Expert Aboard: Wilderness Adventurer Ship Review

December 18, 2019 • Jenna Granger

This detailed Wilderness Adventurer ship review was written by AdventureSmith Explorations crew member who traveled on a small ship Alaska cruise aboard the 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer. Use the AdventureSmith team’s small ship Alaska cruise reviews and worldwide cruise reviews to inform, inspire and book your next trip aboard a small cruise ship.

Adventure Ready & Comfortable

I couldn’t have imagined a better ship to sail through the Inside Passage of Alaska than the 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer. She was an excellent size with plenty of viewing decks, a blissful sundeck and cozy lounge/bar that seemed to always contain fresh cookies or appetizers and plenty of beverages. This ship is adventure ready and a comfortable retreat for a day out exploring by kayaks, snowshoes, paddleboards, skiffs or on foot. Knowing a hot shower, comfortable bed and plenty of food and drinks were available back on the ship made exploring in the deep Alaskan wilderness even better (especially for someone like me who is always cold and always hungry).

Choosing Your Cabin Aboard the Wilderness Adventurer

I stayed in cabin 313, of the Trailblazer category. Talking with an AdventureSmith Specialist about the pros and cons of each cabin category for your travel needs/group is ideal since there are so many little nuances among the three categories to consider: noise sensitivity (if you have any), what your cabin windows look out to, and if your cabin windows open at all. You’d be surprised at all the little details that can make a difference in your cabin choice.

The rooms were comfortable, and each had a shoilet (shower and toilet combined akin to what one might find in a motorhome); this often turns people away, but no one on board my ship had any complaints as the water was hot, the pressure strong and the towels extremely soft. And you didn’t even have to feel bad for taking a long shower, as the ship is constantly creating fresh water with the desalinization setup on board.

The Food Aboard the Ship

I am vegetarian and gluten free, and it was really quite incredible how they made sure I got enough protein, and sugar (through the gluten-free desserts). The other passenger that was gluten-free was also very impressed saying he had never had so many options! They even had gluten-free beer.

There was always hot coffee and hot water for tea available if you needed a quick warm up and there was always a variety of flavored waters and tasty juice mixtures that were different every day. There was of course the fully-stocked open bar ready with the cocktail of the day or tailor made beverages upon request.

Don’t Miss the Alpenglow from the Hot Tub

The hot tub on the sundeck was enjoyed by many, including me. One evening I was elated to see it wasn’t in use and ran to jump in as the alpenglow illuminated the surrounding mountains—a perfect way to end an action-packed day (it was also ideal after the polar plunge!).

Ordering Up Our Own Adventure Activities Each Day

The Wilderness Adventurer is known for being an ideal basecamp for adventure with the above mentioned amenities, but especially for her easy access to the wilderness. Every day our activities were set by the Expedition Leader who took our “adventure order” the night before and put the daily plan on the whiteboard along with information on wildlife, our list of seen wildlife, every one’s photo and name and a map of our route. This was a great source of information as it told you what time to be ready and exactly what to bring and wear.

Staying active aboard the Wilderness Adventurer was also possible on the top deck that held the open air gym to workout while inhaling the fresh Alaska air and observing the beautiful passing scenery. I will admit, I never partook in the gym, except for when I took a few pedal strokes on the bike to warm up when we were feeling the cool katabatic winds coming off Glacier Bay National Park’s Johns Hopkins Glacier.

Getting Off the Ship

Our daily activities were offered off the stern either with kayaks, Zodiacs or the larger skiffs. The easy loading systems and helpful crew made daily activities smooth and easy. The larger skiffs were used for longer skiff tours that took us on adventures to look for wildlife and enjoy the ever-changing landscape of Glacier Bay National Park. The smaller Zodiacs were used primarily to shuttle us to and from land when we went hiking or bushwhacking.

To ensure every crew and passenger was accounted for we each had a magnet on the board with our room number to alert the staff if we were aboard or on shore. This simple system worked well as although the Alaskan wilderness was incredible, none of us wanted to be left behind (the food aboard was just too good to pass up!).

The EZ Dock kayak launch platform combined with the well-presented and fun kayak orientation did an excellent job of removing any fears of getting in and out of a sea kayak in frigid waters. The ship is well staffed, and it seemed every time we were loading and unloading kayaks, all of the crew and expedition staff was on hand to get us safely in and out with at least one crew member per guest snapping in the kayak skirt, handing out the paddle, adjusting the foot pedals, etc…

Back Aboard the Wilderness Adventurer

After a full day of adventuring and hot showers we would all gather in the lounge for happy hour with cocktails and appetizers to share our stories of the day with people that were in different activity groups. The lounge is a cozy space where talks were given and the library was held, as every good ship needs a library. The library had DVDs that you could take back to your room (although there was so much to do I never found time to watch a movie!) and of course plenty of books on Alaska.

My Wilderness Adventurer Ship Review Takeaways

Overall, the Wilderness Adventurer offered everything that we needed for smooth sailing through Alaska’s Inside Passage. Her true expedition style felt right as she took a back seat to let nature and the hospitable crew continually wow us as we adventured our way through the wilderness.

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  • Sue Daniels says:

    Hi! I need more information about cabins with more detail on windows, observation decks, whether windows open? I’m a bit unclear about all that.
    Am I right in assuming that no cabins have private observation decks? But what about the ones that have private access to an observation deck? I’m mainly interested in one double for two teen granddaughters (probably Navigator with twin beds. Is the single less expensive than a Navigator? I guess I’d like as much information as available on the cabins since what’s on the web site didn’t seem complete. Thanks.

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Sue,
      You will find our specific Wilderness Adventurer ship page helpful. It includes a deck plan, cabin descriptions, and a virtual 360 degree ship tour. No cabins aboard this ship have private balconies, but some open to the inside of the ship and other open to an exterior walk way. Some cabins are located on the observation deck but this deck is not private, and is accessible to all cruise guests. Reviewing the deck plan with one of our specialists will easily answer all your questions. An expert will reach out shortly. In the meantime you can review cabin pricing for the Wilderness Adventurer’s Alaska itinerary here Alaska’s Glacier Wilderness with Glacier Bay.

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