The Bridge Was Always Open And So Was The Bar
Alaska with UnCruise Adventures
by Andi Cercos
"You are aboard an oceangoing vessel...but it’s a fabulous adventure.
We had an AMAZING 2 ½ hours of breaching and whale tails on all sides!"
UnCruise Adventures IS a cruise, but probably not the picture that first comes to mind when you see the word CRUISE. You do have a private cabin with shower and you are aboard an oceangoing vessel, but no formal nights, no Broadway shows, no port excursions, and no elevator; it’s a fabulous adventure with great food and knowledgeable crew.
My 7-night adventure was aboard the 77-passenger Wilderness Explorer, boarding in Ketchikan.
We were transferred to the Wilderness Explorer and met on the dock by the entire crew who directed us to our cabins. Cabins are basic with private showers, heaters and opened to the outside deck. Our “Champagne Welcome Aboard” gathering was in the Lounge. The Lounge was the main gathering spot throughout the cruise. Waist high to ceiling windows made it the perfect viewing spot with access to large outside space with hot tub. Binoculars were plentiful. Coffee, hot chocolate, pastries and snacks were always available, as well as a full bar. It also housed a great library of books and DVDs.
My goal on this trip was to learn to kayak and that is exactly what I did. We were able to kayak every day and sometimes twice a day. The daily schedule was similar each day, but no two days were like any other. The day started with stretching (optional) outside on the top deck followed by a buffet breakfast. The Bridge was always open and the Captain Adam was always willing to talk and answer questions. The cruise director was complimented by 5 extremely knowledgeable guides. They were in their late 20’s, early 30’s with a passion for what they were doing.
After breakfast the adventure of your choice started. Kayaking, shore walks, bushwacking (walk into and through the surrounding islands) and skiff trips cruising the surrounding waterways were offered every day. For the most adventurous, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and polar plunge were offered once. We only docked once in the town of Wrangell. We met at Chief Shakes Tribal House for a presentation of native culture. The Wrangell Museum had just opened and it is well worth a visit. It covers the history of Wrangell with room after room of exhibits.
The chef and pastry chef were in charge of keeping us full. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style with at least 3 choices with fresh pastries and fruit. Dinner was plated. Great menus with prime rib, Dungeness crab and shrimp scampi. Vegetarian options were available and great attention was paid to guests with food sensitivities.
We saw mink, whales, otter, whales, bear with cub, whales, seals, whales! On our second to last dinner onboard, the Captain made an announcement that dessert would be served in the Lounge! Unusual but he’s the boss. What a treat! There was a group of 30 to 40 whales that would be right off our boat! An AMAZING 2 ½ hours of breaching and whale tails on all sides.
Our last full day was cruising Tracy Arm. We boarded 8 to 10 guests in skiffs and got up close and personal with the Glaciers. A gorgeous and humbling experience. We saluted the calving glacier with hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps! We spent our last evening in the Lounge celebrating our cruise with our new friends.
We disembarked in Juneau the next day. Luggage was stored for those with late flights and we were able to tour Juneau. The Mount Roberts Tram took us to a viewing deck that look down on the port. Our boat looked like a toy boat next to the 2000 passenger cruise ships. All good things must come to an end. I picked up my luggage and my transfer to the airport was by a chauffeur driven limo!
December 2021 Note about UnCruise's Return to Hawaii: In November, Hawaii officials extended a ban on cruise ships through January 2022. UnCruise Adventures worked with the government, including the Hawaii Department of Transportation and the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, to gain permission for their 36-guest sailings to resume, according to a statement from the tour company. The cruises, timed for the winter humpback whale season, will require all guests and crew to be fully vaccinated. The one-week Hawaii cruise visits Molokai, Maui, Lanai and Hawaii Island and includes island excursions and water activities. UnCruise Adventures operates yachts and small boats carrying 22 to 86 guests on voyages in Alaska, the Hawaiian Islands, Mexico's Sea of Cortez, Costa Rica, Belize and Colombia among other destinations.