On Friday, April 29, 2011, with the crack of a champagne bottle against each hull, InnerSea Discoveries officially inaugurated its fleet of two expedition vessels soon to set sail on active adventure “un-cruises” in Southeast Alaska.
Friends, family, employees and business partners gathered dockside outside the company’s Seattle office to celebrate the successful refurbishment and launch of the new brand’s 68-guest m/v Wilderness Discoverer and 60-guest m/v Wilderness Adventurer.
Making the celebration even sweeter, the company reports its first season sailing weeklong and two-week cruises in Alaska is sold out with only a few cabins left on its two 15-day cruises sailing between Seattle and Juneau.
After beating a native Tlingit drum and leading the crowd in a chant of “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,” Principal and CEO Dan Blanchard led the heartfelt ceremony thanking employees and business partners for their part in making the dream of a new small ship adventure cruise line become a reality.
After the christening, VIP guests and staff boarded the Wilderness Discoverer for cocktails and dinner. We enjoyed live Brazilian music in the lounge and dined on fresh salmon with Israeli couscous and a bright herb sauce. Delicious!
We set sail early in the morning and transited the Ballard locks, then made our way north through scenic Puget Sound. We anchored off Coupeville on Whidbey Island in Penn Cove. It was a bright sunny day! Some people took the zodiac ashore and went on a scenic guided hike along the bluff of the island. Others wandered around town and enjoyed fresh mussels and/or ice cream. Many people chose to enjoy a day of kayaking on the glassy waters with little breeze. A few brave souls even took out the paddle boards. The hot tubs were going on deck and guests enjoyed relaxing in the sun. A yoga class on the top deck drew a number of people. Happy hour is going on now in the lounge with appetizers, wine, cocktails and microbrews on tap. Because we had one kayak flip today (NO INJURIES!), The drink of the day was the Kayak Flip Basil Margarita.
The two ships, originally constructed to maximize up-close, adventurous itineraries, have undergone complete refurbishment inside and out. All guest cabins are above deck with large, view windows, eco-friendly memory foam mattresses and bath amenities, flatscreen televisions with DVD players and iPod docking stations. The main lounge has been designed to feel like a cross between a National Park lodge and a quaint neighborhood pub with a bar top made from salvaged Alaskan yellow cedar. Each ship also has a sauna, exercise equipment, complimentary on-deck yoga classes, a large resource library, well-stocked DVD library and board games and a hot tub with a view.
InnerSea Discoveries’ un-cruise adventures sail between Juneau and Ketchikan (and reverse) from May through September on a Western Coves and Eastern Coves itinerary. When combined, it becomes the two-week Ultimate Adventure. Setting it apart from other cruise line itineraries, InnerSea Discoveries’ ships spend less time in port and instead spend time tucking into hidden bays and coves for adventure activities in Alaska’s wilderness. Guided hiking and kayaking trips will be daily activities.
Prices for the 7-night cruises start at $1,795 per person, double occupancy, and include transfers and all activities except optional excursions. Port charges of $167 per person per week, massages, wine, spirits, beer and gratuities are extra. Reservations are currently being taken for 2012 “un-cruises” supported by a 16-page brochure and full web site descriptions. To book the ‘un-cruise’ or to request additional information, contact Linda at SunstoneTours.com.