A Fantastic Fitness and Wellness Cruise in Alaska


Katie Johnson, UnCruise Adventures

Wellness can mean a lot of things.

Green smoothies, expensive leggings, a beautiful Instagram feed... but what exactly does it mean on a wellness-themed UnCruise?

I went on the Glacier Bay Small Ship Cruise wellness itinerary this spring to find out.

Stepping aboard the S.S. Legacy I knew to expect a week of yoga and, having gone on a couple yoga retreats, I know how restorative that can be. But since each UnCruise wellness host brings their specialties, I didn’t know what other fitness or wellness components to expect.

UnCruise Cuisine

I learned that a wellness itinerary is everything you’d expect on any UnCruise—incredible scenery, delicious fresh food that runs the gamut from healthy to decadent, and a variety of active adventures—the wellness components are an added bonus to an already amazing experience. And really, a little extra yoga would have been more than enough, but what I got out of the trip was so much more.

Wellness of the Body

Each morning, we greeted Alaska with yoga on the top deck. The practice developed as the week went on, the first day warming up with gentle stretches and building to flow yoga and incorporating dance on the last two days. Our yoga instructor Alex walked around pausing to make sure we found a pose or adjustment to suit our level. He guided us yet was open to when nature stepped in.

Yoga on the sun deck

When several of us spotted a dolphin we suggested holding dolphin pose and Alex was happy to lead. He also led several evening yoga nidra (or “bedtime yoga”) sessions and partner Thai massage. I felt lucky to have had the opportunity to try out these types of movement that I could continue to practice when I got home.

But our activity wasn’t all restful and restorative. On two afternoons our other wellness host, Tessa the personal trainer, lead circuit fitness training. We got in three groups and rotated exercises including pushups, squats, free weights, and laps (both running and skipping) around the ship. It felt good to use my muscles in different ways than I had in that day’s bushwhack and kayak.

Kayaking in Alaska

Tessa pushed and encouraged us but never beyond what we could do—an intuition I appreciated when I swore I couldn’t do another push-up. It was exciting to have that level of fitness on a cruise.

Wellness of the Mind

Outside of the physical benefits of a health and wellness cruise, we also took home inspiring learning. Tessa led two talks in the lounge, one on sleep and another on creating healthy meals. In both she offered handouts with real-life suggestions on how to sleep (make sure your room is DARK) and eat (simple, mix-n-match combinations) better. Both included straight-forward, actionable steps. After the talks I saw several guests approach Tessa with questions on how to apply the tips to their lives.

Wellness of the Spirit

Wellness of the spirit is personal, hard to define, and just as hard to schedule in a daily itinerary. But our stellar hosts still managed to bring thoughtful awareness to our physical practices.

Yoga on the boat

During morning yoga Alex peppered each session with stories to inspire and nurture the practice from both books and articles he’d read and his own life. Off the ship, on a bushwhack we paused to settle into the soft ground of the old growth forest while Alex led us through a “mindful minute.” He guided us to be in the moment and be present in the sounds of the forest.

After the mindful minute, I tried to hear Alex’s words at other times throughout the week when I wanted to experience nature in a more mindful way. Looking back on the week, simply taking the time to practice yoga, learn healthy habits, and create moments for mindfulness did make a difference in my state of mind.

That’s what wellness means to me—the intentional yoga and surprising gifts of nature, the lessons from wellness hosts and the spirited conversations with newfound friends onboard. And I know this could look different on each wellness UnCruise. That’s why I can’t wait to go on another one.

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