UNCERTAIN OF THE UN-CRUISE
Honestly, I was not exactly sure what to expect when I accepted the invitation to join the inaugural voyage of the Safari Endeavor's "un-cruise" celebrating her Christening. (See more explanation of the "un-cruise" at the following site: http://www.innerseadiscoveries.com/ .
The only cruise I had ever been on was the large ship, “amusement park” type. So, spending the weekend on a small ship, with people I didn’t know, in the middle of a large body of water seemed curious to me.
The celebration began at Seattle’s Fishermen’s Terminal with free-flowing champagne and excitement thick in the salty air. I witnessed InnerSea Discoveries’ CEO, Dan Blanchard, speaking proudly of his ships as if they were his own children. He spoke just as highly of this staff and colleagues. His hugs and amiable kisses on the cheek showed that he meant every word of those high praises. It was like a family celebrating the birth of its newest member.
For me, as a self-proclaimed foodie, it got even better at dinner. Who knew that a true gourmet meal could be prepared on a ship?! Previewed by a cocktail hour with a sweet-sounding Latin jazz band playing in the background, the party moved on to the Endeavor’s dining room. Some of you may not care that I am about to describe the menu of the night, but please humor me. You’ll probably be hungry by the end…
- Coho salmon tartare with avocado mousse served with homemade flatbread crackers
- Tender roasted duck on a bed of butternut squash and Swiss chard
- Passion fruit tart in a nut & shortbread crust served with a web of burnt sugar & raspberries
Throughout dinner, I had the opportunity to meet Tim Jacox (Vice President) and Eric Gier (CFO), as well as Astrid and Naomi, whom I email frequently from work. The people at InnerSea are even more amazing in person! Eric had my husband and me in stitches telling his off-the-wall stories until 11:00 p.m. around the dinner table! I could already tell this was a special group and that it was going to be a special weekend.
Have you ever awakened to a gorgeous view of land and water moving swiftly past your window, lazily prepared yourself for the day, then savored the warmth of a fresh oatmeal scone while waiting for the latte you just ordered? But wait…it gets even better. Twenty minutes later, the chef calls you to the dining room for a full breakfast of lemon ricotta pancakes, eggs, bacon…the works!
How could this day get any better? Well, it did somehow. Perhaps it was due to a 20 minute massage by Noel in the warm breeze of the sun deck, a kayaking excursion on Puget Sound, inspiring conversations with our travel companions, spotting majestic bald eagles, watching a traditional Native American canoe race while visiting the quaint town of Coupeville during its annual Water Festival, exploring Penn Cove – where the famous shellfish originate, belly-laughing with our newly made friends, and enjoying yet more incredible meals. All the while experiencing outstanding service by the staff such as sweet Meryl – a true Southern Belle, Matt – the friendly expedition guide who WILL stand up to the Coast Guard for you, efficient Jen, and Chris who quickly feels like your kid brother. We were pampered and attended to the entire trip! Little things, like having glass mugs of hot chocolate with Bailey’s and whipped cream waiting for us as we got off of a chilly & wet zodiac ride, were so appreciated. It was this attention to detail that made the un-cruise experience over the top.
It may seem like it was a jam-packed weekend, but it was actually very relaxing. Yes, we had a fun-filled weekend, but there is a calming effect when one is on the water with no responsibilities or deadlines. Despite all the activities available, there was definitely a nature of “un-cruise” flexibility and laid back attitude throughout the trip. It was almost therapeutic to fell detached from the world for a moment and to be free of the pull of day-to-day life. A weekend of true leisure was something that I, personally, didn’t only enjoy but NEEDED.
My un-cruise experience surpassed every expectation I had set for it. I am absolutely honored to have taken part in the inaugural journey of the Safari Endeavor before she ventures on to Alaska this summer. Reflecting upon my adventures, the memories made, and how close I became to the other travelers in just one weekend is incredible! Then, I think of how so many others are going to gain those same encounters and cherish them forever. More than the beautiful ship, I believe it is the beauty of those experiences that is truly something to celebrate.
P.S. - I found this little treat during our time in Coupeville. Loved it so much I HAD to incorporate it into my blog! Haha!