8 Kona (Kailua Bay) UnCruise Safari Explorer Cruise Reviews

34 of us set sail on 2/23 to explore the marine world around the western side of four islands. The Explorer was filled with an engaging and inclusive group of passengers, who were just the nicest group of people imaginable.(you can ask ... Read More
34 of us set sail on 2/23 to explore the marine world around the western side of four islands. The Explorer was filled with an engaging and inclusive group of passengers, who were just the nicest group of people imaginable.(you can ask the crew). Highlights include the night snorkel with manta rays. There were more opportunities to snorkel in Kealakekua Bay. I really enjoyed swimming off the back of the boat. Some passengers went paddle boarding and kayaking. One of the other highlights was the dinner served at the museum on Molokai. It was very genuine and very lovely. Whales were abundant. We saw great numbers of spouts, breeches, and flukes. There were moms and babies. There were gentlemen suitors following some of the females. We saw 3 types of dolphins, and of course, sea turtles. This ship had the best food of any boat I have sailed. Every meal was freshly and individually prepared. The deserts and pastries were heavenly. One of the most important aspects of this cruise was the crew. Each and every one of them worked incredibly hard to make sure passengers were happy and well cared for. Every crew member knew, and used, each passenger's name. Our cabin was clean and comfortable. It was refreshed twice daily. UnCruise is not for everyone. There's not a lot of glitz, no games, and no big productions. Entertainment might be a presentation on sea turtles or fish. Because we were close to shore most of the time there was cell service but no ship wifi. You can wear very casual clothing all week and there is no need to get dressed up and nobody really wanted to. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This is our 4th cruise with Uncruise and it was very nice. The ship had a great crew who were knowledgeable, friendly , and hard working. They make all activities enjoyable and easy. Food was good with several choices. Was nice that ... Read More
This is our 4th cruise with Uncruise and it was very nice. The ship had a great crew who were knowledgeable, friendly , and hard working. They make all activities enjoyable and easy. Food was good with several choices. Was nice that the portions were not too generous. Also good that the chef did not over salt anything. Ship was very clean. Our only complaint was the bed location in our cabin, hard to get into and out of. The aquatic wild life was wonderful, many humpback whales. Saw two new species of whales, one which was quite rate. The night snorkel with the Manta Rays was a highlight. As the water was cool, low 70's, would have been nice if wet suites were available. The excursion equipment was modern and well maintained. The open bridge policy is a good feature as this is the best place to see wild life. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
UnCruise Hawaii Cruise Review - An Amazing Trip By Ken Montgomery, 4th time UnCruise passenger Jan 2018 The UnCruise trip from Kona to Molokai (northbound)was a wonderful trip In so many ways. We were on the Safari Explorer for 7 ... Read More
UnCruise Hawaii Cruise Review - An Amazing Trip By Ken Montgomery, 4th time UnCruise passenger Jan 2018 The UnCruise trip from Kona to Molokai (northbound)was a wonderful trip In so many ways. We were on the Safari Explorer for 7 nights. We embarked on Saturday Jan 27th, 2018. There were 33 passengers & 16 crew. There are 18 staterooms. We saw lots of whales, dolphins, turtles, Manta Rays and lots of reef fish. Every UnCruise Hawaii trip will have a different itinerary due to weather factors - mainly wind and seas. We had calm winds and seas for the most part, so we were able to stay to the original cruise plan. Itinerary Saturday embarkation day. - passengers had to get their bags to the Hapuna Prince Resort Hotel ( 45 minutes north of Kona) by 3pm. There was a gathering room in the hotel for the UnCruisers. The bags were then taken to the ship and placed in the state rooms. At 4:30 the Cruise Activity leader Travis introduced himself and gave a quick cruise briefing, then we all loaded on a bus for a 10 minute ride to the ship. We were shown to our cabins, then had the lifeboat drill and free time till dinner @ 6:30. The dinner started with the welcome aboard drink and welcome from the captain and introduction of the crew. After dinner, Travis explained tomorrow’s activities based on current weather & wind forecasts. There was a documentary or a talk about Hawaii on the cabin TV or in the lounge every night. The crew anchored the ship Saturday night off Kona. The ship had a gentle rock to it. Sunday After breakfast we got ready for our first snorkel trip - south of Kona. Great water clarity and fish. Fins and masks were given to each passenger’s approximate sizes. They had plenty of extra fins and masks in case the ones given to you didn’t fit. Your gear was stowed in lockers on the bottom deck by cabin number. We then learned how to use their skiffs for snorkeling. A fresh water shower & island punch awaited returning snorkelers. Lunch followed and we spent the afternoon positioning the boat for our evening adventure north of Kona. We saw a few whales along the way. Sunday Night - a light dinner was served at 5pm. At 6 we had a briefing about our evening snorkel trip to see Manta Rays feeding. An outside vendor brought in wetsuits for everyone, which were needed. We took the skiffs out to the location where the Rays were feeding and we broke into 5 groups with about 6 people hanging onto each surfboard. A leader would tow us around the area so the passengers just focused on looking down at the action. We saw plenty of Manta Rays, a truly amazing experience. We were in the water about 45 minutes. Even with the wetsuits, many of us were a little cold and were ready to head back to a warm shower. This was the wildlife highlight for me on the cruise followed closely by all the humpback sightings. We had snacks and deserts on board after we returned and had our showers. Monday - 2 major activities. In the morning we went snorkeling at Captain Cook’s monument. In the afternoon we visited Kona where you could go on a guided walking tour, do an outrigger ride or just go shopping. In the evening we had a presentation from 2 lovely Hawaiians who told us about growing up and living in Hawaii. Monday Night - the crossing from the Big Island to Maui takes all night and can be a little rocky, but our crossing was fairly smooth. Tuesday - the morning activity consisted of a kayak trip along the south portion of Maui or a skiff boat ride exploring the coast. We saw whales before breakfast and during the kayaking trip. We returned to the ship and went whale watching off the west coast of Maui the rest of the day, seeing dozens of Humpback whales as we cruised. Following cocktail hour and dinner we had a staff presentation. Wednesday Morning - we did a skiff ride looking for whales and there were many whales putting in shows for us to enjoy. We went kayaking or paddle boarding after that. Afternoon- a tour of Lanai City where we visited their museum and explored the small town in the rain. Evening - Anchored in the lee of Lanai Thursday morning - snorkeling with turtles off Lahaina Afternoon - free time in Lahina town Friday morning / docked in Moloka’i - van tour of eastern portion of island visiting cultural sites. Optional difficult hike to waterfall with 4 stream crossings, walking sticks provided. Bug repellent provided. Very interesting story about Hawaiin culture. Friday night - went to a Panai, a Hawaiin party featuring roast pig and other traditional Hawaiin dishes at a local museum & community center with plenty of entertainment. Saturday departure- bags out by 7:30, they transported us at 8:30 to the only hotel on Molokai where we waited for a shuttle to the airport. The new UnCruise passengers were arriving here also. Best to book an early flight out of Molokai, as there is nothing left to do on Molokai. Misc Notes Crew Gratuities. UnCruise Staff recommends a $25 to $35 per day per passenger gratuity. Cell service - sometimes you have a few bars, sometimes there is no service, depending on your service provider and location. There wouldn’t be enough cell strength to use streaming services. There is no wi-fi on the ship. Laundry - there is no laundry service on the ship Shoes - water shoes are useful for getting in & off the skiffs and walking around. Sandals work for all other needs. Optional Excursions - there are no optional excursions - all activities, drinks, meals are included. The only thing you’ll ever need to pay for are Un-Cruise hats or t-shirts and the Crew Gratituities Things you should bring - [ ] 3 swim suits - so they dry in between uses. - [ ] Optional - a 3 to 5 mm wetsuit. A shorty would be fine. The water temp in January is in the mid 70’s and the snorkeling sessions were usually 45 to 60 minutes in the water, many passengers were cold without them. You can hang the wetsuit to dry on the deck on a hanger. - [ ] Rash guards are great for snorkeling, they give you sun protection and are perfect to wear under a wet suit. Buy them in any “Crazy Shirts” store in Hawaii. They even have rash guards that take on a new pattern once they are wet. They sell for about $48, long sleeves give the most protection, but are a hassle under wet suits arms. They dry very fast, so you can get by with one. - [ ] “Swimmers Ear” drops to dry out the water that stays in your ears from snorkeling. - [ ] Bring a long sleeve dry-fit t-shirt for boat trips or sitting out on the deck at night. - [ ] The ships store is very small, so bring your cold meds and cough drops in case you need them. A small tube of Vaseline in handy for minor scrapes & cuts. - [ ] Eye glass cleaner fluid and the microfiber clothes to clean them. - [ ] DVD’s that you’ve always wanted to watch. The ship has a few hundred movie DVD’s for borrowing. We like to bring documentary DVDs. Do not bring Blu-Ray DVDs, they won’t play on the stateroom equipment. - [ ] Extension chord to make plugging in all your chargers a lot easier. We only found one plug in the living area, so the extension chord was really essential. - [ ] Small flash lights for night time trips to bathroom - [ ] A secure hat for windy skiff rides. Things You May Not Need to Bring - [ ] Binoculars- the ship supplies each cabin with a large 7x50 pair of very good binoculars - [ ] Large Suntan lotion container. The shop has them on deck. Bring a small tube if you are staying a few extra days in Hawaii. - [ ] Lots of fancy camera gear. This is not really a photography cruise like Alaska and many other places are. Whale photography is particularly difficult. It’s best to enjoy the action and view the professional’s work. There are many great documentaries on whales on U-tube and on Netflix where the photography is better than 99% of photographers can do. - [ ] Water bottle- UnCruise provides cold water in the dinning room and reusable water bottles for your use. - [ ] Alcohol- all the alcohol, beer and wine are free all the time. - [ ] Shampoos & conditioner are in the shower in large dispensers, so no need to bring your own. A hair dryer is in the bathroom. - [ ] Walking sticks - the ship supplies them for the 2 hikes. They are provided by outside contractors and are not carried on the ship. - [ ] Sea sickness meds, the ship supplies them. - [ ] Fancy clothes - everyone dresses casually all the time. - [ ] Jacket - it never really got cold enough for anything above a windbreaker Summary A great trip with fun adventures. The food was very good. The wine and cocktails were excellent & plentiful and free. The crew is hardworking and talented. They even remember everyone’s names. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
My spouse and I have 40-something cruises under our belts. We've done mainstream cruise lines including Celebrity, HAL, Cunard, Oceania, Seabourn and Crystal. We were looking for an interesting cruise in Hawaii over Thanksgiving and ... Read More
My spouse and I have 40-something cruises under our belts. We've done mainstream cruise lines including Celebrity, HAL, Cunard, Oceania, Seabourn and Crystal. We were looking for an interesting cruise in Hawaii over Thanksgiving and found Un-Cruises on the web. Judging from previous member reviews, we weren't quite sure what to expect. Short and sweet, this was one of the top 5 cruises we have taken. The staff was simply amazing and knocked themselves out repeatedly. The ship was beautifully maintained and I have a pretty critical eye. Each morning the chef provided menu choices for lunch and dinner - the cuisine was artfully prepared and unusually varied. Wine choices were good and plentiful. It isn't Michelin 5 stars but it equaled what we have had elsewhere and we looked forward to mealtimes. Activities were extremely well organized with staff members taking part in everything. We were impressed with how they accommodated a wide spectrum of ages and ability levels. Our fellow passengers represented a diverse group of nationalities, were cultivated and inquisitive without being stuffed shirts. The only criticism we had was a temperamental toilet system which needs an engineering overhaul. We have deposited for another cruise already and can't wait to try another of their itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
The absolute best part of Un-Cruise was the crew. Each was outstanding and did their part to ensure that we each had the best possible experience. Everything that i did on this cruise i would have done anyway but they took all the ... Read More
The absolute best part of Un-Cruise was the crew. Each was outstanding and did their part to ensure that we each had the best possible experience. Everything that i did on this cruise i would have done anyway but they took all the anxiety out of it. Five mile hike to a sacred waterfall, drift snorkeling off the coast of maui, night snorkeling with giant manta rays - all made accessible to everyone, including a handicapped guest. If i wanted help fording a stream, they were there to help, if my husband wanted to go scuba diving instead of snorkeling, they arranged it. They personalized the experience for each of us. There was never a dull moment but be clear this is a cruise for nature/wildlife loving people who have something of an adventurous spirit. Everything is included in the price. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to spend any money on board. I had to beg to buy a t-shirt. All excursions included, gourmet meals, top shelf open bar. There was nothing to spend money on. Cabins were reasonably sized for the ship. You're not getting a huge room and you're not getting a private balcony here. But really all you're going to do is sleep in the room and sleep you will because you'll be exhausted from all the activities. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This is a difficult review to write. We took this cruise expecting a small ship with cramped cabins. Actually, the cabins are quite spacious, and we were in the next to bottom category. We expected to be able to snorkel and sure enough, it ... Read More
This is a difficult review to write. We took this cruise expecting a small ship with cramped cabins. Actually, the cabins are quite spacious, and we were in the next to bottom category. We expected to be able to snorkel and sure enough, it was offered every day. We did not expect water temperatures of 75 degrees, making it too cold for us. This was our fault, for not checking in advance. We expected limited menu choices, but did not realize that there would not be an "always available" menu. Other than snorkeling, the activities included whale watching in skiffs (interesting once, not more), taking a very difficult hike on Molokai (not for us at age 70/75), and lots of reading on deck. This last was fine with us, but the deck was strewn with various bits and pieces of furniture, closed hot tub, closed sauna and something large covered in plastic (perhaps a bbq?). We also strolled around Lanai. The conditions of the interior of the ship needs attention. During our cruise, 2 light bulbs went out in the dining/bar area and were never replaced. The throw blankets do not appear to have ever been washed. The waste bin the the public head was constantly overflowing. Most of the other passengers on the ship were nothing like us. I cannot find a polite way to explain this, but we are drinkers, foodies with no allergies, do not do yoga, do not demand special meals (vegan, non-gluten) and do not wear ex-officio type clothing. The crew relentlessly addresses you by your first name, even coming up with nick names. At the end of the cruise when I wanted to leave a tip, I was told the 10% was expected. In a pig's eye! I do not think this cruise line represents value for cost. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I have been to all the islands many times over the past 25 years. But spending a week on the Explorer gave me a whole new perspective of the area. The crew was fantastic and you could tell they really enjoyed their jobs. They tried to make ... Read More
I have been to all the islands many times over the past 25 years. But spending a week on the Explorer gave me a whole new perspective of the area. The crew was fantastic and you could tell they really enjoyed their jobs. They tried to make everyone feel special. All of them knew all 36 of our names by the second day. The rooms were small but comfortable and had a nice sliding glass door right out to the walkway. (We had a regular room) The food was better than I have eaten on Holland America cruises. Each lunch and dinner, we were given a choice between 2 different entrees. Every night we were offered a fresh local fish as one of the two choices. The wine was good quality and they made some kind of special cocktail every afternoon, along with several beers on tap. Our group was very active and we enjoyed the snorkeling that they included almost every day. There was kayaking available two different days and there was never a wait to secure one. A lot of us also tried paddle boarding. We enjoyed the fact that the majority of cruisers were adults, even though it was a spring break for some. It was nice the meet several couples from New Zealand and Australia. If I had to name a change to enhance the trip, it would be to find something more to do on the island Of Lanai- The stop at the local museum was too long, so many of us got bored and tired and missed the hike, which would have been nice to do. The other special excursions (all included) were fun, especially when Capt. Zodiac picked us up and took us to Capt. Cooks Landing on the Big Island. Another highlight of the cruise was watching the dophins ride our bow and seeing 3 whales-a mother, calf and male escort spend a whole afternoon right beside our ship (we were very lucky since it was near the end of whale watching season) One thing they don't really tell you is that they anchor off Lahina and Kona on two different days and tender people in to town for the afternoon. We were concerned beforehand about getting sea sick, so we wore patches, but after 3 days, they left a horrible taste in our mouths, so we just changed to taking bonine and then nothing the last 2 days. The only rough part is the crossing between the Big island and Maui. If you are thinking about taking a small boat cruise, I would highly recommend Un Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This was one of the few trips we've taken that way exceeded our expectations! I booked this based on a past very positive experience cruising Alaska on a small ship with a company no longer in existence, so my expectations were high ... Read More
This was one of the few trips we've taken that way exceeded our expectations! I booked this based on a past very positive experience cruising Alaska on a small ship with a company no longer in existence, so my expectations were high to start with. On our cruise the weather cooperated as did the whales, turtles and manta rays which we saw in great numbers. Of course UnCruise couldn't control those things but the things they could control were outstanding. I don't go on a small cruise ship for a great culinary experience but I have to say that the food was excellent. We had at least two choices for lunch and dinner. The food was fresh, wholesome, presentation was good and the portions sensible. The spirit and friendliness of the crew was unbelievable and infectious. To a person, they all seemed to love the experience and were unabashedly positive about UnCruise. No personal request seemed to be a bother to them. The ship was clean and well run. Our cabin was also clean and small but adequate. This was an amazing trip and a great way to see the islands! I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a soft adventure in an informal, attentive and friendly environment Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Safari Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.0 3.3
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.2
Family 3.5 4.2
Shore Excursion 4.5 4.2
Enrichment 4.0 4.4
Service 5.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 5.0 4.3

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