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Sail Date: August 2013

When we decided to go to Alaska, I was looking for a tour that would be intimate, active and real, without getting caught in touristy activities and gift shops. I also needed to find an approach that worked for both my young kids (6 and ... Read More

When we decided to go to Alaska, I was looking for a tour that would be intimate, active and real, without getting caught in touristy activities and gift shops. I also needed to find an approach that worked for both my young kids (6 and 9) and my father (75). It seemed like an impossible task. Except it wasn't.

We did an Un-Cruise "Luxury" cruise which threaded the needle perfectly. First, the boat is fantastic. Very comfortable, all amenities, excellent food and service, friendly staff. Barely felt a bump or wave. I have lot of unopened sea sickness meds because we never even thought about feeling woozy. We were impressed.

Second, the excursions are fantastic. Each morning and afternoon they give you choices (kayak, small boat, hiking, beach walk, etc.) with various areas of focus and intensity. Even if you're not an "outdoorsy, adventurous person" you can TOTALLY do this. The guides are SOOOO knowledgeable, friendly, fun, engaging and helpful. They provide great rain gear, boots, binoculars, advice, and a TON of information. I feel like a went to graduate school in the week we were on this boat.

It was VERY easy to have kids on this trip, even though it wasn't marketed as a kid or family trip. The staff engaged them, the kitchen made great kid-food for them, I always felt like they were safe, etc.

I don't think I have one mediocre thing to include in this review. There's really no other way to do Alaska. I can't recommend this highly enough. My family is trying to decide which Un-cruise trip to do next. I feel like we discovered a real gem of an outfit here. Book it.

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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013

This was my first time in Alaska, and I liked the concept of an 'adventure' cruise with activities other than watching the ocean go by. This was what I wanted and just what I received.

Since this was my first cruise, I had lot ... Read More

This was my first time in Alaska, and I liked the concept of an 'adventure' cruise with activities other than watching the ocean go by. This was what I wanted and just what I received.

Since this was my first cruise, I had lot of questions for the sales staff. They treated me courteously, got back to me with answers and helped by providing options that worked. When the time came, they followed up to make sure everything was in order. Instructions provided were clear and easy to follow.

A small cruise ship, not a floating hotel, was a must for me. A desire to meet the crew and most of the passengers was also a desire. Captain 'Marce' was easy to talk to and her crew was a reflection of her very good leadership. They were all friendly, helpful, very accommodating and very easy to work with.

They were knowledgeable and provided assistance on just about everything necessary to make things like kayaking (my first attempt), polar plunges, snorkeling (including thermal suits to stay warm), paddle boarding, shore hikes, whale watching and everything in between more fun than I'd hoped. Meals were casual, but very good. Choices and amounts were also very good.

Activities were categorized by amounts of effort in the activity. Activity choices varied from mild (skiff rides up close and personal with calving glaciers) to endurance kayak trips or shore hiking trips.

If I had it to do over again, the only thing I'd change would be to lengthen the cruise duration. And next time, I will.

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2013

Just returned from 12 days with Un-Cruise Adventures on S.S. Legacy, Juneau to Seattle, and cannot say enough about the onboard style, the staff, the food, and above all, the 'adventure'. With the ability to spend as much time as needed ... Read More

Just returned from 12 days with Un-Cruise Adventures on S.S. Legacy, Juneau to Seattle, and cannot say enough about the onboard style, the staff, the food, and above all, the 'adventure'. With the ability to spend as much time as needed in any given location, we were treated to 3 hours (!!) watching humpback whales bubble feeding in Icy Straights; we 'swam' with porpoises just off the bow; we observed pods of orca up-close; and we came eye-to-eye with two curious humpbacks who used the bottom of the ship for a good scratch.

Because Un-Cruise Adventures can stop for as long as they like, whenever they like, we experienced Alaska in a way no other company can provide. Add to that the tireless attention of the crew, exceptional dining (even the vegetarian dishes were incredible), the fun character interactions with the likes of John Muir, CJ and Ethel Berry, Sargent William Sharpe, and con-man Danny McSwain, and it was truly the trip of a lifetime.

Excursions and alcohol are included, with optional excursions available (bear-watching, anyone?). Be sure to join in the poker game in the Pesky Barnacle. A real highlight and a great way to get to know fellow passengers even better!

Un-Cruise Adventures is the only way to TRULY cruise into the heart and spirit of Alaska. We've cruised here on one of the 'big ships', and while it was a wonderful experience, Un-Cruise Adventures gave us the ultimate in Alaskan cruising. We can't wait to return!

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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013

Embarkation - Drop your luggage and check in at the Baranof Hotel in Downtown Juneau by 2pm. The group is led down to the ship around 5:00pm, by bus or a 10 minute walk. Good shopping is near by for you to pick up last second things ... Read More

Embarkation - Drop your luggage and check in at the Baranof Hotel in Downtown Juneau by 2pm. The group is led down to the ship around 5:00pm, by bus or a 10 minute walk. Good shopping is near by for you to pick up last second things like another warm layer to wear under your outer jacket. If you couldn't get your bags to the hotel by 2pm, I don't think it would be a big problem, as they didn't put the bags on the bus until after 4pm. We lined up at the gangway to the ship across from the Goldbelt Hotel in downtown and went through a receiving line featuring the Captain and all of her officers. We got on the ship after 5:30 and were shown to our room, where the bags were waiting.

This cruise can go to Glacier Bay first or last on the itinerary, depending on their reservation in Glacier Bay. Only a few ships are allowed in Glacier Bay each day. We went to Glacier last, even though the brochure itinerary indicates that Glacier Bay starts on Day 2.

Stateroom: We had the Captain's Stateroom, which was the middle of 5 levels of staterooms. All staterooms on small boats are smaller than the rooms on larger cruise ships, but it was fine. We had adequate storage for our gear. The bathroom was small, a one person at a time arrangement. There were plenty of plugs to charge up all your stuff. There was a small flat screen in the room with a DVD player built in. The TV only carried internal channels, with the daily menus, ship position, etc. No CNN, no wifi, no cell service. No daily news headlines in a memo. You were out of touch for a week. There are no keys. When you left the room, it was unlocked. You can lock the cabin door from the inside. This presented no problem, however I wouldn't bring any valuable jewelry on this cruise. There are two locking drawers, which we didn't bother obtaining a key for. The HC/AC system worked well.

Each stateroom has two robes, which were useful for trips to the jacuzzi. Each room also has a music player hung on the wall that connected to your IPhone 4S or earlier or IPod with the 10 pin connector. It played your music and charged your IPhone. We left the IPhone connected in this dock all week and played music thru it. The iPhone 5 can not dock in this device without the adaptor.

Cell Service - While my iPhone was in the dock, it did receive occasional email downloads from scattered cell service picked up along the way from some small village. The signal was not strong enough to receive 3G Internet. Apparently, small towns that we pass have some cell service and emails & text messages are picked up. Your outgoing messages may take a while to get out, but they do go out eventually. So if you are really desperate for updates on stock market or sports scores, you could sign up for email or text alerts and you may get the information.

Provided Gear - the ship provides each passenger with excellent rubber boots. They had most sizes. Each passenger was also offered 1st class rain gear (Helly Hanson): tops and bottoms, again for most sizes, XS to XL. Each stateroom had two aluminum water bottles that you could use in the room or take on your hikes. The ship had walking sticks for their hikes. Each room is equipped with one pair of binoculars. There were times when each person needs a pair.

If you have a really unusual shoe size, you may want to bring your own rubber boots. These boots are essential, as on most of the walks you will walk in wet and muddy conditions. People wash their boots upon return from their activity and leave them outside their cabins to dry. When they make the call to go collect your boots and rain gear, move quickly to the boots to make sure you get your size. Very large and very small rain gear may run out quickly also.

Dress & Laundry - there is no laundry service on the ship for passengers. You could wash your underwear in the sink and hang them on the string line in the shower. If you are going to hang something to dry, bring quick-dry stuff. Cotton underwear will take 2 days to dry and hanging space is limited in the room. No one dressed up for dinner, blue jeans and casual shirts were fine, no shorts for dinner. Most people came to dinner in their outdoorsy casual clothes. Dress for cold weather. Do not forget gloves and knit hats, they are essential. Bring sweatshirts and a warm jacket and quick-dry hiking pants. Blue jeans will take forever to dry out. Bring thick socks to wear inside the provided rubber boots. Bring a pair of hiking shoes for your everyday shoes and some flip flops to wear to the jacuzzi.

Weather - The Juneau area in the summer can get brief periods of warm weather, but usually the highs are in the 60's with overcast skies and frequent light rain. While that doesn't sound too cold, out on the water it is considerably colder especially when you are on a moving boat. The temp drops even more near a glacier. The rain is usually light and a hooded raincoat will keep you fairly dry. No one used an umbrella. During the 7 days, we had 2 days of on & off light rain, one foggy day, 2 mostly sunny days and 2 cloudy days. We arrived back in Juneau in bright sunshine that lasted for 3 days. Even though it rains all the time in Juneau, you can get lucky in the summer months. According to the locals, this was the nicest summer in Juneau in 10 years.

Food - Very good. Everyone eats together at specific times using open seating. You can sit with different people at each meal. There was one group of nine people that had a reserved table for all the meals, so they can accommodate groups. For dinner you have 3 choices, a meat, fish or veggie entree. For lunch & breakfast you have 2 choices. All meals are served, no buffet lines, except for one brunch that was served when the crew anticipated lots of whale watching. There is an early riser setup with bagels, muffins and oatmeal for those who want something before the 7:30 am breakfast. Portions are not large, which is nice. Compared to large ship cruises, you don't tend to overeat on this cruise. Meal times were usually 7:30 am, 12:30pm and 7:00pm. At breakfast each morning, you gave the staff your meal choice for lunch & dinner so they can prepare the food in the right amounts. You can change your mind at meal time. We often ordered a split order between 2 of the 3 entrees, which worked very well. The fish entrees were consistently excellent, fresh bakery every day, and we often cheered for the outstanding desserts.

Beverages - All beer, wine, mixed drinks & soft drinks are included. There are 2 self service wine kegs open at all hours, along with coffee, hot chocolate & tea available at all hours. After dinner drinks were offered after dinner. The passengers ran the bar when staff wasn't available. Happy hour happens at 6:00pm where the crew puts out some great snacks. Wine is served with dinner. The wines were very good.

Activities - Each day is different. A typical day might include a choice of 3 to 5 activities, including hiking, kayaking, boat tours on small boats, photo tours or maybe stand up paddle boarding. You pick 2 of those activities the night before and the crew does their best to schedule to give you your first two choices, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. You can do the same activity twice. The schedule is posted around 10:00pm so you can plan your next day. The ship is usually parked close enough to a glacier or land so that you have lots of scenery to enjoy on the boat if you decide to stay on board. The ship has a nice small library on Alaska and maritime wilderness topics, and plenty of DVD's to watch. There are expert talks on geology and wildlife related to Alaska. We were on a Photography cruise, so we had a professional photographer, Wolfgang, giving talks and leading photography walks and boat tours He was available to answer questions frequently and he socialized with the passengers at meals and on deck. The ship is small enough to get close to glaciers and can change course quickly to allow good viewing of whales. We changed course and schedules several times when we spotted Humpback Whales. We saw breaching, bubble net feeding, head slapping, etc. Sea otters and seals were plentiful, along with bald eagles, and birds and gulls everywhere. A few bears were sighted along the coastline, they were elusive.

Hiking - The remote islands that the cruise goes to do not have trails (there are no people to cut them). Plus, the portion of the land where you walk is in tidal areas and the ground is very soft. As a result the "walks" can be quite strenuous. There are 2 kinds of walks on these shore lines, except at Glacier, where there are 3 levels of hikes:

1). The "beach walks" are across very rocky shore lines and the footing is slippery, you are watching your foot falls the entire time, thus it's hard to enjoy the scenery. The beach walks are risky, I was amazed that no one turned an ankle. You certainly couldn't get any cardio going, as you had to move slowly. I consider these walks to be moderate level, but no fun.

2). The other kind of hikes are called "Bushwhacks", where the hikers literally cut through rain forests, over soggy ground, slippery boulders, fallen trees, snap back branches. This was a strenuous walk to me (I'm not a big hiker) but the younger people on the hikes thought the Bushwhacks were only moderately difficult and lots of fun as they were blazing new trails, going where no one else had been. You need to wear your rubber boots on these walks. They are heavy, but essential.

Kayaking - The ship has about 15 to 20 double kayaks, which are the "sit inside" type with "skirts". They have rudders and foot pedals for steering, which can be a little tricky to get used to. The kayaks are quite stable and fun to use. The launching & receiving deck is amazing and makes kayaking a great activity. There is always a staff member with each group of kayakers. Inexperienced kayakers had a bit of a learning curve, but no one flipped over, and most people figured it out pretty quickly. Wearing gloves really helps prevent blisters from stroking with the paddle. The ship also has a bunch of Stand Up Paddle boards, which they allow passengers to use when conditions permit.

Wildlife - The crew made sure we got to see many types of wildlife on this cruise. We saw whales 3 times, eagles everyday, we saw bears from the boat a few times, salmon were jumping all over the place, we didn't see moose but we did see seals, sea lions, and otters. There were many birds to see, especially in Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park - We spent 2 days in the park. It started with a 2.5 hour stop at the visitor center which is at the Glacier Bay Lodge where there are several hiking trails. The lodge has free wifi that most people jumped on to look for important emails (they are hard to find). The Park Ranger came on board for 2 days and gave us a talk about what we were going to see in the park. We saw lots of birds and a few mountain goats during the next 6 hours on our way to the glaciers. We saw no whales and even if we did, ships cannot be within 0.5 miles of a whale compared to 100 yards in the rest of the US. We made it to the top (north end) of Glacier Bay by 8pm and stayed in front of Margerie Glacier until about 9:30 PM, then we back tracked a few miles to Reid Glacier and anchored. We had morning and afternoon activities on the second day near Reid Glacier including 3 levels of hikes, small boat tours and kayaking. The extreme hike was 5 hours, with a 1000' elevation gain. It was called the "Glacier Assault". Per Park regulations, only 12 hikers could go on any hike. There were 11 hardy hikers (plus the guide) who made this hike with no problems. At noon, the ship featured a "polar plunge" and about 12 passengers and a few crew members took a quick dip in the Glacier Bay waters (mid 40's) and all got out quickly and headed for the hot tubs. We got to see 2 glaciers at this stop.

The last evening in Glacier Bay was our last on the ship and the crew did a slide show of all the pictures they took on the cruise and gave each cabin a thumb drive with all the slide show photos on them. They also took sign ups for future cruises if you gave them a $350 p/p deposit. That gave you a $1000 credit for (Heritage Cruises), a $500 credit for (Luxury Cruises) or a $250 credit for (Active Cruises) on your next cruise. You have 12 months to make the booking and 24 months to make the trip in order to use this credit. You have 45 days to call up and cancel your deposit for any reason. Every cruise offers. Discounts for booking your next cruise while still on the cruise. By cruise standards, I think this is a great deal.

Photography - This is the trip for your long lenses. Photographing whales is tricky at best. You need to be ready every second with everything pre-set. You need a good camera with a high burst rate, maybe 6 to 9 frames per second. Point & Shoot cameras will not likely produce a good photo as the whales are changing position every 10th of a second. Set your camera on manual focus and pre-focus in the approximate focal plane where the whales are. Shoot in "shutter priority" with about 1/1000th of a second shutter speed and crank up your ISO to allow a high aperture number so you get a good depth of field. The ship has to stay about 100 yards from the whale, so bring out your longest lens. A tripod won't help when trying to find the whale through the long lens, the whales are moving around too much, but the fast shutter speed should eliminate some camera shake.

The viewing areas on decks 2&3 get fairly tight along the rails, as everyone is shooting photos. The best place to go is the 4th deck, where you have room for a tripod. Video is a great way to capture the scenery. Still photos are great and can be very artistic, but you can pan with video and capture the immense scenery of Alaska that even a wide angle lens photo cannot. If you use the telephoto feature of a video camera, you must be on a tripod. It's impossible to get steady video clips in full zoom holding the camera in your hands. Remember to shoot in shorts clips when shooting video, 10 second clips max. It's much easier to watch that way. Never zoom while shooting. Pan very slowly. It's better to stop the video, move your camera, then start recording again. You cannot watch a fast panning video on the screen at home, you will just delete all those segments.

Passengers - This was a younger crowd than you'll find on large cruise ships. The average age was about 50. Virtually everyone went on the shore excursions. The boat is not set up for wheel chairs as there are no elevators. You'll need to be able to climb stairs to take this cruise.

Crew - A wonderful group of 34 hard working men & women, all with personalities and good English language skills. By the end of the week, we were like a big family. The Captain worked all the time. When we were at anchor, she was helping passengers into & out of kayaks. The Captain was happy to show you around the bridge.

Disembarkation - You put your bags out by 7:30am, and go to breakfast. After eating you came back to the room to pick up your carry-ons and leave the boat to a farewell line of most of the crew. They took your bags to the airport if you were flying out that day or to the Baranof Hotel if you were not flying out that day. Buses then took passengers directly to the Baranof or to the airport if your flight was in the morning. Passengers with afternoon flights went to the Hotel, and then a later bus took them to the airport. We rented a car and stated in Juneau for 2 more nights. We did some more whale watching, did a Mendenhall River Rafting trip and explored Juneau. Avis has a rental car agency in the Goldbelt Hotel, right across from the Endeavour's dock. You can drop off the car at their airport location, with no extra charge.

Misc Notes - No one seemed to get sick on this cruise unlike big ships where you hear lots of coughing after a few days. There is no ship store to buy cough medicine in case you do get a cough and you stop in no towns to go to the drug store, so bring your own just in case. You could probably get a few cough drops from fellow passengers.

Summary - Small ship cruises are so different than large ship cruises. Big ship cruises are fine but small ship cruises are just amazing, everything is included and your experience is very personal, not one of thousands descending on some small town. Kayaking in Alaskan waters in front of a glacier is unforgettable. This cruise was all about adventure and getting to know fellow passengers and the great crew. Plus, there was no added costs once you boarded the ship, all excursions and drinks are included and there is no wifi to buy. We liked this cruise so much, that we have booked two more cruises with Un-Cruise.

Email me if you have a question at kentennis@cox.net

 

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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2013

My husband and I and 3 friends went on an Un-Cruise Adventures Inner Reaches of the Eastern Coves of Alaska --small ship cruise on July 27 to August 3 of 2013. We cruised from Juneau to Ketchikan aboard the ship named Wilderness ... Read More

My husband and I and 3 friends went on an Un-Cruise Adventures Inner Reaches of the Eastern Coves of Alaska --small ship cruise on July 27 to August 3 of 2013. We cruised from Juneau to Ketchikan aboard the ship named Wilderness Discoverer. The cruise definitely exceeded our expectations. We had been on a Cruise West cruise in 2010 before Cruise West ceased operating due to the economy. That cruise to Glacier Bay was wonderful but the Un-Cruise experience was even better (better food and more off ship activities). Because the Un-Cruise ships are small (Wilderness Discoverer accommodates 76 passengers and 28 crew) we were able to access small coves and waterways for a very memorable experience in Alaska's untouched areas.

The ship was very clean. The staterooms are small but very comfortable. There is room under the beds to store soft sided luggage and a floor to ceiling cupboard with shelves for clothes and items you unpack. The private bathroom with shower that is in the stateroom is very small but manageable. It was hot on several of the days we were traveling and we were very pleased that the ship has AC and a control panel in each room (it also has heating which we did not need). The food was outstanding and the chef eagerly accommodated my food allergies. The crew members were extremely friendly, helpful and knowledgeable . We thoroughly enjoyed the off-ship expedition activities (all are included in the cost of the cruise) which were extremely varied and included things like kayaking, paddle boarding, skiff tours, hikes, snorkeling, swimming (for the braver travelers) etc. The expedition leader was very knowledgeable and accommodated passengers of all ages and physical abilities in the activities off the ship--as did her expedition crew members. The captain and expedition leader worked together to provide the best experience for passengers and were flexible with regard to the schedule and ship course, for example, making changes so passengers could spend more time viewing whales and bears and other animals or going to coves where animals had been sighted by other ships. We enthusiastically recommend Un-Cruise Adventures!

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Sail Date: July 2013

I made a commitment to myself to visit Alaska each summer and I've been successful so far. This year was by far the best trip I've ever had. I am not a fan of the big ship concept in Alaska. I want to see and enjoy the true Alaska and ... Read More

I made a commitment to myself to visit Alaska each summer and I've been successful so far. This year was by far the best trip I've ever had. I am not a fan of the big ship concept in Alaska. I want to see and enjoy the true Alaska and have seen how quickly a large ship in port can disrupt the entire experience. For this reason I restrict my travels to small ships that allow me to see and do things with minimal exposure to the unnatural side of life. My trip on Un-Cruise this year was aboard one of their luxury vessels, the Safari Endeavour. I learned that their luxury yachts are named "Safari ..." and their adventure yachts are names "Wilderness ..."

The ship was in excellent shape and was immaculate. The accommodations are what you would expect on a small luxury yacht, cozy yet ample, well-tended and the beds extremely comfortable. I slept like a rock. There is an iPod docking station in each cabin but no television or phone. What a concept to actually get to spend quality time with nature outside of our "connected" world. My husband's birthday occurred half-way through the trip and I was able to get cell service for a brief time to make a quick call. The crew are all very familiar with where and when cell service should be accessible. Don't expect it every day. There is room under each twin bed for storing suitcases and a large closet with lots of drawer space which was way more than I needed. I've read other comments about the small cabins and onboard noise and my only comment is that sailing with Un-Cruise is like cruising on a private yacht. You will always have smaller cabins, engine noise and moderate vibration which are normal and expected for the mode of transport. The smaller cabins more than make up for having to deal with 3,500 of your new best friends on the mega cruise ships and the engine sound actually works like white noise lulling me to sleep.

The big plus was the included massage much needed after the glacier assaulted me and the two hot tubs that were the perfect spot for viewing the scenery each evening. My cabin was the closest to the hot tubs and what a plus that was. Since you are very active all day, most guests call it a night at a reasonable hour so foot traffic noise was never an issue.

The hotel and dining staff proved themselves to be the most professional I have encountered on a small ship. I do not throw this out lightly. Everyone went above and beyond to insure that each and every guest had all of their needs and preferences met. They were all personable and friendly while still maintaining a professional image which is next to impossible to achieve in this environment. I was very impressed that they pulled it off. The chef was creative in her menu and the food well presented. I was really glad to see the portions sensible preventing waste. This was a first for me and left a lasting impression. Meals on the luxury ships are served off the menu in the dining room (as opposed to buffet lines) and the food was fabulous. I believe meals on the Un-Cruise adventure boats are served buffet-style. The bar staff did a great job of keeping us hydrated and smiling. They were always quick and very funny. Since the environment is cozy, we all seemed to congregate in the salon which is where the bar is located. This is the perfect place to start your morning as hand-drawn cappuccino/latte/espresso is also available from the bartender/barista.

Our departure in Juneau was the sole port since our experience focused on secluded coves and unimaginable beauty. We rarely saw another ship and felt as though we alone had the Inside Passage to ourselves. This does not mean that there was ever a feeling of isolation, quite the contrary. The small ship experience affords what I aptly term summer vacation for adults although there were families onboard which added to the fun. It is a place where people come together to have a jolly good time and would be perfect for the small group that you host. For me its the perfect opportunity to get to know like-minded adventurers and share in various activities including kayaking, paddle boarding, glacier assaults and good old-fashioned hikes. Dress is very casual so ladies, you can leave the Jimmy Cs & Christian Ls at home. I dressed head to toe in REI and Ex-Officio. My one recommendation is a good pair of mucking boots although they are supplied if needed. I bought mine (Smoky Mountain Amphibian rubber-neoprene) a few years ago at a local feed store and they come in handy for wet landings on the skiff. I wore them daily.

The exploration staff leading our journey were all experienced and then some and one of the exploration guides, also a college professor in Oregon, was the most knowledgeable Ive ever encountered. I learned more on this trip than all seven previous combined. They were always on hand to offer assistance or help introduce you to a new sport. New to kayaking no problem. Theres an introductory demonstration and once in the water, everyone seems to encourage and help each other. Ive kayaked for years but a simple word of encouragement to a newbie went a long way. Everyone was very active.

Our Captain, Jenna Stevens, was also a surprise and she, too, left a lasting impression. She was out there pitching in with the guides getting the skiffs ready to launch always with a smile and kind word. She was available when needed and always looking out for the guests. Im not exaggerating when I say I am still in awe of everyone onboard, from the Captain on down. I have never been on a trip that I didnt hear grumbling of some sort from either guests or crew. This trip was the sole exception and it still amazes me.

The entire crew set the gold standard for the cruising. Their continued efforts to insure a perfect trip did not go unnoticed by anyone. In trying to convince my friends to join me on my small ship travels I always use this comparison. If you go to the Super Bowl and have field-level tickets you are going to pay much more than if you are seated in the nose-bleed section. The same concept applies here. The small ships go where the big ships can't so obviously you will see an entirely different Alaska than they will. You actually get to see and experience the Inside Passage as opposed to watching it through your window or off your balcony. I am very protective of maintaining the dignity of this precious piece of America and being able to anchor is a secluded cove and clearly hear the sounds of nature and see bald eagles, bears, sea otters, sea lions, seals, whales and wildlife up close is indescribable. I can't recommend it enough.

I've spent time in Alaska May through October and recommend July solely because three of my trips in July produced the best weather. Salmon run early July through the end of August and bear sightings on this trip were remarkable. I can't even count the number of whales we spotted. I finally made it to the 20-story high Dawes Glacier, topping my list, and what a welcome we received. A very large chunk of glacial ice broke off and not only calved but created a 375 foot high geyser for our viewing pleasure. Since we were already photographing the smaller calvings from our Zodiac, we caught the whole episode on both camera and video. Wow!!! As you can probably hear from my words, I am still awed by the trip.

 

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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2013

Quite simply, this trip was the best trip we have ever taken. We cruised with Un-Cruise for the first time this summer and we boarded the Wilderness Explorer for a 7 night adventure cruise that left from Juneau, went through Glacier ... Read More

Quite simply, this trip was the best trip we have ever taken. We cruised with Un-Cruise for the first time this summer and we boarded the Wilderness Explorer for a 7 night adventure cruise that left from Juneau, went through Glacier Bay, the Northern Passages, and ended in Sitka.

This was our 4th cruise and our first small boat adventure cruise. After the amazing experience we had with Un-Cruise, we will not cruise with another company. We began planning a trip to Alaska about 2 years ago and we requested some promotional material from Un-Cruise. From our very first encounter with their team, it was apparent to us that they were personable, professional, and an awesome place to do business with.

The small boat only held 76 passengers and there were around 50 guests which made for a great guest to staff ratio. On board our boat was a team of expedition guides that were all naturalists. Our daily activities included guided bushwhack hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling and skiff tours. Each night our Expedition Leader met us in the lounge to discuss the next day's available excursions. We were able to select from a list of activities and the crew made all of them available for us. Each evening, one of the expedition guides presented on an aspect of Southeast Alaska, wildlife, and Glacier Bay. They were entertaining and very informative.

The wildlife that we experienced was breathtaking. We saw in excess of 20 humpback whales, we saw countless bald eagles, sea otters, sea lions, and one day we even saw a brown bear from the boat! The highlight for us was being able to see a Killer Whale come completely out of the water and breach about 50 yards off of the starboard side right outside our room!

The activities were not too strenuous. They did a great job explaining the difficulty level of each activity so we weren't over matched or under matched. It was a pretty neat experience to cruise on a small boat and actually meet and visit with the captain, the first mate, and the rest of the crew. The boat had an "open bridge" policy so we were able to go into the bridge and visit with the captain and crew while we were sailing. Something that we really appreciated was that the captain and crew stopped the boat when we came upon wildlife. What an awesome experience to stop the boat and watch humpback whales in their natural habitat un-rushed, un-crowded and un-believable. Un-Cruise carries our highest recommendations. We had such an amazing time on our cruise that we put down a deposit on board to cruise again in Hawaii with Un-Cruise.

J&H

Little Rock, AR

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2013

From first contact in planning tto departure, guests were the focus of the entire crew and Un-cruise staff. Each crew member from moment of approaching the ship until after we were safely on our way to airport did even tiny thing in a ... Read More

From first contact in planning tto departure, guests were the focus of the entire crew and Un-cruise staff. Each crew member from moment of approaching the ship until after we were safely on our way to airport did even tiny thing in a personal, friendly, competent and efficient manner. Their excitement was infectious ,,,their knowledge and acts enhanced our experiences both with the ship and its amenities as well as the real reason for small-ship cruise choice: up close, intense and personal contact with Nature and Alaska.

Our dream began in 1996... life was as life would be and finally our dream became reality and began June 2013... in all respects, our deepest gratitude to Un-Cruise, front office, captain, officers, staff and crew.

Words of compliment in the English language are oft over- or mis-used. Our experience with Un-cruise: superb. We look forward to at least two more trips with it.

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Sail Date: May 2013

Where do I start? The ship (Wilderness Discoverer)- We were in the Navigator level cabin. It is the least expensive and on the lowest level. It is small( about 8x10) but though snug, we found it really neat. The window opens to the sea ... Read More

Where do I start? The ship (Wilderness Discoverer)- We were in the Navigator level cabin. It is the least expensive and on the lowest level. It is small( about 8x10) but though snug, we found it really neat. The window opens to the sea and since you are on the lowest level it means no railings blocking your view and nobody walking by you window. That means no need to draw the curtain- who cares if a whale or dolphin sees you au naturale?

The crew- Just the best! So friendly and happy to help you in any way possible. The food- Omigosh- everything was perfect. We all were constantly amazed at the variety and quality of the meals.

The activities- Kayaking, hiking, and fun skiff rides to glaciers and land hike areas. Also, the polar bear plunge which is a jump from the ship into 38 degree water which is a one time event near the end of the trip. We didn't partake but about 20 did and it was a blast to watch them. The fellow passengers-they were so much fun and so interesting. We were a like minded group that were looking for more than sitting with 1000 others on those giant ships.

The Un-Cruise company has done their homework. The crew made the time so special. Having been told how they pick their crew, I only wish all employers would follow their technique.

We did the eastern cove, 7 day trip. The weather was gorgeous-hardly any rain and many sunny days. DO NOT be fooled. We were told how unusual that is. So if you read their suggested packing tips-believe them. It will most likely rain so be ready for it. A couple of tips. Many brought their own binoculars but they must have had 15 or 20 of their own in the lounge available for the use of passengers. They have many pairs of "wellies" or rubber calf length boots. I still would advise you bring your own.

Finally, I really recommend the Un-Cruise experience. It was so much fun. In case you think it was perfect- well nothing is. When filling out the initial form for the trip, one question asked if I had a special occasion occurring during the trip and was told to write it in the blank and they would have the crew celebrate it with us on board. Well, i told them my birthday was on May 21 just 3 days into the voyage and I waited each evening for "something" to be announced but it never was. After contacting Un-Cruise afterward, they apologized for the error. Failure to communicate was the reason I think. What do I remember the most? The unbelievable silence after stopping paddling our kayak in Misty Fiord.

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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2012

What an introduction to Cruising.... 7 days all exclusive trip on a luxury yacht around some great scenery and wildlife. 21 like minded guests on board and we have already visited some of them after the cruise.

From the welcome ... Read More

What an introduction to Cruising.... 7 days all exclusive trip on a luxury yacht around some great scenery and wildlife. 21 like minded guests on board and we have already visited some of them after the cruise.

From the welcome at the local hotel until we disembarked 7 days later, everything was friendly, professional and most welcoming. The on board staff made the trip for us; they became companions on the adventure. I know they were working hard behind the scenes to make the trip what it was; from the cooks who surprised us every meal with their culinary skills, the very knowledgeable Expedition leader (who corrected the park Ranger a few times) to the Captain who navigated us into some great isolated places.

Cabins were spacious; we didn't spend much time in ours as so much to see from the decks or on the kayaks/skiff. Great nature trips; kayaking amongst icebergs, brown bears and in front of glaciers, and walking in temperate rain forests and on glaciers to name but a few...

We stopped at two places; Tenakee (small coastal community) and Bartlett Cove (Glacier Bay national Park Entrance) for walks and to meet locals.

We saw a few large cruise ships steaming at 18knots in Glacier Bay whilst we kayaked and followed brown bears on the shore line; definitely the best way to see the Inside Passage. We often diverted to see wildlife, including humpback whales within feet of the boat, and views to get out of bed at 6am for.

We have already booked our 7 days cruise in Hawaii in Jan 2014.

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