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14 Juneau to Alaska Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because it was a smaller ship and we could get into fjords that the larger ships could not. No mega lines to board or exit the ship. The captain, Eric Brown, was wonderful and would turn the ship around ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was a smaller ship and we could get into fjords that the larger ships could not. No mega lines to board or exit the ship. The captain, Eric Brown, was wonderful and would turn the ship around announcing which side he would spot whales, or bear, or mountain goats, or otters, seals, etc. The staff were friendly and personable and interacted well with the passengers. Most of the excursions were included and well directed. The 'extra' excursions fill up fast, even if you sign up early you may not get to participate, which can be disappointing. Cabins were nice, each with a private balcony. Meals were served with menus and several choices of food. Entertainment was specific to the region, we learned a lot about the culture of Native Alaskans and the Klondike Gold Rush. I would not recommend this ship for children or teens, there is not a pool or other activities for young adults. We were very happy with our trip. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We like ACL and this is our 3rd cruise with them. Pluses: We booked our next cruise with them while on board to get the 15% savings. and no port charges. We like the intimacy of a smaller ship with less hassles going on & off ship. ... Read More
We like ACL and this is our 3rd cruise with them. Pluses: We booked our next cruise with them while on board to get the 15% savings. and no port charges. We like the intimacy of a smaller ship with less hassles going on & off ship. For people with mobility issues the smaller ship is good as there is less walking around the ship.The ship being small could go to ports like Petersburg where the larger cruise ships cant go. An added surprise was overnighting in Glacier Bay and being able to go off ship at Barlett Cove and walk around. Again something that the big ships cant do. When we saw whales the Capt stopped for some time and then rotated the ship so everyone could see.. The ship is all inclusive with no shops, casino or spa. We like this as opposed to the big ships that can push sales constantly. There is no mail box or name on the cabin door so no worries about having to cull advertisements out constantly like on some ships PLUS & MINUS: The food is good but rich and the desserts are constantly pushed, cookies at 10 am, desserts at lunch & dinner. Happy hour with treats then dinner and for the night's program root beer floats & sundaes. For anyone struggling with a sweet tooth or watching sugar intake has a constant temptation. Snacks are kept out. ACL has started room service for breakfast which we didn't use. A highlight was our Tlingkat Native interpreters that came on board in Glacier Bay Barlett Cove with the Ranger for 24 hours. Captain, Capt Brown who was retired Coast Guard.Capt Brown was very pleasant and conscientious .Our hotel manager Nico was excellent always working and determined to please. MINUS: The vast majority of the staff are younger students.We found this to be true on the other 2 cruises we took with ACL. This was a problem that wait staff needed better training and meal service could be very chaotic. Even the Cruise Directors were young so we see ACL as a training ground for students going into the hospitality field. I would like ACL to include and pay higher wages to some seasoned waiters to mentor the young waiters. The waiters try but it can be frustrating to see the chaos and their stress. Internet was sporadic and we lost it in Glacier bay for several days which met that people could not check in with home or use their cell phones except for the 3 hour stop at Barlett Cove in Glacier Bay. When we cruised Tray Arm again the loss of internet & cell from about 3 am the last day until about 8 pm when we arrived back in Juneau..I think ACL needs to improve their WIFI which we found to be slow. People with health issues have on the larger ships access to medical clinic with doctors. On ACL there was a medic I believe but no medical clinic. I believe a heart attack in Glacier Bay could be a major issue for a medical evacuation. ACL does cater to the older crowd with a higher probability of health issues. There is no cable TV and some of the videos shown on the ACL channel were very dated at least 20-30 years old. there were movie videos but the lack of updated videos on the Alaska channel was disappointing. Excursions are mainly walking tours and the fishing, float and Kayak tours had limited space and sold out. I would like ACL to have more variety with their tours and increase the capacity for float, kayaking and fishing. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We always wanted to see the San Junan Islands of Washing state and thought this would be an effortless way to do it. Embarkation was easy. The itinerary was very good and we really enjoyed all the historical little towns and scenery. ... Read More
We always wanted to see the San Junan Islands of Washing state and thought this would be an effortless way to do it. Embarkation was easy. The itinerary was very good and we really enjoyed all the historical little towns and scenery. Our room was quite large and the king size bed was really nice and comfortable. We did not do a veranda, as they were very small and had a metal door, not a big window and other folks said they wouldn't have paid for a veranda had they known. We chose #205 which was fairly quiet and others in the aft of the ship said the engine could be noisy. There were always snacks and beverages available in the lounge and a continental breakfast for early risers. I would suggest booking a room on the starboard side, as it seemed they usually had the better view in port. Breakfast was good and had many choices. There were only 2 choices for lunch and dinner along with a vegetarian choice. I think the food was rather average, except for the last night when lobster and surf and turf was on the menu. No phones in the rooms which could be a factor in a medical emergency during the night. The ship is about the oldest in their fleet and needs a bit of updating, but was clean. There didn't seem to be stabilizers and when we encountered rough seas one day, many folks were ill, but it was only for about 5 hours or so. The wait staff along with the cruise director, etc were all great. The shore excursions and informative talks on board were enjoyable, but it would have been nice to have had a complimentary excursion in each port, such as a walking tour. The walking tour of Port Angeles was $20, but we went to the Visitor Center and got it for $12. Entertainment was just average and usually local people who lived in the particular town where we stopped for the day. This is definitely not a cruise for children, they would be bored. It was mostly 'seniors'. Disembarkation went smoothly and we paid for the airport transfer which was very reasonable. All in all, it was the perfect way to see the San Juan Islands. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I prefer small ship cruises, and this line seemed to meet all my expectations. Friends had traveled on it and recommended it highly. The only problem seemed to be choosing from a lot of exciting and inviting destinations. My son and I ... Read More
I prefer small ship cruises, and this line seemed to meet all my expectations. Friends had traveled on it and recommended it highly. The only problem seemed to be choosing from a lot of exciting and inviting destinations. My son and I chose the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands cruise and were not disappointed.. Everything was outstanding, from the pre-cruise package which gave us a night in Seattle and transportation to the ship to our disembarkation with the promise of a future voyage. Our single cabins were roomier than expected with plenty of closet and drawer space for clothes. We even had balconies, although I didn't use mine. The only problem was the bed which was narrower than I had expected. But I managed. Food was very good, and we enjoyed the fact that seating was not reserved, so that we had a chance to meet a lot of our fellow passengers. The late afternoon cocktail hour was another opportunity to mix. Because I have mobility problems, I found I couldn't take some of the shore excursions, but my son did and enjoyed them very much. I especially enjoyed seeing the Burchardt Gardens for the third time in my life and my visit to the Suquamish Museum. And even if I couldn't take advantage of the actual trips, I enjoyed David Stephens talks about the area, the people, and the tribal customs. I highly recommend both this cruise line and the ship we traveled on. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Very impressed with Uncruise. Having sailed big cruise ships before, this was a far superior experience. Every day we saw beautiful, jaw dropping sights without another boat in sight. It was lovely to go kayaking and be completely alone in ... Read More
Very impressed with Uncruise. Having sailed big cruise ships before, this was a far superior experience. Every day we saw beautiful, jaw dropping sights without another boat in sight. It was lovely to go kayaking and be completely alone in nature and turn back and see our charming vessel anchored in a little cove. The staff were very keen and enthusiastic and tried very hard, even though not always as knowledgeable as I hoped they would be.Southeastern Alaska is a geologic marvel and a little more information such as regarding the role of glaciers in carving the landscape would have been welcome. The presentations in the evening were very not very informative despite the staff trying hard. Perhaps Uncruise could employ someone who has extensive knowledge to do the presentations and not expect the young adventure guides to perform that role. We were lucky to have days with good weather, but one windy day did prevent off the boat activities. I loved the gender equality aboard and the lack of single use plastic. The boat could use some updating. Our cabin while extremely clean( very hardworking staff) was run down and needed a complete overhaul. The beds were comfortable and bedding, while not Frette, was fresh and clean. The biggest downsides were the lounge did not have enough seating for all guests and one had to line up at mealtimes. I was very impressed however with the quality of the equipment: life jackets, kayaks, skiffs etc as well as the concern for safety. The getting in and out of skiffs and kayaks was extremely well monitored and easy. The food was good. Portions were adequate and the staff certainly took into account special requests and asked each meal if we had food allergies. I loved the waitstaff, Jonathan and Tichelle who worked really hard and were so pleasant. We did a galley tour and was amazed at the tight quarters and limited equipment. I can’t imagine how the chef, Bri was able to turn out the meals she did in that space.: Another example of the excellent employees of Uncruise. Most people onboard were very well traveled, very friendly and active. While I usually avoid open seating like the plague,on this cruise I enjoyed meeting new people and hearing their interesting travel stories. By the end of the week I had spoken to most people on board as we had either sat with them at meals, chatted over drinks or done an activity together. I recommend this cruise to people who want a more active vacation and to see parts of Alaska the big ships don’t go. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I love wilderness. I love small ships that don't really go "anywhere." This cruise promised and delivered exactly what I wanted. We had 3 whole days in Glacier Bay with nary another person or ship in sight. To add to the ... Read More
I love wilderness. I love small ships that don't really go "anywhere." This cruise promised and delivered exactly what I wanted. We had 3 whole days in Glacier Bay with nary another person or ship in sight. To add to the sensory overload was 3 continuous days of sun, something unheard of in most of Alaska. Alaska was Awakening and while there were no babies of any sort and the bears were still hibernating, it was a great experience. Small ship cruises are most expensive. With 37 passengers and a crew of 25, there was lots of attention. The food was good and the cabin, albeit with its tiny bathroom, was comfortable. Each crew member had a particular interest. What I found troubling was that there seemed to be no one in charge of wildlife spotting. While not every bird, otter, sea lion, seal and porpoise needs to be enumerated, it is good to call them out and identify them. I found that lacking and it was disappointing. There were multiple and daily opportunities to kayak, hike, and go for skiff rides to explore. The activities are not tremendously difficult. On the cruise we were on, I think young children would be bored. I would go again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
My wife and I had a wonderful time on our 7 night Alaskan Dream Cruise on the Chichagof Dream embarking in Juneau and ending in Sitka. The Chichagof Dream is a small ship built in the 1980's and overhauled in 2016 for Alaskan Dream ... Read More
My wife and I had a wonderful time on our 7 night Alaskan Dream Cruise on the Chichagof Dream embarking in Juneau and ending in Sitka. The Chichagof Dream is a small ship built in the 1980's and overhauled in 2016 for Alaskan Dream Cruises.. It had only 37 passengers on our cruise so we got acquainted with most of them over meals and excursions. We enjoyed the small ship experience which included kayaking and DIB boat days in Kelp Bay and Takatz Bay in eastern Baranoff island, visits to Petersburg and Kake, dinner on shore at the Orca Point Lodge, and a DIB boat tours in Endicott Arm to view Dawes Glacier as it calves into the water and to a sea lion "haul out." We were interested that our captain, who was very experienced and did a fine job of navigating, was hired only for this trip, and that our tour leader had only been on the job for a month or so. A kick-off visit to the newly opened Alaska State Museum would have been informative and enjoyable with a knowledgeable guide. But the DIB boat, dining room, and lounge staff were very helpful and accommodating. Our cabin, category A, was small with 2 twin beds and portholes but was comfortable. The visit to the fishing village of Petersburg included an explanation of how Norwegian settlers got to Alaska and some children dancing Norwegian folk dances, a village bus tour, and a hike along a board walk to see muskeg required more time than the sights warranted. The same was true for a visit to Kake, a Tlingit village where we saw some native dancing, the world's tallest totem pole, a presentation by a local carver, and a local fish hatchery where we watched a black bear catching a salmon. The after dinner presentations by the staff in the lounge on Alaska living, native animals, and Tlinigit culture were informal, well intentioned, and amateurish. The food in the dining room was abundant and generally good but the chef didn't deliver on the full ambitions of his menus. Not surprisingly, the visits to Juneau (where there were 4 large cruise ships in port) and Sitka which were the most interesting shore excursions, but we were partly, if not mostly on our own. We got to see whales, sea lions, harbor seals, bears, mountain goats, salmon, and lots of birds as well as the fantastic Alaska fjord/mountain/seaside scenery. Interestingly, in Sitka we docked at the home of the cruise line owners and disembarked from there. So for an informal and relaxing exposure to southeast Alaska, this was a very enjoyable cruise with some rough edges which I hope will be addressed in the future. Interestingly, several college alumni travel tours as well as Road Scholar tours use Alaskan Dream ships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was our first experience with any type of cruise. We chose the small boat because we heard that we would be able to go to areas not normally allowed of the big cruise ships. We were not disappointed! The cabins were very nice and ... Read More
This was our first experience with any type of cruise. We chose the small boat because we heard that we would be able to go to areas not normally allowed of the big cruise ships. We were not disappointed! The cabins were very nice and ours had a sliding door that opened on to the deck. I would not recommend spending the extra money on this type, since there was no added value for the door. Also, because we had no cross ventilation, none of the clothes that got wet were able to dry during the whole cruise (and these were NOT cotton clothes). Everything else in the cabin worked great. The guided trips were fantastic, especially dropping anchor next to a glacier and then kayaking closer. The whale watching was not a disappointment, as we saw quite a few whales. Some even swam just yards from the boat. Another favorite was the snorkeling. Obviously we needed to use their wet suits because the water temperature was 34 degrees. But I never got cold. Unfortunately, there was only one 45 - minute chance to perform this activity and we paid $35 to rent the suit. Very expensive for just the one time. They should have scheduled more snorkeling activities. The crew was extremely friendly and went out of their way to make sure you had what you needed. Megan was a fantastic leader for all of the activities and Dawn was a great guide, who knew quite a bit about many things. The food was excellent, definite fine restaurant quality. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style while the dinner was slightly more formal sit down. For dinner each night you could choose a meat, seafood, or vegetarian. What we didn’t realize until the last couple of days was that you could order half and half. And we didn’t know this until a fellow passenger ordered it. This was not publicized. All in all, we had a great time and will certainly book another cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was our 8th cruise with American Cruise Lines - we choose this line for its small ships, American crew, and interesting destinations. To enjoy the American Experience, you have to understand what you are NOT buying - no casino, stage ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise with American Cruise Lines - we choose this line for its small ships, American crew, and interesting destinations. To enjoy the American Experience, you have to understand what you are NOT buying - no casino, stage show, spa, salon, specialty dining, etc. What you ARE buying is local entertainment in small ports, friendly and responsive young staff, and mature passengers with lots of travel experience and rich life stories. Cabins are more than adequate in size (although I always pack extra hangers). Dining is one seating for lunch and dinner. Dress code is casual. Although we did not get as lucky with the wildlife as I was hoping (no bears for me) the scenery was beautiful, the weather acceptable, and the long journey south from Juneau to Seattle relaxing. The small ports we visited were unique and charming. The free hotel night in Juneau and transfer to the ship were a great idea. The Hotel Baranof is not a very nice hotel but hotel options in Juneau are very limited. On Alaska itineraries for American, most shore excursions are complimentary. Excursions were simple but the "city tour" in Wrangell, AK was exceptionally charming. Traffic in Seattle is terrible so neither the city tour nor the transfer to the airport were pleasant, but of course this is not American Cruise Lines' fault. Internet and television service were unavailable most of the time as the ship sailed a long distance from land. The hotel manager - also serving as cruise director on this voyage - was amazing. We loved Val's personality and attention to customer service. His eager young staff (the kids serve as both room stewards and dining room waiters) was so friendly and loveable. Some of the food was a little odd and we were disappointed in the quality of the fish and seafood, but I can tell you we did not lose any weight or come home hungry. We are booked on 2 more American Cruise Lines trips, in September 2016 and March 2017. It is a relaxing, informative, and pleasant way to travel the USA. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
My kids had a great time, this was their first cruise, so they had no other comparisons. I was expecting more for $20,000 (4 of us)- like linen changes, portion sizes of dinner more than 4oz and special occasion celebrations as shown in ... Read More
My kids had a great time, this was their first cruise, so they had no other comparisons. I was expecting more for $20,000 (4 of us)- like linen changes, portion sizes of dinner more than 4oz and special occasion celebrations as shown in brochure. It is one of the few cruises that you can lose weight, many choices of activities. The staff was wonderful and we enjoyed getting close to nature. I think this cruise line is a great idea for parents with teenagers because there is no internet and the kids get unplugged and do some physical activity out in nature. The evening presentations were also very educational. Kids entertained themselves with board games, books and binoculars (looking at whales and other animals). The staff worked hard to make everyone's trip enjoyable. I would recommend this trip for people, who are willing and able to get off of the boat and are up for adventure. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
PROS We chose this cruise because - being a small boat it get's to places the big ships can't go (max 70 passengers). We stood 30 metres off shore from calving Glaciers - wow ! The sea and land scenery were simply awesome. ... Read More
PROS We chose this cruise because - being a small boat it get's to places the big ships can't go (max 70 passengers). We stood 30 metres off shore from calving Glaciers - wow ! The sea and land scenery were simply awesome. Every day you get to chose variety of off-boat activities i.e. kayaking, skiff tours & shore excursions and rough trails. The have the best methods of launching and decking returning kayaks. The crew are likable, friendly, capable and very knowledgeable, so is the Captain. Breakfast and lunch are a very scrumptious smorgasbord, but dinner was a la carte. I found the portions very small and not being able to eat bread (a coeliac) left me hungry at night. They also gave me 3 dinners containing gluten 3 times in error and this made me ill. Of course you can stay on the boat, look at the wonderful temperate forest, mountains and occasional glacier or just read a book. But if you like adventure, especially kayaking, this is the cruise for you, but it's up to you to take part. I expected to see more wildlife, but we saw our share of bears, eagles, otters, seals and sea lions and I guess it's all down to luck. CONS Luke warm coffee and tea was a constant downer. Couldn't wait to get off the boat and get a hot tea or coffee. If you're not used to tipping e.g. Australian, English or NZ, we got a BIG shock when with 2 days to go the Capt told us we were expected to tip 15-20% of the cabin cost ! Our cabin cost was $10,000 AU which meant paying another $1,500 to $2,000 extra. OK I've tipped $150 to the cabin steward on our Hawaiian cruse but not 15% of the cruise cost. I felt this was unconscionable but our American friends assured us it was all above board in USA. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We wanted to see Alaska, but are not fans of big cruise ships, nor did we want an extreme nature cruise. This cruise fit the bill. Nice size, nice crew, interesting passengers. Beautiful scenery. I would highly recommend. ... Read More
We wanted to see Alaska, but are not fans of big cruise ships, nor did we want an extreme nature cruise. This cruise fit the bill. Nice size, nice crew, interesting passengers. Beautiful scenery. I would highly recommend. The outstanding item I want to highlight was the bartender Daniel Harding. Not only a great bartender in general, his Irish Coffee was the best I have ever had! The Buena Vista in San Francisco should take lessons from Daniel! We went in May and loved watching the humpback whales. Glaciers were outstanding and we learned much about several that we got to see up close. Watched what is called caving…calving? Pretty spectacular. You are pretty remote the entire time and cell service is sparse if any. It was nice to be disconnected from civilazation! They even offer on board massage, which I passed on. Others spoke highly of the massage and even one was said to call it "a spiritual event". Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Un-Cruise Adventures does an outstanding job providing a real Alaskan expedition geared to a wide range of interests and athletic ability. I have been on nine other cruises, all ships with at least 200 people. None had the same ... Read More
Un-Cruise Adventures does an outstanding job providing a real Alaskan expedition geared to a wide range of interests and athletic ability. I have been on nine other cruises, all ships with at least 200 people. None had the same "adventure" focus as UnCruise. I think the cruise line fills its niche well. We flew to Juneau the day before, staying at Hotel Baranof. The next morning, we walked to the convention center where we left our luggage in the UnCruise "day room" while exploring the town. As you'd expect from a small ship with only 72 passengers, embarkation and disembarkation were uncomplicated. At disembarkation in Sitka (what an appealing town!), passengers could leave luggage at a convenient hotel. Uncruise arranged for transportation to the airport and passengers didn't have to deal with luggage. Although not a luxury cruise, the food was excellent. Buffet breakfast and lunch offered something for everyone. At dinner there were three entree choices, one vegetarian. The pastry chef created tempting desserts. Crew members were uniformly friendly and accommodating. I appreciated nice touches like water bottles available for use and good binoculars in each room and in the lounge. My teenage granddaughter relished kayaking and paddle boarding. I stuck with tamer activities. Two of our favorites were watching humpback whales up close and walking amid icebergs in a Glacier Bay "ice , garden" . The itinerary was flexible to allow for good wildlife viewing and longer stops to enjoy the beauty. Public spaces: the one indoor gathering spot cannot accommodate all passengers comfortably though this was rarely an issue. Our twin bed cabin was small but efficient (and larger than I expected). There is a separate toilet and shower; the sink is in the cabin. Advice for cruisers: take your own boots; you'll need them for water landings. There are boots to borrow, but borrowed footwear rarely fits well. I sloshed around uncomfortably. Hiking boots are unnecessary. Overall, this was an outstanding cruise except for one thing: engine noise. I knew there would be noise, but this was NOISE. While it wouldn't have been as bad in a cabin farther from the engine, there is no getting away from it in the dining room where carrying on a conversation is impossible when the engine is running. Our last morning, the engine started up at 4:30 a.m. No more sleep after that.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We have sailed on a number of small expedition ships and have found this to be our preferred way of cruising. We had a wonderful first week in which the Wilderness Explorer met all of our expectations.The Wilderness Explorer did not have ... Read More
We have sailed on a number of small expedition ships and have found this to be our preferred way of cruising. We had a wonderful first week in which the Wilderness Explorer met all of our expectations.The Wilderness Explorer did not have the luxury of some of the ships we have experienced but the price was quite a bit lower and on the whole, the first week represented very good value for money. The second week however was very disappointing and I would not recommend it at all. Firstly though the advantages. During the first week, there were some good hikes and excellent opportunities for paddle boarding and sea kayaking. . The main benefits for us were the excellent staff especially those helping with the sea kayaking and the small skiffs. The staff were also quite knowledgeable and seemed to genuinely try to make the experience enjoyable for everyone. On most evenings, there was a lecture after dinner and it was interesting to hear from the staff about aspects of the environment or Another great aspect of the trip was that we were able to visit many places which would have been inaccessible to larger ships. This was a real bonus as some places such as Misty Fijords were truly spectacular. It was also wonderful to be in places where our ship was the only one to be seen and which seemed to be true wilderness areas remote from other people. The food on the ship was quite good and very plentiful. There was plenty of variety and lots of salads and vegetables. Except on the final night, all meals were served buffet style. There was also bar where it was possible to purchase cocktails and other drinks and nibblies were served before dinner. In summary, every day during the first week was filled with interesting activities, beautiful scenery and opportunities for exercise. The second week was a very different story. We had booked for the cruise in Australia and I did not realize that there was an opportunity to disembark the ship in Ketchikan. Only a third of the passengers remained on board for the second week- most of whom were other Australians. During this time we had full three days at sea where it was not possible to leave the ship at all. The ship was simply too small for this to be a pleasant experience. Additionally, our mid range cabin was very small and very cold so it was a pleasant place in which to relax. The other days, while pleasant, were spent in areas which could not be considered wilderness areas. I think that the whole week was oriented towards bringing the ship back to Seattle at the end of the season.The staff too, seemed to relax after most of the passengers left. Even on the days which were not at sea, many of the staff seemed to be not as helpful as they were during the first week and we had the feeling that they were simply wanting to finish the cruise. I can understand this as the staff must have worked incredibly hard all season and were probably ready to move on to other aspects of their lives. Finally, we were slightly annoyed that one of the staff made it very clear that a ten per cent tip would be expected at the conclusion of the trip. We know that this is common practice but it still irked. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012

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