Exploring Un-Cruise Adventures’ Safari Endeavour

Un-Cruise Adventures' Safari Endeavour, seen here at anchor in picturesque Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Un-Cruise Adventures’ Safari Endeavour, seen here at anchor in picturesque Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

One of the largest vessels in the Un-Cruise Adventures’ Luxury Expedition fleet, the 84-guest Safari Endeavour is still reassuringly small when compared with most megaships that sail the waters off the Pacific Coast of North America. If you’ve never been on an 84-guest ship before, fear not: small ships only look that way when they’re docked.

Click here to read our Live Voyage Report from onboard Safari Endeavour in Alaska!

What makes Safari Endeavour a total standout in the small ship category is her unique styling that offers much of the amenities you’d expect from a larger ship, coupled with the active, adventurous nature of a true expedition ship. You can sit and read a book in the lounge, or enjoy a glass of wine in one of two aft-facing hot tubs. Or, you can go on as many hikes, kayak trips, stand-up-paddleboard runs, beachcombs and bushwhacks as you can cram into a single day. They choice, truly, is yours.

With Un-Cruise Adventures, how you spend your time in Alaska is up to you. My advice? Try everything at least once. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

With Un-Cruise Adventures, how you spend your time in Alaska is up to you. My advice? Try everything at least once. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

As with all of Un-Cruise Adventures’ luxury ships – distinguished by their rich navy-blue hulls – cruise fares for Safari Endeavour include all adventures ashore, all wine, spirits, beer, soft drinks, coffee, tea and water, and even one complimentary massage per passenger.

What makes this nimble, 232-foot long ship so popular with new and repeat guests alike? Let’s have a look!

MAIN DECK

The view of Safari Endeavour's Main Deck, facing aft from the Dining Room. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The view of Safari Endeavour’s Main Deck, facing aft from the Dining Room. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The lowest passenger-accessible deck onboard Safari Endeavour, Main Deck is home to eight Oceanview Captain Staterooms (CAPT) and two Master Staterooms (MSTR), Numbers 103 and 104. Stateroom 104 is a new addition; prior to 2015, this space held the Massage Room aboard Safari Endeavour.

All the way aft is the ship’s Dining Room. This is where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily. Meals are surprisingly good given the highly-limited size of the galley, and cuisine is hearty, flavourful, and comforting – the kind of meal you’d expect Mom to cook, if Mom had a gourmet streak to her cooking.

Safari Endeavour's inviting dining room features plenty of different seating options that encourage guests to mingle. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Safari Endeavour’s inviting dining room features plenty of different seating options that encourage guests to mingle. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Onboard Safari Endeavour, wine, beer and spirits are offered complimentary. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Onboard Safari Endeavour, wine, beer and spirits are offered complimentary. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Click here to view the full Photo Tour!

 

Right now, my friend and colleague – Avid Cruiser Ralph Grizzle – is sailing aboard Silversea’s Silver Wind on a voyage through the Eastern Mediterranean. Yesterday also happened to be his birthday. So what did Silversea do for him on his birthday? Ralph writes:

In 1957, at a hospital in Danville, Virginia, the 20-year-old wife of a 25-year-old Southern Railway station master, pushed from her womb a baby boy. “Happiest day of my life,” the husband wrote in a nearly empty, small leather journal. The happy couple took their baby boy home and began their new lives as parents. Who could have imagined that from those humble beginnings, 57 years later, I’d be celebrating my birthday on Silver Wind, docked in Haifa, Israel?

Yet, here I am, and what a nice birthday celebration I experienced. I was surprised to be invited to the bridge for a champagne toast and cake. Videographer Chris Stanley caught the surprise on camera.

Birthday Celebration on Silver Wind from Ralph Grizzle on Vimeo.

Next, we had dinner in Le Champagne, the only Relais & Chateaux restaurant at sea. The dinner was absolutely delicious. Le Champagne is a good place to celebrate special occasions. While the service on Silversea is always top-notch, service is notched up a bit in Le Champagne — and so is the cuisine. It’s a meal to remember.

Click here to read Ralph’s full report from Silver Wind on our Live Voyage Reports website.

 

Of all the cruises out there, few can compare to the exhilarating excitement of standing on the deck of Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 as she thunders her way across the Atlantic Ocean. You might not think that a cruise with seven straight days at sea and no ports of call would be fun, but it’s that very uniqueness – coupled with the abundant amenities aboard the QM2 and the historical perspective on transoceanic travel – that makes these journeys so spectacular.

Starting on October 27, follow along with us as we travel to New York to embark Cunard's Queen Mary 2 for an epic journey across the rugged North Atlantic! Photo courtesy of Cunard.

Celebrate Cunard’s 175th Anniversary in 2015 by doing what the line does best – crossing the Atlantic in style! Photo courtesy of Cunard.

Next year, however, is a special one for Cunard: July 4, 2015, will mark the 175th Anniversary of the first westbound crossing of the Britannia and the beginning of transatlantic ocean travel as we know it. Since that day, Cunard has been carrying passengers between Europe and North America, and remains the only cruise line to still offer regularly-scheduled transatlantic crossings.

Leave land far behind...Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Leave land far behind…Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

To commemorate this important milestone in the history of the company, Cunard will be offering a series of grand events and special transatlantic crossings next year, including a tribute to Cunard’s former homeport city of Liverpool, England with all three Queens together for the first time on the River Mersey.

The best kind of Friday: the ones spent aboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Cunard is expanding on their transatlantic offerings in 2015 by offering special voyages that the line is calling, ‘The Original Transatlantic Crossing.” Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

There are several dates featured for what Cunard is calling The Original Transatlantic Crossing. Longer than the typical seven-day one-way sailing between New York and Southampton, these voyages will feature special ports of call, gala menus, and commemorative events on-shore. Even better, there’s plenty of different ways to get in on the action:

July 2, 2015 – The 175th Anniversary Crossing aboard Queen Mary 2: 12 Days. Southampton, Liverpool, Halifax, Boston, New York. This is also available as a 20-night voyage roundtrip Southampton.

Can’t make the official 175th Anniversary cruise? There are still other exciting options:

May 17, 2015 – Liverpool Salute & Westbound Transatlantic: 17 Days. Southampton, Cobh, Dublin Bay, Greenock, Oban, Liverpool (overnight), St. Peter Port, Southampton, New York.

June 21, 2015 – Roundtrip Transatlantic Crossing: 23 Days. New York, Southampton, Hamburg, Southampton, Liverpool, Halifax, Boston, New York.

June 30, 2015 – Westbound Transatlantic Crossing from Hamburg: 14 Days. Hamburg, Southampton, Liverpool, Halifax, Boston New York.

The Commodore Club, Deck 9 forward. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

The Commodore Club aboard QM2, Deck 9 forward. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Some fun facts about the elegant QM2:

  • Her length exceeds six Olympic-sized swimming pools stretched end-to-end.
  • She stands 200 feet above the waterline – the equivalent of a 23-story building.
  • She features the largest library at sea, with over 8,000 titles.
  • She has the only planetarium at sea.
  • Her onboard art collection exceeds $5 million dollars.
  • She was designed by naval architect Stephen Payne expressly for transatlantic service and, as such, she can easily handle the worst the North Atlantic can throw at her.
Rewind! The Mark Hodgson Trio kept things cool and smooth in the Chart Room until well past 1AM last night. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

The Mark Hodgson Trio  – part of the Julliard School of Jazz series – kept things cool and smooth in the Chart Room until well past 1AM on my crossing two years ago. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

But it’s not superlatives alone that make Queen Mary 2 such a special ship – it’s the experience that she offers. Styled like a modernised version of a grand ocean liner, crossing the ocean aboard her is an amazing experience. Days are packed with entertainment options that range from Broadway-quality shows to specially-designed theme voyages that feature New York’s Julliard School of Jazz, the Royal Astronomical Society, special guest lecturers and performers (both John Cleese and James Taylor are frequent guests).

An enormous number of intricate, beautiful public rooms are yours to explore aboard Queen Mary 2. Pictured here: the two story Britannia Dining Room. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

An enormous number of intricate, beautiful public rooms are yours to explore aboard Queen Mary 2. Pictured here: the two story Britannia Dining Room. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Night, though, is when QM2 really sparkles. Her public rooms are designed with soothing colours and elegantly low lighting that complements them in a way that I’ve never seen duplicated on any other ship. For being absolutely massive, an evening of cocktails and live music in The Chart Room, with the waves of the Atlantic racing outside the oversized picture windows, ranks as one of the coziest and most enjoyable evenings I’ve spent aboard a ship.

To cross the Atlantic aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 isn’t just a cruise; it’s an experience and a rite of passage. Next year, it will also be a grand event.

What could be better? Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

What could be better? Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Click here to visit the Cunard Line website to see the full list of transatlantic crossings the line has on-tap for 2015.

 

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