Wilderness Discoverer Cruise Review
Itinerary: Alaska Inside Passage - Eastern Coves - June 2012
Linda, everything exceeded our expectations. We were looking for Cruise West when we called you, could Cruise West been this good?
Arrival: We arrived in Juneau, dragging from long flights, were met by staff members, young energetic, at the airport. Perked us right up and got us even more excited. They took our bags and we didn't see them again until we got on the ship. Our hand bag and coats were taken from us and we were free to explore Juneau for a few hours. So many big ships, so many people and so many jewelry stores (not what we expected). We had a hospitality suite available at the Goldbelt Hotel which we did not use but it was good to know we had a place to crash if needed. We took Linda's suggestion and visited the fudge shop and tourist store and purchased an ULU Knife. Again listed on your "Tidbit List" we had lunch at the Red Dog Salon.
Goldbelt Hotel: We arrived back at the hotel at the assigned time. Our cell phones worked and we sent our last messages from our last city in Alaska. Actually Wrangell worked also. We met our group of fellow passengers and they looked like a good mix of ages and friendly faces. Our Captain and Expedition Leader literally walked us across the street from the hotel to our ship. A ways down is a Princess ship and we look like the dingy (yeah) in size.
Cabin The ship is small (yeah) and we were full with around 70 passengers. We were comfortably full I would call it. We had Cabin 306 with a queen bed which took up most of the cabin space. The cabin is small as it seems all on the ship are. Bathroom even smaller, but that said, we are on the ship for Alaska not to laze on the cabin. Towels and sheets were good quality. Luggage fit under our bed and we had a number of hooks on the wall outside out cabin to hang our coats etc. We kept our boots in the hall also.
Food: We enjoyed the early coffee along with continental style breakfast, not being a big breakfast eater this worked well. Many did the sit down breakfast and were happy with the choices. Lunch and dinner were buffet, sometimes a short line which went quickly, always enough food. Not extensive buffets but good solid choices. Veggie was accommodated. We would have liked more selection on lunch and dinner. Considering the size of the galley we can understand the limiting issue. The staff is still there to wait in you for extras that you did not get at the buffet.
A favorite of ours was the cocktail hour before dinner in the lounge. Everyone cleans up well for this. Drinks are for purchase, soft drinks ice tea is complimentary. Did not pay attention to the prices as we do not drink. Snacks were always delicious and after lunch we were always amazed how we had worked up a hunger with all the activities and always ready for dinner.
The Itinerary: Juneau / Tracy Arm / Frederic Sound / Thomas Bay / Cascade Creek / Baird Glacier / Wrangell Narrows / Wrangell / Yes Bay / Misty Fjords / Ketchikan Each day was different as far as what we saw and what we did. Sometimes early morning kayak, other mornings hikes or zodiac. They use a white board with markers and we signed up for activities when there were choices. They are all rated by level and difficulty. This way the passengers got divided and everyone got a chance. First sign ups are of little importance. Terrain was at times muddy, wet, overgrown, slippery, you name it and we were in it. Regular tennis shoes would fly but only with good soles and traction, boots with good grab soles are better. We enjoyed two person kayaks from the ships docking station a platform that makes it so easy to propel of and come in. We went out in the skiffs every day if nothing more than to admire the scenery.
What we saw: A long list; many whales, one bear (yeah), a fox, many eagles, flowers, berries and greenery native to Alaska, harbor seals, glaciers, waterfalls, NO big ships, numerous birds. on and on.
Staff: This is the standout...the most friendly, energetic, educated, polite and to top it all FUN staff you could ever ask for. Our Captain was part of us quite often, she even helped me get in and out of a kayak. We felt they were well trained with safety measures as well as educated on our surroundings. Top knotch.
Summary: We felt we got an excellent value for what we paid. We felt we saw the "real" Alaska, different than the cruise ships Alaska. We felt Linda did a wonderful job preparing us and hearing what we were looking for and suggesting this experience. Few constructive suggestions. I did not like the e-mail documents. Would have enjoyed another option of food at meals. Cabin and bath was surprisingly small, maybe we should have had a higher category. Otherwise a 9 1/2 out of 10.
—Marvin and Anne Aronson