So last week I went on this long rant about how cruise ships have bastardized many of the main ports in Southeast Alaska BUT I hinted that there were ways to remedy this and still have an amazing Alaskan experience. Now, I’m not naive; I know that not everyone has the luxury of traveling by private yacht. But the thing is, there are other options to the massive cruise liners when visiting Alaska. So here it is: adventure cruises.
I know what you’re thinking, “But Arielle, you just told me NOT to take a cruise… what’s the deal?” Well, the “deal” is that yes, they are called “cruises” but they aren’t major cruise conglomerates with the intention of herding you into ports full of their own shops. Adventure cruises are designed to go off the beaten path and take you for some real exploring.
There are plenty of companies that offer much smaller adventure cruise trips which allow for more exploration and immersion in the great Alaskan wilderness. In fact, most of them already have an entire arsenal of kayaks and paddleboards strapped to the back so no need for added (and often expensive) “excursions”. That’s what the trip in itself should be anyway: an excursion.
One of the companies I know of that does a great job of bringing you the real Alaska is actually called Un-Cruise and I have heard secondhand about what a wonderful and authentic experience it is. Another company we were anchored next to was Discovery Voyages and I even saw their guests hiking along the same glaciers and soaking in the same hot springs as us. I’m pretty sure you aren’t going to get to see hot springs in the middle of a forest while traveling on the ‘Radiance of the Seas’.
So basically, you don’t have to live on a yacht to see all the cool stuff, you just have to get creative.