My husband and I decided to mark our 50th birthdays with a trip to Alaska and this cruise (Discoverers' Glacier Country) was recommended highly by his folks. We liked the sound of it because we believed in a small-ship setting we'd have more opportunity for close encounters with the landscape and wildlife. This turned out to be true.
The cabins are extremely comfortable and spacious enough for a week's worth of luggage and gear. The view from our cabin's windows was always spectacular. While there is no TV or Internet reception available, there is a decent DVD library (if you have time and energy to use it after a day full of adventures). Common areas are well kept and cozy. The bar is well stocked, and you can help yourself if there's no crew available.
The food was fine. It didn't blow us away, but it wasn't bad by any means. Service around meals was great in that choices were always available and special requests were smilingly honored. Servings were small to moderate, which I actually think is great. We had no trouble getting seconds if we were really hungry. Sometimes it took a while for tables to get served (which made a lot of sense when we saw later how food had to get from the kitchen in the lower level to the dining room level by dumbwaiter), but we weren't in any hurry.
Life on board: We took advantage of a yoga class offered each morning before breakfast on the top deck. A beautiful way to start the day. After breakfast, the itinerary for the day is announced, including options for the day's activities. Typically there are activities available after breakfast and after lunch, such as hikes, kayaking, and skiff rides. Depending on itinerary, there might be pre-dinner or after-dinner activities. Generally you don't have to sign up; just show up. Throughout the day, wildlife and other unusual sightings are announced on the PA system so you can go out to view them if you wish. There is a hot tub on the top deck, which gets quite a bit of use. The exercise equipment, also on the top deck, is minimal but adequate. One free massage is included with the cruise, which was a great amenity.
With only 18 cabins, the Safari Explorer is geared toward satisfying guests in all respects. When we expressed a desire for more independent hiking so our birdwatching would not slow down other guests, we were offered a crew member who would accompany us at whatever speed we wished (truly independent hiking not being an option because of the potential for bear encounters).
The crew are aware that most guests are really interested in wildlife such as whales, dolphins, and bears, so activities are sometimes shifted around in order to satisfy this interest. For example, one morning that a hike had been scheduled, a pod of orca was spotted nearby. Instead of hiking, all the guests boarded two skiffs and followed the orca for a few hours, which was an amazing experience.
Nobody missed the hike.
We had a lot of amazing experiences on this cruise, partly as a result of the setting and pure luck but also because the Safari Explorer crew got us where we needed to be and provided guidance. For example, we watched bears catching salmon outside a hatchery; we witnessed humpback whales bubble-netting; and we kayaked to a glacier and watched (and felt!) it calve right in front of us.
Service and accommodation of guests was really impressive. Even though Un-Cruise Adventures provides guests with a detailed packing list in advance, many items, such as rain gear, rubber boots, mosquito repellent, and water bottles, were freely available for guests to borrow. We always felt well taken care of.
We could not have had a better trip. The Safari Explorer gets our highest recommendation.
We loved this room. It is spacious, with a very comfortable bed and a sitting area as well as large windows. We even used the Jacuzzi tub. There was a perfect amount of storage space for a week's worth of clothes and gear. The location--on the same level as the common areas including dining room and bar--is very convenient. Noise was only a problem one night when a party in the common areas went quite late.Just before disembarking we took a quick look at the other cabins, including the "best" cabins, and felt satisfied with our choice--if we found ourselves on the Safari Explorer again, we'd pick the same cabin.