26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Although the reviews of Uncruise on Trip Advisor and Cruise Critic are generally positive, our trip on the Wilderness Explorer left a lot to be desired, did not mirror the comments of previous reviews and is nothing like the brochure or ... Read More
Although the reviews of Uncruise on Trip Advisor and Cruise Critic are generally positive, our trip on the Wilderness Explorer left a lot to be desired, did not mirror the comments of previous reviews and is nothing like the brochure or the information provided to us by the travel agent. We booked this at the last minute, paid way too much-it is a poor value for the price, and are sorry we went. We have been to all 7 continents and are firm from this experience that Alaska is just not worth revisiting. I have been on a small ship like this (75 clients) for 3 weeks to Antarctica and a 15 person boat in the Galapagos for 2 weeks so I know what is possible-both of those experiences were superb. Uncruise is not a good small ship option or good value for the dollar. The Wilderness Explorer is in need of an overhaul. The rooms are small, dark and dank. The presence of sewer gas in our room and generally on our side of the ship was overwhelming. The "hotel manager", although responsive, indicated that this was an ongoing problem, could not be rectified, put a wet washcloth over the shower drain and the sink drain and gave us a bottle of Glade. Did not do the trick. Had difficult sleeping it was so overpowering. We kept the window open (it is minuscule) but it was not really much help. Spent most days (both when raining and sunny) with the door propped open but given that the source is primarily the shower and the door to the bathroom swings shut and opens out blocking the door to the room, it did not provide much relief. Over the week, many people shared their stories of sewer gas...it just shouldn't be an issue if the ships were maintained properly. Our bed was also "broken". Did not retract into a couch, making our room even smaller. But, because they dock on a Saturday around 9am and load new passengers around 4:30pm, they were unable to attempt to repair it. I would imagine it had been broken since the beginning of the season and will continue to be broken until the ship finishes its runs for the season. The activities are just ok. We enjoyed sea kayaking. Although potentially attributable to the unseasonably sunny weather, there is minimal wildlife and there are only so many things you can say about small, orange crabs so shore walks are a bust. Bushwhacking is an attempt to fill time. And the day in Wrangell is a total waste. In Wrangell, you are two hours by boat and less time by helicopter from one of the best bear sanctuaries (on a salmon stream-Anan Bear Sanctuary) and it is impossible to get there because the ship is not in port long enough. The activities in Wrangell are poor at best-brief hike, meeting at the "Chief's house", some petrogylphs (although most have been moved out to various museums so few remaining), etc. Management really needs to figure out how to offer a excursion to the Anan Bear Sanctuary on a regular basis-they have done it before when they were required to spend more time in Wrangell due to ship repairs. It might be the only wildlife anyone sees if it could be arranged. The food was very mediocre. At most meals, fellow table guests were trying to determine what ingredients that were in today's meal had been served in another form the previous day. Ignore the descriptions in the brochure-those are laughable. And although the chef does a good job with the space she has, even the scrambled eggs are terrible. The staff is good. Most are enthusiastic (but they are being paid) and helpful. They are knowledgeable although sometimes in esoteric subjects that have nothing to do with what you are seeing (but that may be because you are not seeing anything). The ship has one large meeting area which is basically the bar. There are no places on the ship that you can get out of your room and not have to sit among hordes of people who are also trying to get out of your room. Finally, they "share" with you that many people have asked about tipping. Our dinner table had a wonderful laugh about that-no one had asked about tipping before it was brought up. They encourage $250 per person, which is essentially, $50 a day per person. We thought that was high although it is getting split among everyone on the ship. We came to the conclusion that it was probably around $750 per ship employee for the week (some employees are exempted-captain, hotel manager, chef, chief guide, etc.). That lead us to believe they were not being paid particularly well. So, beware the tipping that isn't really optional and they are not upfront about in their brochures. In summary, choose another ship, ask questions about the last time it was FULLY overhauled-not just had a coat of paint slapped on it. And ask what they typically see in terms of animals. We asked all those questions and got satisfactory answers. Our travel agent is relaying our disappointment to their sales rep, but as much as we are glad that he is getting the feedback, it doesn't make our trip any better. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
A First time cruise for me and taking my 12yr old grandson made the week SPECIAL! The crew was super friendly and helpful; the food extraordinary and always different;the scenery spectacular and we had the most beautiful weather- ... Read More
A First time cruise for me and taking my 12yr old grandson made the week SPECIAL! The crew was super friendly and helpful; the food extraordinary and always different;the scenery spectacular and we had the most beautiful weather- unexpected!! We saw glaciers up close the 1st day. We kayaked and went out on skiffs to learn about the environment from our knowledgeable guides. We hiked to a lake thru amazing terrain.We saw whales and seals and eagles! And finally our last day saw a bear!! Our captain took the boat in so close to waterfalls we could feel the spray! But most fun for my grandson was paddle boarding w/ a friend- they finally were able to do headstands on the boards! And the water wasn’t so cold when they fell in! The guests were welcomed on the Bridge, and I was fascinated to learn amongst the crew were 6 registered captains!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Weather is a huge factor on any trip, and is very unpredictable in Alaska. We were lucky to have mostly cloudy but dry weather with only a few sprinkles one day of the 7. We are an active retired couple who had avoided big cruise ships ... Read More
Weather is a huge factor on any trip, and is very unpredictable in Alaska. We were lucky to have mostly cloudy but dry weather with only a few sprinkles one day of the 7. We are an active retired couple who had avoided big cruise ships since a conference I attended years ago aboard a Carnival ship visiting Key West and Cozumel. Since then, we had enjoyed a 4-day, 400-passenger ship river cruise on the Yangtze as part of a China tour, and an even smaller (28 passenger) riverboat voyage on the Mekong. We bike, kayak and hike and travel to see new places and meet people, not to overeat, gamble and drink aboard a floating city. We found more than 70 other passengers of mixed age groups on board the Wilderness Explorer who were "our kind of people", on our full-capacity early July Glaciers and Fjords Alaska cruise with UnCruise. We loved and appreciated the crew and how hard they work, enjoyed the fresh and attentively-prepared food, and the opportunity to get up close and personal with nature in SW Alaska's inside passage after a 2-week small group land tour (much more affordable) to points further north and east through G-Adventures (also recommended). We did see quite a variety of wildife on land and sea (even a few bears) though not at close-enough range to spot without binoculars and zoom lenses. I agree with some of the other reviews that some longer and more physically vigorous excursions would be welcomed by some of the more active passengers, also that the ship's interiors are getting a bit worn and outdated and could do with an overhaul. We didn't participate in the "polar plunge" but enjoyed watching others jump into the icy water, including an 80-something-year-old patriarch of a large extend-family multi-generational group. With full capacity, our ship was a bit crowded at times especially the (only) lounge/bar area, where there was insufficient seating for the nightly gathering to reserve the next days' excursions. Our cabin was fine, small but with efficient use of the space including a murphy bed that raised up into the wall while a sofa took its' place. The ventilation system was a bit noisy, and generators constantly running so no at-sea peace and quiet like I recalled from some youthful times aboard a small sailing yacht. There were DVD's in the small shelf library, but no DVD-player in our cabin, we speculated that we would have had to request them to be played on a central system, but never asked since we had brought books to read. Alcohol, including a special bartender's "drink of the day", using premium liquors and fresh fruit juices, was included and unlimited but no one seemed to obviously overindulge. Since our consumption is typically limited to one beer a day, I would prefer to pay separately for drinks with a reduction in cruise fare or less lofty gratuities expected. Those came as kind of a shock as they were triple ($500 for the week compared to $25/day) the set-rate gratuity we're being charged by Windstar on an upcoming Caribbean cruise we have booked. It sort of tainted our final day farewell experience, raising suspicions that they are underpaying the crew and expecting them to make it solely on the gratuities. I would rather they price the cruise higher and pay them a decent wage, but perhaps they're reluctant to do that due to already being high-priced compared to other cruises. But it's a significant amount to be added-on unexpectedly, and the way it was handled on our ship (maybe not always the case?) was pretty tacky, in my opinion, as everyone is checked-out at the bar register on the last day, waiting in line to pay your tab, with the gratuity added on, ringing up the amount you tell them in full view of others in line and verbally confirming the amount in an audible voice, as if to shame anyone who might want to tip anything less than the $500. We had already planned to tip more than for the Windstar cruise considering the excursion guides (who on other cruises would be separately tipped individually) were part of the crew sharing in the total gratuity, not solely the ship's hotel, kitchen, cleaning and wait staff. However, our choice would have been perhaps double the amount, not triple. My preference would have been to tip each excursion guide separately from the ship's crew, since we liked some guides much more than others. This handling of the gratuity and pressure/obligation to tip so lavishly unfortunately tainted our overall UnCruise experience. I wondered if it was a company policy, that particular ship or that particular crew who quoted such a high suggested amount and had decided they could be more assured of getting it by collecting it so very publicly? I won't say we would not do another UnCruise adventure (especially if they start offering Antarctica or the Amazon), but it won't be our automatic go-to cruise line without investigating what else (among smaller-ship, more casual and active cruises--a segment that I hope will grow considerably beyond the limited choices now available) our internet searches and friends' recommendations might turn up for the same destination. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 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
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
First off let me set the tone of the reviewers, we are seasoned cruisers with over 30+ cruises including 5 in Alaska along with a three month Alaska road trip in an RV traveling the main land. We are 59 & 61, together over 45 years ... Read More
First off let me set the tone of the reviewers, we are seasoned cruisers with over 30+ cruises including 5 in Alaska along with a three month Alaska road trip in an RV traveling the main land. We are 59 & 61, together over 45 years and still working. I consider us “Budget Cruisers”, so this trip is way out of our normal affordability. The boat has a capacity of 74. This trip there were 38 people, so a small group which did lend to a very positive experience. The week aboard the Wilderness Explorer was called “Alaska's Fjords & Glaciers”. This is the first year that Uncruise started this early, about four weeks earlier than usual. They called this the “May Awakening”. The boat is small, intimate and cozy. Easy to move around and get to and from staterooms to anywhere on the boat within a minute. The kayak launching system lends itself to ease of entering and exiting the water. To use the skiffs, there was always a crew member inside and outside the skiff to assist in boarding. The food was top notch and well presented. Three dinner options daily, meat, fish or vegetarian meal. Portions at first appear small, but were adequate for most diners. Don't be afraid to ask for half & half meals. Lunches were buffet as was breakfast. Each afternoon around 3, there were cookies and coffee available and on some evenings, appetizers were offered in the lounge before dinner. Lastly, the bar was well stocked with awesome bartender and plenty of suggestions to be had. Activities for the most part were broken up to morning and afternoon events, with a return in time for lunch and dinner. This trip, the activities included kayaking, bushwhacking, skiff tours, snorkeling, paddle boarding and beach walks. Two of the afternoons were onboard the main boat to whale and nature watch. There is no way to compare this cruise with any of the many cruises we have taken. Up to now, the passenger numbers have ranged from a low of 2,000 to a high 6,000 with average sailing cost around $500 to $700 per person. One of our future cruises will be the Galápagos Islands and Uncruise will be on our list of potential tour companies. If interested, I have pictures and YouTube clips of the cruise including the snorkeling part. In addition, there is also a detailed review of day to day that includes our travel from Boston to a long layover in Seattle. Feel free to email me any questions about our trip or any of our trips to dpstimmler@gmail.com. Happy Sailings! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was my first cruise & it was perfect for me. I swore I would never go on a cruise until I heard of Uncruise. They showed me the Alaska I dreamed of. The kayaking hiking skiffing & exploring were amazing. I saw so many animals ... Read More
This was my first cruise & it was perfect for me. I swore I would never go on a cruise until I heard of Uncruise. They showed me the Alaska I dreamed of. The kayaking hiking skiffing & exploring were amazing. I saw so many animals upclose & took amazing photos. The guides were phenomenal & extremely fun, funny & knowledgeable. I learned so much & laughed all day long. I was not interested in luxury & although the boat was older It was immaculate & the service was perfect. Every crew member was eager to answer any question & fulfill every whim. The food was plentiful & delicious. I was happy that the cruise was all inclusive & therefor worry free. The passengers were like minded in their commitment to get out of their normal comfort zones which the guides were always (gently) urging us to do. I just got back & already miss the boat the crew & my fellow explorers! My only regret was that I didn't do the Polar Plunge & kayak more to improve my skills. Guess I'll have to go back! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was our second Un-cruise trip to Alaska. We chose Un-cruise as we wanted a small ship and to have the opportunity for skiff rides, kayaking and hiking. For us it was all about seeing the natural sites and wildlife. The trip began ... Read More
This was our second Un-cruise trip to Alaska. We chose Un-cruise as we wanted a small ship and to have the opportunity for skiff rides, kayaking and hiking. For us it was all about seeing the natural sites and wildlife. The trip began with a whale getting caught in our anchor chain. The Captain and Crew were dedicated to saving the whale. NOAA and a whale expert came to help as no one had seen this before. It took over 12 hours for a successful release to occur, the result was we lost our anchor. We also lost a days activity without one complaint from a passenger, the whale was the most important thing that day. As result we went to port in Petersburg to get a new anchor. Un-Cruise arranged for us to have a walking tour of the town lead by a retired teacher with a great sense of humor. Learned about local life and fishing industry. The highlight of the trip was arranged tour with Alaska Vistas to Anan bear viewing. Situated on stream filled with salmon there is a viewing platform and a blind to watch the bears fish and interact with each other-wonderful day. The food was very good, two breakfast options one early with pastry and fruit followed by full buffet breakfast, lunch was soup, salad and sandwich or wrap buffet with homemade cookies. Evenings were plated and served with choice of meat, seafood or vegetarian. All wine and drinks are included. The crew are the best, well educated funny and very hardworking. They bring Alaska to life. The guides all had knowledge of wildlife trees and plants which made hikes and skiff tours very interesting. Had a wonderful trip and have put a deposit down for Costa Rica Panama with Un-Cruise Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We spent 5 days in Denali before flying from Anchorage to Juneau. We were aboard the Wilderness Explorer for 7 nights exploring the Inner Passage. First and foremost, my son has peanut/tree nut allergies and the chef knew ahead of ... Read More
We spent 5 days in Denali before flying from Anchorage to Juneau. We were aboard the Wilderness Explorer for 7 nights exploring the Inner Passage. First and foremost, my son has peanut/tree nut allergies and the chef knew ahead of time and had no nuts in the kitchen for the week we were on board! The pastry chef makes everything from scratch so it was such a huge joy for my son to eat what everyone else was eating. They did have nut bars for snacks but did offer to also take those away too! They clearly take all allergies very seriously and we thank them for that - traveling with allergies can be very stressful. The ship was clean and though there were 70 passengers on board, it didn't feel like it at all. The rooms could use some updating but everything was clean. We had been on La Pinta over Christmas and that ship is more updated. But, don't let that deter you! We would all go back in a heartbeat and would definitely use Uncruise again. There were excursions off the ship everyday. We went bush whacking, kayaking, on skiff rides, snorkeling (yes, in 47 degree waters with wet suits - we were fine!), hiking. We went through Glacier Bay. It is a very active cruise - perfect for our 5 teens. The grandmothers went on skiff rides or meadow walks or just watched the stunning scenery. They do have rainboots on board. I brought my daughters and mine though and the boys just got them from on board. Either way, they are a must. Every landing was a wet landing. Hiking shoes aren't needed because you really end up just wearing your rain boots because everything is so muddy. Definitely bring rain pants and a rain jacket. The waters were extremely calm so even my mother who usually gets very seasick was totally fine! The service was great all around. The guides were all very knowledgeable and likeable and all clearly love Alaska! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
My wife and I just completed an 'Inner Reaches, Western Cove', Alaska trip with a week aboard the 'Wilderness Explorer'. Simply Remarkable........We saw Orca, Humpback breaching, black bear, moose, dall's porpoise ... Read More
My wife and I just completed an 'Inner Reaches, Western Cove', Alaska trip with a week aboard the 'Wilderness Explorer'. Simply Remarkable........We saw Orca, Humpback breaching, black bear, moose, dall's porpoise and many other bird and flora life. Above our expectations, the food was good and well catered for. My wife is a Celiac (Gluten Free) and she was well looked after - thank you Uncruise. The small ship was comfortable and a family feeling was quickly felt by all aboard with thanks to a professional, dedicated team who made us feel very welcome and special. Hot showers, good heating and great service. Not to mention the daily activity choices with experienced and knowledgeable guides. What a fantastic adventure for us 'Aussies'. One we'd love to replicate in the future. Uncruise are a great alternative to the 'big ship cruises' as we were able to change course to take advantage of the wildlife and geography as events unfolded. This is a truly great experience. Do it....if you want an adventure. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
If you want to see wild Alaska up close, go with Un-Cruise. They are the best. The ever-changing and wondrous scenery ( glaciers, caves, rain forests, tidal pools, waterfalls, etc) and wildlife (whales, dolphins, bears, birds and tons of ... Read More
If you want to see wild Alaska up close, go with Un-Cruise. They are the best. The ever-changing and wondrous scenery ( glaciers, caves, rain forests, tidal pools, waterfalls, etc) and wildlife (whales, dolphins, bears, birds and tons of shoreline critters) was super, but what made this trip a once-in-a-lifetime experience was the fantastic crew, from the captain to the dinning room servers, from the engineer to the activity leaders, you could tell that each and everyone of them loved what they did and truly wanted guests to enjoy Alaska as well. Choices of daily activities ranged from guided kayak paddles, shoreline walks, and "bushwacking (i.e. no trails)" to skiff and cave tours, paddleboarding, and tours of the ships engine rooms, kitchens, and bridge. All these activities were led by very knowledgeable folks, who were able to explain the wonders of Alaska with a smile and humor. The meals were 4-star quality with at least 3 choices of which one was always fresh seafood. The ship was immactulate from stem to stern... actually saw one of the crew cleaning the metal treads on stairways between the three decks with a toothbrush! Could go on and on, bottomline... Un-Cruise is the best in every regard. Read Less
Wilderness Explorer Ratings
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