An Alaskan vacation seems to be on everyone’s travel list these days. For those who prefer a luxurious experience, a trip aboard an “Un-Cruise” ship is the optimal way to blend a private yacht experience with a dose of exciting adventure.
Un-Cruise is a new ocean adventure company created for those who prefer a more intimate experience. Our ship, the newly-refurbished 232-foot Safari Endeavor, has 43 decently sized staterooms and suites for just 86 passengers, designed to comfortably accommodate couples, families, and friends. Un-Cruise offers a fleet of ships with various destinations, flexible itineraries, and diverse styles, ranging from active to luxury. In addition to the Alaskan destination, this unique cruise line offers small boat adventures in Mexico and Hawaii, and are available for charters as well.
Fortunately, I had the opportunity to enjoy an Alaskan Un-Cruise for my birthday this year and celebrated by sailing through the calm waters of Juneau’s Inner passage with a group of enthusiastic travelers catching a glimpse of humpback whales against the backdrop of the Alaskan glaciers.
As an action-oriented cruise, fun outdoor activities are encouraged, and passengers have the unique opportunity to participate in many levels of adventure as the ship sails along the coast, meandering from Juneau toward Glacier Bay National Park and then back. My friend and I had a blast kayaking nearly every day, exploring the calm waters and lush natural landscape up close.
Specializing in relaxed, off-the-beaten-path adventures, each day featured small boat tours for those who wished to have a leisurely afternoon, as well as intense hikes, such as “bushwhacks” and “glacial assaults” for the more experienced among us. Still, for cruisers seeking a lackadaisical afternoon, it was perfectly okay to stay aboard and relax with a massage, or soak in a hot tub, or simply enjoy wildlife viweing from the deck.
Sailing past the enormous glaciers is just part of the breathtaking scenery on this journey. Experiencing a monstrous glacier from up close was not only intimidating, but also inspiring. And when you think you are the closest you can get to a glacier, the Un-Cruise experience allows you to touch the mini icebergs floating past skiffs and kayaks.
Sea life is everywhere: In addition to birds of all kinds, we witnessed breaching humpback whales and killer whales that followed our boat on some afternoons; one day, hundreds of sea lions were perched atop large ice chunks, staring curiously at us as we sailed past.
One sunny afternoon, a bear and her cubs were spotted on a mountainside. The captain and crew were just as excited as the rest of us, and the ship suddenly slowed down and veered toward land, giving everyone the chance to get a glimpse at the wildlife, snap photos or just silently gaze through binoculars.
Meals were impressive, too. One of the best crowd-pleasing dinners were fresh steamed Alaskan king crabs that the boat picked up while we were anchored in Glacier Bay National Park. We truly felt like VIPs with our own pastry chef on board, whipping up delights like fresh scones and croissants. (Of course, all that kayak paddling would certainly burn off those calories.) And for those who enjoy a few cocktails in the evening? No worries! The cruise’s lounge comes complete with a fully stocked premium open bar—24 hours a day.
Experts with backgrounds in biology and geology also sailed with us, sharing their extensive knowledge along the way. These informative talks provided passengers with fascinating tidbits, from the Alaskan giant starfish that live in the Icy Straight to the habits of brown bears and mountain goats. On-board and off, experienced Alaska with a highly skilled staff with years of expertise obtained by trekking the Alaskan landscape.
The Un-Cruise concept was created especially for those who wish to completely unplug, unwind, and truly explore rugged nature at its best. And be forewarned: For those of us who rely so much on our tech devices, there is no Wi-Fi or cell service on this trip.
This unusual and wonderful cruise through some of the most magnificent passages of the Alaskan territory left us in awe of the natural beauty, wildlife, and landscape. Our only question now is—when can we return for another sailing adventure?