What’s the difference between a small cruise ship and a boutique hotel? The cruise ship has the luxury of being able to change locations on a whim. You know the real estate agents’ mantra, “location, location, location.” Well, UnCruise Adventures and its 84 passenger ship Safari Endeavour has mastered the art of location at sea.
Don’t like the weather today, move to a new location with a different micro-climate. Too many floating hotels nearby? Pull up anchor, leave the Queen Mary behind and relocate to a secluded cove – perhaps in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park. These are just some of the advantages of small ship cruising.
Amenities and rooms
Safari Endeavour has several levels of guest rooms or berths as they are called at sea. I was quite comfortable in my Commander Stateroom with its two single beds. Even without the extra bed, I had plenty of space to hang my clothing in the built in closets and place my laptop computer on the desk. As was expected, the bathroom with shower was on the small side, yet functional and efficient. Shampoo and conditioner dispensers were installed in the shower for easy access. At the end of an action-packed day, my bed was surprisingly comfortable and I loved the overhead reading lamps.
Room rates vary by category, season and destination. Rates are per person, double occupancy and start at $4,495. My Safari Endeavour Commander Stateroom, located on the 3rd floor, went for $4,795. UnCruise has eight vessels in their fleet carrying 22-88 hotel guests anywhere from Alaska to Hawaii, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, Columbia and Snake Rivers, coastal Washington and British Columbia. And yes, you read that right, I referenced “hotel guests.”
The 232 foot Safari Endeavour has a hotel manager on board. Kathy Madison applied her hotel management land-based experience to this luxury vessel. She notes that the food service is different than your typical dining experience in that meals are based around expeditions. First and foremost, guests come to Alaska to experience their outdoor surroundings.
The crews’ role is to enhance the adventure. And enhance it they did. From hot chocolate and schnapps served after a session of kayaking by glaciers or stand up paddling, to a dinner of fresh Alaskan king salmon, followed by individual birthday or special occasion desserts, the staff never missed a beat. You gotta hand it to a chef working miracles in the small galley kitchen.
Floating hotel review and photos by San Francisco-based travel writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of UnCruise Adventures while researching other articles.