Do you love cruising? Do you live for new adventures? Are you looking for a getaway that is social distancing friendly?
If you answered yes to one, two or all three of these – or even if you didn’t – read on – because UnCruise Adventures is a different kind of vacation that will leave you wondering why you didn’t try them earlier!
UnCruise Adventures is definitely NOT what most of us envision when we think about cruising. And that’s because UnCruise is not your typical cruise ship. Their vessels are much smaller than traditional cruise ships – holding anywhere from just 22 to 88 guests. And that my friends is the beauty of cruising with UnCruise. It’s smaller, more intimate setting lends itself not only to social distancing but so much more!
I recently spoke with Nicole Andrews, the Outside Sales Coordinator at UnCruise, to get the scoop on this exciting way of enjoying the open seas. Below is an overview of what UnCruise Adventures is all about.
Background: UnCruise Adventures got its start in Alaska twenty-five years ago. Being such a remote destination, they took what they learned there and adapted it to other destinations. They now have eight different vessels that – as we stated above – range in capacity from 22 to 88 people – and offer numerous voyages all over the west coast of the Americas.
UnCruise cruises – although billed as adventure cruises – are actually soft adventures – so anyone can participate – even if you don’t know how to kayak or snorkel – because their crew is there to assist and encourage you to do new things. With UnCruise you’ll visit off the beaten path, remote places – not the popular ports that the larger ships go to. And because they are smaller ships it allows them to do things a bit differently.
Destinations: With UnCruise you will actually experience the destination instead of sailing through it as you would on larger cruises – making it an intriguing way to explore. You can also combine destinations and do back-to-back trips if you would like. An example of this would be what they call Fire and Ice – doing Hawaii then Alaska for two weeks – back-to-back. Another example would be doing two Alaskan cruises – on the same ship – but each with different itineraries back-to-back. And rest assured – we will make it as seamless as possible!
- Alaska – They sail Alaska from April to September – longer than any other cruise line! The great part about UnCruise Alaska sailings is that they are all completely domestic – which means they start and end in the US – so there are no problems with the Canadian border closures that are happening right now. Most start and end in southeast Alaska such as roundtrip Juno to Sitka, Juno to Ketchikan and a new one starting in 2021 – Anchorage to Whittier round trip. So, most don’t even sail through Canadian waters but the ones that do cruise the Canadian Inside Passage straight through with no stops – and thus are not affected by port closures. And this only happens when UnCruise repositions their boats in the spring and offer a special from Seattle to Alaska.
- Latin America – UnCruise most recently expanded to Latin America and offers three separate adventures. First is Belize and Guatemala, second is Costa Rica and Panama which starts in San Jose or Panama City – or reverse and third is Columbia to Panama or reverse – featuring the beautiful city of Cartagena. Both itineraries that include Panama go through the Panama Canal which is one of the manmade wonders of the world and a great way to experience the locks of the canal.
- Columbia and Snake Rivers – There are two different itineraries offered here. You can either do trip that focuses on adventure OR one that focus on wine and culinary experiences – thanks to the abundance of good wine and food in Portland area!
- Hawaiian Islands – No better way to experience the islands than on a boutique yacht! Hawaii will start up in December and typically sails year-round but next year (2021) it will have a break in the summer then resume again in August.
- The Pacific Northwest – These itineraries run in spring and fall and explore the San Juan Islands, South Puget Sound and Deception Pass.
- Mexico’s Sea of Cortes – This one is round trip from La Paz and explores the Sea of Cortes – also knowns as “the worlds aquarium.”
- Galapagos Islands – Note: Your Travel Guru suggests combining a land package in South America with this one!
Activities: Every UnCruise trip includes kayaking, paddle boarding, nature walks, hiking, snorkeling, skiffing and exploring – which means you don’t have to book excursions before hand – everything is planned out when you board.
Being smaller ships also has another big advantage – exclusive to UnCruise – they each have an easy dock launch platform which allows them to to load and unload kayaks (and skiffs!) on a stable surface then slide you out into the water. So, no worries about wobbling in and out of kayaks. They will get you in comfortably, slide you into water and when you’re done, they’ll slide you back onto the stable platform where you can get out as easily as you got in.
Since all activities take place outside, you’ll be spotting all different kinds of wildlife depending on destination you are in. This is truly being one with nature!
For instance, in Alaska you’re bound to see puffins, bald eagles and even whales. These excursions are perfect for whale watching because if your crew gets notice of whale activity in the vicinity they can sail there, and you can enjoy them from safe distance. You’ll also find hidden coves and even have the opportunity to get out and stand in Glacier Bay National Park – which you can’t always do on the larger ships – as only limited numbers can visit the park at once – so a lot of people don’t even get on the ground.
Or in Latin America you’ll be looking for sloths, howler monkeys, toucans, wild parrots,
and more. Our naturalist guides have been on the water their entire lives so can spot them easily – and point them out for you to marvel at!
And in ancient Halawa Valley on Molokai, Hawaii you will have an encounter with a family that will open their home to you. Here you can have a true cultural exchange and learn of their customs and cultures while you tell them all about yours.
Type of Traveler: UnCruise cruises are ideal for all types of travelers including couples (either honeymooners or just to get away from it all), families (including family reunions and other multi-generational families trips) and solo travelers. They are especially great for children – although they are not recommended for children under eight years old as a rule. However, there are exceptions so if the child is well-traveled it is possible that they will be allowed if under age eight – just ask for the exception and your Travel Guru will look into coordinating it. Bonus – children age eight to thirteen will qualify for a $500 savings. What a marvelous way of bringing the classroom live, up close and personal to your children!
Updated COVID-19 Information: As of this writing – it is essential to note that the no-sail order for cruises put in place by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only applies to ships with more than 250 passengers and crew. Therefore, UnCruise Adventure is exempt from this order and their U.S.-based, U.S.-flagged, U.S.-crewed vessels have put initiatives in place to advocate for the betterment of small boat travel and its guests.
As Nicole stated during our conversation the pillars of UnCruise Adventures are adventure and connection – which include connecting to your crew, to locals and villagers, to wildlife from your seat on a skiff, to nature and connecting to each other!
After our chat it’s easy to see why UnCruise is perfect for families because these are all adventures that families can do together! Snorkeling and kayaking and even a polar plunge in Glacier Bay from the back of the boat – these are once in a lifetime memories! And mom’s and dad’s, grandma’s and grandpa’s – there is no internet or wi-fi on any of their vessels – ensuring your kids will unplug and be fully present with you – collecting their own stories and seeing the marvelous world we live in – in living color!
For more details on UnCruise Adventures – including full itineraries, it’s price points and more – contact your Travel Guru! Oh, and if you need a payment plan to fund your travel adventure – we got those too!