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9 Juneau to Alaska Cruise Reviews

I joined this cruise as part of a family reunion and had no hand in picking this particular voyage. I also didn't pay for it! Nice deal! As this is my first cruise, I don't have a point of comparison and so may be unfairly ... Read More
I joined this cruise as part of a family reunion and had no hand in picking this particular voyage. I also didn't pay for it! Nice deal! As this is my first cruise, I don't have a point of comparison and so may be unfairly critical. Ship: well-designed, relaxed but somewhat luxurious feel to it. They have a great sustainability effort throughout, giving you a NatGeo water bottle with refill areas to avoid plastic bottles, no straws, etc. Ship Crew & Naturalists: everyone was friendly enough but there was something amiss regarding the large staff of ship crew and NatGeo naturalists. Everyone seemed a little tired and weary. I get that it must be a grind to welcome, host, and then bid farewell to 100 strangers week after week but they need to figure out some way to inject some energy into it or to keep their speeches to a minimum. Naturalists: there were many aboard the ship--how expensive was that? A few were terrific: Justin led fabulous nature walks; Michelle was an exception to the low-energy vibe, exuding a warm spirit and energy in addition to her great photography guidance; Jared wrangled the kids and kept things light and fun. The others fit into a sort of "I'm tired and bored with you" theme. The cruise itinerary and activities (walks, kayaking, paddle boarding) are great, though there's not as much opportunity for longer hikes on shore as I would have liked. They get you in and out of the zodiacs quickly and safely. In the evening they had presentations by naturalists and these were a little weak. Either the topic (birds of Alaska, say) wasn't of interest to me or the presentation didn't have much of a message, e.g. "I live in Alaska and how cool is that? By the way, I live in Alaska. Oh yeah, I'm from Alaska...etc." Dining was a huge fail. I love that they focus on sustainability and so offer only sustainable fish and seafood (no shrimp!). However, the experience was so bad that I wondered if the chef quit early in the journey because our first meal was by far the best one. Here's the rundown: Breakfast is a buffet with the usual eggs, sausage, bacon, oatmeal, potatoes, etc. It's fine though I would have liked to see some smoked fish on occasion (particularly on the day we had brunch instead of breakfast and lunch). Lunch is also a buffet with a good selection of salads and entrees. I really enjoyed the vegetable options which were unusual and plentiful, e.g. a nice rice salad studded with dried cherries, herb-coated cauliflower, etc. Often there was a starch on hand such as polenta or couscous which was incredibly, amazingly bland. Dinners were, overall, meager and bland--think spa food. Every soup tasted as if someone took a wonderful soup and then added gallons of water to it. The last night we had a lentil soup that was pretty good, but this was the exception. The main courses were generally very small portions. The first night I had a crispy tofu with vegetables that was great and set a high bar that every other dinner failed to meet. There was one night where I was the only diner at our table of 10 who ordered a ribeye and everyone else got the fish option. I was served a nice-sized steak (maybe 6 oz?) while everyone else got a tiny bit of fish plated with a few vegetables. We were awestruck by the audacity to serve someone 2 oz of fish and a half-cup of vegs and pretend like this was a meal. I cut my steak in half and three people dived into that half of a steak to augment their meal. I suppose we could have asked for more but it didn't occur to any of us at the time. I admire their goal to reduce food waste but they should have said at the outset that portion sizes are small and encouraged people to ask for second helpings. Because the dinners were meager, people were often hungry after the meal, which meant if there was a dessert buffet, early birds would scarf up multiple servings, leaving none for the later diners. If there wasn't a dessert buffet, then people would request the servers to bring them several desserts to fill up after the main dish. If I were doing this cruise again, then I would skip the soup at dinner and ask for one of the entrees to be served as my appetizer and then have another entree as a main course. This would result in a more filling and enjoyable meal. On hand at all times was a good espresso/cappuccino machine, good brewed coffee, and a variety of other beverages and snacks. Cocktail hour was fun with a nice spread of cheese, crackers, salami, dips, and vegetables. The bartender is superlative and makes a huge variety of cocktails with generous pours and ease. Overall, this cruise seemed a little pricey for the experience (keep in mind that it was free for me!). If I were to sail with Lindblad/NatGeo again, I would assert myself a little more in the food realm to ensure enough food and would stock up on evening activities I could enjoy in my cabin (movies on my laptop?). Because of the ship's size, there's no communal space other than the lounge in the evening, which is where the presentations happen. There is a sun deck with lounge chairs but the Alaskan weather wasn't conducive to relaxing outside. Cruise highlights included seeing whales bubble-netting to catch fish, spotting many seal lions and a few bears, sea otters, and mountain goats, and getting close to some beautiful tidal glaciers. Gorgeous scenery! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
After having cruised Alaska last year with Celebrity we wanted to try a smaller ship for the off the path stops. The Constellation was just the size we were looking for. The precruise hotel was an old one. While billed as a 3 star I ... Read More
After having cruised Alaska last year with Celebrity we wanted to try a smaller ship for the off the path stops. The Constellation was just the size we were looking for. The precruise hotel was an old one. While billed as a 3 star I certainly wouldn't give it that rating. A clean road side motel more accurately describes the "Prospector" now owned by Ramada Wyndham As others have noted the onboard dining experience left a lot to be desired. Diner entrée choices where down to three and the portions were small. One could ask for more but there would be a time delay and when dining with others that would be problematic. The entrees were mediocre at best. One night was a vegetarian stuffed pepper. It was only a small slice of pepper overlaid with a tasteless couscous and I ended up having a piece of chocolate cake for dinner instead. The absence of a snack bar onboard was very apparent that day. The ship's heating units were all mounted high on the walls and because heat rises the decks were drafty all the time. The outside temperatures were running in the 50s and 60s so it was very uncomfortable. There was some problem with the ship wide computer system and we had to be logged on and off the ship by paper the entire cruise. I understand the cell service and wifi are spotty in Alaska but the brochure offered free wifi during the cruise and it was rare when we had access outside Juneau. After dinner we were stuck with our overly bubbly cruise director reading us the next day's itinerary from the same sheet that was delivered to our stateroom. She often ran over her allotted time so the entertainment didn't start until late. The music stopped at about 9:45PM so it was a short night. The good? the staff, they were great without exception (wish the cruise director would be a bit more mature and professional) Boarding and debarkation was smooth. Alaska was, what can I say? Gorgeous. The ship's captain stopped the vessel several times to view wildlife (whales, bears and orcas) and really made the cruise. I'm not big on walking tours so I passed on several excursions. The bus tours, the river rafting and the White Pass RR were great. Would I recommend this cruise? Probably not. They really have to upgrade their dining options and when it gets cold in Alaska the ship is uncomfortable. Back to the bigger ships for me. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I chose this cruise because a friend had wonderful experiences with this line and I loved the itenerary. However, I did not ask all the right questions and those I asked of the company were not answered with completeness or accurate ... Read More
I chose this cruise because a friend had wonderful experiences with this line and I loved the itenerary. However, I did not ask all the right questions and those I asked of the company were not answered with completeness or accurate knowledge of the ship. My husband is disabled and I notified the staff that we would be arriving with walker and wheelchair... no problem, they said. WRONG! The wheelchair could barely fit into the tiny, difficult elevator, there was no room service, tiny rooms, no phone to contact housekeeping for blankets or towels or special clean up needs. The staff was gracious but I had to go out of the room, wander about the ship to find some help, then request whatever we needed, clearly interrupting them from assigned tasks. This is NOT a ship for the handicapped! Fine for able bodied people who don’t mind the scheduled meals - open seating but if you miss the proper hour, you miss your meal. The staff really tried to make all better and we met a lot of nice people ( only 87 of us aboard) and the excursions were nice. Match your needs to this ship’s accommodations and you will be fine. Kudos to the staff on board who did all they could to make our lives better. Thumbs down to American Cruise Lines who could make minimal changes and market this ship to the appropriate group and solve the problems! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I was looking for an adventure cruise on a small ship with a focus on glaciers and wildlife. Weather in Sept was wet, cold, rough and windy. We saw almost no wildlife - 2 bears on a beach 3/4 of a mile away and only humpback whales from a ... Read More
I was looking for an adventure cruise on a small ship with a focus on glaciers and wildlife. Weather in Sept was wet, cold, rough and windy. We saw almost no wildlife - 2 bears on a beach 3/4 of a mile away and only humpback whales from a considerable distance - literally nothing else. Food was excellent, crew was very accommodating. The owner of the cruise line was on board and altogether too much of a presence in a number of respects. On days when we saw very little, kayaked around the ship for lack of something to do, they got everyone together in the evening and raved about what a fantastic day we had had. Well no it was cold, windy and we saw very little. They could not help the weather, obviously, but they tried to hard to pump up everyone when it would have be wiser to just not make ridiculous comments about the day that simply did not apply. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
As many have said before in the small vs. large cruise discussions, small cruises really are a lot more flexible, and the captain has a lot of leeway in deciding where to go based on weather and wildlife sightings, etc. That is a huge ... Read More
As many have said before in the small vs. large cruise discussions, small cruises really are a lot more flexible, and the captain has a lot of leeway in deciding where to go based on weather and wildlife sightings, etc. That is a huge advantage, in my opinion. Also, everybody on staff worked SO hard--guides, dining hall people, etc. What I really came to dislike, however, was the relentless upselling that seemed to be happening constantly. No matter what was happening your guide was constantly telling you how GREAT it all was. "Aren't we lucky! Isn't this FANTASTIC!" when in fact it was pouring rain and for some reason no bears appeared in what was supposed a bear-heavy area. Then the day we started out we had to endure a long motivational talk by the company president that probably did contain SOME interesting information, but which got buried under the infomercial type of atmosphere. Likewise on our last night at the "captain's dinner" were we told that that he had some important information for us -- and then passed us to another recorded infomercial from the owner and THEN we had to endure more upselling about how we could earn discounts by purchasing credits beforehand, etc. etc. It was really a turnoff. The other thing is that, while they certainly provided us with activities, nothing is terribly strenuous. Most people were probably in their 50s and 60s --- that being said, there were plenty of people in their 50s who were pretty athletic and it was difficult being confined on a boat for a week without access to exercise that was a little more strenuous than what was on offer. I think I if Un-Cruise could offer at least a couple of activities during the week that were a little more challenging physically it would help out people there who are fit and used to being more active. I know my husband, who runs several miles a day, was going crazy at the relative inactivity. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
There is something very special about cruising the Inside Passage, especially on a smaller ship, however I wondered do these smaller ships really take advantage of their smaller size. We are from Australia, so seeing humpback whales is ... Read More
There is something very special about cruising the Inside Passage, especially on a smaller ship, however I wondered do these smaller ships really take advantage of their smaller size. We are from Australia, so seeing humpback whales is not unusual, we saw a number of them in Alaska, but always some distance away and only the backs, they are still majestic and beautiful but sightings were not regular nor close. We saw an Orca once and at quite a distance, like, pretty much a spec. I agree with one of the other reviews re the upselling - especially the Captains Dinner, when to be honest, I didn't even notice the Captain, other than at the beginning when he introduced his team. Listening to the Video and being told how easy and at a reduced cost it would be to book the next cruise sounded desperate. Send us the info later!! Nobody was really interested at that time. This holiday gets such rave reviews that I will be considered the negative naysayer, but here goes anyway. There are many pro's for this cruise, but a number of con's also: The guests were all delightful, interesting and engaging. A lot of them quite fit and I really enjoyed an impromptu yoga class by the gorgeous Meghan on the deck in glorious sunshine as we travelled along. A truly magical day. The Bushwhacking was great if you love Lichen and other plants, but it got quite tedious after that. Having said that, I was in the very lucky group of people that witnessed a bear catching salmon in the river, it was about 40 metres away from us and a truly amazing sight, if for nothing else the trip was worth it just for that. Nobody else saw a bear, even in the distance, other than this sighting. The kayaking was really enjoyable, especially when guided by Sarah W, she seemed to be able to get the right amount of talking happening, she was informative but also happy for the landscape and environment to speak for itself. The food was certainly above average and the pasty chef was amazing. Biscuits and cakes were delicious. The guides were all extremely well read and informed, they knew their stuff. Skiff rides through the glacier ice in Icy Strait were truly amazing. I agree with a previous review though, that at times I was stir crazy for some hard exercise. On the second day the Captain advised us that there was a "stowaway", which was a gastro bug, effecting largely the crew. This made eating anything a lottery. To their credit they did seem to get it contained, before about Wednesday when an awful flu went through the ship. I found the ship to be quite grubby even when cleaned. The windows needed to be opened more and it needs the carpets and fabrics updating badly. It felt like a harbour for disease. Even a number of the crew looked like they could do with a good scrub. This could also be due to the fact that it was the second last cruise of the season and it just needed a good clean. The open bridge policy was a joke. The Captain had zero personality. I realise he has a large responsibility but I didn't like the way he was to the passengers or a couple of his crew. I think the bridge should be closed if the people up there cant be friendly. I realise it would be tedious being asked the same old questions, but if that's the policy at least do it well. The safety drill was ridiculous as was the way a false alarm was conducted. Accidents are unlikely and just as well as they would not have coped. The expectation of a large tip at the end might be expected in the USA, but those of us not from the States found it quite a high expectation of approx. $500 per cabin. Just be aware and factor it into the cost. The guides/crew/hospitality all worked extremely hard, although some had definitely had enough by this stage of the season. Would I do another Un-Cruise - Im just not sure. It was great on so many levels, but really I give most of the credit to the wonderful state of Alaska more than anything else. Would I recommend you to do this cruise with Wilderness Discoverer - yes. Just go with eyes opened. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
I realize i am the naysayer on these guys, Perhaps i believed the brochures too much as UnCruise is still pretty "cruise" like in many ways. the impression given by their marketing is that this cruise is a chance to get close ... Read More
I realize i am the naysayer on these guys, Perhaps i believed the brochures too much as UnCruise is still pretty "cruise" like in many ways. the impression given by their marketing is that this cruise is a chance to get close to nature with hikes, free kayaking and such. But your are kept on a pretty tight leash and the nature/adventure experience very limited. all in all the animal experiences were disappointing. Here are things that really ticked us off. 1) they will not announce animal sitings during or immediately before meal times so as to not disrupt service. As a result most of the boast missed the only Steller Sea lions we saw on the cruise. We saw them but i feel bad for the foreign visitors who may never get to see these huge marine animals. 2) they will not announce animal sitings if they feel it will delay a departure. This time most of the boat missed the only bears as one group saw them but were not allowed to alert the rest of the boat. 3) They keep much further away than the day boats (whom are observing the legal limit). so their brochure photos of whales near the boat must be a rarity. If your primary goal is to see wild life you would do far better to take the ferry between these small ports and then day trips out from each port. Also, if you are an active person then this is not the trip for you. Kayaking is only allowed in the immediate vicinity of the boat and all "hike" are really walks with them all being less than a mile. I am sure they have their reasons for all of this, but know what to expect and take the advice above if you are seeking something different. On the plus side, the ships crew are uniformly great and bend over backwards to help with any request. The Captain is excellent and the open bridge policy outstanding. Strangely the expedition leaders are a mixed bunch, some good, some poor. I am not sure why their hiring policies result in a great crew but a inconsistent expedition team (but they do). Many people love uncruise. but then many people love Carnival cruise. For the nature buff neither are the people to go with. For the cost of this cruise you could organize an outstanding personal adventure. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Un-Cruise Safari Explorer..July 2014 Alaska  I have had the good fortune to have taken hundreds of pleasure trips in my life. I have taken trips that range from cruising with the Regent Line, to going down the Colorado on a raft and ... Read More
Un-Cruise Safari Explorer..July 2014 Alaska  I have had the good fortune to have taken hundreds of pleasure trips in my life. I have taken trips that range from cruising with the Regent Line, to going down the Colorado on a raft and sleeping in tents, as well as skiing at numerous upscale resorts. I’ve have hiked New Zealand and also biked with Backroads, helicopter hiked with Tauck in the Canadian Rockies and have had many more exciting and varied travel experiences, but my Un-Cruise adventure on the Safari Explorer was the worst trip I have ever taken and the least value for the money spent. Discoverer’s Glacier Country was sold as a luxury trip. My expectations of luxury aboard an exploration ship were not the same as they would be on a large cruise ship, but I found nothing luxurious about this experience. The cabin interior was unimaginative and colorless, the duvet lumpy, the towels might have been larger, fluffier and more abundant. There was nothing in the space that could not have been upgraded. We were requested to use each towel for as many days as possible, which I did, but I was a single in a cabin. Had there been two of us it would have been far from luxurious to shower and dry my hair with a single bath towel. Food portions were small but that was okay as we spent half the day doing nothing while the ship was in motion. Food flavor is a matter of individual taste but the presentation on a luxury experience should be lovely and professional appearing. Dinner looked as though I had plated it myself....in a hurry. The lectures were nearly non existent, dull and certainly the speakers could not compare to the educators on other exploration ships. I must add that two members of the crew were outright rude to me, without any provocation and with no reaction from me. On the positive side, this line attracted well traveled, outgoing, interesting and friendly passengers. The only luxury item on this trip was the inclusion of wine and liquor. To really be impressed by Un-Cruise one would have to be drunk.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
My wife and I joined the Celebrity Cruise 7 night cruise/4 night land Tour Southbound commencing 29th August, 2005. Unfortunately my baggage was lost for 4 days so it didn't start well. We can only say we were extremely disappointed ... Read More
My wife and I joined the Celebrity Cruise 7 night cruise/4 night land Tour Southbound commencing 29th August, 2005. Unfortunately my baggage was lost for 4 days so it didn't start well. We can only say we were extremely disappointed by Celebrity's Land Start. The day trip to Denali (THE PARK WAS FANTASTIC) was to say the least terrible. The bus was an old school bus and we were on it for 8 hours, with only 4 rest stops for about 10-15 minutes each - no air conditioning, toilets or facilities. LUNCH (AND I USE THAT WORD LOOSELY) was a disgraceful cardboard lunch box that only one person ate (and was then sick in the afternoon), we were supposed to eat on the bus as we drove. We did see a few animals. We renamed our selves "DLB" Denali Lunch Box Group. The White Water Rafting trip was cold but great as was the dog sled homestead tour. On the second day we then commenced our trip back towards Seward by Coach, again, another lunch box, but at least a better quality and we stopped by the side of the road at a war veterans memorial and just found somewhere to sit to eat. RATE THIS LAND CONTENT OF THE TRIP: 1 OUT OF 5. We would not recommend this to anyone and our Tour director (Chrystal) treated us like children throughout the trip. We then headed back off to Seward, the train trip was really enjoyable, especially after the coach. The booking in at the ship left a lot to be desired, after boarding we were just handed over to a crew lady (who could speak very little English and told to follow her to our room - no welcome or smile or anything - who then guided us to our room and then just left us. On the first day we sent my brand new suit to be pressed as it was crushed from all the travelling. Upon having it returned we discovered it had been pressed with too hot a press and was shiny and the pockets hadn't been straightened out and were showing on the pants - after 3 tries at pressing the pants they concluded that they couldn't fix them and from then on we were in a continual discussion with "Guest Relations" who really weren't that helpful and I had to keep chasing them - Bottom Line they told us to have our Travel Agent (in Australia) talk to Celebrity Cruise Head Office (in USA) about compensation. Still no resolution. Overall the food was plentiful and good quality but the service was very ordinary in most areas, except for Winston and Darwin at the aft bar who were excellent. We booked a couple of tours and one in particular we were looking forward to was the "Glacier View Kayaking" (don't bother) we were kayaking on a lake approximately 12 miles from the glacier - talk about false and misleading advertising. Another major issue was the automatic 15% gratuities added to all beverage purchases which we found extremely hard to justify when a majority of the waiters and bar persons couldn't understand our requests. The fellow passengers we met were the saving grace of the cruise as the majority all were complaining about similar issues. After travelling from Australia specifically to take Celebrity Cruises to see Alaska we were very disappointed and for the first time in our travelling lives completed a critical guest questionnaire and surprise/surprise have heard nothing back from Celebrity at this time. Would we travel Celebrity Again? Depends on the response of Celebrity as we have planned to go cruising to the Caribbean in 2006. But I really doubt that we would spend a lot of money for so little or no enjoyment with this cruise line who treated us like second class citizens. Read Less
Sail Date August 2005

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