One Last Day aboard Safari Endeavour in Alaska

Today, we were treated to a rainy but memorable day in Endicott Arm at Fords Terror and Dawes Glacier, shown above. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Today, we were treated to a rainy but memorable day in Endicott Arm at Fords Terror and Dawes Glacier, shown above. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

September 6, 2014

In show business, they say you should always save the best for last. The crew here onboard Un-Cruise Adventures’ Safari Endeavour seem to subscribe to that theory, because our final day on our weeklong Discoverer’s Glacier Country itinerary in Alaska has quite possibly been the icing on a cake filled with nothing but highlights.

Today, we sailed through Endicott Arm to Fords Terror. You may already be familiar with Endicott Arm and not realize it; it likes just to the south of Tracy Arm, a popular scenic cruising destination for larger cruise ships due to its enormous cliff walls and the North and South Sawyer Glaciers.

Even the steady rain couldn't keep folks off the bow this morning as we sailed into Endicott Arm. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Even the steady rain couldn’t keep folks off the bow this morning as we sailed into Endicott Arm. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Our morning of scenic cruising also gave us some much-needed time to sleep in. It’s amazing how exhausting (in a fun way) expedition cruising can be. While I managed to “sleep in” until 7:30, many guests didn’t appear before 10 a.m.

It also gave the crew of the Safari Endeavour the opportunity to go over some housekeeping items with us for our disembarkation in Juneau tomorrow. As with many smaller cruise ships, disembarkation is a snap. We’ve been given luggage tags that corresponded with our departure from Juneau Airport, and the Expedition Team personally came around to each of us to verify our outgoing flights.

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

I also took our relaxing free time to do some packing this morning. Personally, I learned long ago to do 90 percent of my packing on the morning of the last full day onboard any cruise ship, when very little is likely to be happening. That keeps the evening open to enjoy dinner, drinks, and conversation.

The subject of gratuities was also covered for us, which corresponded with the pre-cruise documentation I had received. It suggests a recommended gratuity of between five and 10 percent of the published cruise fare – which, for this voyage, clocks in at $4,795 for my Commander Stateroom.

Now That's Cool: our morning of scenic cruising also allowed us to tour Safari Endeavour's engine room! Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Now That’s Cool: our morning of scenic cruising also allowed us to tour Safari Endeavour’s engine room! Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

I feel the gratuity guidelines are very fair, given the fabulous service onboard, but I would like to see Un-Cruise Adventures look at rolling gratuities into the cruise fare at some point in the future, even if it meant an increase in the overall fare. Tipping is something that causes a lot of non-American citizens a considerable amount of stress, and many of the Australian guests onboard were quite concerned with what an acceptable gratuity would be. As a Canadian, the amount I’d tip at a restaurant here in Canada is rock-bottom-minimal compared to tipping standards in the United States. Considering the price point and the fact that Un-Cruise Adventures’ Luxury Adventures are almost fully inclusive anyhow, it’d be nice to see them become fully-inclusive.

Gratuities can be paid, as the crew puts it, “in almost any kind of currency you can produce.” Which really means credit cards and U.S. cash.

Dawes Glacier, hidden by fog and rain. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Dawes Glacier, hidden by fog and rain. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

After those housekeeping details were sorted out, we arrived at the absolute piece de resistance of our entire voyage: Dawes Glacier. The ocean floor is so deep here that Safari Endeavour can’t even drop her anchors; instead, she must use her propellers to hold her position all afternoon.

The rain was, shall we say, spirited. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The rain was, shall we say, spirited. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

I don’t think it’s rained so hard on this trip once as it did this afternoon. Absolutely torrential rains lashed the decks of Safari Endeavour, and as the time for my own Zodiac excursion to Dawes Glacier approached, the rain only seemed to redouble its efforts.

Having nearly destroyed my DSLR in the rain on two previous trips, I figured it was time to cut my losses. Suited up in four layers, rain pants and my trademark bright yellow rain slicker, I left the Nikon back in the warmth of my stateroom.

Of course, because I left my camera behind, we were treated to the most amazing spectacle I’ve ever seen.

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Our Live Voyage Report onboard Un-Cruise Adventures’ Safari Endeavour has sadly come to a close, but we’ll have a full recap of our adventure here tomorrow – and details of our next upcoming Live Voyage through Turkey and Greece starting in just three days! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

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