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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose this cruise because we had heard about it from many previous guests on this trip and because we really wanted to see whales in Baja. After taking this trip, we now understand why people love it and why they return year after year. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had heard about it from many previous guests on this trip and because we really wanted to see whales in Baja. After taking this trip, we now understand why people love it and why they return year after year. We have traveled with National Geographic/Lindblad several times in the past, so we knew that this would be a good trip. As is our experience, the captain was terrific and led a trip that was safe and interesting and enjoyable. He invited guests to join him on the bridge to see the journey from his perspective and to have a chance, that is a hallmark of the Lindblad experience, to watch the captain and the crew as they maneuvered the ship to each interesting destination - or simply stopped to allow us all to be quietly and respectfully up close to the wildlife we came to see. The naturalists, who must be among the best in the industry, gave lectures on the history and the culture of the destinations we visited and helped us learn about the flora and fauna we were so lucky to see. They were with us on our outings or on the bow of the ship to answer any and all questions that arose. National Geographic/Lindblad does a great job of bringing the most knowledgeable people on board who are familiar with the areas they visit - to help those of us who want to learn all that we can while we are traveling to these special destinations. The ship is relatively small, but small seems perfect for this destination. The rooms are small, but most people don't spend much time in their room, so it doesn't matter very much. Air conditioning seems to be an issue for many people. The A/C seems to be either on or off - no temperature control. The rooms on the 100 and on the 200 deck have windows that open, which is very helpful. There are three exercise machines on the open deck that get well-used. There is also an excellent wellness specialist on board who offers stretching classes each morning on the open deck. The food is good. The dining room is big enough to seat everyone in one seating. The staff is knowledgeable and welcoming and helpful and enthusiastic. There are many activities to participate in. There is hiking, cruising in the DIB boats, kayaking, paddle-boarding. There are many lectures and slide shows given by the naturalists to educate those who are interested in what is seen. There are always photography professionals on board to help guests learn about their cameras or to learn how to take even better pictures. In summary, this is a wonderful trip to take. What you might see is not guaranteed, but it is certain (in my opinion) that you will have an adventure you will not soon forget. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Whales! Not only did we see blue whales, gray whales and humpback whales, we were also close enough to hear them, and feel the spray of the "blow." The arcs of dolphins, rolls of sea lions, flights of pelicans, and spirals of ... Read More
Whales! Not only did we see blue whales, gray whales and humpback whales, we were also close enough to hear them, and feel the spray of the "blow." The arcs of dolphins, rolls of sea lions, flights of pelicans, and spirals of frigate birds were also impressive. The strolls through the desert were also compelling and a stark change from life on the water. The staff were experienced, enthusiastic and informative. They really made the expedition a success! They were all amazing and all added a special touch to the experience. The onboard expedition recaps, talks and photo lessons really enhanced the experience. The cabins were more comfortable than you might expect on an "expedition" though they are admittedly small and no frills. Who'd want to spend much time in their cabin with whales, seabirds, amazing scenery, and observations with fellow explorers to enjoy on the decks? I'd highly recommend this expedition! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We've been on 3 Nat Geo/Lindblad (NGL) trips and this was by far the most disappointing. This was recommended to us from many who were on the Epic Galapagos trip as a "must". So we were looking forward to this. ... Read More
We've been on 3 Nat Geo/Lindblad (NGL) trips and this was by far the most disappointing. This was recommended to us from many who were on the Epic Galapagos trip as a "must". So we were looking forward to this. Disappointment starts with the title of the trip. Among the Great Whales really should have been "Among the Gray Whales. The title implied that we would see many types of whales when in fact we saw two. No complaints about the ship and the food was okay. Entertainment/Activities were ok but nothing special. Service by the cleaning staff was horrible. Our room was cleaned only twice - at the beginning at the last date and only partially. Also, the evening/morning of the rough seas and some of us couldn't get out of our cabins for breakfast, when the seas calmed there was no food made available without many customers asking. You would've thought that this would've been planned for. The itinerary seemed pretty weak and overall satisfaction by NGL travelers who have done other trips thought similarly. Those travelers that were new to NGL cruises thought it was great. Which works in favor for NGL as they may try other trips. We would not do this trip again nor would we recommend it to anyone. I guess when you've been on some of the other NGL expeditions this just can't even come close!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
Chosen for great opportunities to see and interact with whales, Lindblad / National Geographic Naturalists to explain what we saw and National Geographic Photographic consultants to learn more about my hobby. The whale watching was ... Read More
Chosen for great opportunities to see and interact with whales, Lindblad / National Geographic Naturalists to explain what we saw and National Geographic Photographic consultants to learn more about my hobby. The whale watching was unmatched (even compared to two cruises in Alaska). We saw humpbacks, orcas and gray whales close up with new calves. The interactions between the mothers and calves was particularly interesting. Near Cabo San Lucas a humpback mother breached, then breached with the calf and the calf proceeded to breach 20 times.. Many of the gray whales (mothers and calves) came up to the DIBS (zodiac type boats) and obviously wanted contact with people. Those that did not want the contact stayed put or swam away. We were able to see the calves playing around the mother 5 or 10 feet from the boat. The ship was small (56 passengers) and well suited to the itinerary. We could get into small secluded beaches (Puerto Gato and Bahia Bonanza) that were secluded, beautiful and well suited to the activities. Whether whale watching (with the naturalists' help and explanations), having a nature presentation or lunch on the desk the ship was very comfortable and never felt crowded. The naturalists were the best I have come in contact with. They were very knowledgeable, communicated their information well, were genuinely enthusiastic about what we were seeing and anxious to share the experience. They were very concerned that we had a good experience while being very respectful of nature. There were many options for activities when we were in port, kayaking, paddle boarding, nature walks, snorkeling, photography sessions and beach combing. These were the "shore excursions" I enjoyed the most. The typical shore excursions were only in San Jose del Cabo. You could do a birdwalk in an estruary area, vistit the town and glass bloweres or do both. The food was excellent and the stewards were great about my wife's food allergies, There were no problems and the stewards seemed to enjoy helping. The cabins comfortable, clean and functional, but not luxurious. but the whales and nature in general were the things that made it an unmatched experience. This is one cruise I would consider doing again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
I have been a raving fan of National Geographic for over 60 years! Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic combine adventure, hiking, snorkeling, learning about the planet in an unbelievable experience to be remembered forever. I love ... Read More
I have been a raving fan of National Geographic for over 60 years! Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic combine adventure, hiking, snorkeling, learning about the planet in an unbelievable experience to be remembered forever. I love the crew and the variety of experiences that comes all packaged in a remarkably well-organized expedition. I plan on being on one of their expedition per year. Future excursions will be to Costa Rica, Panama Canal, The Faulklands, Antartica, and Europe. This year we took our 9 year grandson. He came back with a deeper appreciation for the earth and was changed forever. My husband and I always come back more relaxed and enlightened to do better and to be better. Thank you, National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions for sharing your work with us. Everyone I see hears me talk about my many excursions with Nat Geo. From Alaska, Galapagos and now from Baja California. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
This was a family affair. Thirteen of us ventured to Baja and the Sea of Cortez in March. Linblad did its typical excellent job of showing us the sights and helping us to appreciate the diversity of wildlife in the area. The highlight for ... Read More
This was a family affair. Thirteen of us ventured to Baja and the Sea of Cortez in March. Linblad did its typical excellent job of showing us the sights and helping us to appreciate the diversity of wildlife in the area. The highlight for my wife and me was going out on Zodiac boats to see the whales. My niece was very good at splashing the water and attracting the young "baby" whales to the boat. We all got a chance to pet the head of the inquisitive whales. The naturalists were excellent, knowledgeable and engaging. The onboard Naturalist/Photo Instructor Rab was outstanding. He offered great tips and came along on the excursions and made suggestions to we passengers. Rab allowed passengers to submit their favorite 5 photos to share with other passengers. Be sure to bring along something like a 16+ GB USB flash drive to get a copy of those pictures. My only substantial complaint is with the shorties provided to passengers for snorkeling. Using shorties seems to be a standard with Linblad Expeditions. The Sea of Cortez is cold. You need more than a shortie to be comfortable and stay in the water for a prolonged period of time. Several in my group brought along a full wetsuit, a hood, booties, and gloves for increased comfort while snorkeling. In between snorkel trips (3 as I recall), the ship provided hangers on deck to let the wetsuits drip dry. I also brought along my own flippers and mask; the ship did provide those for guests to use, along with flotation vests. Be sure to bring along a mesh bag if you bring your own. At Puerto Gato, we had the chance to do stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. My wife and I had outside Cabin 219 on the main deck. It was in a very good location from one perspective: just step outside for instant whale watching. The not so good is that the cabin was below an open deck (the Sun deck). Someone--a crew member I think--was jumping rope on the Sun deck above the room early one morning. I went up and mentioned that it was noisy in the room below, and the person stopped the activity (and never repeated it). There were plenty of hooks, hangers, and cubbyholes in the cabin for storage. I brought along some magnetic hooks to put on the walls, but discovered the cabin walls were not made of metal. The only place to get the hooks to stay was on the cabin ceiling. Be forewarned that the combined bathroom/shower is small and cozy. There was a larger bathroom on the Sun deck. The bed was comfortable. My group, and I think most passengers, flew to Los Angeles airport and caught an AeroMexico charter flight to La Paz, Mexico. Transfers from and to the airports in Mexico were handled flawlessly by the staff. Be aware that you will have a long bus trip (3 hours or so) when you transfer to San Carlos. Expect to get to the ship after 8:30 pm local time. The bus trip for the La Paz airport is only about 45 minutes. Expect great treatment from the staff. We were greeted with champagne upon arrival at the ship (M/V National Geographic Sea Bird). We got complimentary wine at the special Mexican Fiesta Dinner. At Puerto Gato, we had dinner on the beach with complimentary margaritas and wine. Drinks on the ship were reasonably priced. You could get a bottle of wine at dinner; there was a good selection, and again the prices were reasonable. The food was tasty. One night we had music on board from a local, 2-person band. We did visit one town during the expedition. We got to spend several hours in downtown San Jose del Cabo. We had a guided tour, followed by free time. I did find Wi Fi at one of the restaurants. Typical of Linblad Expedition trips, we went on several nature walks. The Naturalists were a fountain of knowledge, and historical knowledge, because many have been coming to the Baja area for many years. The lectures on the ship were informative and entertaining. We got to see several species of whales, from the ship and close up on the Zodiac boats. Overall, it was a very good trip. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We travel as a group of 3 couples. This was our 2nd Un-Cruise. Two more couples decided to join us after hearing about our first experience with Un-Cruise. Several people have asked us to compare our first Un-Cruise, which was in Alaska, ... Read More
We travel as a group of 3 couples. This was our 2nd Un-Cruise. Two more couples decided to join us after hearing about our first experience with Un-Cruise. Several people have asked us to compare our first Un-Cruise, which was in Alaska, but the trips were so different, I can't compare the trip. The overall experience lived up to the first cruise. This cruise was actually in Sea of Cortez, there was no option for that on this forum. We stayed in Cabo San Lucas before the cruise and Un-Cruise bused us to La Paz, about 3 hours north. I would highly suggest The Bugalows in Cabo for pre and post. The host hotel Barcelo was awful! The cruise consists of morning and afternoon activities. Usual choices are hiking, snorkeling, kayaking or skiff riding. The highlights were riding donkeys in the desert, snorkeling with sea lions and whale sharks! The day we snorkeled with sea lions, the water was really rough. The ship pulls up to a rock in the ocean that hundreds of sea lions seem to hang out on. The juveniles are the ones that like to come check out the humans. They are like puppies. They are curious and have no intention of hurting you. These juveniles are about 4-6' long and couple hundred lbs! The day, the last day of the cruise, we were supposed to swim with whale sharks, the water was so rough, the port wouldn't allow any boats to go out. This was back in La Paz. Luckily for us, we weren't flying out until 2 days later. So after we disembarked the next morning, we booked a private tour to swim with the whale sharks. It was just our 10 o a very small boat. We road out about 30 minutes and finally spotted one. I was terrified. I knew I had to do it though. It was AMAZING! The whale shark couldn't care less about you. You swim directly over them. An absolute must do. The staff on these boats are amazing. The expedition guides know their stuff. Most of them have some sort of degree in marine biology, forestry, etc but even if they don't, they obviously spend a lot of time learning. The waitstaff who double as room stewards are mostly young people looking for some adventure. The food is amazing. On this ship, every meal is served in the one dining room. On the Alaska cruise, breakfast and lunch were buffet. But remember, the buffet is only for 60-80 passengers, not 5000. As the name suggests, this is nothing like a regular cruise. No assigned seating. No dress code. Very informal. Breakfast had a special or you could have eggs, toast, the usual. Lunch had a meat and a vegetarian option. Dinner was a meat, fish or vegetarian option. I am a very picky eater. On a couple of occasions, none of the choices appealed to me. The chef happily made me a salad or changed up one of the dishes for me. On this cruise, the drinks were included. The bar/lounge area was one floor up from the dining room. Cookies every day at 3pm. Happy hour with delicious hors devours, I liked these better than some meals, was at 5:30. The rooms are small. But very little time is spent in the room. We had one of the ones that opened to the outside deck with a walkway. I would have preferred one on the deck below so I could have left my blinds open to watch wildlife. But if we kept blinds open, everyone walking by could see in. The bathroom is tight but workable. They do provide shampoo and body soap and hair dryers. Part of the great experience of these ships are meeting fellow passengers. In our group, we range from age 35-53. We are all DINKS, double income no kids, who's main priority in life is to enjoy it while we are young and see as much as we can in this world. The majority of other passengers are in the 50-70 age range. We had one 10 year old and a couple in early 20s, and Larry, who was 87! I think on this cruise, everyone was from the US. The Alaska cruise had a lot of people from Australia and New Zealand. If you put down a deposit for your next cruise while on the current one, you receive a decent discount. Which we have now done twice. I think up next for us is Pacific Northwest. Every cruise, you get a bigger discount also. We are working our way up to Galapagos! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We just returned from the UnCruise to the Sea of Cortez. It was just amazing. The natural beauty was awesome, from mountains and cliffs and turquoise water, to the plants, animals, and sea life we saw on the cruise. The ship was clean ... Read More
We just returned from the UnCruise to the Sea of Cortez. It was just amazing. The natural beauty was awesome, from mountains and cliffs and turquoise water, to the plants, animals, and sea life we saw on the cruise. The ship was clean and comfortable, with nice touches like afghans in the lounge for colder nights. Good, healthy food, in reasonable quantities. Great and creative bartender. Hiking, snorkeling, skiff boat rides, beach parties. Yoga at dawn, massages at your convenience.The staff was just amazing, knowledgeable and helpful at every turn, got to know us personally. Activities were offered for high, medium, and low intensity and safety was top priority. UnCruise brings all the equipment (snorkels, wet suits etc) so you don't have to. We had a 90-year old and a 9-year old in our group and they, along with everyone else, had a good time.Highly recommend this cruise and hope to go again. This is a nature cruise, so don't go if you are looking for night-life entertainment. We were up by 7 am, in bed by 9 pm. Highlights include visiting the sea lions on their island rock, great snorkeling, mule trip with the vacqueros of Baja, dolphins cavorting next to our little skiff, swimming with the enormous whale sharks, and several pleasant afternoons with drinks and snacks on beautiful beaches. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2013
The Editor's review of this ship is spot-on, so I won't repeat what she has written. I would like to add some thoughts based on our trip "Among the Great Whales" in February of 2013. We had a wonderful experience. The ... Read More
The Editor's review of this ship is spot-on, so I won't repeat what she has written. I would like to add some thoughts based on our trip "Among the Great Whales" in February of 2013. We had a wonderful experience. The up close interaction with the gray whales was extraordinary - and not an isolated event. Every person on the ship had a chance to pet - yes, pet - a baby whale while we were out in the Zodiacs. We saw dozens of humpbacks breaching within 50 yards of the ship and spied an enormous blue whale off the bow. Lots of sea and shore birds made for nice photo ops. Be prepared: the cabins are tiny. If I stood with my arms outstretched, I could touch both side walls at the same time. I'm 6'4" and bumped my head a dozen times a day. Not much storage space with two people in the cabin, and ya gotta love the toilet inside the shower stall! The food was simple, but fresh and tasty. There were always plain beef, chicken or fish choices if you did not like the evening's special meal. Wine and booze prices were very reasonable.One note about cabin selection: there are sliding doors amidships and the cabins right next to them (like 208 and 210) have to put up with loud clangs and bangs at all hours. We suggest that you take the trip that starts in LaPaz so that you end the cruise with that wonderful whale experience. If that had been our first day, the rest of the week would have been a letdown. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2011
The fabled Sea of Cortes along Mexico's Baja Peninsula has been heralded by Jacques Cousteau as "The Aquarium of the World" and by naturalists as "America's Galapagos." Fewer cruise lines than ever are making ... Read More
The fabled Sea of Cortes along Mexico's Baja Peninsula has been heralded by Jacques Cousteau as "The Aquarium of the World" and by naturalists as "America's Galapagos." Fewer cruise lines than ever are making extended voyages into this pristine marine wilderness, but American Safari Cruises is a notable exception. Their 22-passenger luxury yacht, Safari Quest, explores the pristine waters of this World Heritage biosphere reserve from late November through late March, and it is a remote journey worth making.Hoping to escape an unusually chilly winter, we recently boarded the Safari Quest in La Paz for an eight-day round-trip cruise on sunny Mexico's Sea of Cortes, lured by the possibility of snorkeling with sea lions and sailing alongside the largest living beings on Earth, the blue whales.The Safari Quest's 11 staterooms are those of a yacht rather than a cruise liner, far smaller but splendidly outfitted with private bathrooms, memory foam mattresses, flat-screen TV/DVDs, and, in the case of the four Captain Staterooms, sliding glass balcony doors. Three passenger decks house a dining room, salon and a fully stocked, complimentary, round-the clock bar, one of many features that set American Safari Cruises apart.On the Safari Quest cabin doors do not lock, there's no dress code whatsoever, the pilothouse is open to passengers all day and sailing is usually restricted to daylight hours, affording maximum exposure to sea life and scenery. Unlike larger cruise ships, the Safari Quest does not call on busy ports, but sticks to the waters of the National Marine Park, dropping anchor in protected island bays and deserted shoreline coves. Two exceptions are a mule ride at Bahia Aqua Verde in the company of a local ranchero (cowboy) family and a stop at Isla Coyote, an islet just 200 yards across, where members of the Cuevas family maintain their own fishing village, complete with a tiny chapel and one-room schoolhouse.American Safari Cruise's emphasis is on marine adventure—plenty of kayaks, wakeboards, snorkeling gear and wet suits on deck—and on impeccable service. We rapidly found ourselves on a first-name basis with our nine crew members and nine fellow passengers, who ranged from Lauren, an Iowan teenager enjoying a far-flung winter break with her mother, to Steve and Carol, an English couple in their seventies, drawn from Hull to tally Baja's bird population.Most days began with a skiff ride to the sandy beaches of an uninhabited island, near where we were anchored. These excursions gave us our pick of options: beach-combing, kayaking, snorkeling, or hiking with our trip leader into the cardon cactus groves and sandstone cliffs.Bird life proved particularly fecund. Steve catalogued some fifty species, including several he had never spotted anywhere else in the world. We also spent a full day in search of Baja's great leviathans, and we were rewarded with sustained encounters with several gray whales, like us wintering in the Sea of Cortes.The highlight was a swim with a sea lion colony, the boisterous residents of Los Islotes, a phantasmagoric outcropping of castle-like rocks shooting straight up out of the sea. Outfitted in wet suits, we plunged over the side of the skiff and joined a circus of young sea lions who frolicked with us shoulder to shoulder, nibbling at our snorkel gear and turning cartwheels--a close encounter of a kind none of us would forget. Then there were the meals: Belgian waffles, strawberry parfaits, taco soup, passion-fruit popsicles (paletas), prime rib, a medley of fresh local seafood and the uncorking of two fine new wines each evening. Dining with our fellow passengers became as eagerly anticipated as the day's wildlife encounters and water sports. Our Safari Quest cruise made us feel that we had welcomed a dozen new amiable friends onto our private yacht, entered the world's most remote waters and sailed together far beyond the tug of TV waves and Internet towers.American Safari Cruises offers similar high-end, soft adventure water safaris in the Hawaiian Islands, on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, and in Alaska, where one can kayak to the feet of glaciers. Group charters are also available--and endorsed by stars Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson, who recently made their own safari through the Sea of Cortes. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
120' MotorYacht Safari Quest chartered for 8 day, 7 night extended family [meaning most of us did not know each other] cruise in Sea of Cortes, Baja California Sur, Mexico, January, 2009. Boarded at LaPaz. Disembarked at Puerto ... Read More
120' MotorYacht Safari Quest chartered for 8 day, 7 night extended family [meaning most of us did not know each other] cruise in Sea of Cortes, Baja California Sur, Mexico, January, 2009. Boarded at LaPaz. Disembarked at Puerto Escondido [near Loreto]. The yacht is a well-maintained twin-screw island of paradise. Room accommodations are well-equipped, clean and welcoming. Not particularly luxurious as some might expect on a large ship, but you don't spend time in your staterooms on this boat. Kayaks, 2 skiffs, wetsuits, snorkeling gear, water skis all provided for guests' enjoyment. Yacht is large enough for everyone to find some personal space on the upper deck equipped with lounge chairs, exercise equipment and hot tub; the bridge deck with a library and, outside, chairs looking over the stern; or the first deck with plenty of space on the bow for whale, dolphin and sea lion scouting, or at the stern with a welcoming large table and chairs. Also on the first deck is a luxurious salon with plenty of comfortable chairs, the open and very well stocked bar, and the dining room and galley. Destinations, such as Isla San Jose, Los Islotes, Isla San Francisco, Agua Verde, all offer multiple opportunities for exploration kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, swimming, exploring, and, at Agua Verde, burro excursion. The itinerary is flexible. See whales off the stern? The good captain of the yacht will turn the yacht around and idle the yacht to give everyone the opportunity to see them up close and take photos. Rough winds? Well, the yacht will just anchor in a protected cove, and the passengers will enjoy a bonfire, cocktails and hot appetizers on the beach, before returning via one of two skiffs to the yacht for dinner. Want to take a swim? Ask the captain to hook up the rope swing from the yacht's crane off the stern. If you grab it from the top deck, you are braver than me. Meals are all prepared by Executive Chef and Pastry Chef. The food is is comparable in quality, preparation and service as you would experience in a fine restaurant. Although my experience was a private party charter, I didn't know most of the people before boarding. I would not be hesitant about reserving a stateroom for my wife and me to travel with strangers on this yacht in the future. The yacht is the right size to enjoy everyone's company, but nevertheless provides personal space when that is necessary. Go on the Safari Quest and you no doubt will have a magnificent time and make new friends in your fellow passengers. By far, however, the best friends you will make will be the individual members of the crew. My personal experience was that they all were just a great bunch of responsible, [yet fun-loving, joining in the activities of the guests], individuals working seamlessly together for the ultimate enjoyment of the experience of all guests. On our charter, we had 16 passengers and 9 crew: Captain, First Mate, Engineer, Hotel Manager, Executive Chef, Pasty Chef, Naturalist who led us on shore excursions, and 2 stewards. All shared in the responsibilities of the operation of the yacht and all were just great. Now, I will note that the advertised maximum passengers for Safari Quest is 21. Unless it was all a very close-knit group of family or friends for a private charter, I've got to say I think 21 passengers might be pushing it a bit. Just my opinion. Is it pricey? Yes, no doubt about it. But if you can afford and want this type of experience, you will not be disappointed. [Don't bother if you want gambling, discos, Vegas shows, etc. that is not what this trip and this cruise line are about!] For 8 short video slideshows of our trip, go to YouTube.Com, and search either for "WJRESQ" or "SARFARI QUEST". I trust this is helpful. Read Less

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