The company began cruising in Alaska in 1997 with a single leased yacht. In 1998, it purchased Safari Quest, leased a second vessel and added a second Alaska itinerary. In 1999, the company purchased Safari Spirit, which caught fire in April 2012 and was declared a total loss.
Un-Cruise then bought Wilderness Discoverer and smaller Wilderness Adventurer from defunct Glacier Bay Cruise Line. After complete refurbishments, the ships were launched for the 2011 Alaska season. Originally sold at 49 passengers for 2011, Wilderness Discoverer bumped its load to 76 people; Wilderness Adventurer has a 60-passenger capacity. In 2012, the line added Wilderness Explorer under a long-term lease-to-purchase agreement. Originally run by Cruise West as 86-passenger Spirit of Discovery, the ship was renovated to carry 76 passengers on Glacier Bay-oriented itineraries between Juneau and Sitka.
Un-Cruise Adventures' fleet also includes 145-foot Safari Explorer (36 passengers); 120-foot Safari Quest (22 passengers); and 217-foot Safari Endeavour (86 passengers), which formerly sailed for Cruise West as Spirit of Endeavor. In August 2013, 192-foot S.S. Legacy (88 passengers) joined the fleet.
Picture off-the-beaten-track and up-close-and-personal ecotourism combined with the pampering of a luxury cruise. Imagine an encounter with a bear, humpback whale or spinner dolphin in the morning, followed by a perfectly chilled martini and fresh oysters at cocktail hour. Passengers take advantage of Alaska's 20 hours of daylight by kayaking after dinner in bald eagle territory or snorkeling with manta rays by moonlight off Hawaii's Big Island.
Such experiences are the basis of the concept hatched in 1996 by American Safari Cruises, a partnership between former Cruise West executives, created to combine the upscale amenities of small, deluxe motor yachts with expedition-style cruising.
InnerSea Discoveries entered the Alaska expedition market in 2011 with two ships and itineraries along the Inside Passage. It added a third ship for the 2012 season. Un-Cruise Adventures aims to reveal in-depth Alaska, Mexico, Pacific Northwest and Hawaii experiences to sophisticated travelers -- and it does so in style.
The company, headquartered in Seattle, is run by Dan Blanchard and Tim Jacox, who have significant experience with small-ship cruising, including stints at American Safari Cruises and defunct Cruise West.
Un-Cruise Adventures offers a unique small-ship cruising experience, ranging from Indiana Jones-caliber adventure to low-activity destination immersion.
In January 2013, Un-Cruise Adventures was "born" when the parent company combined its two lines, American Safari Cruises and InnerSea Discoveries. While the line's vessels remained the same, the renaming was aimed at conveying a unique style of exploration cruising. The company further rebranded its cruising styles, offering two adventure types: Adventure and River. Adventure cruises encompasses the ships formerly under the InnerSea Discoveries line: Wilderness Discoverer, Wilderness Adventurer and Wilderness Explorer as well as Safari Endeavour, Safari Explorer and Safari Quest, which fell under ASC. S.S. Legacy makes up Un-Cruise Adventure style. Excursions are included fleetwide. Most alcoholic beverages are included in the fare on Safari Endeavour, Safari Explorer, Safari Quest, S.S. Legacy and La Pinta, and one massage is included on Safari Endeavour, Safari Explorer and S.S. Legacy.
Adventure ships provide an expedition experience that's built for comfort and luxury. It's a great bet for passengers who have the latest in REI gear and are eager to use it but also wish to enjoy simple pleasures like fine wine and massages. Each ship's expedition staff is charged with helping passengers with activities like spotting humpbacks or identifying the flora.
Un-Cruise Adventure ships offer a mix of casual cruising and boutique yachting, with thoughtful touches. There's a reasonably priced full bar, memory foam mattresses and a number with special kayak launching pads designed to get even the biggest couch potato out on the water. Having an onboard pastry chef means you'll replenish calories quickly. Dining focuses on locally sourced ingredients, such as Alaskan seafood. All cabins are above deck with outward facing windows that open and close, perfect for enjoying Alaska's crisp mornings and late sunsets.
These cruises emphasize familiarization with the flora, fauna, geology and culture by means of guided shore excursions and soft-adventure activities. Your day in Alaska might start with a skiff tour to view a glacier up close and end with kayaking under the light of the midnight sun; in Hawaii, you might visit a macadamia nut farm by day and snorkel with manta rays by moonlight. Night sailing schedules depend on the venue.
Dinners are typically casual affairs that are long on camaraderie and conversation and short on menu choices, usually limited to a couple of tasty main course options, often based around local, freshly caught seafood. Wine choices -- all beverages for that matter -- are included. The bar is open 24/7 and stocked with top-shelf brands.
S.S. Legacy, which joined the fleet in August 2013, is the only ship to offer River cruises. These cruises highlight a region's history, culture and wildlife through a series of local tours in port and enrichment lectures with a team of experts onboard.
River cruises provide even "softer" adventures than Adventure, with the extent of recreation being a little walking in town. During free time in port, there are options for those looking for a little more activity. After excursions, passengers typically have the opportunity to explore on their own and tend to do so by hiking the local trails or window shopping along the blocks.
Un-Cruise Adventures appeals to a wide range of passengers. The Adventure cruises' Alaska, Sea of Cortez and Hawaii itineraries attract an active 30- to 70-something group of eco-conscious outdoor enthusiasts and families, depending on the ship.
Onboard river cruises, you'll find yourself among a mostly mature crowd of passengers with adventurous spirits, who essentially want to be forced to relax. Because there are no skiff rides or kayaks on these sailings, passengers embrace their desire to explore the region's wilderness and culture in a state of total relaxation, with a camera on hand at all times. Most passengers are from within the U.S., but you probably will notice Australian and European passengers, too.