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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We recently completed the “Alaska’s Inside Passage Sojourn“ cruise aboard the Alaskan Dream and would highly recommend this tour. This was our first trip to Alaska and only our second cruise (first being a Crystal River Cruise) and ... Read More
We recently completed the “Alaska’s Inside Passage Sojourn“ cruise aboard the Alaskan Dream and would highly recommend this tour. This was our first trip to Alaska and only our second cruise (first being a Crystal River Cruise) and it definitely did not disappoint. A good measure of a company is how they handle the situation when something goes sideways and in our case Allen Marine (the mother company of Alaska Dream Cruises) really excelled. There was a minor incident that delayed the start of our tour, we were supposed to board at 4:00pm in the evening and boarding was delayed until 10:00am the next morning. We were kept well informed by the Allen Marine Tours staff and briefed by upper management. They went above expectations to ensure that we would have a great trip. They handled the lodging and meals for the day we were delayed, and also arranged a wonderful 3-hour wildlife boat tour on which we got to see otters, sea lions, puffins and humpback whales, including one breeching. In addition we received on-board credits and all alcohol was handled by the company. There were 37 people (the boat has 20 staterooms) on our cruise along with about a dozen staff. The boat was well designed for handling this many people, and we spent much of our time in the forward lounge or on the top deck enjoying the scenery and wildlife. The rooms could use a little refurbishment and in general do not expect the over the top luxury of a big boat. The “showlet” (combination toilet/shower) took a little getting used to but was very manageable. The queen bed was very comfortable and we were in the Vista State room which stretched half of the bow end on the second floor. We had a fantastic view and often felt conflicted on if we should lower the shades due to the only 3 hours of “night” or leave them open to enjoy the view. There were a number of notable crew members onboard. Amy was the bartender and she is one of the best, a true mixologist not just the bartender. She had a different drink special each day often made with house-made syrups and mixers, she remembered each person’s preferences, and always had great suggestions. Captain Eric was very personable and maintained an open bridge policy. He was very adept at finding wildlife for us to see, and making sure that we had plenty of time to watch. Alex and Kari were our Expedition leaders; Kari was a native Alaskan (Tlingit), and Alex was the naturalist with extensive experience researching whales in the local waters for her MS degree. During an evening presentation on Humpbacks that include some incredible underwater “whale cam” video of bubble feeding, the captain interrupted as there were orcas just off the boat. As we were all watching the whales, Kari began to sing the Tlingit orca song in her native language - it really brought Alaskan cultures and wildlife together for us. The food on board was excellent and included fresh local fish (salmon, halibut, black cod, clams and several types of crab). Wildlife encounters during the cruise included orcas, humpback whales, seals, sea lions, otters, puffins, bald eagles, bears (brown and black), mountain goats, deer and porpoise. The highlight was the first evening about sunset when we ran into humpbacks “bubble net feeding”. Capt. Eric idled the boat as the waters around us exploded with the group of eight whales feeding, one time they surfaced so close off the bow we had to reverse the engine to give them room. What an incredible thing to be able to see! There was also exceptional scenery – waterfalls, forests, mountains and glaciers. We were able take to the DIBS (smaller 15 person inflatables) several times during the trip including the opportunity to explore Sawyer Glacier and Misty Fjord. We stopped in several very small towns (the smallest being about 50 people) to learn about the Alaskan way of life and more specifically the family structure and moiety of the native Alaskan people. At several of these locations there were optional hikes to view the wilderness or a trail through totem parks. We also visited several Long houses to watch and in some cases participate in native celebrations of song and dance. Overall, we had a great time on the tour and loved being able to see Alaska and learn about it from local Alaskans. If you like the glam and glitz or the casinos and stage shows of the big boats this is not the cruise for you. If you are more adventurous and don’t mind the Glamping approach of the smaller boats then this is an outstanding way to go. We would highly recommend this tour as well as Allen Marine Tours in general. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
... and maybe our last - unless we can come up with another one that equals this in the following ways: - small (40 passengers) - amazing crew (couldn't be friendlier or more caring and helpful) - focusing on wildlife ... Read More
... and maybe our last - unless we can come up with another one that equals this in the following ways: - small (40 passengers) - amazing crew (couldn't be friendlier or more caring and helpful) - focusing on wildlife (stopping for whales, otters, bears, etc) - allowing lots of on-shore time for walking or exploring or taking part in cultural experiences - very good meals in modest portions (no huge buffet pig-outs with accompanying waste) - many special excursions available only to this cruise line - the bridge was often open. Captain Eric, Charlie and all were welcoming and informative whenever they had guests. - special talks and performances were short and worth attending, all focused on enhancing the day's (or the next day's) experiences. - the ship, a catamaran, was mostly stable and even this landlubber was able to develop sea legs most of the time - every time we encountered a gigantic ship with its thousands of no-name passengers, we felt very lucky: most crew knew and used our first names! Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
After cruising over 35 times on the large ships, five of those to Alaska, we decided to try a small ship. What a delight. For us, Alaska is all about the history, scenery and wildlife. Though we enjoy the large ships, the experience on ... Read More
After cruising over 35 times on the large ships, five of those to Alaska, we decided to try a small ship. What a delight. For us, Alaska is all about the history, scenery and wildlife. Though we enjoy the large ships, the experience on a small ship in Alaska is simply incomparable. The staff and management are extremely helpful and friendly. Getting up close to the glaciers and in to small remote coves was wonderful. I enjoyed kayaking in the serene inlets. The food was amazing! Fresh fish everyday. Freshly baked cookies at 3:00 pm and happy hour at 5:30. After dinner there were interesting speakers, such as the ranger from the Glacier Bay National Park, or a Klingit tribe member. Fellow passengers were enjoyable and we did get to know everyone quickly since the ship is so small. Pricing includes all shore excursions and transfers to and from airport or hotel. Fellow passengers were interesting, well travelled, retired people with mutual interests. For Alaska, I recommend Alaska Dream Cruises, owned by Alaskans who know how to provide the most personal service and allowed us to experience the REAL Alaska. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
If you are looking for an Alaskan cruise where you dress for dinner, and have shows and casinos, this cruise is NOT for you! If you want to see all the things you associate with Alaska, then I say "Welcome aboard!" On our 11-day ... Read More
If you are looking for an Alaskan cruise where you dress for dinner, and have shows and casinos, this cruise is NOT for you! If you want to see all the things you associate with Alaska, then I say "Welcome aboard!" On our 11-day cruise from Ketchikan to Sitka, we crossed off every item on our Alaska bucket list: Northern Lights, orcas, humpback whales, black bears, mountain goats, sea lions, puffins, glaciers calving, and more. We even had a rainbow on our last day out. Now, I know that no cruise can guarantee that you will see all of those things, but I have never been on a cruise where they tried so hard to make our experiences the very best. Note: Other Alaskan cruises seem to charge for every shore excursion; this cruise is all-inclusive. Think about that when you are comparing prices. What surprised me from the beginning was how the captain and crew, barely 4 hours after dropping off the passengers from the 11-day cruise from Sitka to Ketchikan, greeted us with so much excitement and enthusiasm - which was the tone for the entire trip. The Alaskan Dream is a catamaran-type ship, 40 passengers/ 20 cabins and, with the exception of 1 [I think], most are small with a shower/toilet combo. Don't let that deter you; everything fit in our cabin 304, and the shower curtain kept our mini-bathroom dry and gave us plenty of laughs.The food was outstanding; so good, our baker is one of three contestants going on "Cake Wars" after the cruise season! By the way, the cruise company provides each passenger with rain boots and a rain jacket and rain pants, on hooks just outside the cabins, so we didn't have to bring that stuff. The best things about the trip were the relaxed atmosphere [jeans at dinner, yea!], and the ability to stop and see whenever the opportunity presented itself. The captain would come on the intercom and say, "Folks, there's a pod of orcas around us, so we're going to stop for awhile" or "Folks, I know it's late, but if you want to put jackets on over your pajamas and come on deck, we're going to stop and watch the Northern Lights" or "We've got some black bears fishing on the shore to the left. We'll stop so you can get a good look." I feel like I was able to have a REAL Alaskan adventure. I'm ready to go again! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
MY 50th bday was to do something from my parents bucket list. They wanted Alaska cruise, I wanted to experience Alaska, not 500 to 3,000 other passengers. WHat we got was so much more than expected. By the end of our first of 11 days on ... Read More
MY 50th bday was to do something from my parents bucket list. They wanted Alaska cruise, I wanted to experience Alaska, not 500 to 3,000 other passengers. WHat we got was so much more than expected. By the end of our first of 11 days on cruise, we pretty much knew everyone on board and the staff was already picking up everyone's nuances. Captain Eric made the effort for us to see even the most difficult. Chef Brie and her crew gave us 5 star dinning while they managed to feed my very plain meat and potato husband ( a running joke onboard ). I could go on and on about the small things that each staff member did to make the trip special. Leaving was so sad. You felt like you were saying goodbye to family, passenger and crew alike. I will never go on another large cruise agin, but I'd sail with them again in a heartbeat. The ship was nice and between serving and doing things with us the staff was always cleaning. The cabins were small and cozy (be realistic if your choosing to go on a small ship) and I wanted to bring that bed and bedding home because it was so comfy! I miss that bed as much as our dessert/bakers 3:00 cookies and our bartender's awesome drinks. The ports were great as were our evening lounge info sesssions. We researched and went out on one outside excursion to a dog sled camp, which was well worth the money. Our captain even took us verses us waiting for a van to pick us up. THis is a 40 passenger ship, I wouldn't bring kids. My husband is 44 and was the youngest passenger on ship. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Right off the bat, I'll say that I would give this cruise 10 stars if I could! We couldn't have been any happier and the cruise and staff more than exceeded our expectations. There are so few reviews of this boat, that I was a ... Read More
Right off the bat, I'll say that I would give this cruise 10 stars if I could! We couldn't have been any happier and the cruise and staff more than exceeded our expectations. There are so few reviews of this boat, that I was a little worried about what we would find when we got there. The Alaskan Dream holds about 40 passengers and is a large catamaran, which makes it fairly speedy and very maneuverable. I couldn't picture what it would be like, but it's a very smooth ride and very functionally comfortable. There is no need to sign up for any shore excursions, because everything was included. We were whale watching all the time, bear watching, bird watching, with cultural activities, hiking and city tours every day. Plus free time in town, if we chose. During our voyage, we saw tons of humpback whales, fluking, breaching and even bubble net feeding. There were so many whales and they were so close that Alex, our boat Marine Biologist, mentioned that the odd smell we all could smell was whale breath!! The cool thing (one of them), is that whenever we saw whales, Captain Eric would follow them for as long as it was still interesting. In addition to humpback whales, we followed several pods of Orca Whales, including babies fluking and breaching. We followed them for an hour while several big ships cruised right by. I'm sure while we were enjoying an up close and personal experience, no one on the big boat even realized what was there....it was during the dinner hour on the big boat. Our dinner was postponed until the whales were out of sight. In addition to whales, we saw Momma bears and cubs along the shoreline. Captain Eric brought the boat as close as was allowed so we could see them feeding along the shore. We also went to the Anan Bear Conservancy, which ended up being a highlight. The bears were feeding on salmon while we were watching from a deck and a blind, just a few feet from the bears. We saw beautiful waterfalls and icebergs all over Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay. We even saw a moose at Barlett Cove. In Glacier Bay, we had a National Park Ranger on board, and he was very helpful identifying the animals and birds along the way to the glaciers. We saw Crested Puffins and Horned Puffins and many other sea birds, mountain goats, sea otters and sea lions. We were lucky enough to see several glaciers calve and were, close enough to feel the wave from the ice dropping into the water. Jno, our onboard Alaskan Cultural Expert explained the history and culture of the three native groups in this part of Alaska. We saw many totems, longhouses, dancers and families. All were very proud to share their culture and to educate us on the modern practices and bringing back the language and customs. It was equally as fun and interesting as the wildlife. The boat provided binoculars, rain boots and waterproof rain suits, that we wore several times when it got really cold or wet. When we were on the boat, I would wear flannel lined hiking pants, a winter "undershirt" and a light sweater underneath my lined raincoat. When it got really cold, and it did a few times, I would put the rain suit over everything. Now granted....I'm a tourist and spent a lot of time outside. I also wore a winter hat and gloves a few times. In the towns, jeans, hiking shoes and my lined jacket were adequate....and remember, this was the end of July. This area is a temperate rainforest, so it's wet all the time. The food on the boat was spectacular, as good as any very nice restaurant. I'm gluten free and every meal was presented beautifully prepared and delicious AND gluten free. Only on one other cruise (and we've done several), was I able to get gluten free meals without a hassle. We were in cabin 102 on the main level. It was small, but adequate. By the time we got in our cabin each day, we were usually ready to nap and the bed was comfy. The shoilet is interesting and takes some getting used to, but we had plenty of laughs about it! It's a toilet/ shower combo and small, but perfectly adequate. Everyday at 3:00 there were homemade, warm cookies and at 5:30 a new cocktail of the day and appetizers. The food, crew and staff were outstanding and personal. What you won't find is a casino, TV or a Broadway show or dress up night. Only bring functional clothes, which simplifies packing!! Almost half the boat was from Australia or New Zealand, a family from UK and the rest were from all over the US. A wonderful group that we enjoyed tremendously. Go for it!! You won't regret your time on the Alaskan Dream! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
I had always wanted to see the Inside Passage, and family/friends who had gone said the only way was to go on a small ship. This ship has only 40 passengers, a full crew (chef, baker, bartender, etc. in addition to captain and his staff). ... Read More
I had always wanted to see the Inside Passage, and family/friends who had gone said the only way was to go on a small ship. This ship has only 40 passengers, a full crew (chef, baker, bartender, etc. in addition to captain and his staff). We were able to see lots of wildlife: whales, eagles, bear, moose, seals, otters, puffins, etc. and many incredible views of glaciers, mountains, icebergs and more. We had guided tours of two native villages/towns, which were both quite special, and saw many beautiful totem poles in those places, as well as Ketchikan and Sitka. We had day trips in Juneau and Wrangell. The food was always delicious, as well as the desserts (full time baker on board). A nice surprise was a bartender, who made special cocktails every day. There were kayaks available, so most of us kayaked a few times on the calm waters of the inside passage. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
When you are considering this cruise and wondering whether it is worth the extra money be assured it is worth every penny!! The crew on this ship makes it a part their code to make sure everyone has a great time and feels like family. ... Read More
When you are considering this cruise and wondering whether it is worth the extra money be assured it is worth every penny!! The crew on this ship makes it a part their code to make sure everyone has a great time and feels like family. There is no reason to purchase shore excursions because at every port there are activities planned for you. Every day we were able to get off the ship and walk around if we desired. Even though he didn't to, Captain Eric also made sure that a few of our passengers who were limited in abilities to walk long distances, were able to visit some of the destinations. He arranged for transportation to get them as close to the site as possible, which allowed them to visit all but one of the sites. And at that site he personally took them on the small Zodiac boat for a private excursion of their own! The hikes were always supervised by crew members. The ports were small towns whose economy is being revived by the influx of cruise passengers from this small cruise line. Big cruise ships can't get to many of the ports that they visit, so you won't be swallowed up in the crowds that come out of those monstrosities. You are able to interact with the true Alaskans who make this their homes and experience their culture. The small ship can also get you up close and personal with the wildlife and scenery. We were extremely lucky to witness bubble net feeding by humpback whales not once but twice. Other wild life we had were orca whales, brown and black bears, sea otters, sea lions, goats, many types of birds. None of which we had to get off the ship and take or pay for a shore excursion. The captain is able to adjust his schedule to take you to where the wildlife has been spotted and spend some time finding it and then allowing you to enjoy it once it has been located. We have some AWESOME photos because the whales and glaciers were so close to the ship. And don't worry if you aren't able to get awesome pictures of your own because you don't own high end camera equipment, at the end of the cruise you will get a disc of pictures that the crew have been taking of you and your fellow passengers through out your cruise. Getting to know your fellow passengers is another bonus to taking a small ship cruise. We had just 36 passengers on board with 16 crew. By the end of the week we didn't need name tags any longer as we were on a first name basis and shared email addresses to keep in touch and share pictures once we got home. Amy, the waitress we had for most meals since we tended to sit at one of her tables, had our drink orders memorized by the second day. Dani the bartender knew that when she brought out our drinks that someone had made a mistake because we ALWAYS ordered diet not regular coke! My mother has an allergy to nuts and chocolate, so she many times is left out of dessert options, but not with Shannon the baker around. Shannon made sure that for cookie time, lunch and dinner desserts, there was something that Mom could have. Even when we didn't have our meals on board the boat there was a dessert with her name on it. Chef Bri made some very delicious meals with the help of Dustin and Harry in the kitchen. The breakfast menu was extensive but did not vary except for a daily special, which was usually what I got because they sounded, and were so good. Lunch and dinners had a fresh baked bread, soup, salad and entree with dessert. Seafood was present on the menu once or twice a day and there was always a vegetarian option. At 3pm we had fresh baked cookies that are so delicious baked by Shannon. At 5:30 was happy hour and a light snack prior to dinner. A complimentary glass of wine or beer was offered with each dinner. Each night we had a chocolate and a paper highlighting the next days activities on our beds. The forward area of the ship had comfortable seating that passengers could mingle in while waiting for wildlife to be spotted and the large windows afford great views and easy access to the "bull pen" at the front of the ship where many great photos of wild life were taken. Another great place for a good view was the ships bridge. The only times the bridge was closed to passengers were when they were docking or concentrating on close manuvers. It was interesting talking to Captain Eric and his crew, Nick, Jeff John and Kristen. I just can't say enough about the leadership and teamwork that this crew exhibits. The company that they work for should be very proud of the team and if you sail with them you will be very luck indeed. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
When you are considering this cruise and wondering whether it is worth the extra money be assured it is worth every penny!! The crew on this ship makes it a part their code to make sure everyone has a great time and feels like family. ... Read More
When you are considering this cruise and wondering whether it is worth the extra money be assured it is worth every penny!! The crew on this ship makes it a part their code to make sure everyone has a great time and feels like family. There is no reason to purchase shore excursions because at every port there are activities planned for you. Every day we were able to get off the ship and walk around if we desired. Even though he didn't to, Captain Eric also made sure that a few of our passengers who were limited in abilities to walk long distances, were able to visit some of the destinations. He arranged for transportation to get them as close to the site as possible, which allowed them to visit all but one of the sites. And at that site he personally took them on the small Zodiac boat for a private excursion of their own! The hikes were always supervised by crew members. The ports were small towns whose economy is being revived by the influx of cruise passengers from this small cruise line. Big cruise ships can't get to many of the ports that they visit, so you won't be swallowed up in the crowds that come out of those monstrosities. You are able to interact with the true Alaskans who make this their homes and experience their culture. The small ship can also get you up close and personal with the wildlife and scenery. We were extremely lucky to witness bubble net feeding by humpback whales not once but twice. Other wild life we had were orca whales, brown and black bears, sea otters, sea lions, goats, many types of birds. None of which we had to get off the ship and take or pay for a shore excursion. The captain is able to adjust his schedule to take you to where the wildlife has been spotted and spend some time finding it and then allowing you to enjoy it once it has been located. We have some AWESOME photos because the whales and glaciers were so close to the ship. And don't worry if you aren't able to get awesome pictures of your own because you don't own high end camera equipment, at the end of the cruise you will get a disc of pictures that the crew have been taking of you and your fellow passengers through out your cruise. Getting to know your fellow passengers is another bonus to taking a small ship cruise. We had just 36 passengers on board with 16 crew. By the end of the week we didn't need name tags any longer as we were on a first name basis and shared email addresses to keep in touch and share pictures once we got home. Amy, the waitress we had for most meals since we tended to sit at one of her tables, had our drink orders memorized by the second day. Dani the bartender knew that when she brought out our drinks that someone had made a mistake because we ALWAYS ordered diet not regular coke! My mother has an allergy to nuts and chocolate, so she many times is left out of dessert options, but not with Shannon the baker around. Shannon made sure that for cookie time, lunch and dinner desserts, there was something that Mom could have. Even when we didn't have our meals on board the boat there was a dessert with her name on it. Chef Bri made some very delicious meals with the help of Dustin and Harry in the kitchen. The breakfast menu was extensive but did not vary except for a daily special, which was usually what I got because they sounded, and were so good. Lunch and dinners had a fresh baked bread, soup, salad and entree with dessert. Seafood was present on the menu once or twice a day and there was always a vegetarian option. At 3pm we had fresh baked cookies that are so delicious baked by Shannon. At 5:30 was happy hour and a light snack prior to dinner. A complimentary glass of wine or beer was offered with each dinner. Each night we had a chocolate and a paper highlighting the next days activities on our beds. The forward area of the ship had comfortable seating that passengers could mingle in while waiting for wildlife to be spotted and the large windows afford great views and easy access to the "bull pen" at the front of the ship where many great photos of wild life were taken. Another great place for a good view was the ships bridge. The only times the bridge was closed to passengers were when they were docking or concentrating on close manuvers. It was interesting talking to Captain Eric and his crew, Nick, Jeff John and Kristen. I just can't say enough about the leadership and teamwork that this crew exhibits. The company that they work for should be very proud of the team and if you sail with them you will be very luck indeed. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
My husband and I have had a life-long dream to cruise Alaska. BUT... which cruise line??? Then after doing some research, we knew we wanted a small ship cruise. BUT... which small ship cruise? The more we read about them, the more confused ... Read More
My husband and I have had a life-long dream to cruise Alaska. BUT... which cruise line??? Then after doing some research, we knew we wanted a small ship cruise. BUT... which small ship cruise? The more we read about them, the more confused we got. We read all small ship reviews that we could find, and the name, Linda Androlia of Sunstone Tours & Cruises, kept popping up over and over again. Reviewers were very complimentary of the advice they had received from Linda. So we called her, and they were absolutely right! Linda is an expert on small ship cruises. In fact, her company specializes in them, and she's been on all of the small ship cruises that she recommends. After our conversation, she suggested Alaskan Dream Cruises. She thought it would be the perfect fit for us. We had never even considered this company, but after we took a look at what they had to offer we were sold. We will cruise on American Dream this coming June and we are so excited we can hardly wait! We'll post a review after our trip, of course. BUT... in the meantime, if you need help planning your perfect small cruise trip, CALL LINDA at Sunstone Tours & Cruises. You can't go wrong.   Read Less
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