Alaskan Dream Cruises
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Also, the crew and guides - I believe they can make or break the experience. We never had a schedule that could not be changed if nature presented itself. No matter how long the whates were there - dinner could be delayed or the boat could leave a little late/or arrive a little late/go a little faster to compensate. We are in Alaska to see nature after all. The guides were fun and knowledgable. The captain and the working crew were always available and concerned about our comfort and well being. Things like chemical hand warmer packets when we were outside watching whates and glaciers, for examples. Having the bar keep go back to the ship and bring us our ordered drinks while we gathered around a post-dinner camp fire as another example.
We were very lucky with nature and glaciers and town visits (nothing better than celebrating July 4th in Petersburg). I realize that other cruises won't be as lucky. But, the efforts of this cruise line to make your experience a once in a lifetime event, makes this small ship cruise an easy recommendation to make.
Why isn't this ship/cruise company part of the drop down menu??
We went on a two week Alaskan Dream cruise (42 passengers) with Allen Marine and it was so great that I had to write about it somewhere so that others could know about it.We would love to do a cruise like that. Which boat were you on and how was the cabin? Can you recommend any particular cabin? Since you mentioned they are as good as they come; what cruises have you done in the past to compare it with?
A nice cabin is the ones at the front of the ship. Bigger and great views. I don't think the captains/owners cabin is worth it - we did look in once.
We've been on Antarctica - 85 passenger, Caribbean - 300 passenger, Australia - 100 passenger, Polynesian - 90 passenger - boat tours and a short trip off Newfounderland. Never any really big boats as we really like the small boats. A couple from NY on the Alaskan Dream said that they wouldn't go on a big ship ever again, except for the Caribbean since they go there regularly just to relax.
My husband & I sailed on 25 Aug 2012 out of Sitka. There were 44 passengers on board. We had an absolutely wondreful time, the boat is a little "old" but they are spending the winter finishing her update. The crew is fantastic; they are all "local", most have advanced degrees and they are more than happy to share their love of Alaska.
Captain Stu would stop for sea life & even stayed at the glacier when it finally decided to calf (we saw a "big boat" come & go while we were cruising to the glacier).
The food was very good & there was always a choice; the pastry was fantastic & we finally met Sunshine.
I am intolerant to various foods - the chef (I'm bad with names) & Heather (our server) made sure to tell me the ingredients & would offer to cook something else if necessary.
My only regret was the queen bed; but I'm the one who insisted on it when I booked the cruise. Remember it is an older ship & they are still remodeling it, but the bed was surrounded on 3 sides & my husband & I had to climb over each other to get in & out...at our age that's frequent.
I would definitely book Alaskan Dream Cruises again.
Sitka is a really nice town.
We have never been on a typical cruise ship, and never will be. As long-time bareboat sailors, we are physically-active folks who like to be 5' off the water, not 100'. So when we decided in the fall of 2012 to forego another trip to the Caribbean and visit Southeast Alaska, we considered only a small vessel with size-limited ports of call and culturally-enriching participatory activities. Universally positive web reviews narrowed the options to Sitka-based Alaskan Dream Cruises, and any initial concerns about their relatively short history vanished with additional research into its parent company, Allen Marine.
Sitka to Glacier Bay, Tracy Arm (North and South) to Hobart Bay, Kake to Orca Point, Petersburg to the Mendenhall glacier and falls, Taku Harbor to Chapin Bay - each was an exceptional new adventure. Every day brought up-close encounters with humpbacks, orcas, sea lions, eagles, bears, porcupines and deer. The snow-capped mountains, splashing waterfalls, dense green forests, placid waters and bright-hued wildflowers were magnificent from afar, but even more beautiful when viewed from feet to inches away. Spontaneity and flexibility were the watchwords. Spot whales aport? Slow down and watch! We don't have to be anywhere other than where we are right now!
The scenery and environment were beyond words. But this voyage was made special by the people. Generations of Tlingit and Norwegian culture were brought alive by dancers young and old. We learned a boatload of interesting information from our on-board cultural specialist, Leonty, and nature guide, Larisa, not by formal lectures but through unhurried conversations among friends. The depth of their knowledge, their love of the land and people and their enthusiasm to share was simply awesome!
As a group of veteran sailors, we were specially appreciative of the almost unlimited access to the bridge, and to the maritime skills demonstrated and knowledge imparted by Captain Erik and his crew - Dave, Patrick, Nate, Jon, Matt, Nick, Traci and Alex. There is just nothing like watching and listening to consummate professionals doing what they love. And swapping sea tales with these new friends while vicariously navigating and "driving the boat" from the pilothouse was an unexpected bonus without price!
Hospitality was not only remembered but emphasized. Each day while we were out on another excursion, hotel manager Heather and her assistants expertly prepared our cabins for another restful night of sleep. To our gastronomic delight, Chef Briana, sous chef Raymond, baker Kimberly and their assistant Mark surprised us at every meal with a choice of soups, salads, breads, entrees and desserts that would surpass fine dining restaurants ashore. Half-portions, splits, one of each - no request was refused by the lead steward Deseray and her assistants Jayde, Stacy and Michael. Behind the bar, Chelsy not only mixed up an excellent daily special to accompany the hot social hour hors-doeuvres, but could not be stumped if someone wanted a favorite libation instead. And not to be forgotten - the 24-hour coffee and tea stand and daily 3:00 pm fresh homemade cookies!
How was all this accomplished? We think it's a matter of attitude, respect, competency and relationships, and that it starts at the top and flows down. Allen Marine's CEO David Allen and his wife Lauren probably learned it from Dave's parents, Bob and Betty. From our first contacts with Eileen in the booking office to our final personal goodbyes with the entire crew (and Dave and Lauren's daughter Zaide) lined up on the debarkation ramp, we encountered nothing but friendly, outgoing personalities who seemed to genuinely like each and what they were doing. Hiring people who are privileged to enjoy what they do for a living and those with whom they are doing it just naturally results in treating clients and customers well.
We can't think of a better example than Captain Erik. The depth of his knowledge and experience were obvious, befitting his responsibility for the safety and comfort of his passengers and crew. However, we also soon came to appreciate his calm demeanor and gentle hand, both with the vessel and its crew. Erik operated the "American Dream" like a good pilot flies a plane, caressing the rudder and throttles to smoothly keep the "Alaskan Dream" on course at the right speed. So to with the crew. Even when things went slightly awry, as they will on any vessel, Erik never once raised his voice or seemed upset as he set about correcting the situation. Always the able seaman and perfect host, Erik is also a natural motivator and mentor.
In short, a wonderful and wonder-filled voyage on a unique vessel with an unmatched crew. Thank you!
Mark and Gail
Jim and Anne
Jeff and Beth
I sailed on Alaskan Dream a few years ago, albeit on a different ship (Baranof Dream). Loved the company. Hopefully you'll enjoy! Leave a review when you return!
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Another small ship line that does a great job in Alaska is UnCruise. Alaska Dream has a balance of outdoor exploration as well as Alaska Native Culture. Besides overnight stays in Glacier Bay by both lines in addition to numerous opportunities to kayak and explore with the skiffs, Alaskan Dream stopped at the native community of Kake for totem pole carving and native dancer demonstrations. Also a stop in Petersburg to watch a presentation of Norwegian dancing by some local children. UnCruise concentrates more on exploring the outdoors, wildlife with little on Alaska Native Culture which is more of what we’d like to do in Alaska.
New to Alaska next year is Windstar. They have some interesting itineraries.