The Un-Cruise Adventure in the San Juan Islands
Cruising thru the San Juan Islands in Washington State has been on my travel radar for a while so when the opportunity came up to take an expedition cruises with Un-cruise Adventures, I packed my bags!
Our adventure started in Seattle. Who says it always rains in Seattle? Blue skies and warm temps makes a glass of local wine and a fresh seafood meal at Pikes Market that much more enjoyable. There are a lot of great hotels located in the city center but I love the water vibe so we booked a room at the Marriott waterfront.
The staff there was very helpful in directing us toward great seafood restaurants , shopping options and of course Seattle’s iconic Space Needle. No crowds in April! But the absolute highlight of the day was wandering through the Chihuly glass and garden museum. This spectacular display of art and landscape design is not to be missed! It’s my personal top attraction and an hour well spent. Seattle like most cities offers a wide variety of dining options. If you love Asian cuisine like me, head to the international district for an authentic experience. The Dim Sum choices at Jade Garden are excellent. Now its’s time to get to bed early as our cruise starts tomorrow!
As the name implies, Un-Cruise Adventures is a far cry from your traditional cruise. Its small expedition style lends itself toward off the beaten path itineraries with lots of experiences centered on nature. If you love hiking, kayaking and naturalist skiff tours, this is the cruise for you!
The captain and crew are extremely attentive and set the tone for the casual comradelier. By the end of your cruise, you’ll find yourself exchanging e-mails and even planning your next cruise with newly made friends. Single travelers will feel very comfortable on this cruise.
Be prepared for basic accommodations. The cabins are small (94sq.ft) and the bathrooms are marine style but once you get pass that, the experience makes up for the lack of size and amenities found on traditional cruise ships. The food was high quality with lots of choices for even the pickiest eaters. People with dietary restrictions will be happy to know that the chef can accommodate their needs. The fresh oysters, smoked salmon, and Alaskan crab were served at cocktail hour and were some of the best I’ve had.
The shoulder season offers the best value for your dollar with less crowded pots of call but there are drawbacks. Weather and wildlife spotting can be iffy but as the luck of the draw would have it, I experienced sunny warm weather everyday and saw the first few Orcas beginning to make their way through the San Juan straits up to Alaska.
One of my favorite hikes was in the Olympic National Park. This mossy old growth forest is flanked by giant cedar and pines, which are truly majestic. The Commish river which winds it’s way thru the park is the highway for local salmon swimming upstream to their way to spawning grounds.
Kayaking is done everyday and we even had the option of getting out in our kayaks at night. Kayaking under the full moon with sea lions was a pinch me moment and a first for me!
All in all it was a great trip filled with natural inspirations, newly made friends and a renew understanding of how important it is to protect our environment and it’s wildlife.
This blog was written by Jennie Mechanic, Owner of The Travel Mechanic. Nancy Robb, a travel consultant for The Travel Mechanic also attended the trip. Both can be reached to plan your next big adventure! www.thetravelmechanic.com