. The pastry chef shares his recipes. The bridge was open to guests at any time. While each crew member had a specific job description, they all pitched in and did what was necessary. Four of the crew (besides the captain) had licenses that qualified them to pilot the ship. Some had multiple degrees in areas such as marine biology. Stability: I've probably got average susceptibility to seasickness and was fine. One night I woke up vaguely queasy, reminded myself we were on a boat, and went back to sleep. I heard later we'd gone through some swells. One night rough weather was expected and a bowl full of packets of motion-sickness pills was set out on the bar, leading to a few joking reminiscences about parties in the 1980s. They ended up going on the lee side of islands to minimize turbulence; I felt the motion and had taken the pills but it was like being rocked to sleep. Wildlife: one group saw a bear and 3 cubs; the rest of us saw mostly moose and bear droppings but no moose or bear! That's nature, though. If you want animals to come out and pose for you, go to the zoo. We saw plenty of whales, bald eagles, otters, a few porpoises, a variety of birds, and sea lions. I could write a whole 'nother paragraph on the beautiful wildflowers and the awe-inspiring rock formations. We will do this again. If you want a cruise where someone will fold your jammies into animal shapes every night you will be disappointed. If you want someone with a relevant degree to show you phytoplankton under a microscope or answer your questions about marine mammals, this is the ship for you. One of the grandparents said near the end of the trip that taking this trip with the grandkids was the best decision they ever made. We've already put a deposit down for the Juneau-to-Ketchikan itinerary for 2014.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We have never "cruised." We are self-support river trippers, boaters, back country skiers, etc. So our idea of a vacation is getting away from people. We wanted to see Alaska's Inside Passage but we didn't want to do a ... Read More
We have never "cruised." We are self-support river trippers, boaters, back country skiers, etc. So our idea of a vacation is getting away from people. We wanted to see Alaska's Inside Passage but we didn't want to do a self-support kayak trip because we wanted to see as much as we could in a short period of time. So we chose to get our first "cruise" experience (and I hesitate to even use that word because this was an adventure not a cruise), by boarding with Inner Sea Discoveries. We left from Ketchikan and ended in Juneau, Alaska. In between we tied up to one dock at Klowack Village - hardly a town - but full of culture and generational stories. I mentioned we liked to get away from people on vacation. So you can imagine my own surprise when, upon reflection, one of the best parts of this trip were THE PEOPLE! Most people were fantastic (and it's likely there are always some complainers and folks who will not be happy - for example, the lawyer interview on this site.) The Capt. (a whale naturalist and marine biologist) was fantastic. The crew (which included marine biologists) were "in the know" and kind and engaging. When we left, I felt like I was leaving summer camp and my new set of good friends. I am sure I will see some of them and some of the great passengers we befriended again. The food was TOO good! I wanted to lose weight on this trip...NOT. The excursions were fantastic and provided options for different desires of activities and different levels of fitness. The wildlife was abundant - eagles everywhere, whales (which Capt. Jeff just knew how to find), sea lions (so playful), seals, bears, sea otters (I want one), all sorts of delight for birders....the list goes on. And then there is Alaska in all its glory that words won't do justice to...unless you are Muir. In the end, for me, life is about connection. This experience was full of connection - to the open space that is Alaska, to the wonder that is nature, to the untamed wild under and over the sea, and to the people on board that boat. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as all experiences typically are...there will never be a recreation of that week...but I'm hoping to create new experiences on other Inner Sea adventures in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We have travelled extensively as a family and wanted to see Alaska, but in an active setting where we could hike and interact with nature. We did not want to sit and eat, get formally dressed for dinner, but we wanted excellent, healthy ... Read More
We have travelled extensively as a family and wanted to see Alaska, but in an active setting where we could hike and interact with nature. We did not want to sit and eat, get formally dressed for dinner, but we wanted excellent, healthy food options with appropriate portions. The trip was arranged through Margret Propper multi-year Travel and Leisure award winning cruise travel agent. All of the above wishes were satisfied. Additionally, pretty all-inclusive, enthusiastic and knowledgable guides, excellent crew on the boat. By the way, we travelled on Wildeness Explorer, which is not an option above. We cruised through Glacier National Park, picking up Andrew, the National Service Park Ranger for a couple of days. He was superb and gave an excellent presentation about himeself and the mission of the Glacier Park. We had yoga, lots of activities including snorkeling in a wet suit. Pictures and experiences were stupendous. ALso great was the fact that the passengers on our cruise included individuals with similar objectives ie those who wished to do so could relax, but the activities were available for those who wanted them. We got an experience that was tailored to our needs including AM yoga that started with 1/2 hour session that extended to full hour at the end. Fully professional group. Have, in fact, put a deposit for another cruise with this line without planning to do so as I am so impressed by this company. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We sailed with Innersea Discovervies in June of 2012 on their Ketchikan to Juneau route as a family of three with a 12 year old girl. We are an active family that does not typically select group vacations of any sort, including cruises. ... Read More
We sailed with Innersea Discovervies in June of 2012 on their Ketchikan to Juneau route as a family of three with a 12 year old girl. We are an active family that does not typically select group vacations of any sort, including cruises. However, it seemed like a cruise was the best way to experience Alaska, so we decided on this small boat cruise. We were a bit anxious in advance, but the cruise exceeded our expecations in every way. The crew was friendly, engaging and very knowledgable about the Alaska wildlife and ecosystems. We took part in active activies virtually every day including kayaking, snoreling, hiking, stand up paddleboarding, caving, and nature tours. All activies except snorkeling were included in the cruise price, adn the add on cost for snorkeling was minimal($40). The atmosphere was very laid back, and all the guests (only 60 on board)were interested in participating in the activities. Our daughter had a great time despite being one of the only kids on board. The guides were very good with her and she loved the attention. The kitchen even made her special meals if requested. The food was excllent as a whole, but at times was a bit too fancy for our non seafood eating daughter, though we enjoyed it. We highly recommend this cruise line for any adventuresome family looking for an interactive and hands-on way to discover Alaska. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2012
Since I live in Hawaii I was very excited that American Safari Cruises was adding a Hawaiian itinerary to their unique yacht adventures. My friend was visiting from Vancouver and since we both love being on the water we decided to take ... Read More
Since I live in Hawaii I was very excited that American Safari Cruises was adding a Hawaiian itinerary to their unique yacht adventures. My friend was visiting from Vancouver and since we both love being on the water we decided to take this cruise, our first small-ship experience. We absolutely loved it! We flew from Honolulu to Kona and were met at the airport by a representative from American Safari Cruises and taken to the Courtyard King Kamehameha Hotel in Kailua-Kona. There they had a large meeting room available for us to store our luggage as we had a few hours to wander around the town and have lunch. At 4pm we were all taken by bus to where the Safari Explorer was docked, about a 40 minute drive. We were greeted by a very friendly crew and escorted to our stateroom on the B deck. Since we were 2 women traveling together, we had requested a room with 2 twin beds. They were a little narrower than a regular twin bed but worked out fine. We unpacked and headed down to the bar for drinks and pupus. At first we were surprised at the age of our fellow passengers which averaged about 60 yrs old. The youngest guest was 45 and the oldest was 80. This being the last cruise of the season (the Safari Explorer is now on its way to Seattle for the Alaska season, but will be back at the end of October), we only had 23 guests and 13 crew. By the end of the week we felt like family! We were up early every morning around 6:30 and enjoyed coffee and fruit on the deck, followed by yoga at 7am then full breakfast around 8:30am. The first 2 days we spent on the waters off the Kona coast which was amazing. We saw pilot whales, kayaked with dolphins, snorkelled, explored caves and inlets, and did a night snorkel with manta rays. Then we crossed over to Lanai (this was an overnight crossing and was very choppy but luckily we did not get seasick) where we had some fun water play time using the paddleboards, sailboat, kayaks, and snorkel gear. In the afternoon the skiffs took us over to Lanai city for some sightseeing. On Monday we had an amazing snorkelling experience with sea turtles off Maui, then after lunch we docked at Lahaina and went paddling on an outrigger canoe. The last 2 days were spent on Molokai for some more cultural experiences. Activities included visiting a plumeria farm and making leis, macadamia nut farm, some beach time (with an amazing lunch) and a trip to the Kalapaupa lookout. A few of the guests opted to take the mule ride to Kalapaupa that day for a tour of the settlement. Our last day we drove about an hour to Halawa Valley which was gorgeous. About half of our group then hiked to a waterfall where we had lunch. If you'd like to see my photos I have them posted at https://picasaweb.google.com/vivianthornhill/SafariExplorerCruise?authuser=0&feat=directlink Read Less
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