My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Behind the Scenes at InnerSea Discoveries

2010/09/16by Donna Hull


Another Alaska cruise adventure

This week, Alan and I are on a baby boomer adventure in Alaska’s Inside Passage hosted by the new small ship adventure cruise line, InnerSea Discoveries. Although their ship, Wilderness Discoverer, is still in dry dock, the company invited us aboard American Safari Quest, a small luxury adventure yacht, one of the company’s sister cruise products, to experience the adventures and itinerary that Wilderness Discoverer will offer to baby boomers and other passengers starting in 2011.

Before Alan and I walked up the Safari Quest gangplank in Juneau, InnerSea Discoveries invited us to a behind the scenes tour in Seattle to view the refurbishment of the Wilderness Discoverer. We thought our baby boomer readers would enjoy a peek at the re-birth of a ship.


Behind the scenes on Wilderness Discoverer

Giant blue tarps draped the Wilderness Discoverer as CEO Dan Blanchard—Capt. Dan—explained the intricacies of bringing the former Glacier Bay ship back to life. Stopping at the bow, he pointed to where an underwater camera will be installed so that guests will be able to tune into the action on the flat panel screens located in their cabins.

Motors whirred and the acrid scent of welding smoke greeted us as we climbed the scaffolding ladder to step aboard the Wilderness Discoverer. A mock-up of two of the cabins, one upper level, the other a standard one, gave us an idea of the adventure-style accommodations that will be offered. Considering that the price point will be almost half ($3,000+) the cost of a similar journey on the more luxurious American Safari yachts, budget minded boomers will find the more spartan, but well-equipped cabins, including iPod docking stations, an acceptable trade-off.


Upper level cabin

On the stern, we tried to envision the kayak system from Easy Docks that will allow 6 kayaks to be launched at the same time, as Capt. Dan enthusiastically explained the process. And, his enthusiasm bubbled over to the topic of adventure in general. “You don’t have to be an athlete,” Capt. Dan said, explaining that with three levels of adventure activities, there is, “adventure for everyone.”

Starting in late spring of 2011, Wilderness Discoverer will alternate between Juneau and Ketchikan on two routes (western and eastern coves) along Alaska’s Inside Passage. The first year, she’ll sail with 40+ passengers, eventually increasing to 70+ in future years.

Alan and I are currently sailing one of Wilderness Discoverer’s routes as we experience adventure InnerSea Discoveries style. Be looking for our posts on kayaking, hiking, whale watching and photography.

Are you planning a cruise? Use our Luxury Cruise Travel Planning Guide to begin your research.

Have you sailed on a small ship adventure cruise in Alaska? Post a comment to share your experience. Alan and I agree that this is our kind of travel.

View more of our photos from the re-birth of Wilderness Discoverer at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook. And, while you’re there, be sure to click the like button.

Disclosure: The Un-Cruise company (previously American Safari and InnerSea Discoveries) provided this travel experience, but the opinions are our own.

A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of New Mexico Backroads Weekend Adventure.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

September 16, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Interesting. And no, I haven’t. But it would be the only way I would go – on a smaller ship. Looking forward to your posts. How’s the climate up there right now? Hope you don’t have too much rain.


Andy Hayes
September 16, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Great trip report – it looks quite comfortable. I’ve never been on a cruise, nor to Alaksa, so I’m looking forward to hearing all about it

Reply September 19, 2010 at 4:54 pm

We did a big ship cruise and while I enjoyed it, I wouldn’t do it again. Small ship must be so different though and I would like to experience that.


Anonymous September 21, 2010 at 6:42 am

Although I’ve never been on a cruise, the Inside Passage is one place where I’d like to try cruising, and this ship sounds perfect. Looking forward to reading more about this adventure.


Donna Hull
November 4, 2010 at 12:57 pm

No, I don’t have a problem telling you our ages. I am 60 and Alan is
62. You will find more than enough activities to keep you busy on an
InnerSea Discoveries cruise. Many of the excursions are geared for the
very active, fit traveler.


Debra McGill August 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Sounds like “Cruise West” re-invented. My husband & I travelled Cruise West; small ship adventure and loved it. The smaller group allows so much more flexibility and you actually get to know some of the folks. The out of way ports of call and the naturalists on board really opened up a very special world. Cruise West took us out in inflatable boats everyday to view or hike or seek out rookeries.
We were so disappointed when they folded their tent. It sounds like InnerSea may fill the niche. Looking forward to some feedback after they have a season under their belt.


Donna Hull
August 18, 2011 at 8:53 am

Debra, some of the InnerSea Discoveries execs and staff are former Cruise West employees. In fact, they’ve just purchased one of the Cruise West ships to add to the American Safari portion of their business. It’s going to be totally redone, including adding balconies for some of the cabins. Now I could really go for that – a small ship adventure cruise with my own balcony.


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