1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Wilderness Explorer
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.

Wilderness Explorer-Wouldn't do it again!

Wilderness Explorer Cruise Review by rcgwh

34 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2018
  • Destination: Alaska
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.
rcgwh’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get UnCruise Wilderness Explorer price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email