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Wilderness Discoverer Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
27 Reviews

Great In So Many Ways, But Some Significant Downfalls

Wilderness Discoverer Cruise Review by Loubear

32 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Sep 2015
  • Destination: Alaska

There is something very special about cruising the Inside Passage, especially on a smaller ship, however I wondered do these smaller ships really take advantage of their smaller size. We are from Australia, so seeing humpback whales is not unusual, we saw a number of them in Alaska, but always some distance away and only the backs, they are still majestic and beautiful but sightings were not regular nor close. We saw an Orca once and at quite a distance, like, pretty much a spec.

I agree with one of the other reviews re the upselling - especially the Captains Dinner, when to be honest, I didn't even notice the Captain, other than at the beginning when he introduced his team. Listening to the Video and being told how easy and at a reduced cost it would be to book the next cruise sounded desperate. Send us the info later!! Nobody was really interested at that time.

This holiday gets such rave reviews that I will be considered the negative naysayer, but here goes anyway.

There are many pro's for this cruise, but a number of con's also:

The guests were all delightful, interesting and engaging. A lot of them quite fit and I really enjoyed an impromptu yoga class by the gorgeous Meghan on the deck in glorious sunshine as we travelled along. A truly magical day.

The Bushwhacking was great if you love Lichen and other plants, but it got quite tedious after that. Having said that, I was in the very lucky group of people that witnessed a bear catching salmon in the river, it was about 40 metres away from us and a truly amazing sight, if for nothing else the trip was worth it just for that. Nobody else saw a bear, even in the distance, other than this sighting.

The kayaking was really enjoyable, especially when guided by Sarah W, she seemed to be able to get the right amount of talking happening, she was informative but also happy for the landscape and environment to speak for itself.

The food was certainly above average and the pasty chef was amazing. Biscuits and cakes were delicious.

The guides were all extremely well read and informed, they knew their stuff.

Skiff rides through the glacier ice in Icy Strait were truly amazing.

I agree with a previous review though, that at times I was stir crazy for some hard exercise.

On the second day the Captain advised us that there was a "stowaway", which was a gastro bug, effecting largely the crew. This made eating anything a lottery. To their credit they did seem to get it contained, before about Wednesday when an awful flu went through the ship.

I found the ship to be quite grubby even when cleaned. The windows needed to be opened more and it needs the carpets and fabrics updating badly. It felt like a harbour for disease. Even a number of the crew looked like they could do with a good scrub. This could also be due to the fact that it was the second last cruise of the season and it just needed a good clean.

The open bridge policy was a joke. The Captain had zero personality. I realise he has a large responsibility but I didn't like the way he was to the passengers or a couple of his crew. I think the bridge should be closed if the people up there cant be friendly. I realise it would be tedious being asked the same old questions, but if that's the policy at least do it well.

The safety drill was ridiculous as was the way a false alarm was conducted. Accidents are unlikely and just as well as they would not have coped.

The expectation of a large tip at the end might be expected in the USA, but those of us not from the States found it quite a high expectation of approx. $500 per cabin. Just be aware and factor it into the cost.

The guides/crew/hospitality all worked extremely hard, although some had definitely had enough by this stage of the season.

Would I do another Un-Cruise - Im just not sure. It was great on so many levels, but really I give most of the credit to the wonderful state of Alaska more than anything else.

Would I recommend you to do this cruise with Wilderness Discoverer - yes. Just go with eyes opened.

Loubear's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin Pathfinder 301

The cabin was pretty good actually. Small, yes, and the shower over the toilet with a plastic curtain was even fine. I did find the ship overall to be very tired and almost grubby even when cleaned.

Great use of hooks outside the rooms, lockers for kayaking vests etc. made the room bigger.

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