As a former CruiseWest Alaska fan, I've been looking for a replacement. My travel agent recommended that I try InnerSea Discoveries. I had a reasonably nice time on this cruise but I am not sure I will try this company again.
Highlights of cruise:
8 hour fishing excursion, caught a 3-foot long King Salmon. We also saw a humpback whale so close that it went under the (very small) fishing boat!
Whale biologist came on board and showed us videos from whale "critter cams" including whales feeding.
Humpback whale came right up to the side of the ship and rolled over while feeding. I got a great picture.
Hundreds of eagles on a rock outcropping and feeding - the captain said he had never seen that many eagles in one place, ever.
Visit to Klawock with delightful native teens as tour guides and getting to see a totem carver at work.
Zodiac trip to see the sea lions, who followed the boat very closely and playfully.
Zodiac trip close to a glacier and seals spy hopping on bergy bits near the ship.
Met some interesting and very nice people.
Great hot tub on observation deck.
Comfortable cabin (I had a bigger one all to myself with an outside entry)
Good wine selection
Excellent massage therapist
Things I didn't like:
The staff was somewhat disorganized. That may be because this was the inaugural season. For example, we had to draw names for the fishing trip because there were only 4 spaces and 6 people wanted to go. There was no warning of this and the couple that didn't get picked wasn't happy. I would have been really unhappy if I had not been picked. The camping trip was full before the ship sailed, even though I tried to book a space by phone with the cruise line ahead of time - they said I had to do it on the ship but when I tried that it was already full.
I was really unhappy that there was no PA announcement system to tell us about wildlife. On the last night we had whales feeding all around the ship and didn't know until someone went on deck after dinner and came back to tell us.
Many of the activities offered were too strenuous for me and a couple sounded dangerous. On the days when we were anchored in coves for these activities there wasn't much to do unless you wanted to kayak or paddle board near the ship. I spent most of one reading - which was fine but I was really there to see wildlife and scenery.
The most disappointing part was the food. It was just OK and I think we were hampered by the fact that we were in the wilderness most of the time and had no ports to get supplies. I did think some of the choices were strange - on the day when the naturalists talked about the negatives of fish farming, they server tilapia - a farmed fish - for dinner.
We had rough seas the first night, they passed out pills which helped and recommended that we go to bed. The rest of the voyage was calm.
Overall it was a nice experience but not outstanding. I enjoyed my extra days in Ketchikan and Juneau more than some of the days during the cruise. If you are a very active person and like to kayak or do bushwhacking (hiking with GPS and no trail) this would be a great cruise for you. I am more into photography, moderate exercise and spending time in the smaller cities in southern Alaska. I have selected a different cruise line for this year's Alaska trip.
Plenty of room for one person, I think it would be cramped for two (one double bed in cabin). Decent storage space for this type of ship. Typical tiny head (shower and toilet together). There was a step up to go on deck and step down into the cabin, and I kept tripping - definitely not the room if you have trouble with your balance or are somewhat clumsy like me. I don't know if the rest of the cabins had the same thing or not. One of the few with an entry onto the deck which gives you three windows (one in the door) and makes it a lot easier to get to the bathroom when you need one, as there are no "public" heads on the ship. I never spend that much time in the cabin anyway so it's not a concern unless there is too much noise. This one was pretty quiet.