Alaska Small Ship Un-Cruise Exceeds Expectations

One of the perks of my job as an adventure travel public relations specialist is, well, travel. Last week, my Dad and I had the pleasure of joining the Wilderness Discoverer for an 8-day voyage that took us from Juneau through Glacier Bay National Park, the jewel of the US National Park System and UNESCO World Heritage Site, and down to Sitka.


un-cruise alaska, small ship alaska

The 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer underwent extensive refurbishment in early 2011.

We kayaked, paddle boarded, and skiffed ourselves silly exploring this majestic region. Hanging with hundreds of seal lions on South Marble Island, witnessing humpback whales breach only a few yards from the boat,  spending an hour with a pod of orcas, watching Dall’s porpoises zip alongside the boat, observing a giant Grizzly grazing a hillside, and hearing a calving glacier thunder into the sea were only a few of the many highlights on this spectacular adventure.


Sea Lions for days.

Sea Lions for days on South Marble Island.

But for me, the cruise was much more than than a wildlife experience or active holiday; it was a wellness retreat. I practiced yoga every day, did some writing/thinking/reflecting/decompressing, and “got my mind right.” It also afforded me an awesome opportunity to take my Dad on vacation for the first time. Alaska has been on his bucket list forever, but for some reason kept eluding him.  He would have never booked an adventure like this, but ended up falling in love with the small ship/expedition cruise concept.

un-cruise, small ship cruise alaska

My Dad, Big Fred, with  Fairweather Range peaks towering in the background.

With only 40 passengers and 25 or so staffers aboard the 176 foot vessel, it felt like summer camp for adults. We knew everybody’s name, where they were from, how many kids they had, names of dogs, likes/dislikes, and more. There was no internet access, cell service or television on-board, so folks connected via conversation… the good old days.  The food was AMAZING, healthy, and properly portioned. The yoga was world class. And the massage therapist offered one of the best deep tissue rub-downs I’ve ever had. Long story short, it was heavenly.


un-cruise alaska, small ship cruise alaska

Wellness Director, yogi, and massage therapist, Allison Yarne.

Our client Adventure Life books a lot of Alaska small ship cruise passengers for Un-Cruise Adventures, the parent company of Wilderness Discoverer.  Un-Cruise offers an alternative to traditional cruises by taking guests into areas inaccessible to large ships and on excursions that are exclusive, private, and unavailable to most other travelers. Destinations include Southeast Alaska, Columbia & Snake Rivers, the Hawaiian Islands, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, Coastal Washington, and British Columbia. There are whispers of a few destinations in Latin America coming soon!


alaska small ship cruise, un-cruise alaska

Majestic Bald Eagle near Margerie Glacier.