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