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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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This is our second cruise with Un-Cruise. The last one, on Safari Quest, was five stars in every category. This was not a repeat adventure. Yes, the marine life was spectacular. Snorkeling with baby sea lions, getting right next to a blue ... Read More
This is our second cruise with Un-Cruise. The last one, on Safari Quest, was five stars in every category. This was not a repeat adventure. Yes, the marine life was spectacular. Snorkeling with baby sea lions, getting right next to a blue whale, touching and observing for hours the grey whales and babies was amazing and special. We encountered two super pods (over 2,000) dolphins that stayed with the boat until sunset. That is a once in a lifetime experience. We got to enjoy all the wonders of the wildlife in the Sea of Cortez. The whales, sea lions, dolphins, birds all cooperated and showed us their individual beauty and wonder. That’s why we went. We just hoped the entire week would have been as nice as previous cruises with Un-Cruise. I hate to keep comparing with the Safari Quest, but that’s my reference point. The crew seemed to be hard working but we did not feel they were over friendly. We thought the crew were nice people. What they do is not easy. It takes a special personality. We recognize that . Maybe they had been without a vacation for some time. Overall, they seemed tired. When passing in the hall they often did not say “hi” or even look up and make eye contact. They are knowledgeable in their field, but their presentations could use a little more showmanship. There are two crew members we would like to recognize. Mark, the guide, and John in engineering went out of their way to help us during the cruise. John came to our rescue a few times. He was a very nice, pleasant young man. When he overheard we needed a bag of ice he went out of his way and brought the ice pack to our room. It was not his job, he just did it. Thank you, John! And on the last morning, Mark made sure our luggage got put on last (first off) so we could make our quick connection at the airport. We appreciate his extra efforts. The boat was clean and comfortable. The captain kept us safe and out of any bad weather (waves, wind) as best he could. The boat is large enough that the crossings felt calm and stable. The first night they did a safety drill. The boat is US Coast Guard certified. The Captain did a very good talk explaining the noises you might hear on the boat. It was very reassuring to those that hadn’t sailed before. I thought it was a good idea to let you know that the sounds of the anchor going down, the bow thruster, or a hydraulic lift was normal. He talked about their water treatment system and introduced the chief medical officer, guides and head stew staff. The sign up for the messages were that night. They filled up fast. During the week the crew preformed safety drills. We felt safe in the capabilities and commitment to safety. They made sure we were going to get on the skiff safely. Our room, we thought, was a perfect location. Stateroom #308. We had a door that led to the outside. We could get fresh air if needed. It is far enough back that the solid railing around the front of the boat stops before your room, so you can see the water when laying on the bed. We couldn’t hear our neighbors or people walking above us, it was very quiet. The back closet was large (boat standards), with six deep drawers. The bed is high enough to use the space underneath for storage. The desk and chair we used for additional storage of books, binoculars, water bottles, and toiletries that didn’t fit in the bathroom. We liked the bed lights and the overhead lights got brighter the longer you kept it on. The bed was comfy, on the soft side. Two large pillows were provided. There were extra blankets and a throw. The Aft 300 deck is where the excursions meet, so it was convenient for that, but far enough forward you do not get the noise. The shower is small but not that bad. The location of the soaps was hard to understand. It was right under the shower flow, so the soap would be washed away before getting to your head or body. Our shower needed a new curtain. But it was very clean with plenty of hot water! The windows were large at the foot of each bed. The draperies closed for good privacy and darkening effect. It would have been nice to have a sheer to pull so you could get light and privacy. Even though the rooms were well marked the couple next door accidently walked into our room, twice while we were in the room. I don’t know what their problem was, but, most people walking by never caused any kind of problem or noise. On the TV were three different channels. The bow camera, the menu for the day, and a slideshow of the crew. I thought it was very nice to have individual photos of the crew we have contact with, their names, and position on the screen. There also is a speaker in your room. Daily announcements, special sightings, tour excursion departures, and meal call were announced. You could also listen to the nightly 20 minute talks. The thing we liked the least, was the wet landings from the skiff to the shore. We understood that going in. But wasn’t there a way to land the skiff higher on the sand so we could jump off the front with our hiking/walking shoes? The waves were small and not pounding on the beach. Just pull the skiff two feet onto the sand. It wasn’t that we minded getting our feet wet, it was the chance of getting sand in your hiking shoes/boots and walking for hours with it rubbing against your skin. The boat excursion choices were the same just about every day. Beachcombing. The sand was very coarse. You could paddleboard and kayak in a restricted area. They had snorkeling from the beach or from the skiff a few times. Underwater there was not a lot of coral, but the fish were colorful. Wetsuits, mask, fins, snorkels are provided and in good shape. But, the water is very cold (65°F). They offered desert walks and hard exploratory hikes. There was nothing for the intermediate hiker and you could not venture out on your own. They did have small boat tours. If you were lucky a seal lion or dolphin would swim close to your boat. Birders enjoyed the unique species they saw. The guides did their best to make it interesting. Jeremy gave us a very informative and interesting boat tour. He pointed out all sorts of birds flying, nesting, floating, feeding and swimming. There was an osprey on a nest and one perched in a cactus. We saw up close pelicans, herons, osprey, frigates, and oyster eaters. I also had a wonderful desert hike with Kati as a guide. We gained elevation to beautiful vistas. She made it interesting and fun. And I felt like we really exercised and learned some things about the area. My only suggestion is to have a SEPARATE hike for the birders. Why should the entire group have to constantly wait for the birders that are lagging behind, watching the same bird? Kati had the patience of a saint. The rest of the group thought it was rude. The trip to Magdelena Bay was exceptional. The vans were clean and comfortable. The drive was scenic. We wound up through the mountains, and down the other side. The group was split up into 6 to 8 per boat. The grey whales and their babies were everywhere! At one point we had two families swimming right next to us. The curious babies would stick their heads out of the water to look right into your eyes. You could touch them, splash water on them. They in turn would blow whale snot on you, if you were lucky! It was AMAZING!! We were out on the bay for 2 hours. 90% of that time we were right next to a momma grey whale and baby or one within sight. We even saw them breaching! Leaving was hard to do. It is such a special area!! Lunch was at a local restaurant five minutes from the port. Lobster, fried fish, shrimp was served with potato salad. There was good chips and dips on the table. The service was fast and efficient. One man at our table was not a fan of seafood. The quickly served him a grilled chicken breast. Lindsay was our guide for the sea lion snorkel. She was very good and a great “diver”. She made sure we were safe in the water and no bull sea lions came near us. She kept the group together and made it exciting. Maiwenn was the captain of the skiff and did a good job of watching out for us and assisted the snorkelers in climbing the ladder and getting back safely on the boat. They had one of the easiest ladders to climb, in our experience, from a Zodiac. We even saw blue footed boobies flying overhead. The food selection was Tex-Mex almost every meal, including breakfast. We were not a fan. Breakfast example was Rancho Huevos or Bacon and Jalapeno Omelet; Chiryo and sweet potato hash with eggs or spinach and feta omelet. There was a lot of feta with meals. You could always order plain scrambled eggs. One morning there was a big hit – pancakes. On three lunches there was not a second choice. At sit down breakfast you order for the day. If you go to early-riser breakfast for fruit, breakfast bread, cereal, and sometimes yogurt because spicy Mexican food isn’t your thing to start the day, it was hard to order. There was always enough food and presented beautifully. During dinner the difference from the first table served to the last was usually 30 minutes. So when the first tables were getting dessert, the last just got served their plates. There was plenty of wine offered at dinner and the crew was attentive to other drink orders. One lunch example was a chicken pita with no other choice. Chicken tacos with very little chicken, open face – more like a burrito, no cheese, no sauce, plain rice, re-fried beans with chips and dip on the table. Dessert was a dry white cake that was supposed to be tres leches cake. Another lunch was beef teriyaki or veg stir fry. Basically the same thing. Dessert was Bailey’s ice cream pound cake with white chocolate sauce. Again the cake was dry, tasty, but dry. One day because of the activity schedule they had a brunch. This included a very nice selection of eggs benedict, bacon, sausage, pasta, chicken, cinnamon rolls, garlic knot bread, salad with mango vinaigrette, guacamole, salsa and chips, fresh fruit. The problem was the buffet line went very slow. I felt sorry for those after us, having to stand for over 30 minutes to get their food. We were finished eating before some had gotten their food. Maybe they could have had two lines or have someone helping serve the food. It might have gone quicker. Dinner had a dry fish choice – red snapper, with chicken; yellow tail or duck; marlin or ranchero steak; grouper or pork tenderloin; sea scallops (poached) or lamb. We were surprised that there wasn’t a soup and salad at dinner. Black bean soup was one night. Gazpacho another. One dinner we didn’t like either entrée and the Chef made us very large and delicious chef salad with a balsamic avocado herb dressing. The first evening there was prime rib or a macadamia nut encrusted fish and a wonderful chocolate decadent dessert. And the last evening there was beef tenderloin or lobster tail. Some had both! Those were both very good. But to say we had less than 5 good meals, isn’t my idea of an Un-Cruise experience. We did have one amazing dessert. It was a Kalua Carmel Custard with fresh blackberries, blueberries and strawberry. The blueberries were dusted with gold powder. I told them they should have named it something exotic, it was outstanding. I should have taken a photo! It was a work of art. In conclusion the marine life and Sea of Cortez experience was one we will remember for a long time. It really is, as Jacques Cousteau described, “the world’s aquarium”. This had nothing to do with Un-Cruise but our Un-stay at the Barcelo started our trip out on a wrong note. We tried to check in on the Friday before our cruise. Un-Cruise has a hospitality room there on Saturday and we thought it would make it convenient. The Barcelo would not honor our reservation we had since May 25th 2016. They said because it was for only one night (cruising on Saturday) they needed the room for people that were staying four days. They accepted our reservation online. They confirmed our reservation. But the kicker is THEY CHARGED MY CREDIT CARD for the night. They graciously drove us to the Holiday Inn. I did not come to Mexico to stay at the Holiday Inn. Holiday Inn does not charge the same rate as a night at the Barcelo. Funny thing is, we met a couple (on our cruise) that the same thing happened to them. They were told that their room had plumbing problems. Another couple at the Holiday Inn said a similar thing happened to them. Barcelo called them three days before they were supposed to arrive. Said they needed their room for a conference. At least, they stayed at the Dreams hotel. The Holiday Inn staff was very nice, and the place was clean. It did not have the same facilities as the Barcelo and was a little run down. We should not have been treated like that! Un-Cruise guests, be warned. 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
Sail Date: February 2012
This was our third trip to Baja on Safari Quest. It has become our favorite cruise vessel. Large enough to find solitude, small enough to culture new relationships. The accommodations are first rate from the memory foam beds to the heated ... Read More
This was our third trip to Baja on Safari Quest. It has become our favorite cruise vessel. Large enough to find solitude, small enough to culture new relationships. The accommodations are first rate from the memory foam beds to the heated bath room floors. The A level room have a sliding door to enjoy the cool night on the Sea of Cortez. This is an all inclusive trip. Food prepared by an outstanding Chef with fresh bread and pastries made daily. Wine with all meal and drinks to relax after a long day of excursions which may include hiking, mule rides, kayaking, chasing whales and dolphin in zodiacs,swimming with sea lions or just sitting still in a pod of whales while they bubble net, tail slap, breach, spy hop and simply circle you for an hour. Adventure is always at hand. The naturalist are well educated and are willing to try anything the group wants. They and the rest of the crew may pitch in to assure you have the ultimate adventures. The captains are well acquainted with the waters and find the most that is out there and then reroute the cruise to give you time with nature. There are few if any real ports of call, just one provisioning stop. Nights are spent in quiet anchorages and afford great star gazing. Offered from December to March ensures temperate weather and usually a dry trip. You meet the most interesting fellow travelers with a wide variety of backgrounds. you get to share the bridge with the Captain and gain a whole new perspective on what it take to create the perfect cruise. As far as value, we have always looked at out expeditions as a bargain for what we got and the way we were treated. 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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