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9 UnCruise Pacific Coastal Cruise Reviews

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
Sail Date February 2017
This was our second trip with UnCruise so our expectations were very high as we had a wonderful cruise the first time. Every aspect of the Yachter’s Paradise cruise was exceptional. We were picked up at the airport in Seattle and ... Read More
This was our second trip with UnCruise so our expectations were very high as we had a wonderful cruise the first time. Every aspect of the Yachter’s Paradise cruise was exceptional. We were picked up at the airport in Seattle and transported to the Crowne Plaza downtown. Refreshments were provided as we waited but most of us explored the downtown area until we left for the Safari Quest mid-afternoon that was berthed at Pier 69. We were greeted with champagne. After a safety briefing we departed for Victoria. Dinner was filet mignon and/or salmon. Both were cooked perfectly. The quality and consistency of food was exceptional, both the entrees and desserts. This was an inclusive trip which, in Victoria, included High Tea at the Empress Hotel. On our departure we were treated to 6 humpback whales. On Monday we took the skiffs out at Skookumchuck rapids where we saw harbor seals, sea lions, oyster catchers and bald eagles among other seabirds. I can’t say enough about the Expedition Leader, Maria. We’ve been on several cruises that have included a naturalist. Maria was the most knowledgeable, not only regarding wildlife but the areas we explored. She really made this trip special. Princess Louisa Inlet was amazing with rock walls that climb a mile straight up from the water. With on board kayaks and two skiffs, we were out on the water most days exploring the area and searching for wildlife. The cabins were on the small side but did include a TV for watching DVDs, a private bath with heated floor, closet, dresser and night stand. Our cabin was in a Mariner stateroom on the lower level. We would not hesitate to book another trip with UnCruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Un-Cruise choosen to stay in USA and do a river type cruise. Beautiful scenery trip could be done by taking your own car and use ferry system, where you could be more independent.Good variety of meals were served at 7:30,12:30 and 6:30 ... Read More
Un-Cruise choosen to stay in USA and do a river type cruise. Beautiful scenery trip could be done by taking your own car and use ferry system, where you could be more independent.Good variety of meals were served at 7:30,12:30 and 6:30 or picnic lunches to go. Activities are 2 per day and they use sign up sheet in evening and post in AM. Three levels of activities each with a guide. The staff are English speaking, college educated or above, enthusiastic thru out the whole week, Un-Cruise can be very proud of the staff we had on board, they and the Captain made the trip what it was. Would have like to have more activities. Bring book/games for inbetween times. Did watch for wildlife, not skunked but not as many whates as I thought we would see. Rooms are small even though we had a Pathfinder room, your entrance door is heavey metal and slides open, stepping out onto deck. I would opt. for twin beds in lower area as Pathfinder not worth extra cost, also noisy with anchors and laundry storage area, people above. Not a place to get much rest.. At least with twin beds one has a place to sit and stretch out instead of climbing over. Our bathroom had a real smell to it until used for a few days, get new towels each day as they don't dry well. They base out of Crowne Plaza in Seattle, we came in day ahead and paid for transportation/another hotel that we didn't need to do if we would have had Un-Cruise info ahead of time. Called them 25 times for info about trip, very frustrating. Need for better communication! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I am an experienced cruiser but this was my smallest ship (boat?) to date. We had 19 passengers, served by a crew/staff of 10. Just looking at the picture of Safari Quest tells a lot. Service was extraordinary. By the end of day 2, we ... Read More
I am an experienced cruiser but this was my smallest ship (boat?) to date. We had 19 passengers, served by a crew/staff of 10. Just looking at the picture of Safari Quest tells a lot. Service was extraordinary. By the end of day 2, we knew every fellow passenger and all the crew on a first name basis. Many of the waters transited are protected, but not all. I expected a lot more motion, but Safari Quest is quite stable. We were offered motion-sickness medicine the first night, and that was the only time I used it. I'm not aware of anyone who had seasickness the entire trip. The itinerary (Yachters' Paradise) was wonderful. A typical day has some hiking, touring ashore, kayaking or cruising in the early morning or evening. Some stops were at charming places with people, like Victoria BC and Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands. Others were beautiful and pristine sites like Princess Louisa Inlet where the only other humans were on a small pleasure boat or two. You can take a skiff if you don't want to kayak. You can also paddleboard if you like (no experience required!). This part of the world (Seattle, San Juan Islands, etc.) has a rainy reputation, but we didn't see rain until the last day. Hikes could be muddy with rain, but we didn't experience that. Dress is casual. Period. Even High Tea in Victoria. Don't bring anything fancy unless it's for before or after the cruise. Makes packing easy. Jeans were my best attire item, as I didn't have "high-performance tech fabrics" that some passengers sported. Life onboard is excellent, from dinig to accommodations to public spaces. I'll comment on the cabin in the cabin review. Don't look for Broadway productions or a casino! All in all, I was very favorably impressed and I'm already planning my next Un-Cruise adventure. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
For many, the Un-Cruise experience begins with being fetched at the airport. This was our second Un-Cruise adventure and we have yet to experience that, as our first was in home town Portland and to reach this Seattle departure we enjoyed ... Read More
For many, the Un-Cruise experience begins with being fetched at the airport. This was our second Un-Cruise adventure and we have yet to experience that, as our first was in home town Portland and to reach this Seattle departure we enjoyed a train ride north. All assemble at the designated hotel, generally the Crowne Point in downtown Seattle, which is in a fine location. Its big recommendation? Location. Other than that, it’s just an average hotel with above average prices. The hospitality room is staffed by a fellow called Steven who is very helpful and deserves a raise. Why? On disembarkation day there was a communication glitch which put us back at the hotel instead of in a cab to the train station. I told Steven I was not thrilled and his only question was “What can I do to make this right?” He got four of us an Uber SUV within two minutes and off we went. Great problem-solver. I mention that because he deserves a pat on the back, but more important because it is typical of the attitude of every Un-Cruise crew member we encountered on our fantastic week. They look for ways to make your experience better. From the hotel, our group of 19 passengers was taken to the ship via a one-hour bus tour of Seattle which was nice enough. The driver talked nonstop, trying to be both informative and funny. Some people loved it. Personally, I thought it was annoying. (But people say the same about me, so there you go.) At the ship, the entire crew turned out to bring us on board and show us to our cabins. My wife and I had cabin A4, with a large sliding glass door that we would enjoy for hours once we got to some spectacular scenery. The cabin was comfortable and quiet – other than the engine noise when underway and the clatter of the anchor chain now and then. But neither was a bother. Right away, we met pretty much the entire crew except Rob, the second mate, who was asleep as he would be driving the boat that night. Our crew of 10 included seven women – Captain Denee Blanchard, hotel manager Erica Van Ausdal, expedition leader Pam Navis, chef Kerri Eckels, pastry chef (!) Kate Fujimoto and stewards Courtney Landon and Carla Minnichofer – and three men – chief mate Dirk Boschek, second mate Rob McDougall and engineer Steve Eagleston. It didn’t seem to matter a whole lot what a crew member’s job was, as they all pitched in to help one another and each was willing to tackle a passenger’s request no matter how complex or trivial. Or help without asking. When my camera went for a short swim and failed to work despite my having cleaned the contacts and dried it to within an inch of its life, engineer Steve raced down to the engine room and returned with a baggie of rice and packet of desiccant. A night in the baggie and the camera was good to go. In the lounge and dining room, Carla, Courtney and Erica soon learned our preferences and anticipated our wishes. Capt. Denee grew up messing about with boats and inspired confidence despite her tender years. Talk to her in the wheelhouse and she'll gladly explain boat operations, navigation, all sorts of seafaring stuff. The multi-talented Pam is an expert sailor, a naturalist, a gifted story teller, intimately knows the areas into which we sailed and is a fine musician to boot. One passenger asked “Is there anything this woman can’t do?” The thing about the crew, though, is they all seem to enjoy each other and love what they are doing. It’s a happy ship. A word about the food. I’ve been on several cruise ships and never have I eaten so well as on Safari Quest. I hope Kerri decides to stay and stay, for she’s a magician. She takes often simple, often local ingredients and produces meals that would do a restaurant anywhere proud. We were looking for a way to adopt her. Kate gave us not only extraordinary desserts, but out of this world rolls. This is not a place to lose weight. Each day begins with “early riser” coffee/tea, fresh fruit and yogurt and pastries at 0630, with a full breakfast at 0730 or later, depending on the day’s schedule. Days include looking for wildlife while cruising, the chance to kayak or paddle board, skiff rides, hikes, sightseeing if in port, or just hanging out on the boat. The day draws down with happy hour aboard or ashore around 5:30 or so, dinner, then a gathering in the lounge to share stories of the day and discuss the next day’s activities. On our cruise, passengers seemed to range in age from mid-50s to late 70s. Some were quite athletic, some were not but were game to try anything, some just enjoyed skiff rides, some hung out on the boat. All were personable, boon companions. Pam, the expedition leader, made sure to include all – no matter how outgoing or how shy – in activities, in conversation, and in the photos she shot all week long. Probably the favorite spot of just about everyone was that beautiful place as far north and as remote as we got – Princess Louisa Inlet. It is spectacular. No, spectacular is something of an understatement. You can see photos, you can hear descriptions, but until you see it for yourself you won’t truly appreciate it. My wife and I have signed up for a third Un-Cruise trip, destination unknown at this point. It could well be a repeat of this one; it was that good. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We were pleasantly surprised that we enjoyed the cruise and the boat as much as we did. Particularly appreciated Un-Cruise's business model of not charging for extras--everything is included (except gratuities) and there was not one ... Read More
We were pleasantly surprised that we enjoyed the cruise and the boat as much as we did. Particularly appreciated Un-Cruise's business model of not charging for extras--everything is included (except gratuities) and there was not one extra charge when we disembarked. The food is genuinely gourmet and beautifully served (sit-down meals only; no buffets); the menu is limited to a meat, fish, or vegetarian dish each lunch and dinner, but staff was most accommodating about food preferences and allergies. We wanted salsa, they didn't have salsa, so chef made salsa that was available for the rest of the trip! Members of the crew are friendly and helpful and problems or requests were immediately addressed; talks about the history of the area were interesting and informative and off-boat excursions were mostly good, the best being a jet-boat ride into Hell's Canyon. Learned about the Columbia River and Lewis & Clark history, visited Bonneville power generating plant, and saw some worthwhile museums. We were a bit disappointed with the "fitness area," which has somewhat dilapidated equipment (and no treadmill), but for exercise, 16 laps around the 3rd deck constituted one mile. We appreciated the informality on the cruise and not being expected to dress up for dinner. All in all, a very good trip with a very good company, and we would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Saturday April 30th After a quick flight into Denver’s snowy airport we boarded our flight to Seattle. The flight was smooth and arrived on time. Seattle’s airport is clean and bright with lots of windows. We got our bags quickly ... Read More
Saturday April 30th After a quick flight into Denver’s snowy airport we boarded our flight to Seattle. The flight was smooth and arrived on time. Seattle’s airport is clean and bright with lots of windows. We got our bags quickly and waited for a representative to pick us up at the baggage claim area as indicated on the initial paperwork. I called the after-hours phone number (206). A woman answered and told me Steven would call us right back. He did and told us where to pick up the van. Others on the van received a text message with more specific directions. We did not. The drive was very scenic to the Crowne Plaza hotel. The driver did not say a word the entire drive. The Crowne Plaza staff was very friendly and helpful. We went to the hospitality suite and met Steven. He checked us in, recorded information from our passports, and labelled the bags. We left our “carry-on” in a specific area to keep with us for the drive to the boat, but didn’t want to carry around Seattle that afternoon. We walked down a couple of blocks to Farmer’s Market. It was an enjoyable area to view. We took lots of photos of the local flavor, ocean vistas, the Ferris wheel, ships, and colorful people. We got a quick bite to eat and arrived back at the hotel for 3:45 bus tour of Seattle. The driver was funny and informative. Seattle traffic was terrible, but it allowed time to see the sites without rushing. The tour plans changed a couple times due to road closures. The parts of Seattle we saw were charming! We met our Expedition Leader, Pamela, and boarded the Safari Quest. Captain Dano has been a captain for 30 years and with UnCruise for 6 seasons. Our trip was the first of 2016! We then met Carla, right at the gang plank. She reached out and grabbed my carry-on luggage and showed us our cabin. She was so fun and nice. We immediately loved her! There was a quick safety briefing/drill, showing us how to put on the life vest. We met the rest of the crew. Erica the Hotel Manager, Emi a Stewart, Mark the Chef, Cari and Chef in Training, Kate the Pastry Chef, Steve the Engineer, and Robb the Chief Mate. Robb is also the Safety and Medical Officer. The crew wears “uniforms” – Oxford shirts and black slacks - that make them look very professional. After meeting the crew we finished unpacking. We had cabin A2 with a large sliding glass door that was terrific to open for fresh air and viewing. The cabin was quite quiet. We never heard our neighbors, or anyone in the hall, or in the bridge. There is a closet in the room, two large, deep drawers under the bed and a couple hooks on the wall. Also under the bed are two large storage areas. We easily kept our luggage, carry-ons, camera bag, shoes and extra pillows underneath. We had two nightstands with two shelves. Lamps were on the stands as well as a bright overhead ceiling light. In the bathroom are four deep shelves with a lip at the end so things don’t slide out. There was a countertop around the sink large enough to hold a tray of two glasses, and a box of Kleenex. On the clean, fresh bed are lists of other passengers’ names as well as the crew. Also, there were binoculars, and two water canteens. The bed was comfortable with plenty of pillows to choose. Extra fuzzy blankets are on the bed too. They could have more hooks, especially when you came in with wet clothes. We did view a cabin on the lower level and they had a 4 drawer dresser. There is a TV in every cabin. We were busy every evening until 10:00ish so we didn’t have time to watch any of the DVD’s (movies) we brought. Leaving the harbor and going through the locks was remarkable. It is amazing how they drop the level of the water, in just a few minutes, to reach the correct level on the other side. A real engineering marvel! Dinner was DELIGHTFUL! A wonderful fresh green salad. Choice of filet, salmon, or a vegetarian dish with asparagus and potatoes. The filet was tender, the salmon moist. For dessert we had a chocolate cake, chocolate mousse with chocolate ganache extravaganza!! It was topped with coconut, nuts, and raspberries; very rich and delectable. The daily schedule for the next day is discussed in the lounge after dinner. The crossing was smooth. We slept like baby harbor seals. Sunrise was brilliant! Cresting above the peaks to the East and slowly hitting the snow-capped mountain tops to the West. Clam water with bobbing fishing boats completed the scene. Sunday May 1st The day started (6:30AM) with a delicious yogurt with fresh fruit, blueberry scones and assorted teas and coffee. At 7:30 the main breakfast served a Chef’s special of Tomato Frittata with herbs and sausage. Also always available is omelet, eggs, pancakes, baked oatmeal, or bagel and lox. The UnCruise fleet works with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and their “Seafood Watch” program. They only use (cook) seafood and fish that are farmed and fish responsibly, and are not over-fished, or in the way they are caught. Our ordered meals of eggs, bacon, and toast came very fast. We left the boat to go through a series of security screening with Canadian border guards. The Safari Quest docks in a secure, patrolled section of the harbor. It was very safe. We walked to the Empress Hotel to view their beautiful gardens and architecture. It is under construction right now, but still very stately. We walked through the hotel and out the back door which is right across the street from the Royal BC Museum. It was magnificent. A real treat! We did get a reservation for High Tea at the famous Tea Room of the Empress so we walked back there. It was very, very nice. Their tea was the finest I had ever tasted. Lunch was served on a three tiered plate in the middle of the beautifully set table. The first layer had finger sandwiches, second scones and the top mini cakes and tarts. All were absolutely delicious. The layer chocolate dessert was NOT as good as last night’s dessert on the boat. Afterwards the group split up. We had enough time to walk to Fisherman’s Wharf. The harbor seals were slapping the water to gain your attention for treats. The wharf is beautiful. Those that live there are very lucky. Their houses had gorgeous flower boxes and unique art around their brightly painted boat houses. We did not try and of the food, as we had just eaten, but lines were forming at some of the popular places. The boat left the dock on time. On the way out of the harbor we saw eagles, white sided dolphins in the distance, otters, seals, and deer on an island. Another fantastic dinner with lamb, cod, vegetable polenta. For dessert a caramelized pineapple tarts. The anchorage was in calm, secluded, peaceful waters – Buccaneer Bay. Monday May 2nd We cruised to Skookumchuck Rapids and did a skiff tour to explore the intertidal areas. Saw beautiful bright purple and orange sea stars, sea urchins, anemones, and rocks underwater. Highlight was the eagles and seals. The skiff (Zodiac boat) got right up on top of the rocks near the shore or hovered in place to watch the seals. It was a lot of fun. The crew was on the back deck of the Safari Quest to help us get in and out of the skiff. Lunch was terrific… again! We cruised up Jervis Inlet and entered Malibu Rapids Beyond we could see Princess Louisa Inlet, where we would anchor for the night. The Indians called it Suivoolot which means sunny and warm. We did have sunny and warm conditions this day. In route we saw over a dozen eagles. Two flying very close to the boat. We were transfixed watching them; we forgot to raise our cameras to take a photo!! The crew all day could not have been more accommodating. They served drinks to everyone, no matter which deck they were on. They found you whether you were in the bridge, on the lower decks or sunbathing up top. Up and down the steps all day. They really do work very hard. Countless thin waterfalls cascaded down the steep mountain side into the water below. All around us, on both sides, the waterfalls tumbled down steep cliffs. At the end of the inlet is Chatterbox Falls. A large, thunderous waterfall that was sending out so much water over the rocks the mist covered the area. Those who ventured into the cloud of water were showered and soaked within seconds, but invigorated beyond words. We were transported over to land and walked a short distance through fern and moss covered forest on a boardwalk. The crew not only cleared the spider webs from the trail they had been setting up our “happy hour” in the octagonal pavilion – even building a fire. Drinks, snacks and hordurves were served as we sat around the fire and listened to the crew’s beautiful voices and hidden talents. A few passengers joined in when they knew the song. The sunlight started to creep behind the tall 7,000’ cliffs and shadows ascended on the falls. Friendly faces greeted us as we got back on board as the lounge filled up with drink orders and memories of the day. I noticed clouds floating in as they are the first ones we have seen on days. Dinner was served at 6:30PM.Pork, fish, and a vegetable dish. Dessert was fun as well as delicious – deconstructed s’mores. The graham crackers as well as the marshmallow were homemade!! Tuesday May 3rd After 8AM breakfast we kayaked to Chatterbox Falls and surrounding waterfalls in the inlet. A little drizzle started this morning but it didn’t damper the spirits of the kayakers. The trip was exhilarating to the base of one of the powerful waterfalls. They did provide rain pants and jackets to those that didn’t bring them. The kayak life vest was much more comfortable to wear than the other one. The crew was GREAT helping us get in and out of the kayaks. Teaching us how to paddle and show the distress signal. Afterwards the crew had hot chocolate and coffee with Bailey’s or Jameson Irish Whiskey. AND, of course, whipped cream! Lunch at Noon with the regular choices and the Chef’s special of focaccia bread, roasted chicken sandwich. The dressing on the salad, again, was wonderful. Mark really knows how to blend ingredients to perfection. Dessert was individual carrot cakes. No one left a crumb on their plate. It was still raining, so most of us decided to stay on board to get to the Malibu Lodge tour. One person took the skiff, with other crew members, to tour the shore on their way to the lodge. That afternoon I went down to the lounge to get hot tea, as I was chilled. Carla asked if she could get me an extra blanket. How thoughtful! Erica asked if she could make me the cup of tea. That is just a small example of the type of crew they have on the Safari Quest. About half of us went on shore for the tour of Malibu Lodge. Steve drove the skiff to the dock of the Club. The captain asked Steve if he would come back on board, just to have one more crew, in case of an emergency going through the rapids. We were very impressed with the safety measures they take. After checking out the course through the rapids and checking it twice, we were ready to go through the rapids. First Mate Robb took the wheel and without any problems we got through the rapids. Good job! There is also a satellite phone on board for emergencies. They also periodically check in with the Coast Guard as their position and intentions of course. This is just a little bit of the behind the scenes to ensure our safe passage through the inlets. The walking tour of Malibu Lodge was interesting. It is a beautiful complex. Dinner was served at 6:30PM. Duck, scallops, and a wonderful chocolate lava cake. The cake was rich, but not sweet. The chocolate they use is fantastic! Tonight we head to Harmony Islands for the night. Wednesday May 4th It was a cool, sunny morning in Harmony Islands. My husband was not feeling well this morning. Erica and Emi asked if they could bring him something to eat. Pamela told me a story about a passenger that never left the boat. He said that 51 weeks out of the year he is on land, but this one week he was on a boat with food, drinks and service. I think it was her way of making me feel better. So nice! She also said that she could find a crew member to kayak with me if I wanted. I decided to join the group and go skiffing around the islands and view the 800’ waterfall. First, we drove south to a smaller island. We saw eagles, seals, and sea lions that slipped into the water as we approached. The eagles soared high about, land on the tops of trees, view us for a while and then fly off. We spotted a black bear on shore eating oysters. He almost looked like a black rock, he was so still. It took a few steps and was engulfed into the dense forest. The Dogwood trees were in bloom along the shore. Pam whipped the boat at full speed back to the Safari Quest, where delicious hot chocolate with whipped cream and Grand Mariner awaited us. I was surprised when I took off my waterproof pants the chill in the air. They worked great to shield my legs from the wind chill on the skiff. Lunch was great! A salad with grilled prawns, green beans, artichoke, deviled egg, olives, tomatoes, fingerling potatoes with herbs, and a key lime tart! Yum!! A couple minutes after lunch we were transferred to Jedidiah Island. The walk was wonderful. Old fern filled evergreen forests change to sunny meadows. The old house, barn and surrounding buildings still stand. The house is perched on a hill overlooking a magnificent view of a gorgeous bay with large rocks, trees, and a beach of oyster shells. A quick skiff ride back to happy hour and dinner. Are we eating again? At dinner we had the Chef in Training, Cari. We noticed the difference right away. Short ribs, salmon were not as tasty as Chef Mark’s. Dessert was a terrific Tiramisu tart. Beautiful presentation and we think the best dessert so far! Thursday May 5th Anchor up at 6:30AM to try to beat the wind. We set sail through the Strait of Georgia. I took an early breakfast then up to the bridge for wildlife watch. Besides beautiful islands, narrows and other boats there wasn’t a reason to get the cameras out. Lunch was at Noon as we docked in Ganges. We walked out through security and got to shop for a quick hour before boarding our bus for a tour of Salt Springs with Jason. We got to see this beautiful island, a goat cheese farm, and a short hike up the coast. The goat farm was interesting with delicious samples of their cheeses, jams, chutney, olives and creamsicles. The hike along the coast was spectacular. As we were resting at one of the scenic points, an eagle landed in a nearby tree. He let us take a couple of photos before flying off across a bay and screeching to his mate. We arrived back at the harbor with enough time to visit a couple more shops in town before they closed. Before dinner we got a tour of the engine room. We were surprised it was larger than we thought and very clean. The water treatment was interesting. Dinner was served at 7:30PM. Choices were a moist chicken breast, perfectly cooked cod filet and in honor of Cinco de Maya, a vegetarian cheese empanada. For dessert we had a 3 layer cake with fresh berries. It was so rich. After dinner there was story telling by Captain Dano – a true treat!! Also, magic tricks, jokes, but no singing. It was fun. You could venture into town if you wanted, as we were parked at the dock all night. There was a sign out and sign in board if you left the ship. Friday May 6th I can’t believe it is Friday. But, looking forward to getting back in the USA! Customs went smoothly in Friday Harbor. We gathered in the lounge after breakfast. The agent came on board and checked out everyone’s passport. She asked us what we purchased then welcomed us back! We then were ready for the tour of San Juan Island. The first stop was of a lighthouse and State Park. The walk was beautiful down to the coastline and then across to the lighthouse. We later found out that this spot is one of the BEST places in the world to view Orcas! Down the road was a lavender farm and Alpaca Farm. We didn’t have time to see the National Park, which was disappointing to me, but stopped at Roche Harbor. We got to the Whale Museum with enough time to view before lunch back on board the boat. The museum had a lot of “hands on” displays. Lunch was at 1PM. Pork tenderloin sandwich or roasted eggplant. Again, the salad was very good. Dessert was Pecan Bar. After lunch it was back up top to watch for wildlife. I did not spot any whales in the many hours I looked through the binoculars. There were plenty of different types of birds, if you are a birder. We did come alongside a fellow Quest boat. It was fun to watch them do the Polar Plunge. Dinner was SPECTACULAR!!!! A tasting extravaganza!! First was Salmon roe with cucumber au jus. The first course was parsnip soup with roasted parsnips. Second course was halibut with finger length potatoes. Third course was NY strip steak, mushrooms, Brussel sprouts. Dessert was a wonderful lemon and ricotta cheese cake with pistachio shortbread crust. After dinner we received our luggage tags for tomorrow’s disembarkation. White was for the airport people; yellow for the hotel transfer. We also had the opportunity to check out our tab. 7% to 10% of cabin rate is standard for a tip. Some gave less, some gave more. We hope that more gave more. The crew is worth every percent you give them. The slide show was outstanding. The music was great and photos even more so. It was fun to relive the wonderful memories of an awesome cruise in a few short minutes. We are very lucky to be able to compare this cruise (and crew) with many we have taken. This cruise and especially this crew is by far the BEST! The crew works extremely hard to ensure you have a terrific time. Even while we were at breakfast the last morning, they tidied up our stateroom. We had requested two things before we sailed. One was a special juice and the other a specific soda. They provided both without making it seem like an inconvenience. Other cruise lines have informed us that “this” is the juice they serve, or “this” is the brand of soda they have. It meant the world to us that they made a special effort to get those specific things for us. It showed us early on that they cared! Thank you so much Safari Quest!! Saturday May 7th The final breakfast was as good and fast as the others. The special was vanilla pancakes that were so fluffy. It was served with fresh berry compote. My eggs were cooked to perfection (over easy), as well as my toast. While at breakfast they loaded our luggage onto awaiting buses. The crew lined up on the pier to wish each and every one of us a safe journey and thanked us for cruising with them. We in turn thanked them profusely for the terrific week we had. They are special!! Every one of them made our week the most memorable, fun, and special experience imaginable. One bus drove to the airport, the other to the hotel’s hospitality room. Traffic was light and we arrived at the airport in 45 minutes. It was sad to leave such a pretty city and the best cruise line, UnCruise, behind. We will be on another UnCruise as soon as we can! BUT, I do not think that another crew can surpass the Safari Quest’s crew! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We had never been to the Seattle area and wanted to see as much of the area as possible. The Un-Cruise from Seattle was an excellent way to see this area. Each day we would be at anchor near a different island. In the evenings after ... Read More
We had never been to the Seattle area and wanted to see as much of the area as possible. The Un-Cruise from Seattle was an excellent way to see this area. Each day we would be at anchor near a different island. In the evenings after dinner, we would hear about the next days' activities. We could sign-up for any of about 3-4 different excursions. Normally, 2 of the excursions were hikes. We always took the longer hike. We also did several kayak excursions. There was no cost for any of the excursions. All were lead by guides from the ship. The ship is an excursion-style boat that holds fewer than 100 passengers. For our trip, there were about 45 passengers. The ship is showing some age and the cabins are on the small size (we had one of the 4 largest cabins). Luckily, you do not spend a lot of time in the cabins. Common areas were very nice for viewing wildlife. Also, the captain allows full passenger access to the bridge. It was awesome to sit up front and see the scenery from the bridge. Captain and his crew were very nice. Dining was at a set time and the dining room could accommodate everyone easily. There were 3 entree selections in the evening, one a vegetarian entree. Food was very good. Breakfast and lunch were served buffet style. I had no complaints about the food. This is a cruise that active people will enjoy. There is no entertainment on board. The entertainment is watching for wildlife as you cruise around the islands. One day we saw a pod of about 7-8 orcas. On this ship, the captain could stop and give us time to watch. During the day, we would be transported to shore and lead on the best hikes of each island. There is no way we could have covered 1/2 as much ground on our own. We saw whales, eagles, otters, porpoises, and hundreds of different birds. Highlights were: Orca sightings, hikes, new friends, Un-Cruise staffers. Also - the weather was beautiful all week!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We started in Juneau, southbound to Seattle with a total of 16 'Safari Questers' on board and nine crew. From the first night it was one lifetime experience after another. We saw pods of Humpback whales on numerous occasions, ... Read More
We started in Juneau, southbound to Seattle with a total of 16 'Safari Questers' on board and nine crew. From the first night it was one lifetime experience after another. We saw pods of Humpback whales on numerous occasions, with one pod feeding in an awesome display of power. An Orca swam next to us for a short distance (at night so no photos other than the one planted in the memory bank). We were also accompanied by dolphins, eagles and the 'skiffers' caught and captured a bear on digital video and DLSR still as it was fishing a very short distance from our intrepid travellers. Two successive nights of the northern lights and the Big Dipper planted mid photo screen whilst two 'Questers' had a lazy hot-tub as the photographers did there work. Great trips ashore in Petersburg, Wrangell, Ketchikan and Friday Harbor, sadly as the big ships AKA floating hotels were leaving. My wife was stopped by a long line of returnees in Ketchikan and told "there's a queue" you'll have to wait in line; said "excuse me, not for our ship" and continued to our birth. A multi talented terrific crew, enjoyable company with all our fellow 'Questers' superb sailing by all helmsmen/women, wonderful activities (skiffing, canoeing, hiking, photography, FUN AND MORE FUN) a great room with lots of under king sized bed storage and lots to do or nothing if that was your fancy. Got the brochure and planning our next small ship cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
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