Category Archives: Small Ship Cruising

Last minute warm water sailings in Baja and Hawaii
Larry Bleiberg, special for USA TODAY10:51a.m. EST January 2, 2013

If you’re into photography or marine biology, or want to give your kids an intense nature experience, you might want to check out the new Un-Cruise theme trips.

The small-ship cruise line has added special theme sailings in Hawaii and Mexico’s Sea of Cortes for 2013.

The photography and marine biology trips will include a shipboard expert, who will offer presentations and meet in one-on-one sessions with guests during the week-long sailings.

The Hawaii trips on the 36-passenger Safari Explorer are seven-night cruises allowing the chance to explore four islands: Lanai, Molokai, Maui and Hawaii, the Big Island. In the Sea of Cortes, the 86-passenger Safari Endeavour sails round-trip from La Paz, Baja, Mexico.

The Kids in Nature sailings are aimed at families with children 12 and younger, and timed for spring break. The staff will present education programs and lead hiking, kayaking and snorkeling shore excursions suitable for all ages. Trips include March 9 and 30 Kids in Nature trips in Hawaii and March 9 and 23 Kids in Nature sailings in Mexico.

The photography cruises include two Hawaii trips: a Jan. 5 sailing with one of the world’s top whale photographers, and an April 6 trip with a top travel photographer. In Mexico, photography trips run Feb. 16 and March 16.

Marine biology trips are offered in Mexico on Jan. 12 and March 30 sailings.

All trips include trekking, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling and skiff excursions. Sailings accommodate a flexible itinerary, allowing for viewing wildlife such as whales and dolphins.

Un-Cruise Adventures is a company with seven ships sailing Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Its parent company is InnerSea Discoveries and it began as American Safari Cruises.

It’s seven ships are Wilderness Adventurer, 60 guests; Wilderness Discoverer, 76 guests; Wilderness Explorer, 76 guests; Safari Endeavour, 86 guests; Safari Explorer, 36 guests; Safari Quest, 22 guests; and the Safari Legacy, 88 guests

2011 Holidays Aboard Small Ships

Many people settle down with family during the holidays to catch up, and reconnect with loved ones. For a small group, the holidays are a perfect time to explore and experience the world.

Small ship cruises have been busy this holiday season, exploring diverse areas of our world, from the southern reaches of Antarctica and the South Pacific, up to the unique Galapagos Islands and Central America, and further to Europe and America’s southern Atlantic coast.

Read the rest of this entry

Oslo – Lindblad passengers are safe

Our passengers on the High Artic Russia sailing are at the Hotel Continental many blocks away from the horrible issues in Oslo. They are being well taken care of and fly out tomorrow on schedule.

Passengers on the Land of the Ice Bears will arrive in Oslo, and are scheduled to overnight at the airport hotel away from the center of town.

Reason to travel with a reputable company like Lindblad/Nationa Geographic, we are on top of it.

Sitka, Alaska new dock no ships

Sitka, Alaska has built a new dock to encourage the big cruise ships to visit their small port town. So far they have a dock and no big cruise ships.

This is the time to take your SMALL ship cruise that visits Sitka. Once the big ships show up the town will be overrun. At this point I do not think there is a single Carribbean gold store in Sitka, as in all the other big ship ports. Sitka is on the verge of change, and not for the better in my opinion. I believe 2013 will see the transition of a native port to a tourist port. Read the rest of this entry

Alaska Inside Passage Bird Sightings – May 15-20

This is a list of bird sighting in the Alaska Inside Passage from National Geographic Sea Lion sailing May 15 – 20, 2011 Read the rest of this entry

National Geographic day on the ship in Baja

March 17th from the ship
From the National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California Find your Baja California cruise

The early morning light started painting with soft pastel tones the magnificent mountains of the Sierra del Mechudo to the west, when the National Geographic Sea Bird arrived at Los Islotes. A couple of volcanic guano-covered islets, Los Islotes is home to a small colony of California sea lions; located at the extreme northeast of the La Paz Bay, it is part of the Espiritu Santo Complex Biosphere Reserve and a small haven of marine life.

Well before we could see the sea lions we heard them calling, coughing and barking in as many different ways as sexes and age classes were present: small juveniles doing plaintive loud calls whereas the big bulls proclaimed their territories with deep barking. Soon, their shapes were clearly visible on top of the rocks and swimming all around the islets.

Numerous birds completed the show and added an extra touch of life to the already rich scene. Magnificent frigatebirds, brown pelicans, blue-footed boobies, turkey vultures and gulls were all over the place; brown pelicans were particularly active plunge-diving, trying to catch their breakfast just off our bow. This inspired us to go exploring the same waters after our own morning meal. Many of us went snorkeling and admired the sheer beauty and grace of the sea lions underwater; their maneuverability and speed are astonishing and could easily rival those of any fish!

After a full morning at Los Islotes we sailed north looking for new adventures; we had just started lunch when an announcement from the bow made everyone but the hungriest run away from the buffet line: a blue whale had been sighted! The largest animal that ever lived on this planet showed us its flukes many times as we watched it for a good half an hour, before continuing on our way to San Francisco Island.

Once there, where we engaged in numerous activities including snorkeling, hiking, kayaking and last but not least, a delicious dinner ashore. Star-gazing, story-telling, s’mores and dolphins jumping just off the beach made the perfect ending to a marvelous day in the Sea of Cortez!

Carlos Navarro, Undersea Specialist

Tsunami Galapagos update

Reports from the Galapagos Islands have just arrived with the following update on the passing of the waves that resulted from Japan’s earthquake earlier today: The waves arrived to the Islands about an hour later than originally expected. Seas are choppier than normal around the entire archipelago (according to our captains aboard M/V Evolution and M/Y Grace), but nothing out of the ordinary. Waves at Academy Bay, in Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island), were taller than normal as well, but there are no records of any damages caused to boats, coasts or ports in the Galapagos. The animals from the Charles Darwin Research Station that had been transported to the highlands as a precaution will be transported back down during the course of the day tomorrow. All appears to be back to normal in the Islands.

Local airlines have confirmed as well that all flights will operate normally tomorrow at their regular scheduled times. No delays are expected with our flight operations for tomorrow.

The Tsunami Warning in Ecuador is expected to be lifted in the next couple of hours.

I wonder if Curious George was up lifted to higher ground?

Tsunami precautions in the Galapagos Islands

Tsunami issues for the Galapagos
March 11
As you are probably already aware, an earthquake of magnitude 8.9 struck the coast of Japan about 11 hours ago, causing a large Tsunami alert for the Pacific Coast. A Tsunami warning was issued by the US National Weather Service earlier today for 50 countries, amongst which are Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. These waves are scheduled to arrive in the Galapagos Islands at 16h30 local time (17h30 Mainland Ecuador time).

Expected Impact in Galapagos

Weather experts in Ecuador declared this morning that a similar situation to the one witnessed in Hawaii earlier today is expected in the Galapagos. The taller than usual waves, which arrived about every 15 minutes to the Hawaiian coast had no real damaging effects on the shores and ports of the islands. A very similar scenario is expected in the Galapagos today. As a safety precaution, Quasar Expeditions’ yachts have been relocated to the southwest of the archipelago as of early this morning, 10 miles off the nearest shore. This is expected to be the most protected area of the islands from the waves that will arrive from the northeast. The Galapagos National Park has closed all visitor sites today and our guests will spend the day aboard their yacht until the Tsunami Warning in Ecuador is lifted.

International Flights to Ecuador

All international flights into Quito and Guayaquil are operating normally and no delays or cancellations are expected. We do not anticipate having any complications with our passengers for tomorrow’s departures.

Flights to the Galapagos Islands

As a safety precaution, local airlines have suspended flight operations to the Galapagos Islands today. However, we spoke to the operations manager of one of the major domestic airlines earlier who informed us that flights are expected to resume operations normally tomorrow. We do not anticipate any major delays with our regular operation for those passengers leaving for the Galapagos or returning to mainland Ecuador, but we do suggest that all passengers be patient with tomorrows’ commuting to the Islands. Airports in Galapagos are expected to have twice the number of flights tomorrow to normalize the situation of those passengers stranded in mainland Ecuador today. We will send an update later in the day with the status of tomorrow’s flight operations once we have received a final word from the airlines. Our yachts will be on stand-by at port tomorrow in case this scenario should change in any way.

A Further Update at the End of the Day Today

An additional update will be sent at the end of the afternoon today after the waves arrive to the Galapagos Islands. No damaging effects on the Islands are expected as a result of the waves, but we will keep you informed of the exact impact on the archipelago, the situation with flights for tomorrow and the status of the Tsunami warning in Ecuador.

Ketchikan, small ship port in Alaska

Ketchikan is usually the first port in Alaska to visit on an Alaska cruise. The big ships dock on one side of town our small ships dock in the middle of town. One of our small ship lines Inner Sea Discoveries starts and ends their cruises in Ketchikan. Those who book their small ship crusie with us, Sunstone Tours, the small ship experts, receive a map and all sorts of fun information on Ketchikan as well as where to stay if you come in a night early. Here is some of the information that we provide our clients..

And…for a fun unique private tour of Ketchikan in her vintage Chevy, visit my friend Lois at ClassicTours…tell her Linda sent you

Stop by the visitors center on the dock to pick up the Historic Ketchikan walking-tour map and guide to area attractions. The 2-mi/3-km tour is an excellent way to see many of Ketchikan’s sites. Even if you stray from the map, don’t worry: The town isn’t big enough to get lost in. The city has also put up signage to make it even easier for visitors to find sites of interest and then return to the docks.

The walking tour will take you past the turreted, Victorian-style Burkhardt House; the 1954 tunnel on Front Street, which claims to be the only tunnel that you can go over, around and through; and E.C. Phillips & Sons, one of the few remaining cold-storage and fish-processing plants in the city.

You might also want to drop by the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, one block inland from the cruise docks. It provides interpretive exhibits about the rain forest, wildlife and native cultures, a film about the Tongass National Forest, and information on public lands, area hiking, kayaking and local ecosystems.

Along with the prosperity brought by salmon and mining came a red-light district built on the pilings above Ketchikan Creek. The community had as many as 30 bordellos before prostitution became illegal in 1953. Most of the women moved on; one who didn’t was Dolly Arthur, whose bordello is now a museum, Dolly’s House.

Strolling along the rest of Creek Street and checking out the various shops can be great fun. There are also a few cafes where you can eat outside if the weather is nice. Or just hang over the railings and watch the fish and kayakers go by. While you’re on Creek Street, catch the tram up to Cape Fox Lodge. From there you’ll be treated to one of the best views of Ketchikan.

Where are the small ships on Christmas Day?

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate. And a good movie and chinese food to those who celebrate Hanukkah

We have done some fun research as to where some of my favorite small ships are sailing on Christmas Day. To the best of my knowledge, every one of these ships were sold out, sailing at 100% occupancy. We have Christmas bookings for 2011 and 2011. It is not to early to start planning.

American Glory – Lake George, Ocala National Forest, Florida

American Safari Explorer- Kona Big Island, for Christmas 2011
American Safari Quest – whale watching, Baja

Cruceros Australis – Stella Australis – Punta Arenas – Chile
Cruceros Australis – Via Australis = Cape Horn – Argentina
Cruceros Australis – Mare Australlis – Patagonia – Argentina

I.E. Evolution – Espanola Islands, sea lions, Galapagos

Le Diamant – sailing Vietnam, South East Asia
Le Levant – sailing Trinidad
Le Ponet – sailing Persian Gulf

Lindblad Expeditions Salacia – sailing Egypt

National Geographic Endeavour – Santa Cruz Charles Darwin Station Galapagos
National Geographic Explorer – sailing Antarctica
National Geographic Islander – Seymour Island, Galapagos
National Geographic Sea Bird – day at sea whale watching, Baja
National Geographic Sea Lion – sailing Panama Canal Transit, Costa Rica

Paul Gauguin Cruises m/s Paul Gauguin—Moorea, Society Islands (French Polynesia)

Regent Seven Seas Navigator—sea day; from Cabo San Lucas to Zihuatanejo, Mexico

SeaDream Yacht Club SeaDream I—Jost van Dyke, British Virgin Islands
SeaDream Yacht Club SeaDream II—Coconut Grove, Nevis

Silversea Prince Albert II—South Georgia, Antarctica