Ready for adventure! We’re back in Alaska and gearing up for our UnCruise excursions. It’s why everyone goes to Alaska, to discover, explore, and experience the great outdoors with or without the 96 ounces of T-bone. Well, now we’re craving a steak from Le Cellier. Enough about food, we’re here to talk about the UnCruise excursions. We’ve been fitted for our life jacket, we’re covered from head to toe in dry-fit, all that’s left to do is explore!
Who doesn’t like a good plan? Planning is a DVC Duo favorite past time, we’ve been known to use a spreadsheet or two to plan our Walt Disney World Fastpass selections. With UnCruise excursions your planning happenings the day before. That’s right, 24 hours in advance. Unlike a traditional cruise, UnCruise excursions are not preset but instead designed based on locations and weather conditions.
Each day your excursion director shares the options at dinnertime for the next day’s location. Excursions are usually broken down into three categories, skiff tour, kayak, or land. Activities are either offered as half-day or full-day activities.
Majority UnCruise excursions are included in the overall cost.
Setting Off The Boat
Watch out for that first step, it’s a wet one. Located on the third floor of the UnCruise ship you meet up with your tour guide to kick-off the adventure. For a full breakdown of the ship, check out our following article. Regardless of which adventure type you chose all excursions to begin here, before heading down to the second deck to either step into a kayak or zodiac boat.
There’s no better way to explore the southeastern Alaskan wildlife than by boat. With most animals enjoying the quiet tranquil peaceful life away from it all, the stiff tours are perfect for covering a great distance. Once you strap-on your PFD (life jacket, or better known as a personal floatation device), you step aboard one of the zodiacs where a driver and a tour guide take you on a search for wildlife.
There’s no guarantee of spotting animals every time you head out. We were lucky on our one our tours we encountered a wide range of Alaska’s finest, from playful sea otters, to adorable sea lions and the always hard to spot humpback whales. Pro-tip, you’ll want to bring binoculars on all your tours for the best viewing opportunities.
As animals are discovered your tour guide fills you in on all the interesting facts about the species. For example, did you know the sea otter has a storage pouch under its armpit? We definitely didn’t!
One Paddle, Two Paddle
Who needs a motor when you have arms? For that ultra-quiet approach, there’s no better way to coast up close than in a two-person kayak. Well, unless you’re stuck in a current and start using all your favorite four-letter words, but that’s a story for another day. Let’s just say the current is strong in that ocean.
Kayak adventures come in two varieties, open paddle or guide tours. By far the better option is the guided kayak, as you’re able to go further away from the boat to experience more of the Alaskan wilderness. Nothing gets your heart pumping like encountering a humpback whale fifty feet from your kayak.
The open paddles are a great way to work on your stoke. If sitting in a kayak is not your thing, stand-up may be the UnCruise excursion for you. The stand-up paddleboards are only an option during the open paddles.
Walk It Out
The only time you don’t want to encounter animals is when you step on land. These are no country bears. With a lot of the action happening on the water, the terrain should not be overlooked. On UnCruise excursions, you can explore the land in a variety of ways, with the first being the traditional bushwhack. Fair warning the bushes whack back. The bushwhack is a guided trek through, under, over, and around the wilderness. With no marked trails, your guide uses local knowledge and compass to lead you to the famous Alaskan musgraves.
It’s an ecosystem like no other. Best described ask walking on the moon, the musgrave is filled with unique plant life and vegetation. The ground is so soft you’ll think you have marshmallows strapped to your boots.
If fighting bushes is not your style, UnCruise excursions offer up a couple of other options including seaside meanders where you explore tidal pools and bushwhacks lights where you fend off the weaker of the bush species, as well as traditional hikes.
We can do this all day! Great, because you’re leaving the ship at 8:30 am and we won’t see you till 4 pm. A couple of times through the trip the UnCruise excursion team will offer up an all-day adventure that could be anything from an all-day kayak, to all hike, or even yak whack and yak. In Alaskan terms that’s a kayak to a bushwhack and kayak back.
The onboard chef packs up your lunch, while you fill your water bottles then off you go. On our all-day adventure, we kayaked to a tidal pool where we had to portage (carry) the kayak overland then kayak to our bushwhack then kayak back. Let’s just we earned that no flour chocolate cake at the end of the day.
Blue light special. Well, the ship has no blue light, but you know what we mean. On random occasions, and not always guaranteed, the UnCruise excursion team will offer a snorkel. Who’s ready to jump into the beautiful 45 degree Pacific Ocean? We did for the polar plunge, but not the snorkel. For an additional fee of $35 per person, you’ll head out on half-day snorkel adventure to encounter starfish, sea etchants, and many other under the creatures. Maybe even Sebastian.
Even said. Ok, we’ll say a few more words. There are a few things in life that words, pictures, and even your eyes can’t fully take in. Glacier Bay is one of those experiences. Sailing up to the John Hopkins glacier, our ship was greeted by a three orca whales, one baby, and two adults. We sailed past an island of sea lions and came within a couple of hundred yards of the mammoth glacier.
With harbor seals popping their heads out of the water, we stood in awe of the historic natural wonder. All of sudden we heard to what we thought was a gunshot, followed a chuck of the glacier breaking away and sliding into the ocean.
The weather surrounding the glacier was unlike no other. From the light rain to the dropping temperatures, it felt like we may see Rose (not Jack) floating by. Sailing away the weather did an almost 180 and before we knew it was 60 degrees and sunny.
We ended the day with a leg-stretching hike around the park ranger grounds.
There’s no better way to see Alaskan wildlife than from a small boat cruise. The ship is able to take you places like no other. In regards to the UnCruise excursions for the most, they were good. If you’re looking for a cruise to get you away from the ports and into the wilderness with a little activity this the perfect adventure for you. For us, we enjoyed ourselves but would have liked to see a little more structure to the days. Many times excursions would be planned, then changed moments beforehand due to the seas. On these occasions, it felt like we spent time doing the same thing over an over again.
Overall, the experiences and encounters we had with the animals cannot be surpassed. The day Glacier Bay will live with us forever. All we want to know is there anything cuter the sea otter? Yeah, didn’t think so!