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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
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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
The drop down boxes on the review input form do not have an option for the Sea of Cortez or San Jose Del Cabo so I used what I had to file the review. The ship departed from and returned to San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California Sur, and ... Read More
The drop down boxes on the review input form do not have an option for the Sea of Cortez or San Jose Del Cabo so I used what I had to file the review. The ship departed from and returned to San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California Sur, and cruised the Sea of Cortez. We choose this cruise because it was focused on birding in the Sea of Cortez. The expedition leader kept that focus throughout the trip. A birding guide from the area was on board and stayed available on-board as well as during the excursions. Those passengers less interested in birding had most of the whale watching, snorkeling, hiking and zodiac cruises still available. There were 72 passengers on this 84 passenger boat. We met at the Barcelo Grand Faro for the transfer to the ship. Un-Cruise provided us with wristbands that gave us access to the amentities of the all-inclusive Barcelo prior to the transfer. We were on-board and away on time. The captain greeted us all and a photo book of guests and staff was prepared from our arrival photos. The book stayed in the lounge to help when names escaped the memory. The cabin was a bit small but we expected that. Most of our time was on the observation decks or in the lounge. We had asked for the twin beds to be pushed together as a king and found that left one of us up against the wall. We decided to keep the arrangement and it caused little problems for us during the trip. The food was very well prepared and menus varied. Service was friendly and professional. Meals were at a set time but seating was open. There was a very good early risers breakfast for those up early. The bar was well stocked with premium brands and the bartenders well trained. Drinks were quick to arrive and well prepared. The espresso machine was a big hit. Guest to staff on this boat was 72/36. This was the last cruise of the season in the Sea of Cortez and everyone was doing the additional work of getting ready to steam to Annacortes, Wa. for dry dock in addition to their normal duties but the work was always done properly and you always got a smile from the staff. The captain and other ranking officers were often out and made a point to visit with guests. There was a medical emergency mid-week that ultimately required that we change itinerary and get to a close spot for medical attention. Guests were kept informed of decisions made without intruding on the individuals privacy and the person was taken to a local hospital for treatment. I thought it was well handled by the crew. There was a presentation most nights about the cultural and natural aspects of the areas we visited but no nightlife other than that. They really do brake for whales. Spotters on the bridge kept expedition staff informed about any sightings and we frequently slowed down and spent some time with whales or dolphins. There are a couple of hot tubs and some exercise equipment but no pool. There are no specific facilities for children. The mountains' islands' and waters of the Sea of Cortez are ruggedly beautiful. Water temp of 70F was bit cool for us but the ship carries wetsuits and snorkeling gear. There was fitting and instruction the first morning then you used the same equipment all week. The Sea of Cortez was not an option in the drop down box so I used the Mexican Riveria to be able to file the review. The cruise departed from San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California Sur and returned there. Fellow passengers were generally middle-aged and up' as we are' and well traveled. It is easy to find an interesting conversation during the cocktail hour. The schedule for the next day and sign up sheets for excursions were handled after dinner. The itinerary was changed one evening because the wind had changed and we had an opportunity to visit a beautiful cove that was usually too choppy. The expedition team and captain kept looking at the conditions to give us the best experience possible.There were usually one or two snorkel outings, one or two zodiac tours. beach activities, and normally one highlight excursion. These included burro rides, swimming with sea lions, swimming with whale sharks, and a cultural walk in Loreto. We used a couple of afternoons specifically cruising to sight whales and dolphins. The expedition team kept things moving without being intrusive about it. It was clear in all their behavior that safety was a top priority and it was constantly reinforced. This was our third expedition style cruise and was very good. The ship, staff, and location combined for a great experience. We were in cabin 203. This is a captain class room with two movable twin beds. We had them set up as a king but meant one side was against the wall. We were OK with it but consider it before setting up your bedding request. There is a small desk and chair, a good sized wardrobe, and a small ensuite. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
We traveled the Sea of Cortes on the Safari Endeavour over the New Year's period. We chose this holiday because we were multi-generational group who all love adventure and active trips. Un-Cruise was recommended to us by our seasoned ... Read More
We traveled the Sea of Cortes on the Safari Endeavour over the New Year's period. We chose this holiday because we were multi-generational group who all love adventure and active trips. Un-Cruise was recommended to us by our seasoned expert travel agent. She knows cruises and she knows us, which is why we are still shaking our heads over the whole experience. To say it was a misfit is an understatement. But i have to say that we were in the slimmest minority of passengers who left unsatisfied. Most of the other passengers were delighted with the program, the staff and the ship. Here are the PROS as we saw them: The Sea of Cortes is truly a breath-taking landscape. It is such a remote and desertic place it is best visited on a ship. There were lots of other families on board so plenty of socializing opportunities for our children. We got to swim with shark whales and sea lions (pretty incredible). Staff is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the region. There is no internet onboard offering us a heavenly tech-free week. We really got to interact with our kids! Loreto, a small traditional Mexican town, we visited was a real 'find', tranquil, beautiful, authentic. They had a wonderful bar-tender onboard (Heather), the only staff member who rivaled our staff experiences on other ships. The CONS, sadly, well outweighed the PROS for our group: FIrst of all, the cabin and ship are very poorly maintained (from a cleanliness perspective). Our cabin, a Commodore Suite (their highest grade) never felt truly cleaned. This is partly because the cabins are maintained by the crew which also waits tables in the dining room. When we arrived in the cabin I mentioned to my mother that our duvet cover (a horrid navy blue thing that belonged in a college dorm) looked slept in. She was incredulous but, on our last day as we were packing up, the cleaning crew asked if they could come in to strip the beds while we ate breakfast. When we got back to our cabin to retrieve our carry-on luggage we saw that the beds were stripped but the duvet covers were indeed left on! DISGUSTING! The coverlet on the hide-a-bed was visibly filthy with brown dirt. Dirty towels were frequently left forgotten on the bathroom floor after the morning cleaning. Our shower curtain was similarly dirty from past use. The floor was vacuumed precisely once during our whole stay (sand and candy wrappers were left as evidence on the floor). Again, no one else onboard seemed put off by this so I think our housekeeping expectations may have something to do with our past cruising experiences on SeaDream, Seabourn, and Paul Gauguin where spotlessness is the norm. The staff is more reminiscent of a summer camp than a cruise ship or a resort: they are gung-ho but not really trained for ship service. They remind me of kids taking a break from college to do a bit of travel. Several of them are precisely that, few if any are career ship staff from what I saw. They are nice enough (although not really service minded at all) but wildly uneven and unsophisticated (they would forget the simplest requests like a glass of water, ice, a wine refill, an extra dollop of mayonnaise). The ship lacks polish in every respect, from the staff to the ghastly common areas to cabins and all the details are way more Best Western than luxury ship (and the prices are definitely in the luxury ship zone). Pillows, sheets, TP, toiletries were all strictly budget motel grade. There was never, until the very end with one or two (Ashley and Jeryd in the dining room stand out) the sense that the staff was concerned with getting to know our likes and dislikes, or what they could do to make our trip better. We hooted with laughter at Jeremy's proud proclamation that Uncruise prided itself on having "a plan from which to deviate" ethos. The only plan this ship deviates from is when weather makes whatever was on the books untenable. Otherwise, and here is where we were really fish out of water, Uncruise has the most rigid guest policy I have ever been held to. They must be scared to death of litigation: we were give ZERO allowance to do as we pleased on shore except when we were in one of the two towns we went to. One is not allowed to deviate in any way from the planned activities. Should you want to walk at a faster pace on the hikes, paddle a bit further in the kayak, go for an impromptu swim, eat at any time other that the hour set for each meal, well, pall, that is plan from which Uncruise will strictly NOT be deviating. The staff are infuriatingly unconcerned with your preferences. It's all about keeping to a schedule and maintaining everyone in a manageable group. It is adventure for the timid, the leery of autonomy, the utterly malleable. The very fact that in this spectacular landscape they have no place or inclination to serve drinks or even a snack in the open air (everything is served in the grim dining room- everyone at once) is a travesty. On a sunny day there is no comfortable place to sunbathe, not an outdoor cushion in sight, no staff to offer you so much as a glass of water. We were there on New Year's Eve. There was no attempt to decorate the ship or serve a festive meal. It was all so ho-hum. These are people who have no sense of occasion (and nor apparently did the guests- hardly any one did so much as change into a nicer shirt for the dinner- so sad!). In fact, this is how they manage the food service - breakfast is at 7:30 sharp (on holiday!) no and ifs or buts, and then at breakfast you are told what the lunch and dinner choices are and you are to give your preferences then for those meals!! Who doesn't love planning what they're going to eat for lunch and dinner at breakfast, on holiday no less! My son and I who are avid hikers and climbers had to stage an escape one day to scale a hill that caught our interest. I hated having to be duplicitous and sneak around the guides but they left us no choice. After that we felt a distinct chill from Jeremy the cruise director. He's a nice enough guy but he clearly likes his guests sheep-like and undeviant. Ah well, Uncruise is not for us. We like our freedom too much (and cleanliness and sophisticated service). But if you like everything planned to the un-th second, and an all-American crew, and super safety conscious adventure dolled out in thirty minute increments (as the majority of our fellow passengers did) - then this is for you. On a last note, the food was fine (not one memorable bite but not dreadful) but we all had upset stomachs the last few days until the day or so after we got back... The coffee is cafeteria bad. The butter is not real butter. The cocktail hour snacks were truly awful. There is no maitr'd to greet you at the entrance to the dining room and help seat the groups so it's a sort of undignified game of musical chairs at every meal. If you go, don't bother packing binoculars (they have plenty, sun lotion (again they provide reed-safe sunscreen), any sort of nice clothing (this is a strictly beige/sage-toned, Tevo sandal crowd). Do bring reading material and DVDs you're likely to have a lot of time on your hands between activities. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
First, some clarification: we were on Safari Voyager, not Endeavour...I believe this is a replacement for the damaged Safari Spirit, no longer in service. And we were on the Sea of Cortez off Baja California, Mexico, not the Mexican ... Read More
First, some clarification: we were on Safari Voyager, not Endeavour...I believe this is a replacement for the damaged Safari Spirit, no longer in service. And we were on the Sea of Cortez off Baja California, Mexico, not the Mexican Riviera. That was not listed as an option, though oddly, Cabo San Lucas as embarkation point was. My wife and I have travelled with Adventure Life about six times in the past decade, and have been more than pleased with each trip. The latest was the Baja Whale Bounty, on the Un-Cruise Line, our first experience with that company, and it was as good as it gets. The trip was a week on their luxury line, Safari Voyager. This was no floating casino like the huge cruises tend to be (hence the "Un-cruise" designation). The vessel was smaller, 65 passenger and about 25 crew. Cabins were clean and comfortable, maintained daily. Food was wonderful--the chef and his staff were amazing. Meals were varied and very tasty, with small enough portions that we were always satisfied but never stuffed. And that meant a dessert course with every lunch and dinner. The pastry chef also made fresh bread, a different kind every day. And for happy hour and after dinner, there was a well-stocked bar with anything one could ask for, and a skilled and charming bartender, all included in the price of the trip. The trip itself was pretty amazing. Whale watching while underway was pretty amazing -- one day we kept having schools of dolphin playing around the boat, while humpbacks kept breaching as if to compete for photo ops. We had an amazing trip to Magdalena Bay on the Pacific side, where grey whales and their calves would come right up to the small boats we were in. The rest of the trip was hiking, snorkeling, kayaking around beautiful islands in the Sea. We even had a once-in-a-lifetime sighting, when a pair of oarfish swam under our kayak and beached themselves. The oarfish is huge...these were each 15 feet long. They're a deep water species, only filmed alive first in 2001. One of our guides, with a marine biology degree, said that her profs told her that she would never see the oarfish, like the coelacanth and the giant squid, alive in her professional life, though one might wash up dead on the beach. They were wrong. The doomed critters were intent on dying, and probably coming up into shallow water from the deep had already doomed them. It was sad, but quite an experience. As wonderful as the trip itself was, it was made even better by the wonderful staff--every member was superb. They were knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, and lots and lots of fun. Any one we dealt with was just delightful, from the guides to the servers to the crew to the chef and his sous chefs, to the two wellness lasses--we each got a massage from one of them, and they alternated dawn and dusk yoga sessions. They all made us feel at home, and I can't thank them enough. As you can tell, we're quite satisfied customers!   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
This 7 day "Un-Cruise" left from Cabo San Lucas on Jan 25, 2014. In short, it was a great cruise with a great crew, packed with lots of activities, amazing whale watching, many nature and photography talks and sunny warm weather. ... Read More
This 7 day "Un-Cruise" left from Cabo San Lucas on Jan 25, 2014. In short, it was a great cruise with a great crew, packed with lots of activities, amazing whale watching, many nature and photography talks and sunny warm weather. Un-Cruise Adventures is a new company that seems dedicated to providing great cruises with a staff of "naturalists" that are wonderful, smart, well educated people. I'll provide lots of details in this review to help the reader get prepared for the cruise. Embarkation - An Un-Cruise agent met passengers at the Cabo Airport and drove us about 25 minutes to the Hilton Hotel in the "hotel zone" between Cabo San Lucas and San Juan del Cabo. There we checked in our bags with an agent in a conference room. The room had couches and chairs and beverages. We had full use of the Hilton's amazing pool and beach front. At 4:45 pm, they loaded the 40 or so passengers onto a nice bus for a 20 minute ride to the port in San Jose del Cabo to board Voyager. A few passengers went straight to the ship from the airport. Once we boarded, we went to our cabins, did the safety drill and then we pushed off. Itinerary - The staff explained that the itinerary in the brochure was tentative and that the actual itinerary depended on weather and other factors. We did manage to do all the major activities listed in the brochure, but the islands we visited changed somewhat, which was really not significant. Activities - we were always on the lookout for marine animals and the ship would detour to watch whales or dolphins or even jumping rays. On 4 of the 6 days we snorkeled; took small boat rides to get close to sea lions or birds or something interesting like a sun-rise photo shoot; hikes both easy ones along the beach, or up the hillside a ways for some great views. There was a Burrow ride one morning, a beach fire one night after dinner, and many nature and photography talks. Whale Watching - this was the #1 thing people were interested in, so we had 2 days devoted to that. On Tuesday we did the cross Baja trip to the bay of Magdalena to watch the grey whales up close and personal. Passengers were divided into about 5 boats and went out for two hours into the bay. The whales came close, but not close enough to touch (so we'll have to go back). The whales would stick their heads out of the water to look at us. The last day of the cruise was spent cruising the southern part of the Sea of Cortez looking for whales and we saw dozens of them. Most of them were a distance away, but we saw many breaches and fluke and tail slapping. It lasted all day until we had no more light. A great day for everybody, even though we didn’t snorkel, hike or kayak. Each cabin was supplied with a large pair of binoculars (7x50), and they were vital for whale watching. We brought an extra pair in our luggage so we both could watch. Cabins - We were in cabin 204, one of the best cabins. It had a double bed, a flat screen TV and a DVD player. Not all cabins had the TV's. Some nights the activities were done by 9pm, so it was nice to watch some DVD's. We brought our own. The ship's DVD and book library was rather slim at this point. The ship as just put in service in December and they are still adding amenities. There were no iPhone docking stations in the room for music as was advertised. The storage in the cabin was adequate and the bathroom had a roomy shower. The mattress and the sheets were very good. The beds are built in and cannot be reconfigured into singles, nor can the rooms with singles be pushed together into a double, so make sure you know your room’s configuration. The A/C units gave nice cold air, but no warm air. We just turned off the A/C unit and the room warmed up. There were plenty if hooks for hanging clothes for drying out, although damp clothes did take a couple days to dry. Food & Beverages - the day started with the early riser breakfast in the bar at 6:30, full breakfast at 7:30, lunch at 12:30, snacks and happy hour at 5:30 and dinner at 6:30. All drinks, mixed drinks, wine, soft drinks were included. Frequently they would leave a bottle of Kahlua next to the self serve coffee. There was a mixed drink special creation everyday. The food ranged from good to very good. Portions were small, so you didn't overeat like most cruises. You could have a second helping if requested. Choices were limited at lunch to the special of the day or a vegetarian variant of the special. At dinner, you had 3 choices, a meat, seafood or veggy entree. Excellent wines were served with all meals. Scenery - The Sea of Cortez has many uninhibited, craggy, islands and is quite beautiful, if somewhat similar to the last island. These islands make for great sunrises and sunsets. We saw very little boat traffic and no other cruise ships during our 7 days. Weather - It hardly ever rains here in the winter. We had one day of clouds and some light rain, which made for our best sunset. The rest of the time the highs were in the 70's, with lows in 50's. As soon as the sun dropped below the mountains it was time for a sweater. The wind was the main weather variable, which dictated if kayaking was offered. Snorkeling - The ship provided everyone with full wetsuits and excellent snorkeling gear. Each room has 2 mesh bags with room numbers on them for hanging wet snorkel gear on the back of deck 2. You also hang your wet suit on room identified hangers, so you don't have to bring them into the rooms. You receive a sport Personal Flotation Device at the beginning of the cruise and you store them in lockers, so you always have the same PFD. The water was a little cold, high 60's I would guess, so the wet suit was necessary. The snorkeling spots were not the best I've ever seen, but we did snorkel with Sea Lions and Rays one day, so that was memorable to say the least. Kayaking - The kayaks were the "sit on top" versions, very easy to operate. All the launches were from shore. We always kayaked in protected coves, so there were no waves to deal with. Hiking - some of the hikes were steep with some good vertical elements. Good hiking shoes were important here. Most of the beach landings were a little wet, so wear your water shoes on the skiff and then change shoes on shore. You can leave your water shoes and PFD's at the beach. There are always crew members to make sure they are safe. They also bring water, sodas and beer to enjoy after your hike, kayak or snorkel. They also bring beach towels and camp stools, a really well run beach program. The beach walks were fun and included some tide-pooling. Make sure you have thicker soled shoes for these walks, lots of rocks and loose sand. Photography - this cruise had a professional photographer on board, Peter West Carey, from Seattle. Peter gave photography talks and took thousands of pictures. Many of his pictures, along with a couple hundred taken by the rest of the crew were shown to us at the end of the cruise. Each cabin received a thumb drive with these pictures on it, a wonderful thing that all the Un-Cruise cruises do. Clothes - Casual clothes is the order of the day. Wear pants that you don't mind getting a little wet. Brings some sweatshirts and a light jacket as it does get cool in evening. I recommend 3 swim suits as they do take a while to dry. There is no laundry service on these small boats. The sun can get pretty intense while sitting on deck looking for whales, so bring some light weight cover ups to prevent burning. The ship provides sun block. They also put two aluminum water bottles in each room for taking on hikes. The Voyager - This 1983 vessel was refitted in 2013 in Columbia. The crew is still fine tuning things. Little things go wrong now & then and the crew makes repairs while underway. We did have one rough night at sea when we were headed north bound from Cabo to La Paz. The ship was comfortable at all other times. There are 4 pieces of cardio equipment on the upper deck for working out. Two stationary bikes and 2 elliptical machines. There are no weights to work out with. Wi-Fi - There is no wi-fi on the ship. On the trip to Magdalena Bay, there was a bathroom break in a hotel in the middle of Baja. They had free wi-fi. The password was posted at the small registration desk. This stop takes about 30 minutes, so you can get some emails downloaded and respond to some. Passengers - There was only one child and only one person in their 20's on the boat. Most passengers were between 50 & 80 and were quite capable of hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling with Sea Lions. All passengers spoke English. All passengers were very easy to talk to and were very nice. About half the passengers were from the UK. Tipping - The suggested tipping rate is 10% of the total price of the cruise. This is a lot of money, but the crew provides such great service, that they are worth it. Disembarkation - bags outside by 7:30am, then breakfast, board the bus at 8:30 for the ride to the Hilton, bags were brought into the Un Cruise waiting room. People were transferred to the airport at 10:30 or 12:30. We used the pool again and then changed into our airplane clothes and finalized the suitcases. The United check-in was mobbed, a huge line. We were in the Premier line, which still took 20 minutes to check the bags. The flight to LA was full, so everyone in line must have made it through the long line on time. Conclusion - No cruise is perfect and every time you decide to take a cruise you have to juggle many factors before picking one. The pluses for this cruise far outweighed the few minuses. Small boat cruising is significantly different from big boat cruising and it's not for everyone. It's definitely for active people. There is no ship doctor, so bring meds in case I'm happy to answer you catch a cold or a cough. The cabins are usually smaller than those on large cruise ships. Un-Cruise is a wonderful company and I hope they can continue this cruise concept as the passengers on this cruise sure seemed to love it. I'm happy to answer questions. kentennis@cox.net   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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