Let’s set sail! Well, more like a cruise than a sail. We’re cruising around southeastern Alaska in a whole new way – nope, not a magic carpet, but rather a small ship. An UnCruise ship to be exact. That’s right we stepped away from Disney for our exploration of the last frontier. In our first part of our four-part Alaskan trip review, we’re taking a look at the Wilderness Discoverer, not Wilderness Explorer, which was our UnCruise ship for this adventure. We’ve brushed up on our sea vocabulary, grab the bow line, we’re sailing!
What Is UnCruise?
You may be asking yourself or you’ve already googled, what is UnCruise. We did the same thing before setting out on our adventure. Designed as a small boat adventure cruise company, UnCruise focuses on unique cruises to areas where larger cruise are unable to explore. Our UnCruise ship is categorized as an active adventure.
The UnCruise ship routes change from cruise to cruise, as the majority of the ships go point to point, instead of the traditional cruise style loop. For our cruise, we set sail in Juneau, AK and finished in Sitka, AK.
Touching down in Alaska we had two options on handling our land transportation and hotel. For our adventure, we chose to book everything ourselves, as we found hotels outside the package had better pricing and washer/dryer included. The UnCruise travel agents are also able to book your accommodations (if needed), and transportation from the airport.
On departure day you drop-off your luggage at a designated location by 3 pm local time, and UnCruise will bring it your room. For our cruise, we dropped off our stuff at the local community center across from the boat dock. Upon checking in at the drop off point our bags were tagged with our room number. We were not able to access our luggage after drop off. We recommend packing a backpack with a few things to bring with you for the day, like a raincoat.
We met back at the drop off location at 4:30 pm local time and made our way to our UnCruise ship. Before stepping onboard our picture was taken and we met the crew, then off to our room!
Stepping aboard the Wilderness Discoverer we joined 46 guests and 23 crew members on a weeklong adventure – we did say a small ship cruise! The ship has a total of 4 floors with the second through fourth accessible to guests and the first set-aside for the crew/engines.
The door swings open and both of us had the same reaction “oh, we should have brought less luggage”. We’ve both been on a cruise ship and have experienced the quaint cruise ship room sizes before but with our two carry-on roller bags and regular checked roller back, there was barely enough room for the two of us to fit. The rooms were tight – but luckily you aren’t in them much.
Once in our cozy room, we tried to maximize our space. The room had one half-sized closest with room to hang a few shirts and two shelves, and one nightstand with a cubby for small things like socks. On the wall were a few hooks to hang clothes and towels, which we would definitely use to our advantage. Our luggage did fit under our bed and we decided to only unpack a few things and leave our remaining clothes packed.
Our surprises did not end with the general room area. The biggest surprise came when we opened the door to the bathroom. We’ve all heard the jokes about cruise bathrooms and their size. We’re not joking with this one; the bathroom consisted of a combo toilet/shower. Yes, you read that correctly, combo toilet/shower, no separation – well there was a curtain. Everything you’re thinking about this type of combination is probably accurate. We’ll just say, we’ll be confirming the toilet and shower are separate in all future travels. The sink is located in the general room area.
There are two room options on this UnCruise ship, double occupancy, and triple occupancy. The only difference between the rooms is the triple has a twin bed.
Cheers! The place where everyone knows your name. Similar to a small town, you quickly meet and get to know the majority of your shipmates, as well as the crew. The common area is referred to as the lounge. Filled with bench seating, chairs, and tables, the lounge is where you’ll find all important things, like happy hour, board games, and movies to watch in your room. The crew uses the lounge as the go-to-meeting place for important announcements about daily activities and adventures.
Situated on the second floor, the majority of our time between activities was spent hanging out in the lounge playing games, reading, and of course working on our famous blog articles. We’ll share more about the lounge and craft concoctions in our food review article.
Mealtime! They must have known our love for food, as our room was located next to the dining room. Midnight snack anyone? The dining room is a mix of four-person tables and six-person booths. With no assigned tables you’re able to dine with a variety of your shipmates during your journey. It’s definitely a great way to get to know everyone on the ship and share your stories from the day!
The dining room is used both for breakfast and lunch buffets, as well as sit down dinners. We’ll dive more into the food in our full food review article in the coming weeks, as you know us, we love to write and talk about food.
Pump You Up!
Whether we’re at Disney World or on a cruise ship, we love our vacation workouts. On our UnCruise ship, we got to workout with a view. Whether you like spinning away on the bike or moving around some weight, there is nothing quite like spotting a bald eagle while sweating to the oldies. The ship’s exercise equipment is located on the fourth level on the outside deck. There is a covering to protect you from the weather. The best part is it’s open-air and cool Alaskan air acts as the best air conditioning.
Working out on vacation is always hit or miss, as you’re not at your local gym. On our UnCruise ship, we had just enough stuff to put together a solid workout. There were a couple of ellipticals, a couple of spinning bikes, a set of dumbbells that were interchangeable up to 50 pounds, and a TRX system.
On the third level, there is a measured mile where you walk and stretch. By no means will you be training for your runDisney event on this track. It would work for stretching your legs and breathing in that fresh Alaskan air!
We should say hot tub time! Located on the back of the third deck where you meet for the excursions, and find your lockers for storing important things like life jackets, are two hot tubs. As far as we know they are not time machines, but more testing may be needed. The UnCruise ship does not have a pool, but the two hot tubs are perfect for gazing at the wilderness and loosening up sore muscles from overzealous kayaking.
The most important thing about any accommodations for us is cleanliness. Our UnCruise ship was well cleaned and especially our room. Many times we would step out of the room and return a few moments later to find our room cleaned and bed made. Unfortunately, that was the silver lining of the room. The room and ship felt like it could use an overall update from top to bottom. We’re not sure how they could do it, but a reconfiguration to separate the toilet and shower would go a long way. Adding storage would also make the room feel bigger and more functional.
We found the common areas pretty spacious and perfect for conversation. If you enjoy meeting new people and sharing experiences, this would be your jam. Some may say it’s the start of a beautiful friendship, would you agree Humphrey Bogart? All right we’re off; we’ll meet you in the lounge!