UnCruise Baja is small-boat cruising designed to get you off the boat and into nature. Baja California’s Sea of Cortez is nature’s aquarium and certainly one of Earth’s most biologically numerous our bodies of water. Not surprisingly UnCruising the Baja is a bucket listing journey for anyone who loves nature and the outside.
This Concierge overview of UnCruise’s Baja California Whale and Sealife cruise explores if the corporate lives as much as its said mission –
“To supply our company an enriching journey journey expertise and encourage an appreciation of native cultures and the pure world.”
We take a first-hand look all through a whole cruise to test in the event that they “actively promote environmental safety by training, actions, and initiatives that promote accountable journey?” Lastly, we overview the service and expertise of the cruise from high to backside so you’ll be able to resolve if Un-Cruising the Baja is for you.
The Ship – Safari Voyager
UnCruise’s Safari Voyager operates round Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Panama. She’s a seamless extension of the locations she sails with a modern design and Latin American art work and accents. There have been even a few Latin-themed meals on the voyage as properly.
The Safari Voyager measures 174′ in size with a 54′ beam and a ten.3 mph cruising velocity. These measurements are about 20% of the scale of a mean Fifth-generation cruise ship and about 1/3 of the max velocity. The ship sizing is proportional to passengers, with The Safari Voyager accommodating as much as 66 company in 34 visitor cabins, whereas a Fifth-generation cruise ship has about 3,000 company. What I actually appreciated was the two.2:1 guest-to-crew ratio, 50% larger than mega cruise ships.
The Safari Voyager has 4 decks: Solar, Bridge, Cabin, and Major. The Solar Deck (or as I prefer to name it ‘the Enjoyable Deck’) has train tools, wetsuits, and lounge chairs on the sunning deck. The Bridge Deck has a shaded sitting space (aka the Muster Deck), an air-conditioned lounge, two courses of cabins (Admiral and Pathfinder), and, after all, the Bridge. On Cabin Deck, there was an aft bathe space the place I rinsed off after seaside days and an off-limit platform filled with kayaks and paddle boards that magically appeared within the water for playtime. There have been additionally the Trailblazer and Single cabins in addition to the Jr Commodores and Commodore suites and a bow viewing space. The Major Deck held the galley, the eating room, and the kayak and skiff launch platform. There have been additionally the Navigator cabins and crew quarters.
There are sufficient frequent areas for everyone to collect and sufficient nooks and crannies in your alone time. I significantly cherished retreating to the library for a little bit ‘me time.’
Primarily based on my reservation, I stayed in a Trailblazer cabin configured with a queen mattress that would have been break up into two twin beds. There was an finish desk and closet which held the whole lot I packed and sufficient room beneath the mattress to retailer my empty baggage. It was massive sufficient to be practical with a TV and DVD participant (with motion pictures out there within the library), however I a lot most popular being within the frequent areas. In spite of everything, I didn’t take a Baja cruise to hang around in my cabin.
Each cabin does have a personal rest room with potable water and a scorching water bathe. I cherished that UnCruise stocked the toilet with Uncooked Botanical natural and reef-safe toiletries from Costa Rica in reusable packaging. There was even a hairdryer and refillable water bottle. Regardless that the faucet water was potable, the ultra-purified water within the lounge was scrumptious.
As a substitute of a standard mega cruise 1,300-mile loop that features port calls at Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, Loreto, and La Paz, UnCruise follows a small ship Sea of Cortez cruise route from La Paz to Loreto and again. At first look, it would seem to be you’re not doing as a lot on a boutique cruise as a mega cruise, however simply since you journey farther doesn’t imply you see as a lot.
The Safari Voyager is a discrete and stealthy ship that may weave out and in of the islands, islets, and coastal areas containing 39% of the world’s complete marine mammal species and a 3rd of the world’s complete variety of marine cetacean (whales and dolphin) species. Jacques Cousteau calls this area the ‘aquarium of the world,’ and UNESCO designated it a World Heritage Web site primarily based on its biodiversity.
The ‘very best’ itinerary is a 400-mile loop to Loreto and again, however as a rule, the captain reads the climate and makes use of their discretion to search out the calmest water and sheltered bays.
There are three cornerstone actions that nearly all the time anchor the UnCruise Baja itinerary: whale shark/ grey whale excursions, swimming with child sea lions, and mule rides on Agua Verde with the Romero Household.
Baja whale watching is extraordinary as a result of you’ll be able to see grey whales up shut of their winter birthing lagoons. How shut? Shut sufficient to kiss. Now, these lagoons are on the Pacific aspect, however you’ll be able to attain them with a 2-hour bus journey. On the Gulf aspect, you’ll be able to see blue and humpback whales. We watched one dance by the ship for nearly 10 minutes one evening. Grey whales are winter guests, so UnCruise shifts this exercise to whale shark excursions throughout summer time sails.
Snorkeling with child sea lions was wonderful as a result of they have been like playful puppies of the ocean. I wasn’t certain concerning the mule rides, however UnCruise companions with a neighborhood ranchero household who treats their animals with absolute respect. The expertise of interacting with the rancher’s household and the views from the ridge made this certainly one of my favourite actions.
When evaluating UnCruise to conventional cruises, the itinerary is vastly totally different. You’ll expertise extra of the Baja and Gulf of California crusing by 400 miles of littoral waters than 1,300 miles of open ocean interrupted by the occasional port-of-call, particularly when over half that distance isn’t even within the Gulf of California and 40% of the ports aren’t in Baja in any respect. Plus, consider all that gas you’ll be saving!
UnCruise claims they’re for explorers, curiosity seekers, and anyone with an ineffable spirit of journey. They declare they need you off the boat and out into nature.
We discovered this to be true. Not solely have been all of the actions included, however there have been no casinos or retailers on board the ship. All people did 4 actions (though you would all the time select to sit down one out): whale watching, snorkeling with sea lions (or photographing from the boat), and an compulsory ‘take a look at’ snorkeling journey when you plan on snorkeling with the ocean lions.
Whale watching, together with the bus journey throughout the Baja peninsula, was an all-day affair. The opposite days, you had a ‘select your individual journey’ format the place you probably did morning and afternoon actions. You may select from mountaineering, kayaking, SUPing, or skiff excursions with the occasional snorkeling or mule driving choice.
These adventures have been all guided and ranged from aggressive hikes that challenged a few of the aggressive athletes on board to passive skiff rides the place you targeted in your images. Irrespective of which one you selected, you weren’t solely exploring however studying concerning the unimaginable life within the Baja and Sea of Cortez.
Do you keep in mind UnCruise’s said mission from the introduction of this piece – “actively promote environmental safety by training, actions, and initiatives that promote accountable journey?” One of many methods they do that is by their night-time actions.
There weren’t any reveals or casinos on board. As a substitute, each evening had a powerful dinner adopted by an hour-long presentation about what you simply noticed or have been going to expertise the subsequent day. We realized how the grey whale migration was the longest animal migration on Earth and why they did it. We spent a night stargazing on the deck beneath the pitch-black Baja sky. It wasn’t the glitz and glamor of a floating Vegas, however extra like a lecture sequence on the native faculty, besides you have been in nature’s classroom.
The actions deepened my appreciation of the world I used to be experiencing. Once I was an teacher on the Woman Scouts excessive ropes course in San Diego, we used the actions paired with an experiential studying cycle to achieve the women. The reflection stage of the training cycle was critically necessary to assist the women course of their experiences. It was equally necessary within the international and unique waters of the Baja, and I left with a deeper appreciation of the world that surrounded me.
UnCruise claims they serve contemporary, hand-crafted delicacies with components sourced from native farms. I can’t converse to the origins of their components (I didn’t have the chance to go to the farm), however the meals on board was one (of many) highlights from the journey.
Breakfast all the time featured contemporary fruit and freshly baked goodies from the onboard pastry chef – Amanda. I’m not a morning particular person, so I went straight for the connoisseur espresso, however the different company couldn’t cease gushing concerning the cinnamon rolls. Breakfast was additionally the place we put in our orders for lunch and dinner, which I appreciated as a result of it actually minimize down on meals waste.
Lunches and dinners have been sit-down affairs, with dinner being a little bit fancier with wine service. You may decide a surf, turf, or vegetarian choice or go half and half. Amanda’s contemporary bread with infused butter with dinner was all the time scrumptious, and the desserts have been off the hook. I cherished the Rooster teriyaki lunch, and the Captain’s Dinner with lobster and prime rib was unforgettable.
It’s a great factor that there have been two every day actions as a result of the meals was completely scrumptious, and I’ve but to say the every day cocktails and cookie hour. Bronson, the ship’s bartender, made a specialty cocktail every day for a day toast. His salted watermelon particular with blanco tequila, contemporary watermelon juice, and sea salt we gathered from a hike was tremendous artistic, however his Baja espresso martini was epic. Amanda’s sugar cookies might need been the perfect I’ve ever tasted.
Particular Lodging / Health
UnCruise makes this lodging promise – “It’s our enterprise to verify your journey not solely matches your wants and expectations however surpasses them.” That’s a lofty aim, and one which is likely to be laborious to comprehend in the midst of the Gulf of California, however time and time once more, my expectations have been exceeded on my Baja UnCruise.
You know the way a lot I cherished Chef Amanda’s cookies. A few folks on my cruise have been strict vegans, and at the least one was gluten illiberal. Daily, they’d specifically ready cookies put aside for them. The vegetarian meal choices have been absolutely vegan and scrumptious sufficient that I attempted a pair in the course of the voyage. The galley crew mentioned they might do the identical for allergic reactions like nuts or lactose.
UnCruise strived to make actions inclusive, providing further assistance on hikes to those that want it (together with mountaineering poles on board) and morning stretching routines for these searching for extra train. There was even a particular dessert one of many evenings for folks celebrating necessary dates like anniversaries and birthdays.
Captain and Crew
UnCruise claims to rent the perfect crew within the trade. Their said coverage is to pick out people not only for laborious expertise like data and security however for softer expertise like customer support with an enthusiastic persona. I used to be a company coach and studying coach for Ritz Carlton. One of many issues that set them aside is their sixth Diamond Service Level – Mystique, which anticipated the visitor’s spoken and unstated wants. Let’s simply say I’m a harsh critic of customer support.
The captain was Andrea Kosto, a feminine captain from Alaska. Because it seems, UnCruise employs feminine captains 300% greater than trade requirements. Katherine, our Expedition Chief, and Lead Information, Louis, have been from Costa Rica, the place the Sea Voyager sails in the course of the summer time, which makes them native guides for half of the 12 months. Terra and Christian (the tremendous hiker) from Washington and Nicole and Gabriel from California have been our different guides.
Not solely was your entire employees educated and pleasant, however Captain Dan Blanchard, the proprietor & CEO of UnCruise, was additionally on my voyage. I can confidently say that the distinctive company tradition begins on the high with an simple feeling of household all through. Dan instructed us tales about paddling his kayak out into the wilderness to fulfill boats unannounced to say hello and hang around for a couple of days.
If I needed to decide one CEO to spend per week within the wilderness with, it might be Dan. Not solely would he maintain me from dying, however he’d maintain me entertained as properly! There could possibly be a future actuality TV present right here… 😉🤣
Anyway, as we disembarked, the crew performed music over the audio system on the finish of the cruise. Dan took a second to bop and hug every certainly one of them. It’s no marvel UnCruise has one of many lowest employees turnover charges within the trade!
Was UnCruise Price It?
Was UnCruise price the associated fee? Beginning at $5900 pp, a Baja UnCruise is a reasonably costly trip choice. Keep in mind that UnCruises are all-inclusive, so there aren’t any hidden charges. Your journey fare contains excursions, journey tools, limitless meals and drinks, alcohol, transfers, and baggage dealing with. After all, you’ll wish to tip the crew; in any other case, the whole lot will get paid upfront.
When you examine UnCruise with a standard cruise, you’ll see that the prices align with the trade, however the experiences are incomparable. It’s not simply the signature excursions like snorkeling with wild sea lions and visiting grey whales within the birthing lagoons. It’s small ship crusing alongside the coast the place you get up to a vermillion sea reflecting off the cliffs.
We as soon as wrote a bit about adventuring round Cancun. When you’re the kind of one that would wish to watch the dawn in Chichen-Itza, drive down dusty roads to search out distant cenotes, and float by historic Mayan canals, you’ll love UnCruise. When you like boutique journey with distinctive buyer providers anticipating your each want, you’re keen on UnCruise. When you’d reasonably drink umbrella drinks by the pool and take an occasional bus tour off the resort, possibly UnCruising isn’t for you😉.
As all the time, the views and opinions expressed are totally our personal, and we solely advocate manufacturers and locations that we 100% stand behind.
Prefer it? Pin it for afterward Pinterest!