Maybe it’s a Summer thing, this recent surge in trending beer topics. Perhaps it’s just a recurring theme that resonates with me, a fan of the bubbly brews. Or maybe it’s that several cruise lines have embraced the topic that is my latest excuse to talk about beer and has me writing today about an odd couple that looks to be a perfect match: adventure travel and beer.
While the topic began with me at age 16, pulled over for going the wrong way down a divided highway, case of beer as the copilot, I don’t have to go back very far to match beer and cruise vacations. During a 15-day Viking river cruise last summer, the fabulous beers of Germany and Austria made for My Viking Cruise, By The Beer; a photo gallery of each and every beer consumed along the way. A big hit for both Lisa and I on Carnival Cruise Lines, Thirsty Frog Red, the custom-brewed you-can-only-get-it-at-sea ale quickly became a favorite of their FunShip 2.0 initiative and a recommended must-do upon boarding. Even ultra luxe ocean cruise line Crystal Cruises is highlighting the topic, bringing beer experts along on a special themed voyage. Should it really be any surprise that Un-Cruise Adventures, the small-ship adventure line that takes cruise travelers within wrestling distance of bears in Alaska would jump in on the craze right about now?
Un-Cruise Adventures hops to it with four new craft beer theme cruises set for fall and spring departures in Washington’s Puget Sound and Salish Sea. The Seattle-based adventure cruise line plans to bring on board local micro-brew experts for an adventure in scenic areas from South Hood Canal to Olympic National Park and the San Juan Islands.
“After a day of kayaking and hiking, relax on the top deck for a hosted beer tasting featuring Washington state micro-brews.” – Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO Un-Cruise Adventures
Sailing October 4, 2014, April 25 and October 3, 2015 and April 30, 2016, 60-guest expedition vessel Wilderness Adventurer sails roundtrip Seattle on their normal, weeklong Explore! Olympic Wilderness & San Juan Islands with some special additions for the Beer-themed voyages:
- Experts On Board– Kendall Jones and Kim Sharpe Jones, authorities on the Seattle craft beer scene and media partners for the Washington Beer Commission, join the October 4 departure as guest hosts. Robyn Schumacher, an owner and brewer at Stoup Brewing in Seattle, joins the April 25 cruise. Guest hosts for the remaining two dates will be announced later.
- Beer Tastings- Guests will enjoy nightly happy hour tastings of select craft beer from nearby breweries—most unavailable outside the state —presentations, and beer recommendations matching the evening’s dinner menu.
- Tour A Brewery- A brewery tour and tasting will be offered at both Port Townsend Brewing in Port Townsend and Island Hoppin Brewery on Orcas Island.
- Beach Bonfire– A Sucia Island beach bonfire on the last night sets the stage for a session on Beach Beers and the virtues of craft beer in aluminum cans.
Even without the beer-focus, the Explore! Olympic Wilderness & San Juan Islands looks to be a good choice, not just for adventure travelers but photography buffs and nature lovers as well. Highlights include hiking in Olympic National Park, Mt. Constitution and Washington State Parks. Waterborne expeditions by kayaks, skiffs and paddle boards that explore glacial fjords and the San Juan archipelago. Going deep into destination immersion, one of our favorite topics here, in Quilcene Bay a local family hosts a home-grown oyster and clam tasting.
Guests enjoy free time in scenic Friday Harbor and discover native cultures in Port Townsend, keeping eyes peeled for marine life and seabirds; gray whales, orcas, seals, sea lions and bald eagles.
We suggest bear-wrestling before the beer-related activities.
The craft beer cruise includes all meals, beer tastings, transfers, adventure activities, hot tub, sauna and yoga on deck. Rates begin at $1,895 per person, double occupancy. Charters and group incentives are available. To book or to request additional information, contact your travel agent or Un-Cruise Adventures at 888-862-8881 or firstname.lastname@example.org.