SEATTLE — For travelers interested in a seafaring escape but wary of cruise ships that rival small cities in size and population, UnCruise Adventures might have the solution for you.
UnCruise Adventures specializes in what they describe as small ship, soft adventure cruising. Their largest vessel carries just 90 passengers, the smallest only 22. Their fleet of nine ships allows their passengers to get up close and personal in ways the bigger boats cannot.
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“There could be bears foraging for food on the shoreline, we are able to see that,” said Cathy Lamb, Business Development Director for UnCruise. “We can get so close to whales where you can smell the whale's breath. Not that you'd want to, but it tells you the kind of the experience.”
Alaska is the most popular destination for UnCruise passengers, with six boats operating throughout the main tourist season, April to September.
“It's just majestic scenery,” Lamb said. “The glaciers, the waterfalls, the wildlife, the culture. “We're searching for the wildlife and our itineraries are fluid. So if we do see those bears and cubs foraging for food on the shoreline, or bald eagles or whales breaching, they stop and linger and spend the time to bring that to our guests.”
UnCruise also operates tours in the Galapagos, Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama. This year they are planning expand into Latin America with a Belize-Guatemala round trip adventure and Panama to Cartagena, Colombia.
A little closer to home, you can find packages for the Columbia and Snake rivers as well as through Olympic National Park and the San Juan Islands.
“We have two itineraries,” Lamb said of the river cruises. “We have a wine-and-culinary-themed cruise. And then we have Rivers of Adventure – seven days out of Portland to Clarkston and reverse. You are kayaking, skiff rides, paddle boarding, you do a class 3 river raft, you do a jet boat in Hell's Canyon and you bike in the vineyards.”