While sailing on a massive cruise ship filled with thousands of other people probably doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to most adventurous types, Uncruise Adventures, a more than 20-year-old company with offices in both Seattle, Washington and Juneau, Alaska, offers something different. Something we thought our readers would want to know about, we spoke with Tim Jacox, President and COO of UnCruises recently to find out more.
Can you give us an overview of what Uncruise Adventures does?
UnCruise Adventures offers travelers the opportunity to explore, engage and connect with unique places, people and cultures through adventure-focused cruise itineraries in destinations including Alaska, coastal Washington, British Columbia, Columbia & Snake Rivers, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, Hawaii, Galápagos, Costa Rica and Panamà. Our adventure ships carry only 22-88 guests, which means we can embark on expeditions where the big ships can’t go and let Mother Nature lead our course while we take guests into the true spirit of the destination. Whether guests are wine-lovers, bird enthusiasts or avid kayakers looking to further their sense of adventure, UnCruise has something for everyone.
How did it get started?
We started small – with just one yacht cruising in Alaska about twenty years ago. Dan Blanchard, our CEO, joined UnCruise (then American Safari Cruises) in 1999 and I joined in 2001. Together, we teamed up to bring to life the UnCruise Adventures you see today. Since then, we’ve grown quite a bit by adding new destinations, ships and itinerary choices for every type of traveler.
Do you have any “insider tips” for those who would like to book a cruise/excursion, or are thinking about it?
Springtime in Southeast Alaska is one of the area’s best kept secrets and a fantastic time to visit. Our cruises in April and May in the area give guests more chances to see wildlife, one-of-a-kind scenery, and the Northern Lights. Plus, springtime is often the driest season of the year for the area with the fewest days of rain.
Is there something about Uncruise that not everyone knows?
We give our onboard team a lot of autonomy in every sailing to maximize the experience, so no two cruises ever end up being the same. If the guides or Captain anticipate there could be better wildlife viewing or a spectacular hidden cove to snorkel somewhere off the planned itinerary, they have the flexibility to make changes to the schedule in order to give guests the best possible opportunities during their trip.
When you have a day off, what are some of your favorite things to do in the Northwest?
Love of the outdoors is common to many of our employees and crewmembers. Living and working here in the Northwest affords some of the best opportunities in the world to mirror experiences that we offer on our cruise itineraries. Wilderness hikes are within an hour’s driving time from Seattle. Of course, being on the water is readily available in several different forms. Another outdoor activity you might find me at is a music festival in a beautiful open air setting. More than one day – driving the North Cascades Highway is a favorite summer adventure.
If you had to describe what you love about the Northwest in 3 words, what would you choose?
Unparalleled. Unconventional. Untouched.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know?
In 2018, we’re launching a new Rivers of Adventure itinerary, which will sail between Portland, Oregon and Lewiston, Idaho (or reverse) on the Columbia and Snake Rivers from mid-August to October. The 88-guest S.S. Legacy will transform into an adventure-equipped ship to offer kayaking, paddle boarding, skiff excursions, hikes on remote trails, whitewater rafting down the Deschutes River along with other active adventures.
K.C. Dermody is the author of hundreds of travel articles both online and in print as well as the author of the “Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland.” She has traveled throughout the world and has a passion for imparting what she has learned from her experiences to others, but always appreciates coming home to the beautiful Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.