December 7, 2015

One benefit to being a Travel Professional is the opportunity to get a sneak peek of a ship, hotel or destination from time to time. With Travel Industry tours and events, we get a chance to talk with staff first hand, and to see accommodations in person. These events give us a one on one feel for what a company has to offer our clients. We can then share insight from our personal experience with our clients. We can speak directly about what makes a cruise worth taking, which hotel will best meet a client's needs, or what first hand experience about a location makes a destination so incredible.

Recently a few of our partner agents enjoyed a tour and lunch on board a small cruise ship, right here in Portland, Oregon. Un-Cruise Adventures is a cruise company like no other. They provide up-close and personal experiences on this side of the Pacific Ocean. From Alaska, down into the Pacific Northwest, and further south to the Baja Peninsula, Mexico and Central America, as well as west across the Pacific to Hawaii and the Galapagos. The small ships of Un-Cruise Adventures offers exclusive experiences with wildflife, cultural and history unlike other cruise or tour companies.

Guests are pampered in un-rushed comfort with impeccably fine service, while immersing themselves in a variety of  activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, hiking and more. Un-Cruises has unique opportunities for guests to see a destination in its most natural state, to get in touch with a piece of history and share in-depth connections with local communities, all with just a small number of other travelers. Cruises accommodate as few as 22 people on a yacht, to a maximum of 88 people on their largest boats. An Un-Cruise Adventure is truly a trip like no other.

Our lunch tour on the USS Legacy took us onto a replica coastal steamer with a variety of amenities. This boat holds up to 88 passengers and takes travelers on a round trip 1,000 mile cruise up the Columbia and Snake Rivers.  The unparalleled vista of the Columbia River Gorge pass by as you relax in one of two hot tub located on the top deck, sipping a regional wine and meeting new friends. Yoga on the deck helps you start a new day, and the casual elegance of the dinning hall lets you feast on local culinary treats. 

There are two adventures to be had on the USS Legacy. History buffs and lovers of the Pacific Northwest will revel in the Legacy of Discovery cruise which focuses on the history and cultures of the Gorge. With historians and heritage guides the past comes to life as you explore the beauty and unique places of the rivers. The Columbia River Gorge is a region of fine wineries, which you can experience first hand with the Ameritage Four Rivers of Wine and History cruise. Wine experts are on board providing information and taste testings of the best wines in the region. Personally guided tours to several wineries let you see first hand just what makes this such a wonderful area for vineyards.

We enjoyed a nice welcome aboard with mimosas, tea and coffee while small groups of guests were taken by their own Un-Cruise guide to tour the steamer ship. To begin our tour viewed each type of stateroom. We began with the Owner's Suite- primed with fine details to truly spoil you as a guest on board. With a full living space and bedroom with King sized bed, this stateroom had luxury all over it. A full bar complimented the soft leather lounger and the Jacuzzi tub beckoned for a soak. There were many small touches that also made you feel at home, a selection of books to read at your leisure, and even a canister of handcrafted walking staffs and umbrellas for your personal use.

Each stateroom had its own bit of luxury and were all well appointed with an excellent plan to space attended too. The beds not only included drawers for your clothing but space underneath to tuck away your suitcase. Wall mounted flat screens televisions were in each room for night time movie viewing, and while the bathrooms were small, as is necessary on a boat, they were all comfortably functional with the decor hankering back to a bygone era. 

We were shown the cozy hot tubs on the top deck, and images of sipping wine while watching the Columbia River Gorge came to mind, what a unique way to watch the world pass by. The thought of star gazing while soaking made us ready to stay on board for their next cruise down the river! We were taken to the Bridge where you got a real glimpse back in time with the traditional ship's wheel at the stern. This replica steamer will take you back a hundred years and then some. All guests are welcome to join the captain and crew on the bridge at anytime, and stories abound with each interaction you  experience.

The lower decks include an open seating dinning hall and full bar lounge,as well as giving you another historical experience with the Pesky Barnacle Saloon. The history focus of these river cruises invites you to not only listen and learn, but to play along as you wish. There is a great steamer trunk full of hats and props from the days  of the Pacific Northwest of the 1870s, through the 1930s, the heyday of coastal steamer ships. 

We were entertained by two wonderful historic guides who not
only shared a bit of history, but interacted in character from their costumes, to how they spoke and what they said, making all of us feel welcome and intrigued. When you take your own Un-Cruise Adventure, along the Columbia River Gorge, your guides will be with you on the boat and along shore excursion journeys, adding that extra something to make this trip through history that much more memorable.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch as part of our tour. The food was finely prepared and a taste sensation with a grilled prawn and rice noodle dish that was savory down to the last bite. Desert was a fruit explosion with a tart filled with blue berries, black berries, raspberries and strawberries. During lunch we were also able to get to meet more of UN-Cruise crew. Each person we spoke to was not only friendly, but loved what they did and who they worked for. We all know it says a lot about a company when the employees are happy, and the staff on board were spot on for service with smile that was genuine. Everyone made us feel welcome and want to return for a full cruise.

Whether you live in the Portland Metro area, or are looking to come visit our corner of the world, a river cruise along the Columbia River Gorge is an experience not to miss! An Un-Cruise Adventure will take you back in time and surround you with comfortable luxury which you will remember for a lifetime.