An Exciting Change of Itinerary
September 3, 2014
Sometimes, itinerary changes are unavoidable. That’s the situation we found ourselves faced with this morning here onboard Un-Cruise Adventures’ Safari Endeavour. We had planned to be anchored off the Gordon Islands for a full day of activities, but a cold front sweeping in off the Pacific had created 25 knot winds and heavy swells.
In the Lounge before breakfast this morning, a small sign notified us that “Plan B” was being enacted. Instead of going to the Gordon Islands, we’d head for Idaho Inlet for a morning of hiking and bushwhacking through the forest. It means that our village visit, kayaking and paddleboarding are all off – but our adventures will continue uninterrupted.
The entire procedure must have been monstrously difficult for the crew to change plans around at the last moment, but they never let on. Activities were described to us in-detail over breakfast by Expedition Leader Mark, and sign-up sheets were placed at the bar. Guests were called up according to their deck numbers, and unlimited space means no competing for the “good” or “best” tours – they’ll add as many departures as needed.
This kind of flexibility is a huge Un-Cruise advantage, and indeed an advantage for many small-ship cruise lines. When adverse weather affects larger cruise ships, alternative options can be few and far between. Berths in ports of call here in Alaska are secured years ahead of time, and alternative ports may not even support tender operations, particularly during inclement weather.
Then, there’s the issue of also going somewhere that’s suitable for between two and three thousand guests and dealing with the refunding of shore excursions, which keeps the shore excursion department from sourcing replacement tour options.
Faced with these logistical challenges, most mainstream ships simply opt to spend a day at sea when weather-related issues prevent them from adhering to their published schedule.
Here onboard Safari Endeavour, we’re faced with none of those problems. Our itinerary was never set in stone to begin with, and finding suitable anchorages for a 232-foot long ship carrying 84 guests is a heck of a lot easier than trying to source alternatives for a 952-foot long cruise ship car