Wondering what it would be like to spend a week aboard the Sikumi or Golden Eagle? These reviews from previous guests might give you an idea.
My dad and I had the opportunity of boarding the MV Sikumi for the week June 11th – June 17th as well as the rarity of being the only passengers on board. This trip was the trip of the lifetime!
Beginning with the boat itself, the MV Sikumi was comfortable, well-kept, and very homey. The beautiful boat rode smooth on water and allowed us to sleep comfortably without getting seasick. The amazing crew made sure all our needs were covered by providing extra blankets and pillows when requested.
Speaking of the crew, we could not have asked for a better crew for our Custom Alaskan Cruise. Kete, our Naturalist, never hesitated to answer any of our questions and filled our days with fun facts about Alaska and its natural foliage. April, the firstmate on board, made sure to include me and my dad every opportunity she could and met all of our needs. Lucas, the captain, allowed us to spend quality time with him in the wheelhouse and offered us tours of the engine room as well. John our chef was phenomenal! Every course he prepared was well-balanced, full of flavor, and just overall delectable.
While on the cruise, we also had the pleasure of having one of the owners, Chelsea, aboard the boat for the first voyage as the stewardess. Chelsea, along with the rest of the crew met our every need and expectation making this a trip to never forget.
Throughout the week, several different excursion opportunities are available. Some of these include wildlife viewing, fishing, riding in the skiff, collecting glacier ice, hiking and my personal favorite, kayaking. The MV Sikumi cruise allowed us to see glaciers calve, sea otters play in the water, approach a sea lion rookery and much more all within our own personal kayaks. Another wonderful activity on the boat is the shrimp and crab potting. You are given the option to set and pull up your own shrimp and crab pots and if you catch anything, the chef will prepare your catch almost immediately after it is brought aboard.
All in all, the MV Sikumi and crew offers you a trip and memories that you will cherish forever!
The family and I had the trip of a lifetime aboard the Golden Eagle. Custom Alaska Cruises kept us busy exploring all that Southeast Alaska had to offer. The captain and crew made it a fantastic experience. If you want to see Alaska, you need to book with these folks!
This was truly the vacation of a lifetime…from the moment we met the crew until we said a tearful goodbye. We always wanted to take a cruise but couldn’t get past all the thousands of people. Not only did we avoid the hordes, but we got to see places that the big cruise ships can’t get into. And we had first class treatment every moment – with gourmet meals every day, and amazing up close bear, whale, sea lion, otter, porpoise, seal…..watching. The trip is over but the memories and the pictures will last a lifetime!
We recently returned from Alaska having booked a cruise with Custom Alaska Cruises. In planning for an inside passage cruise, I did extensive research as I was looking for a small ship experience. I initially started looking at cruises with less than 100 people until I happened to find a website called Custom Alaska Cruises. I found exactly what I was looking for, a beautiful boat for only 8 passengers that would provide a unique private experience for my family. I was excited to find this gem of a private cruise experience and started reading all the reviews prior to booking and making a financial commitment.
First let me tell you that no review can do justice to what we experienced. The trip was better than we ever thought and hoped for.
We chartered the Golden Eagle, a magnificent 100ft yacht with 4 large rooms each with its own bath and shower for our family of 8.
It all starts with the Captain and Captain Kurt is exceptional! His crew of 4 were outstanding and very well trained. Captain Kurt knew exactly what we wanted to do and see and he planned out each day with activities and private experiences you cannot find anywhere else. Kurt’s vast knowledge of the inside passage is exceptional, and he knew where to be at the right time to see everything the inside passage has to offer.
We saw glaciers calving, we kayaked through icebergs while seals were lounging on them nearby. We saw massive humpback whales bubble feeding and breaching, sea lions in massive proportions as well as kayaking and having them swoop by our kayaks to smell us and check us out. A large pod of Orcas, one with a fin 9ft high out of the water. Majestic soaring bald eagles, fishing for halibut and rock fish, hooking stream Rainbow Trout and salmon. Pulling up crab pots so full we could not keep them all! Nature and rain forest hikes, a beach bonfire, tour of a remote lighthouse. Bears! We watched bears fishing in streams and saw them tussling over catches. Words cannot truly describe how much and did everyday.
Again all because of Captain Kurt knowing where to be at all times to experience everything. His crew of Nicole, Elaina, Peter and JR were so nice, friendly and knowledgeable we were all best friends by trips end. The food was to die for and is like eating in a 5-star restaurant every day, from crab and halibut feasts to some great New Orleans creole!
I highly recommend Custom Alaska Cruises, the Golden Eagle, Captain Kurt and his crew. It was truly a trip of a lifetime. Between our group of 8 we now have over 4000 photos to sort through if that gives you an idea of everything we saw and experienced!
The Sikumi is awesome, my wife and I feel fortunate to have cruised on it more than a few times. You are in total comfort and luxury on the boat. But you are in the middle of the Alaska wilderness most of the time. Surrounded by glaciers, icebergs, whales, bears and all sorts of things. Recommend to all, a trip on the Sikumi really is the trip of a lifetime.
We appreciate the superb level of support and comradery received from the crew. Matched with Kurt’s exacting attention to every detail, and made into a smooth flow by Mike, Sarah, Scott and Ashlee, we enjoyed every moment of our stay aboard the MV Sikumi.
We felt it was a first-hand experience; not only catching the fish on that wonderful daylong fishing portion, but then to have a fine dinner served so admirably by Sarah and the staff. We did opt to have some of the catch sent home to us and even managed to stow it all in our freezer. Imagine our pleasure to prepare a meal with the same catch here at home. Now there’s a unique souvenir of our trip to Alaska we have never had before!
Now playing catch up with the hundreds of photos taken personally, complemented by the CD Ashlee burned for us from the group’s offerings, we remain both grateful and pleased we reserved a valued place aboard the MV Sikumi.
Would we do it again? Absolutely! Would we recommend and invite others to experience the same? Yes. Every step along the way we were taken care of.
Nancy and I enjoyed the most incredible cruise we could possibly imagine. Our expectations were very high to begin with, but the experience went far beyond anything we expected.
First is the preparation the crew did for us and our group of friends. They read all the descriptions of our expectations and knew what we hoped to do and see. This impacted our schedule and how we spent our time. Kurt, the Captain, never hesitated to explore something we were interested in, and we stayed as long as we wanted. Sightseeing, kayaking, wildlife viewing, glacier watching, and fishing were never rushed, and we spent all the time we wanted enjoying those activities. We did EVERYTHING we wanted to do during the cruise, plus there were a few surprises!
Kurt’s knowledge of the area is superb. Secret fishing spots, sea lion rookeries, hot springs, bear habitat and just beautiful places are all pieces of his knowledge of the area. We can’t imagine a better guide.
The crew was always there to make our trip enjoyable. Brett’s attention to detail and ready smile were always there for us. Lucy was always there to make sure if there were anything we needed, she had it in our hands. Ben is an incredible chef (more about the food later). Brody was there to learn and help us as well as bring up the rear of the kayak adventures, making sure we were happy and safe.
The quality of the food during the cruise was quite amazing. The seafood was always fresh since we were catching it during the trip. The crab and shrimp pot adventures provided Chef Ben with super fresh ingredients that produced some of the finest meals we have ever enjoyed. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all 5-star meals. We urged Ben to create a cookbook and he was always willing to share his methods, skills and insights if we wanted to know how to create such wonderful meals. We weren’t expecting a chef from New Orleans but Ben has incredible talents for taking Alaska seafood and adding New Orleans cuisine and style to those super quality ingredients.
We began considering this as the trip of a lifetime. After about 3 days, I decided it wasn’t really the trip of a lifetime because I want to do it again in a few years. So, I guess you can call it the “trips of a lifetime.”
Thanks to Chelsea, Keegan, Kurt, and the incredible crew for an experience we will talk about the rest of our lives. When we get together with the friends who joined us on this adventure, we will always find time to remember these days and the experience.
This was the trip dreams are made of….beyond words, beyond photos & beyond any expectations that I could have imagined.
From the first moment aboard the MV Sikumi, I was excited and elated that this trip was really happening. The crew were amazing and catered to our every whim. They were very knowledgeable, personable, and fun.
Having never been to Alaska, I was overwhelmed with the incredible beauty, the quiet and the diversity of so many different types of experiences to come. The spectacular humpback whales, surrounding us in the Skiff, trumpeted like elephants as they danced and played in Fredrick Sound. The captain would always let us know if there was something to come and see, such as bears on the shore, orca, pupping areas for harbor seals, the sea lion rookery, and the beauty of the glass like water. Being able to stay and watch the glaciers calving for as long as we wanted and then kayaking up the fiord among the icebergs. The 3,000-foot granite walls with waterfalls rushing into the emerald-green water.
On the hikes, the foliage of the rain forests was so different than the plant life here in Southern California. We hiked to a pristine lake and then to natural hot springs, next to the top of a raging waterfall.
The food was excellent and many of the meals included salmon, crab, halibut, and shrimp prawns caught from the deck of the Sikumi. Not being much of a seafood lover, there was always a dish made for me, sans seafood, although I loved the halibut, shrimp and even tried the salmon. We were taken care of by the crew who made the cruise very personal and cozy. We had a bonfire on the beach one night, which was a wonderful way to end that day.
Overall, there is no possible way to relay how wonderful this trip was for me. It was an adventure that cannot be duplicated. I am an avid photographer and took about 2000 photos, and each one triggers one or more of the five senses.
If you want to experience a cruise with no ports-of-call except for the shore….if you want to interact with whales, bears, sea mammals, eagles, the waters and the unique land…this is the perfect way to explore Alaska. It truly was the trip of a lifetime….and more.
Our trip aboard the Sikumi was a 10 out of 10! We can’t think of anything that would have made it better.
The captain took us to beautiful and remote areas that the big ships will never see.
The wildlife was non-stop from whales breaching, seals with their pups, eagles, porpoises, and bears. The fishing was so much fun. We never imagined we’d get to set crab and shrimp pots in addition to the salmon and halibut fishing. The 205lb halibut was pretty exciting! Plus, the dinners prepared with our catch every night were amazing.
The kayaking around the icebergs was something we’ll never forget.
The crew was exceptional! Everyone worked their hardest to make sure every guest was enjoying themselves and having a trip of a lifetime. And we all did! We hope to be able to enjoy a trip aboard the Sikumi again.
We were one of the first groups on the Golden Eagle and all had a great time. We were a mixed group from all over the country and we quickly bonded. There was something for everyone including fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking, crabbing, whale watching, area history, gourmet meals, and fantastic attention from the crew. The food was indescribable, and I was happy that when I got home, I had only gained 8 pounds. Every meal was different and ranged from fresh caught fish and crabs to gourmet pasta, meat, meals with fantastic deserts that none of us could refuse (even though we all knew that we were gaining weight).
One of the best advantages of taking a small boat cruise of Alaska is the ability to look at the spectacular wildlife and scenery. We watched glaciers calve for as long as we wanted. The crew even served lunch on the back deck so that we would not miss the big calving. Kurt, the captain, was determined to show us a group of Humpback Whales bubble feeding (a sight that is seen by few people). It was fantastic!!! We hiked to hot springs with the locals. We watched brown bears feeding on grass for quite some time at a close but comfortable distance. I got wildlife pictures of seals, sea lions, brown bears, whales, sea otters, eagles, oyster catchers, and other wildlife that were fantastic and I never felt hurried to leave an area where we were having fun.
The Golden Eagle was a fantastic boat that gave us a smooth ride and made us feel like we were on our own luxury yacht. We also had access to a Zodiac that took us hiking, crabbing, and photographing wildlife. Kayaks were available to paddle among the icebergs and watch the seals bask. The crew attended to our every need and provided us with history of the area, naturalist information, etc. The cook was fantastic, and his delicacies had everyone lining up for recipes. It was the trip of a lifetime that will be remembered for many years to come.
We already knew our 65-foot, 8-passenger, 5-crew, small boat cruise was the way to go, even before we saw the people lined up for two city blocks to board their conventional cruise ship in Juneau. With a small boat, we could go where the big ships couldn’t – up narrow fjords to get close to a calving glacier, around rocky islands where bald eagles kept watch, alongside emerald coasts with gushing waterfalls, and for an IMAX quality view of humpback whales, sea lions and seals.
But the benefits of a small boat go beyond scenery. With only 8 passengers (two families of four in our case), we had a say in what we did each day. For example, salmon fishing in the morning, followed by sea kayaking in the afternoon, and an evening campfire on the beach! We got to know the crew as friends and were welcome to come join the captain and the first mate in the wheelhouse anytime. There, the children marveled at the marine equipment and sipped hot chocolate, being careful not to spill, while the captain entertained us with stories about growing up in the Alaska wilderness. And then there are the benefits of a small boat that you don’t even anticipate, like that fact that no one cared if you left your laptop or your wet socks in the main cabin. For a week, this was our cozy home.
I didn’t want to simply pass through as a tourist, seeing Alaska through the viewfinder of my camera. On this trip, we experienced Alaska with all our senses: reaching down from our kayaks to touch slimy sea cucumbers and licorice red sea stars, stuffing our mouths and staining our fingers with wild blueberries collected on a hike, and my muscles straining to haul in a 25-pound king salmon (with help from the crew). We got a taste (literally) of an Alaskan lifestyle (but without all the danger and hard work), helping to catch much of the delicious food we ate: salmon, halibut, Dungeness crab, and shrimp. My favorite meal, prepared by our fabulous chef from New Orleans, was halibut bathed in a red pepper coulis and garnished with sea asparagus. And since there were only 8 of us, the chef didn’t balk at accommodating various dietary needs within the group, often making two versions of bread or desserts, one regular and one gluten-free.
Our 7-day trip around Admiralty Island, starting and ending in Juneau, didn’t cover as much territory as other cruises might, but more than made up for it by the quality of the experience.
I’m not sure why I waited for Christmas to write a review of our amazing trip this past August on the Sikumi. I had made a sudden decision to take a two-week vacation in Alaska, something that had always been on my bucket list.
I had followed the Sikumi for several years online, so I knew a bit about it. When I received word that the specific week I needed was open, I was overjoyed. Miriam, my wife, was totally supportive of our trip, especially when I showed her the boat online and informed her we would have our own bathroom. That was a deal breaker if the answer was no.
How can I begin to capture the joy we had on our week traveling on the Sikumi. The crew was amazing. David the chef fed us like kings, Lauren and Valerie were like two angels always doing everything in their power to assure our comfort. Finally, and perhaps the best of all was Captain Kurt. This man is amazing. He made sure we saw every special thing Alaska had to offer. He was constantly vigil and paid exquisite detail to not only our safety but the safety of all the crew, passengers, and kids (there were four running about but a joy to be around).
I can’t really detail every single fabulous moment, like the time we hauled in our crab traps and that night feasted on the best crab I have ever eaten. Miriam and I will cherish the week on the Sikumi the rest of our lives. I must mention the fishing. Miriam caught a 30 plus pounder that was about as big as she is. I caught a 100 plus pounder that we let go. We caught plenty of fish, enough to satisfy all of us on board.
The boat is glorious and very comfortable and immaculately clean. Thanks again for the wonderful week!
Bobby and Miriam F.
Definitely one of our top five trips ever! Of course, the crew was the key to making it such a special trip. Valerie could not have been more attentive and always seemed to anticipate how to best serve each of the eight of us. David delighted us with his gourmet presentations and descriptions of his wonderful creations. The “eveready bunny” Lauren made sure we caught lots of fish and was a great teacher. I am happy we got a chance to meet Capt. Kurt and spend a couple of days with him before he got some much-deserved family time. Keegan, thanks for all the stories and sharing of your knowledge whether we were in the wheelhouse, at the dinner table, or on the fishing deck. Our official photographer, Rick, just returned from his extended Alaska interior trip with Val. We are all looking forward to seeing the pics that he took.
Ben and Lorraine S.
Val and I thoroughly enjoyed our time on the Sikumi and have recommended the trip to many people. Actually, I believe one group has already scheduled a trip for next summer and we have more couples asking about it. Nothing better than word of mouth. Our trip was fantastic from start to finish and we will remember it forever.
Rick and Val D.
Barb and I wanted to send a note to thank you for such a fantastic cruise last week. That is the best cruise or vacation of any type we have been on! Please pass along our thanks and huge kudos to Kurt, Lauren, Valerie and David, as well as yourself, Keegan. You all went the extra mile to make sure we had a great time and saw just about everything there was to see. Too bad the bears didn’t cooperate more!
I still remember, and always will, that day of Halibut catching. Not only were there a lot of them, but they were huge! Same goes for the Salmon. The trip up Tracey Arm and pictures of the same were absolutely superb. Lauren, the energizer bunny deck hand, was awesome. Valerie was likewise awesome, and we can’t say enough about the gourmet meals provided by David. Our few days with Kurt were also memorable and we’re sure he did just the same for the folks following us.
WOW, what a crew you have; simply FIRST CLASS! Please pass this on to all of them. A trip just can’t get any better than that one! We’ll have those memories forever. Thanks again for an unforgettable trip. We’ll be sure and tell all our friends (and have to some already!) and hope they start booking with you soon!
Russ and Barb E.
Here is the best part of the Cruise that made it worthwhile: The Crew.
Kurt, Mike, Lauren, David & Valerie. They were sincere, friendly, respectful, considerate and hard working. Kurt is great with kids, a good captain, knows the vessel and cruise areas well; Mike & Lauren made sure our children were safe during our outdoor activities, helped them with fishing.
David & Valerie kept us well fed & hydrated 🙂
One other nice anecdote was the Friendship of the youngest two children of the two guest families. I think our daughters may now be BFF (best friends forever)
Thanks for the opportunity to share our thoughts. This was a most enjoyable cruise which fully met our expectations. Our most overriding compliment goes to the team under Captain Kurt’s leadership. This group of 5 persons worked tremendously hard for us, always with a smile both for us and their fellow crew. I cannot recall observing a better example of a team at work.
The Sikumi was a good ship well suited to our needs. Enough space to not feel locked in but tight enough for the 8 passengers and crew to feel part of a big family. The ready access to the bridge, excellent binoculars and a helpful commentary made a good gathering point.
The meals were superb in both quantity and quality and a real tribute to both planning and skill. Cooking freshly caught fish well is an art not achieved by everyone, but David delighted us all.
The opportunity to kayak almost every day among varying scenic spots was one of the reasons we booked on the Sikumi. As a couple of 80-year-olds, we were a bit worried about getting in and out of the kayaks. The floating mattress and Mike’s steady hand made the task a breeze as did Mike’s skilled fauna and flora commentaries.
Finally, to the two female crew Val and Lauren. It would be hard to imagine two more versatile, hardworking, uncomplaining, constantly cheerful persons to serve our needs.
Thanks to all for a great experience.
Graham and Marion T.
We spent a week on the Sikumi with my 70-year-old parents, my mother-in-law, her husband, and my two boys. We had a wide array of physical abilities and ages, so I wasn’t sure how a week on a boat was going to go.
We had an absolute blast! It was the best vacation of my parents’ lives, the best vacation my kids ever had, the most relaxing vacation I ever had and the most fun, and my husband had the time of his life. Yay!
The crew was the key to our success. Having the luxury of two guides out with the group, we were able to do what we really wanted to do. My dad couldn’t hike longer distances so one guide went back with the two of us and the rest went on with the other guide. We went kayaking, fishing, hiking, berry picking, visited the hot springs, caught crab and shrimp, and ate like kings all week long. The food was exceptional. Every one of us loved the trip, and the beauty of it all was that each of us had our own experience. It wasn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. The whole vibe on the boat is very relaxed and low key, but very attentive and really effortlessly elegant.
It was like hanging out with old friends (who take care of your every need)! We have some friends who, when they heard about our trip, decided to do one, too, although they went on a larger boat and had half the experience we did. So many whales, seals, eagles, otters, and bears, and the wildflowers were spectacular. It was the experience of a lifetime.
I would go back in a heartbeat.
I wanted to touch base with you following our trip to let you know how much we enjoyed ourselves. It was beyond our wildest hopes. You’ve done yourselves a big favor with the crew you have chosen this year…they made the trip very special. They are all terrific young men and women mature beyond their years. We appreciate all the extra time and efforts they put forth to make our mother able to access all the wonder around her.