Alaska Experience Guide
Purchased from Russia in 1867—much to the chagrin of the disapproving United States public—Alaska was an incredible unknown treasure. But shortly after, gold was discovered and the rush was on.
John Muir, Edward S. Curtis, William Dall, Jack London, Eliza Scidmore, and many other intrepid men and women have all been wooed by its glaciers, rainforests, and wildlife-rich fjords. Shaped by massive glaciers over millions of years, Alaska presents one of the most wildly rugged, diverse, and spectacular landscapes.
Ideal for those with an explorer’s spirit and a love for nature, Alaska delivers. Aboard our small ships, access to off-the-beaten path places, wildlife up-close, and opportunities to experience it by hike, kayak, and skiff show a side of Alaska few visitors know.
The question of “when to go” comes up often—but in Alaska, the action happens all the time and there is no “cookie cutter” answer. From snow-covered peaks in spring to the amplified spectacle of northern lights when daylight hours are shorter, Alaska delivers.
It’s likely you’ll experience liquid sunshine and cloud failure, and both misty, cool days and days with warm, clear skies—no two departures or two days are like another. You’ll be awed and rewarded no matter which month and week you choose to travel.
Alaska Travel FAQs
ARRIVAL / DEPARTURE
Q. Do you have specific arrival and departure guidelines I should follow when making my travel plans?
Q. Do I need rubber boots and hiking boots?
In Southeast Alaska, the wilderness areas we explore on foot can get pretty muddy, plus we have a fair amount of wet landings by skiff where there's no dock at all. So having proper footwear with good ankle support is absolutely essential. Both hiking and rubber boots are good, but if we had to choose, we'd lean towards the rubber boots (aka the "Alaska tennis shoe", also known as Xtra Tuffs, Wellingtons, gum boots). Many of our guests add insoles for support and hike all week in their rubber "mud" boots! For a complete list of what to bring, please refer to our Alaska packing list.
We highly recommend that you bring your own rubber boots for best fit, availability, and quality. Our vessels have a very limited supply for shared use only so availability is not a guarantee.
Youth size boots are not available aboard any of our vessels. You must bring your own.
Q. Can I fish from the boat?
Fishing is not allowed aboard our vessels. If you are interested in fishing in Alaska, we recommend you make arrangements for a pre- or post-cruise excursion and that you ship your catch home. Please note that due to FDA and CDC regulation, any fish caught on your pre-cruise excursion cannot be stored or cooked on board our vessels.
Q. Do I have to worry about mosquitoes and other bugs?
Not in most of the areas where we cruise in Southeast Alaska, but there are bugs in some places. If we do encounter them, your vessel crew can provide you with insect repellent. Mosquitoes are present in the Interior of Alaska and are most numerous in June and July. Guests who are concerned about mosquitoes while on their pre- or post-cruise land package should carry insect repellent with them.
Q. Will I see Denali?
You may see Denali if you book a pre- or post-cruise Denali National Park & Knik River land package. Denali is often shrouded in clouds; however there is "cloud failure" in Alaska that does allow for glimpses of this majestic peak.
Q. Will I see the Northern Lights?
The Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis) are more prevalent at the end of the summer and require a combination of dark, clear nights and specific solar activity. Crew are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week and should this phenomenon be seen, we will be sure to awaken any interested guests.
ALASKA YACHT—BEARS, BURGS & BUSHWHACKING: PETERSBURG ACTIVITIES
Q. On the Petersburg day of my Alaska Yacht cruise, is my requested activity a "for-sure" guarantee? And will I get to fish or fly with all my shipmates?
Petersburg activities on Day 2/Friday of the Alaska Yacht itinerary are subject to change due to weather/conditions. While UnCruise will do our best to keep groups together on flightseeing or fishing charter departures, due to weight limits (flights) and other requirements and restrictions, groups may be split up and should not expect to fly / fish together. Here are additional details on each activity:
Fishing charter: Fishing charter vessels are regulated by the Coast Guard and are limited to 4 or 6 passengers each. Weather permitting, fishing charters depart at 8:30am and return at 12:30pm. Any fish caught can be held for the guest by the charter company and shipped to their home based on expected return date from the cruise; guests are responsible for shipping costs. Due to CDC regulations, fish cannot be taken on board Safari Quest.
Flightseeing: Float planes are limited to 3 or 6 passengers each. Guests opting on the flightseeing excursion MUST provide accurate weight for safety and total plane weight limit calculations. Flightseeing departures will be staggered throughout the day depending on the total number of people flying. Departure times will be announced on Thursday night at dinner.
Petersburg cultural tour: After morning adventures, you’re off on a pre-embarkation guided walking tour of town. The tour departs the Tides Inn hospitality room at 3pm and concludes at the Safari Quest in time for boarding at 5pm.
Q. Should we expect to encounter rough seas on our explorations?
One of the nice things about our Alaska adventures is that we operate primarily within the waters of the Inside Passage and the boats are rarely exposed to the open ocean. In the event that we do cross an open passageway or expect unfavorable weather, the captain will give you plenty of notice so that you can take seasickness medication.
Q. Can I snorkel in Alaska during my cruise?
The Wilderness Adventurer, Wilderness Discoverer, and Wilderness Explorer are our only boats equipped for snorkeling in Alaska. There may be opportunities on our Discoverers' Glacier Country, Inner Reaches Eastern Coves, Western Coves, and Northern Passages & Glacier Bay itineraries aboard these boats. Opportunities to snorkel are based on interest and it being possible within the itinerary. Generally, our goal is provide every guest that wishes to go snorkeling the opportunity to do so. Snorkeling varies greatly based on rainfall and tide, which both affect visibility. There is a nominal daily fee to snorkel.
|Itinerary Name||Whales, Wildlife & Glaciers||Northern Passages & Glacier Bay||Glacier Bay Small Ship Cruise||Glacier Bay National Park Adventure Cruise|
|Duration||7 Nights||7 Nights||7 Nights||7 Nights|
|Begin/End Points||Sitka to Juneau||Juneau to Sitka (or reverse)||Roundtrip Juneau||Roundtrip Juneau|
|Itinerary Name||Alaska's Glaciers & Whales||Alaska Fjords & Glaciers||Alaska Yacht—Bears, Bergs, & Bushwacking|
|Duration||7 Nights||7 Nights||8 Nights|
|Begin/End Points||Juneau to Sitka (or reverse)||Juneau to Ketchikan (or reverse)||Roundtrip Petersburg|
|Itinerary Name||Alaska's Inside Passage & San Juans Cruise||Alaska Glacier Cruise—Ultimate Expedition||Fjords of Alaska Cruise—Ultimate Expedition|
|Duration||14 Nights||14 Nights||14 Nights|
|Begin/End Points||Seattle to Juneau (or reverse)||Roundtrip Juneau||Sitka to Ketchikan (or reverse)|