The name says it. These intimate 22- to 88-passenger ships — tiny luxury yachts, small expedition ships, and a coastal steamer — are nothing like their big-ship competitors. The focus at Un-Cruise Adventures is on casually exploring wilderness areas and camaraderie with the crew and your fellow passengers.
What We Love
Playtime: Most off-ship excursions are included in the cruise fare and encompass such things as hikes, skiff tours, and visiting natural attractions. But there's also time to borrow a kayak or snorkel gear, improve your skills on a standup paddleboard, or sit in the hot tub.
Yoga: An onboard instructor facilitates sunrise yoga classes on the open deck, so you can do poses such as eagle and tree with those very things in view.
Best Known For
Clever Routing: Itineraries spend optimum time in nature areas such as Alaska's Glacier Bay, and the captains have flexibility to divert to, say, follow a pod of whales. Also planned: anchoring in secluded places at night so that guests awaken to spectacular views.
Great Food: These cruises are not about roughing it. You can expect good hearty food (even gourmet on the luxury yachts), with an emphasis on fresh local seafood and irresistible treats from the pastry chef.
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Who It's Best For
Nature Lovers: If you're active, age 45-plus, and shop at REI, Eastern Mountain Sports, or L.L.Bean, you'll feel right at home on these ships. Just mellow your expectations to soft (rather than extreme) adventure. Nature-loving kids will like these cruises, too, as long as they can keep up with and converse with adults.
Noncruisers: A lot of the line's passengers swore they'd never cruise. But off-the-beaten path routes in places such as Alaska, Hawaii, and Baja California reeled them in.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Cabins Can Be Spartan: Space is at a premium, and that includes inside the cabins — but at least everyone gets a window. And be forewarned: Your bathroom may be tiny. Accommodations on the luxury yachts are the cushiest.
There's No Internet: And it's on purpose. Because the focus is on nature, there's an unplugged policy — which means no Internet or cellular access on board.
Fran Golden is a Cleveland-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.