By our guest Maja Koster
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. For this small ship cruise in Alaska we descided on the Wilderness Discoverer from the American company UnCruise. And what a cruise it was! Brilliant weather, a lovely small ship (maximum of 76 guests), an excellent crew and expedition team, delicious food, a cosy cabin, open bridge policy, lots of activities and tons and tons of wildlife!
The wildlife in Alaska is unbelievably amazing! We saw breaching whales, bubble-net feeding whales at 50 meter distance, whales slapping their tales. We had the chance to kayak with dozens of playful sea lions and hundreds of incredibly cute sea otters that swam right up to us! Along the coastline we spotted a mother bear with 3 cubs and later we also saw some bears at the salmon hatchery. The encounters we had were simply beyond expectations!
Life on board a small ship cruise in Alaska
Life on board the ship 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 on the program every day. Some days it’s also possible to go snorkeling or paddle boarding.
Usually the ship moves to a different nice and quiet spot during lunch time while passengers are enjoying the warm and cold buffet lunch. After lunch it is time for the afternoon activities. You will again have the opportunity to go kayaking, hiking or cruising to explore a new beautiful area of Alaska. At the end of the afternoon you can join the happy hour on board. Have a chat with fellow passengers while enjoying a drink (all drinks are included) and some snacks. During this daily meet-up, the expedition team reveals the program for the nex tday so you know what to expect.
Dinner is always an excellent 3-course meal with fish, meat or vegetarian options. Afterwards, usually one of the expedition guides gives a presentation about different kinds of wildlife. We had presentations about whales, bears and pinnipeds but also about the history of Alaska, all very interesting. At night the ship either sails to a new location or is at anchor in a secluded bay. Each morning you wake up to an incredible view which makes you eager to head out an explore Alaska!
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!
Check out the vessel and our Alaska travels for yourself.
All images on this page are by Uncruise