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.
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.
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.