• Wilderness Explorer's bow sun deck has a hot tub and patio seating.

  • Explorer cabins are the largest on board, at 126 square feet.

  • Wilderness Explorer's Explorer cabin with double bed and television

  • Ample storage space, a mini, fridge and in-room sink are Explorer cabin amenities.

  • Twin beds in a Pathfinder cabin are framed with a double window view.

  • White walls and luxurious bedding create a relaxing space in this Trailblazer cabin.

  • Trailblazer cabin with twin bed

  • The Wilderness Explorer lounge is airy with plenty of view windows.

  • The Wilderness Explorer dining room has various seating options for casual meal service.

  • The lounge features a full bar offering 10 microbrews on tap.

  • Wilderness Explorer's bridge is open to guests to visit with the captain.

Wilderness Explorer

76 guests
Year Built: 1976
Renovated: 2011
Length: 186 feet
Cruising Speed: 11 knots
Flag: United States

The original M/V Wilderness Explorer (under the direction of AdventureSmith founder Todd Smith) pioneered adventure cruising in Southeast Alaska in the 1990s. Refurbished in 2011, the former Spirit of Discovery was relaunched in 2012 as a new-generation Wilderness Explorer offering a level of service and comfort far superior to the original. Affectionately and appropriately call a “floating base camp,” the 76-guest Wilderness Explorer is perfectly designed for remote exploration of wild places.

Wilderness Explorer Review

The Wilderness Explorer is true to her name.  She is an adventure cruise ship designed to explore the wilderness up close and in style.  Similar to her sister ships the Wilderness Discoverer and the Wilderness Adventurer, except the Explorer has only higher end cabins starting at the Pathfinder category. 

In this detailed review of the Wilderness Explorer, find the complete small ship description with deck plans and a photo gallery. After reading through our Wilderness Explorer review below, contact our Alaska cruise experts for more information and to compare this ship with other Alaskan small ships and yachts.

The Wilderness Explorer was formerly known as the 84-passenger Spirit of Discovery.

Common Areas Aboard Wilderness Explorer

The Explorer is designed to maximize viewing areas, social spaces and amenities for active travelers. The sun deck has a large hot tub, sauna, fitness equipment and space for tables and chairs. The open bow allows for plenty of room for up-close viewing of wildlife. The lounge features a full bar in the center with a Douglas fir bar top, and offers 10 microbrews on tap and cask wine. The well-stocked resource library includes books, games and DVDs.

Meals Aboard Wilderness Explorer

The Wilderness boats offer guests a casual-style dining experience featuring exceptional meals. Chefs use locally sourced fresh ingredients to reflect the flavors of your destination. Each day includes an early-riser breakfast of fresh fruit, baked-onboard pastries and breads, and a full breakfast complete with specialty items. Lunches range from pasta salads and sandwiches to homemade soups and ethnic dishes. Dinners offer a choice of entrées, including fresh seafood and meats. Vegetarian dishes are available and special dietary needs can be met with advance notice. Hors d'oeuvres for the cocktail hour feature a variety of appetizers and desserts are varied and plentiful.

Activities Aboard Wilderness Explorer

With an emphasis on exhilarating explorations in remote wilderness, expert naturalists lead hiking and kayaking tours of varying lengths and activity levels. To ensure ample space for included adventure activities, there is a swim step on the ship’s main deck aft. The space serves as a launch pad for excursions and hosts a state-of-the-art kayak launch platform able to quickly and safely launch five kayaks at a time. A professional masseuse is part of the crew and massages are available for a fee. Other adventure activities aboard the Wilderness Explorer include stand-up paddleboarding, skiff explorations and whale watching. Snorkeling is available for a fee. Complimentary on-deck yoga classes are offered each morning. An American crew offers a 3:1 guest to crew ratio for excellent standards in service and guiding.

Cabins Aboard Wilderness Explorer

The 76-guest Wilderness Explorer offers three cabin categories consisting of 21 Trailblazer, 13 Pathfinder and 4 Explorer cabins. Bed configurations include twin or queen. Cabins feature flat-screen televisions with DVD players, iPod docking stations and eco-friendly bath amenities. All cabins aboard the Wilderness Explorer feature a large view window.

Trailblazer Cabins

Queen or twin beds; private bath with shower; view window; outside passageway. Lounge Deck and Sun Deck cabins are 92 square feet, and Main Deck cabins are 110 square feet.

Pathfinder Cabins

Queen or twin beds, private bath with shower; view window. Cabin 205 is wheelchair accessible. 104 square feet.

Explorer Cabins

Outside entry; queen beds; private bath with shower; view window. 126 square feet.

Wilderness Explorer Deck Plan

Wilderness Explorer Deck Plan