Alaskan Dream Cruises

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#61
Texas
2 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Recommend flying through Seattle and then getting Alaska Airlines to Sitka. There are multiple routes, we are going through Ketchikan. I'd make sure I had a couple of hours between flights unless you can take Alaska Air all the way. I would also go a day early. I talked to the cruise line office today and the walking tour of Sitka starts in the morning, with the harbor tour in the afternoon, then we sail. Sitka isn't that big so if you had to take a taxi to the hotel from the airport it shouldn't be that expensive. I hope to get to the raptor center this time, and there is a totem pole park that is very nice.
#62
6 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
We loved our Alaskan Dream Cruise - well worth the money for individualized/ small group experience + fabulous food + beautiful scenery. We took a direct flight from Cleveland to Seattle leaving Cleveland around 8:30 am; got to Seattle around noon; then got to Sitka around 5:30 pm. I'm glad we booked the flight 6 months in advance because the flight arriving at 5:30 was no longer available a few months later. The long travel day made it easier to sleep that night & not be affected by the time change. We stayed at the Totem Square the night before the cruise - they offer a discount rate for Alaskan Dream Cruise passengers.
#63
Arkansas
28 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Thanks for all of your insight. When I start looking to book flights, I'll have a better idea of what I'm looking for now, and we'll plan to arrive 1-2 days in advance. I wish we didn't have 11 months to wait now!
#64
Colorado
3 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
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. First, the food was super great - I honestly do not believe that it can be any better at a top drawer restaurant, really. So good, so consistent, so well presented, so flavorable. It honestly was the equivalent of a large, cruise ships offering -- and much more fun as wine with dinner (and all the side trips) is included.

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??
#65
10 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
Originally posted by TomColorado
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?
#66
Colorado
3 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
The boat was the Alaskan Dream. The cabins not on the floor with the dining room and lounge are the best since you have less noise. Also we always stay away from the stairwell. A gal with a cabin on the dining room floor said it was noisy since some people stayed up later than her. Also, they set up for breakfast earlier than you might want to get up.

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.
#68
4 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Based in part on some of the reviews on this thread, my wife and I are booked on the Alaskan Dream on June 22, 2013 for 8 days. On the debarkation date, June 29, 2013, we would like to go fishing for 6-8 hours. We have found only one charter company in Sitka that books day charters (not multi-day packages), but they require a booking of 4 persons. If you are interested, please let us know. We would also appreciate any information or insights others may have on this topic. Thank you.
#69
Texas
19 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
I cannot find anywhere else to post this...I really wish Cruise Critic/Trip Advisor would list the Allen Marine line - Alaskan Dream Cruises.


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.
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#70
Midwest
114 Posts
Joined Dec 2000
We sailed in June and had a marvelous time. I highly recommend this cruise. We were treated like family by all crew members. It was difficult for me to believe the absolutely gorgeous sites we saw daily and the serenity we experienced. Our entire trip was enthralling and not to be missed. Highly recommend to all. Don't wait!! We too, enjoyed the warmth of Sitka.
#71
4 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
JulieBen: We are booked on Alaskan Dream Cruises June 22, 2013. We would like to go fishing the day we return, but cannot find someone who will allow us to book just a one day trip. You listed Howard Merkel Charters, but their website only lists 3, 4 or 5 day bookings. How did you get them to take you for just 1 day?
#72
Michigan
2 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
We are booked for a May 22 Inside Passage cruise. I am really excited to try this small ship cruise for our first cruise experience. Does anyone know how much is recommended for tipping? I assume you tip on the last day and add it to your on-board account. I am also assuming that the tips are split among the entire crew but I could be wrong. Do they tell you how much to tip and who to tip or do you have to guess? Thanks for your help.
#73
8 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
My recollection is that they recommended $15.00 per day per person. The tips are split among all crew members, and you can give extra to a specific person or persons who you felt was particularly friendly, helpful, etc. Have a great time - I'd do that trip again in a heartbeat!
#75
4 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Superlative is rare. Good happens frequently, excellent much less often. But truly outstanding experiences, the ones that stand alone in one's ever-expanding life memory, are seldom and savored. Such already is, and forever will be, the Inland Passage cruise we completed on June 29, 2013 aboard the "Alaskan Dream."

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
#76
Dunedin
2 Posts
Joined Sep 2015
All these very good reviews are prior to 2014. Hopefully it will be as good when I board the Admiralty Dream at Sitka on June 2. Is there anyone more recent or anyone else going on this cruise? I travel alone.
#77
Bucks County, PA
431 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Not a ton of reviews, but a few more recent here: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...hip&ShipID=767.

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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Chris Gray Faust
Senior Editor, Cruise Critic


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#78
41 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
I started this thread in 2011. We were to have gone again in 2016. Unfortunately, a health problem intervened. We did send 7 children and grands instead, on the Dream, early June. They had a fabulous time. (ages 5 - 45) One 16-yr old had been with us in 2011 and he was their "guide". They all enjoyed everything about it; the activities, the viewing, the ports, etc. Especially the crew and the food!!
#79
New Boston, NH. USA
215 Posts
Joined May 2000
My wife and I would like to celebrate our 40th anniversary in 2018 on a small Alaskan cruise. This company appears to have it all. Looking forward to more comments and suggestions, like when to book the cruise and air. We would be going in June 2018 from Boston. We also have Galapolis Islands In 2019 to celebrate our retirement. "Spending our kids inheritance, one cruise at a time".
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Previous Cruises:
US Submarine Service, Henry Clay ~ (75 -79)
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#80
Anchorage, Alaska
3,201 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
We did our second trip with Alaskan Dream last month. They have really picked up the pace as far as customer service and onboard amenities. Since our previous trip with them they’ve added kayaks, paddle boards and skiffs which enhanced the trip. Food was excellent onboard the Chichagof Dream.

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.