My significant other and I, both 70, spent a week on the Alaskan Dream August 29-September 5. The trip far exceeded our expectations, which were high, as we'd been to Alaska before with UnCruise Adventures. The whole point was to see wildlife and scenery; it was a bonus that the 25 fellow passengers were great. One day, we spent two hours watching black bears feed on spawning salmon in a river in the An An National Forest, and neither of us begrudged the $200 extra charge for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. On another day, we spent several hours observing a pod of resident orcas feed and frolic (including a mom teaching her calf new tricks). And on another day, we spent a few hours surrounded by scores of blowing and fin-slapping humpback whales. Of course, there were glaciers, too, with plenty of calving. We had opportunities for kayaking and hiking (though fewer than we would have liked), a visit to a terrific museum on indigenous Alaskan culture in Wrangell, a couple of talks by the boat's naturalist, and a tour of a remote native community, Kake. I'd happily do this trip every summer. The word cruise is misleading, as the experience provided on a small boat like this has little in common with that provided by the giant cruise ships (which, happily, we never saw any during the week, as we could go to small bays and valleys that they couldn't). Stateroom is minimal, but the lounge and bar and decks are where most people spent their non-sleeping time. No pool or entertainment, beyond rollicking games of Bananagrams and a couple of evenings of music provided spontaneously by some of the fellow travelers.
The lowest cost cabin was small, but not as small as the lowest cost cabins on UnCruise Adventures. One wall is composed entirely of windows. Beds can be made up either as two twins or one queen; bedding is top quality. The sink is in the cabin, and the toilet shares a space with the shower; it's called a "shoilet" and works surprisingly well (though a very large person might feel cramped while taking a shower). Water pressure is terrific.