Un-Cruise Line Reviews

Year Started: 1996
Ships in Fleet: 8
Category: Expedition

Summary: Small ship that excel in personal adventures in Alaska and Hawaii. Excellent cuisine, cozy but dated ships. Not a luxury cruise, but a fantastic experience.

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Un-Cruise Line Editor's Review

Overview

How big a hit is InnerSea Discoveries, the new adventure cruise line that started up this summer in Alaska? Big enough that the company already is planning an expansion for 2012.

Seattle-based InnerSea today announced it had acquired the 86-passenger Spirit of Discovery, a former Cruise West vessel, and would put it into service in Alaska next summer after a significant makeover. Cruise West collapsed in 2010, and the ship has been out of service.

As part of the overhaul of the Spirit of Discovery, InnerSea is reducing the ship's capacity to 76 passengers. The vessel will be renamed the Wilderness Explorer and sail between Juneau and Sitka in Alaska.

In making the announcement, InnerSea noted it quickly sold out this year's voyages on its two existing vessels, the 76-passenger Wilderness Discoverer and 60-passenger Wilderness Adventurer. The two ships sail between Juneau and Ketchikan.


The Experience

 

Founded in 1996, Un-Cruise Adventures focus was to provide up-scale luxury cruises in Alaska's Inside Passage. They began sailing in 1997 with just one yacht and added a second in 1998, along with a second Alaskan itinerary. In 1999/2000, the company invested approximately $2 million dollars in a major refit and redesign of both yachts. Additional staterooms were added on both yachts at that time. A third yacht was added in 2001.

Today the company is known as Un-Cruise Adventures with the InnerSea Discoveries in parentheses. It now has six vessels, three acquired when former competitor Cruise West went out of business. The older vessels are still marketed under the American Safari name (aSc) while the new vessels come with InnerSea Discoveries (ISD) logos.

Un-Cruise Adventures offers all-inclusive pricing. In addition to the onboard fine dining, the pricing includes all premium wines, micro brews, liquors, activities such as hiking, beachcombing, kayaking, snorkeling, sailing, exploring on a motorized Zodiac inflatable, use of the mountain bikes carried on each yacht and transfers and baggage handling to and from the yachts. American Safari Cruises offers exclusive private shore excursions and activities not offered by the larger cruise lines. Yacht cruising offers guests the opportunity for close-up viewing of wildlife and accessibility to areas not available to mainstream cruisers. An onboard Expedition Leader/Naturalist is on every sailing offering their expertise and educational presentations.

Located in Seattle, Washington at the historic Fisherman's Terminal is Un-Cruise Adventures main office. Un-Cruise Adventuresoffers various length (8-day, 9-day, 10-day, 15-day) yacht cruises in Alaska's Inside Passage, Mexico's Sea of Cortés, Pacific Northwest's Columbia & Snake Rivers, and the islands and fjords off the coast of Washington and British Columbia.

Some of the benefits of cruising with Un-Cruise Adventures are accessibility to hard-to-reach locations and narrow passages. Flexible schedules to allow for spontaneity. Evenings are spent at anchor so the passenger does not miss anything. The captain urges passengers to visit the bridge. Casual onboard atmosphere. Personal and tailored customer service.

 

Dining

 

Each meal is a culinary dream. The day begins with an early riser breakfast at 6:30 a.m. consisting of bagels, toast, homemade muffins, fresh fruits, juices, coffee and tea. A full, made-to-order breakfast follows at 8:00 a.m. There is a chef's special each morning; however, guests are invited to order anything they like. Lunch is served at approximately 12:00-12:30 p.m. depending on the day's activities. 

There is a daily lunch special, but just as with breakfast, the guest is welcome to request an alternative selection. There are snacks offered throughout the day and if you still have room, appetizers and cocktails are served at 6 p.m.

Dinner is served at 7 p.m. with your choice of several selections. Many of the meals are prepared from local, freshly caught seafood purchased while in port; selections such as King Crab Legs, dungenous crab, fresh salmon, prawns and rock fish. In addition to the fresh seafood, selections also include top quality beef, pork and poultry entrees. There are many wonderful, homemade breads and soups served throughout the cruise. Guests are offered fine wines especially selected for each evening's meal or they may select one of their choosing. Delicious desserts, many topped off with homemade whipped cream, are served with lunch and dinner daily. It is obvious there are no shortcuts taken when it comes to the food aboard an American Safari cruise.

Un-Cruise Adventures is able to accommodate all dietary needs; guests just need to make them aware of their needs prior to sailing.

Aboard Safari, all twelve guests are seated at one table. The table settings are impeccable with lovely linens, fine china, crystal and flatware. The table settings are a work of art in themselves.

 

Cabins

 

All staterooms are deluxe with king, queen or twin beds and private bath, some with Jacuzzi tubs. Cabins are situated on several levels, some with French balconies with sliding glass doors while others have windows, portholes or port lights. All have hair dryers, bathrobes, alarm clocks and TV/DVD players.

The cabins are not particularly spacious, but are certainly comfortable with ample storage for all of your belongings. The bathrooms are larger than those on your average large cruise ship. The cabins have all of the normal amenities of an upscale hotel room.

 

Fellow Passengers

They are generally younger and more adventurous. Hikers, kayakers aqnd people interested in nature and sea life.

Shore Excursions

This entire voyage is like one long shore excurion. The idea is to bring you to the action wherever it may be. Anything can happen at any time so the itinerary is more of a suffestion than a plan.

Kid's Excursions

Kids are welcome but there are no youth activity directors or baby sitters. Kids should be old enough to take care of basic needs like dressing, etc. 

Attire

Casual all the time - just be sure to check the weather before you leave.

Tipping

One of the most unusual and expensive tippings guidelines in the "cruise" industry, the line recommends 5% to 10% of the cruise fare and is shared equally among the crew.

This can easily become $500 to $1000 per guest.

 

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