“I’m not the cruise ship type.” I heard this statement over and over during my trip to Alaska with Un-Cruise Adventures. I met an 18 year old traveling with her aunt; celebrating her high school graduation and an 80 year old retired teacher from New Zealand sailing solo. Both guests were cruising Alaska with active adventure travel in mind.
“Last year I cruised Antarctica in a small ship,” said Barbara deCastro of New Zealand. “I had to try Alaska. I wanted to compare our fjords with Alaska. They are totally different. Ours are beautiful, but so are these. Alaska’s glaciers are much bigger.”
Two active adventure travelers; yet two unique Alaskan experiences were had on the same ship. What keeps people coming back? “The sort of people who sail on small ships are nice people,” deCastro noted with a smile.
Small ship cruise benefits
One of the benefits of small ship cruising is the flexibility the captain has with itineraries. Our original itinerary had Safari Endeavour sailing to George Island and Elfin Cove. At 25 knot winds Captain Barrett Whitten determined that it was too windy for this destination, instead, he would steer our 232 foot ship to Idaho Inlet. Once here, our expedition guides re-grouped and we were offered “Plan B.”
Tracking bears in Alaska
I signed up for the “Skiff and beach walk” adventure on Chichagof Island. I pulled on my Kamik rubber, waterproof boots, rain gear and personal flotation device (PFD) and headed downstairs to the EZ dock boat launch.
For those of you who don’t own foul weather gear, Un-Cruise Adventures had plenty of travel gear stocked in their lending library. I also packed my own healthy travel snacks, a water bottle and binoculars – all unnecessary, as Un-Cruise had all of these items ready and waiting for every guest.
With the smell of Sitka Spruce hanging heavy in the air, we walked the beach in search of animals. Armed with bear spray and a camera, our Expedition Guide Kenneth O’Brien led us into the Alaskan rain forest. Chichagof Island is known for housing a dense brown bear population. We saw evidence of the bears in the form of bear scat, claw marks on trees and moss covered bear tracks, but no bears were actually sighted on this particular outing.
Upon return from our bushwacking adventure, passengers were greeted with hot chocolate or coffee – with or without alcohol. Ahh, the benefits of sailing on an all-inclusive small ship. Another benefit of sailing with Un-Cruise Adventures is a complimentary massage offered to every guest. Two of the first floor staterooms were converted to spa rooms. Did I mention that Safari Endeavour also boasts a sauna and not one, but two hot tubs on the 3rd floor deck? Soaking in a hot tub while cruising by glaciers – now that’s a conversation starter for your next cocktail party!
Does cruising Alaska on a small ship appeal to your sense of active adventure?
For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @UnCruise on Twitter.
If You Go:
Un-Cruise Adventures (888) 862-8881
3826 18th Ave
W. Seattle, Washington 98119
Article written by and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Un-Cruise Adventures. All opinions are my own.