Alaska small ship cruise.
We are a well-travelled mid-aged couple that loves beautiful scenery and wildlife in its natural habitat. Five years ago we went to Alaska for the first time and we loved it, so we decided to spend another holiday in this beautiful part of the world. On our wish list was a nature cruise and after listening to our wishes, Waterproof Cruises & Expeditions recommended a 14-day cruise from Sitka via Juneau to Ketchikan on the Wilderness Discoverer from the American company UnCruise, and what a cruise it was….! Brilliant weather, a nice small ship (maximum of 76 passengers, but we only had 43 passengers), an excellent crew and expedition team, delicious food, a cosy cabin, open bridge policy, lots of activities and tons and tons of wildlife! Breaching whales, bubble-net feeding whales at 50 meter distance, whales slapping their tales, kayaking with dozens of playful sea lions or with hundreds of incredibly cute sea otters, a mother bear with 3 cubs and other bears at the salmon hatchery or along the coast line, and many many more, unbelievably amazing!
Life on board is relaxed and informal, don’t expect to wear a tuxedo or a fancy dress, outdoor gear is the way to go. For the early risers the day starts with a morning stretch / yoga class, followed by a very extensive breakfast in buffet style. After breakfast the morning activities commence, for which you sign up the day before. Bush walking or a nice shore walk, kayaking and cruising in a Zodiac are what’s on the program every day, and sometimes it is even possible to snorkel and paddle board. Usually the ship moves to a different nice and quiet spot during lunch time, when passengers are enjoying a nice warm and cold buffet lunch. After lunch it is time for the afternoon activities, so again kayaking, bush walking or cruising in a different beautiful area. At the end of the afternoon it is happy hour, where you can chat with fellow passengers (most guests from the USA, a minority from others countries) while enjoying drinks (all drinks are included in the price) and snacks. During this time the expedition team explains about the programme and what to expect for the next day. Dinner is an excellent 3-course meal with fish, meat or vegetarian options. After dinner usually one of the expedition team members gives a presentation about different kinds of wildlife (we had presentations about whales, bears and pinnipeds) or about the history of Alaska, all very interesting. At night the ship either sails to a new nice spot or is at anchor in a secluded bay. The cabins are all outside cabins with private facilities and a window, they are small but cosy and have everything you need.
This was definitely not our last time in Alaska and we are hooked on small ship expedition cruising!
We can’t wait to go back!