My family of four (including two teenagers), have traveled a lot but we had never been to Alaska and wanted to see as much as we could. With only a week to explore, the Safari Endeavor was the perfect size and added a bit of luxury to our SE Alaska action packed week.
We started our trip out with two full days in Glacier Bay National Park with a forest ranger, Kailin, who offered presentations on birds and glaciers as we cruised up to the Grand Pacific and Margerie Glaciers. We were able to get up close to the scenery and wildlife with kayaks, small boat tours and hiking opportunities.
The next days were filled with several activity choices with our four well trained, knowledgeable, entertaining expedition guides, Matt, Conner, Jackie and Fancy. They took about a dozen people at a time on one of the many offered excursions. Matt our expedition leader, would go over our daily choices the night before with fun and thorough descriptions and creative names such as "leg stretcher" "boulder scramble" "gentle beach stroll" to define the various levels of activity from bushwhacking to small beach strolls to climbing ON glaciers. There were also guided small boat tours, kayak tours, open kayak and open up right paddle boarding on the beautiful blue, turquoise & green calm water. In between or after excursions, we usually hit one of the two hot tubs, of course still viewing the scenery and whales! We visited seven Glaciers and had excellent presentations on whales, geology, glaciers and the abundant wildlife we viewed throughout trip.
The food was scrumptious, fresh and inventive. Every day presented with an early riser breakfast, full cooked breakfast, lunch, happy hour and three choices at dinner including local seafood, a meat option and a vegetarian option followed by a dessert prepared by a pastry chef. It was all so decadent I usually opted for surf and turf. Chef Mike was happy to accommodate any requests however I can say we all enjoyed everything they put in front of us.
The ship has a lounge with Jerry our bartender, happy to make fun cocktails (drinks included- even premium) and cooled with GLACIAL ICE! There are many indoor and outdoor areas to view the wildlife. Also, our Captain Jenna would change the itinerary or timing as to maximize the wildlife viewing and experience. Super knowledgeable, friendly staff and really down to earth.
I honestly can't say enough good things about our experience last week. I'm still trying to process all the fun we had and the "once in a lifetime" stuff we saw in one week: countless humpback whales up close, resident and transient orcas, brown bear, Dall's porpoise, a raft of otters, harbor seals, sea lions, puffins, eagles and many other birds. It was a truly incredible life experience for the four of us. WOW!
We had two CMND Commander Staterooms which each had two twin beds. Very comfortable temperpedic mattresses, robes, blowdryers and shower amenities. There was a small bathroom with a toilet, sink, shower, mirror and plenty of storage closets and drawers for us to hang and put away our things. We were also issued rain coats, rain pants and rubber boots which hung nicely on the hooks. Very functional, comfortable cabin with two large windows, flat screen tv, iPod docking station. There was a ship intercom system so if they had a presentation or spotted wildlife, you could turn it on and listen from your cabin.
We arrived the morning of the cruise and Un-Cruise was waiting for us and took us to a courtesy room at the Baranof hotel in Juneau. There was hot beverages and water, tables. Our luggage went directly to our cabins. Since we had the day, we hiked up to Mt Roberts and took the tram back. Hung out at the Baranof until Matt (Expedition Leader) walked us to the Safari Endeavour. There was an option for a shuttle too but it was only a couple blocks. When we arrived at the ship, there was a recieving line of all crew members with big, warm smiles. Also, I thought it was clever that they took our pictures and had all the guests photos on the bar so we could remember names. Very smooth!