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6 UnCruise Alaska Cruise Reviews

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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I chose this cruise as I "really" wanted to see Alaska. We arrived in Fairbanks on 8/13/17 to begin the land portion of this Uncruise trip. Uncruise outsources their land trips and I don't remember who the company was as ... Read More
I chose this cruise as I "really" wanted to see Alaska. We arrived in Fairbanks on 8/13/17 to begin the land portion of this Uncruise trip. Uncruise outsources their land trips and I don't remember who the company was as I've thrown everything away and deleted everything from my email. Let me start by saying this entire trip including airfare from DFW for two was $22,000.00 which included trip insurance. Land trip--in a nutshell not worth the big bucks at all. The first day, 4 hour trip on the dome train, cold food followed by a 90 mile school bus ride to our lodge which took 7.5 hours in Denali Park. The bus stopped for every animal sighting where you needed high powered binoculars to see them and they were about 1 inch tall. The food at Kantishna Lodge where we stayed was horrible. Many people complained. It was cold, rainy the entire time and forget about seeing Denali. We hired a plane to fly us back to the train station. The rest of the land trip went downhill from there. Terrible food everywhere. When it's raining, nothing is pretty. Boarded Wilderness Explorer in Juneau and as usual raining. I think we were in room 325--right before you go out the back of the boat. Room smelled like urine. Employee said not much can be done about it. Room was what I expected. Food was horrible again I'm not the only one complaining. Crew was nice. If you like to kayak in the cold rain, this trip is for you. The best part of the trip was seeing whales and Aurora Borealis. Again for what this trip cost--forget about it! Large cruise ships can enter Glacier Bay for 24 hrs--only 2 allowed in per day--go on the big one. Only thing you won't be able to do is sit for a long time looking at the whales. One lady was a photographer on the trip and totally disappointed. If I ever go back to Alaska, which I won't, I would rent a car and have private small planes fly me into places for several hours. That is what we saw in Glacier Bay. Not necessary to spend 24 hours there. Again, for what this trip cost, in my opinion, not worth it at all!!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We are used to small ship cruising having been on Small river ships and National Geographic Lindblad several times. We thought we would try this company and were incredibly disappointed. The food was the worst. They give you very small ... Read More
We are used to small ship cruising having been on Small river ships and National Geographic Lindblad several times. We thought we would try this company and were incredibly disappointed. The food was the worst. They give you very small portions first off. One egg omelets, served overcooked and dry or oatmeal. If you wanted something different they somehow forgot to bring it to you. Lunch and dinner was no different. Meats that were tough, vegetarian dishes that lacked imagination and sauces that were bland and discusting to boot. The off shore activities were geared toward young able bodied people. The bulk of the guests were over 55 so lots of them had no choice but to stay aboard ship and be bored. I went on one all day hike. They took us on a 12 mile hike! Mid way in the hike, we were warned if we wished to bail out, they would take everyone back as well. In other words there was no bail outs allowed. Most of could hardly walk the next day. Our cruise was supposed to have a naturalist on board. She was a just students paying off her loan. She knew quite a bit about very little and hung out with 4 guests the entire 7 days. The bar is open though, morning noon and night. Free alcohol all day and night. It made for some very drunk guests. Boredom makes people drink a lot. In short, do not waste your time or money on the Un Cruise Alaska cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Two of us traveled at the end of June, from Sitka to Juneau. There were approximately 70 people on board. We liked a lot of the activities (such as kayaking, hiking, skiff rides, shore walks, etc.), ecological and scientific ... Read More
Two of us traveled at the end of June, from Sitka to Juneau. There were approximately 70 people on board. We liked a lot of the activities (such as kayaking, hiking, skiff rides, shore walks, etc.), ecological and scientific presentations in the evening. The animals, birds and nature seen on the trip were noteworthy. Food was ok but usually rather bland. Room was small and compact, but ok. The main reason for the rating is that we got very sick towards the end of the trip, as did a number of other passengers and staff. When contacted, the cruise company just gave us the "standard" response letter, basically saying all passengers should continually wash their hands to avoid infection and taking no responsibility for any problems. A small ship such as this allows more exploration of coves and inlets, but you do pay a lot for the experience, which should not be marred by illness. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We have been to Alaska twice before on big ship cruises and thought a small boat cruise would be a way to see Alaska in a different way. It was awful! By the third day boredom was setting in and by the fourth day, we had come to realize ... Read More
We have been to Alaska twice before on big ship cruises and thought a small boat cruise would be a way to see Alaska in a different way. It was awful! By the third day boredom was setting in and by the fourth day, we had come to realize that each day was going to be exactly the same with the same three activities (hiking, kayaking, or a small boat tour) offered each day. We loved seeing the glaciers up close and having the chance to kayak close to one of them between the icebergs. The wilderness areas we went to pretty much looked the same so it became very repetitious. While they kept touting that this is the "true" Alaska, I beg to differ. There is so much more to Alaska than wilderness and we had a much larger overview of the state on our other cruises. We do a lot of shore excursions on the larger ships and don't just get off the ship and wander around at each port of call. The food was very gourmet but got very old because it was pretty much the same every day. There were only about 30 passengers but yet it took at least an hour for everyone to get served at lunch and dinner and we had ordered in advance! Our meals never arrived steaming hot. The early riser breakfast always consisted of some type of breakfast pastry (muffins, croissants, etc.) that were served very cold. I guess we just like simpler food because I would have given anything for a good old hamburger after a few days. We saw a lot of whales and sea otters but we've seen them before. We saw two bears at a distance and didn't even come close to a moose. The wildlife was what we came for so this was disappointing. I can't believe what we paid for this cruise and what we got in return. Anyone who can afford to do one of these cruises can afford to go on one of the luxury cruise lines (our favorite is Regent) which is a much better value. Most people on this cruise turned up their noses at being with a lot of other people on a ship but it's actually easier to get away from other people on the larger ships. You do EVERYTHING together on a ship this small which can be very interesting with the different mix of personalities. I will say that the crew was excellent. They were very knowledgeable and it was obvious they loved what they were doing. This just wasn't for us and it will take a long time to get over how much it cost and what a waste we felt it was. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We booked this cruise because the website promised it was unlike others - it was an "uncruise". The brochure promised that there would only be "up to 49 guests", and that the trip could be highly active ("Whether ... Read More
We booked this cruise because the website promised it was unlike others - it was an "uncruise". The brochure promised that there would only be "up to 49 guests", and that the trip could be highly active ("Whether you are looking for moderate activity or vigorous, extended and challenging outdoor pursuits, we can tailor most any expedition to suit your skill level.") We are in our 30s and moderately active, so this sounded ideal for us. Upon going to the embarkation point, we discovered that almost all of our fellow passengers were considerably older than us. The median age would have been well into the 60s. That would have been fine, except the promised activities did not eventuate. Neither the original not an amended itinerary supplied shortly before the trip were complied with, and every change was to the detriment of active passengers. For example, on Day 2, the first full day of the trip, the amended itinerary promised to "Push your senses and your muscles with the exhilarating combination of sea kayaking and trekking. Or ride a skiff to the same shore and take a relaxing walk on a trail that boasts a 350-foot elevation gain." The amended itinerary promised a much watered down version, to "Push your senses kayaking, trekking, riding a skiff, or trying your luck at stand-up paddle boarding." What actually happened is that we were unable to do any offship activities whatsoever -- aside from an extremely tame and pedestrian small boat ride to look at Baird Glacier. In other words, the rigorous physical activities promised went from being considerable, to being mild, to being entirely non-existent. Day 3 provides an even more outrageous example of bait and switch with regard to the physicality of the activities on offer. The original itinerary promised that we would "Take on the exposed terminal moraine of the Baird Glacier Trail, until you reach the top of the glacier itself. Enjoy a long guided kayak excursion from Scenery Cove to Cascade Creek and then treat yourself to a short trek on one of the several scenic Cascade Creek trails." This time the revised itinerary added something which sounded even more rigorous and strenuous than the original: in addition to the walk on Baird Glacier, it promised that we could "Choose guided kayaking and a lush forest trek on one of the scenic Cascade Creek trails. Or go big on the 5-mile hike to the glacially-fed and rarely visited Patterson Lake for spectacular kayaking." What actually happened is that there was no guided kayaking. No lush forest trek on a Cascade Creek trail. And no 5 mile hike to, and kayak at, Patterson Lake. None of these promised activities actually happened at all. Instead, we got a visit to Baird Glacier which, despite being advertised as the "fast" hike option, was far slower than any hike I have gone on since I was a small child. And instead of any of the rigorous, interesting, challenging activities outlined in the original and revised itineraries, we were permitted only a "free", unguided paddle within very narrow parameters, no particular destination, and unchanging scenery. On Day 4, once again the offerings did not live up to the promises previously made. All slots in the so-called "fast" hike had been taken by other passengers on the evening of Day 3 before we had an opportunity to put our own names down. As the thought of a hike even slower than the expedition to Baird Glacier was untenable to us, we requested Kirsten to make more slots available, or to arrange for an activity more suited to our energy levels to be added. She angrily told us that it was not possible, and that the existing offerings were sufficient. This was a striking contrast to the brochure's glossy promises: "Whether you are looking for moderate activity or vigorous, extended and challenging outdoor pursuits, we can tailor most any expedition to suit your skill level."|"One of the primary features of our "un-cruises" is our ability to cater to individual needs, so whatever it is you desire, please don't hesitate to ask."| "No matter what you are interested in, InnerSea Discoveries' goal is to provide you with as many opportunities as possible to challenge yourself in the outdoors while also making it extremely easy to enjoy moments or hours of escape and relaxation. The choice and pace are all yours." The offerings on the cruise were so poor that in the end we ended up abandoning ship part way through when the boat reached Wrangell. I am writing this review to warn others about the possibility of extraordinary changes to their itineraries if they book this trip. There are clauses in the contract that purport to allow this kind of itinerary change. If you're younger and active, BEWARE - what is promised isn't necessarily what you get. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
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