Category Archives: Themed Cruises

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

Professional Photo Tips for Travelers

Showing native children a camera

We’re sharing veteran wildlife and nature photographer George Ritchey’s tips for getting the most out of your equipment and experience. With over 35 years of wildlife photography experience and credits including Robb Report, Atlanta Journal Constitution andBirmingham Magazine, Ritchey offers travelers tips on how to capture, preserve and enhance their memories while traveling.

Read the rest of this entry

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.

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Special Baja California Photo Expedition

Up close to Gray Whales in Mexico's Sea of CortezLindblad Expeditions released a new Baja Mexico itinerary called Baja California Odyssey: San Ignacio Lagoon and the Sea of Cortez, a photo expedition that explores the Sea of Cortez, one of the best places for observing marine mammals in the world. This sails Jan. 11, 2012 from La Paz, Mexico for 11-days/10-nights aboard the 62-passenger National Geographic Sea Bird.

Joining Lindblad’s expedition team on this special sailing will be National Geographic photographer Susan Seubert, a recipient of Life Magazine’s Alfred Eisenstaedt Award, editorial photographer and photojournalist, along with two Lindblad-National Geographic-certified photo instructors. They will assist passengers in shooting wildlife photos while on trips by Zodiac, kayak, or walks. Read the rest of this entry

Looking to Shoot? Try a Small Ship Photography Cruise

At this time of year, photographers are planning their photo shoots for the year. We at Sunstone Tours & Cruises would like to suggest a small ship photography cruise for 2011.

Why? Small ship photography cruises offer unique benefits to a typical photo trip. Read the rest of this entry

Hawaii – Small ship cruise sails the islands

American Safari Cruises Introduces Exclusive and Inclusive Hawaiian Island Adventures for 2011

Action Packed Exploration in Maui, Moloka’i, Molokini, Lana’i and Hawaii
SEATTLE, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ — American Safari Cruises , best known for offering compelling yachting adventures in Alaska and Mexico’s Baja, introduces “authentic Hawaii,” fall 2011. Choose from the 7-night Hawaiian Seascapes and the 10-night Hawaii’s Traditional Shores, both boasting active adventures and cultural exchanges designed to thoroughly engage guests’ senses and take full advantage of the islands attributes as no other cruise can do.

Hawaii is a natural extension to the 13-year-old company’s existing product line-up given the rich marine mammal environment and opportunities to kayak, hike, snorkel, sail, bike, stand-up paddle board and more. American Safari Cruises is the first operator to offer unstructured inter-island yacht cruising in Hawaii, where the next port may not be a port at all, but a magical passage rich with wildlife, a secluded and inviting beach or a quiet cove that beckons to be explored. After a day of action, adventurers can ease tired muscles in the sauna or soak in the on-deck hot tub aboard the elegant 36-guest Safari Explorer.

Paradise shows its true colors via genuine and rewarding experiences that would be virtually impossible to do on one’s own. Both the 7- and 10-night itineraries cruise from Lahaina, Maui to Kona, Hawaii or reverse and feature whale viewing; exploring cliff-lined bays and beaches around the private island of Lana’i; visiting ancient Hawaiian homelands of Moloka’i to enjoy a private Hawaiian Pa’ina (feast); hiking on the Laparuse Trail to view ancient ruins and seizing the rare opportunity to night snorkel in the marine rich environment of Molokini; and strolling on Black Sand Beach near the southernmost tip of the United States, Ka Lae, Hawaii. In addition, optional activities such as scuba diving, helicopter tours, mule ride and golfing are available at select locales.

The 10-night Hawaii’s Traditional Shores also includes three days of island exploration on Hawaii, allowing for ample time to explore this volcanic landmass by foot and small water craft, finesse kayaking skills, seek out Green Sea Turtles and other sea life or lounge on a quiet secluded beach to soak up the fine Hawaiian sunshine.

The 36-guest Safari Explorer offers an on-deck hot tub, sauna, exercise equipment, two-person kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, sail boats, snorkeling equipment and motorized shore boats for close-up exploration, a wine library, and a large-screen TV in the main salon. Exceptional cuisine is prepared with fresh, local ingredients, and the complimentary bar offers premium spirits, fine wines and microbrews. All staterooms offer Tempur-pedic mattresses, flat screen TV/DVD players and iPod docks. The guest-crew ratio is 2 to 1, with an all-American crew that includes two professional naturalists, masseuse and Captain – some who hail from the Hawaiian islands.

The inaugural Hawaiian cruise departs October 26, 2011 with weekly departures through mid-May 2012.

Inclusive prices start at $4,995 for 7-night cruises and $6,495 for 10-nights.

Cruise Report: Great Western River Cruise

Aboard the Queen of the West, Sept 25 – Oct 2, 2010

If you want a cruise steeped in history, this is for you. We had watched the Ken Burns video prior to going, and it was immensely helpful in understanding the magnitude of the Lewis & Clark 4000 mile exploration in 1804-1806. Traveling up the Columbia River while hearing an on-board narration by a local historian gave us a vivid sense of the trials they experienced, and of the historic discoveries they made (over 200 species of animals and plants never before seen). To hear about their survival while undergoing extreme weather conditions, lack of food from time to time, successful travel through unknown territory controlled by many different Indian nations (some hostile), and terrain most difficult and inhospitable gave us an appreciation of modern luxuries. These Indian nations lived, hunted, and traded for more than 10,000 years in The Dalles area near the Bonneville Dam (erected 135 years later). Read the rest of this entry

Brand New Mississippi Sternwheeler

Guilford, CT – American Cruise Lines has announced it is expanding to the Mississippi River system with a brand new sternwheeler, already under construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD. It plans to operate the new riverboat on routes similar to those formerly run by Delta Queen Steamboat Company, which will include the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers. Cruising the Mississippi River on a sternwheeler is a true all-American experience that American Cruise Lines is pleased to bring back. The new paddlewheeler will recreate the grandeur of past riverboats while possessing the latest safety, environmental and construction technologies. The ship will have the look of a traditional riverboat along with more amenities, a faster speed, and an unmatched level of comfort. Features include six unique lounges, a library, an elegant dining salon, elevator service to all decks, and the exceptionally large staterooms found on all American Cruise Lines ships. With only 140 passengers, each guest will receive personalized service in the intimate and friendly atmosphere for which American Cruise Lines has become known.

 The first cruise is a scheduled to depart August 11, 2012 from New Orleans, Louisiana on a 7-night journey up the Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee. The ship will then begin a series of 7-night cruises travelling as far north as St. Paul, Minnesota while utilizing its remarkable speed to open up new itinerary possibilities. As on all true riverboats, a stage and bow ramp will give the ship access to the many interesting ports without docking facilities.

 American Cruise Lines has experienced record bookings in 2010 and has seen an increasing demand from passengers to bring their style of cruising to the Mississippi and tributary rivers. The company decided to introduce a new riverboat so that it could offer its superior style of cruising to the Mississippi River.

 American Cruise Lines will soon usher in a new era of Mississippi riverboats that will set the standard for years to come. For details on the best Mississippi River experience aboard the finest riverboat in the world please call an American Cruise Lines cruise specialist at 888-815-5428.

Atlantic Coastal Sailings

Alaska for Photographers

Photographers, listen up. If you’re looking for an Alaskan photographic adventure, Sunstone Tours & Cruises has the perfect experience for you.

Alaska small ship cruises are one of the best ways to explore the grandeur of Alaska’s majestic landscapes, flora and wildlife. The real benefit is the guidance and knowledge sharing from National Geographic and other accomplished photographers.

2010 brings several sailings that feature prominent photographers, like Dennis Finn, Flip Nicklin, Sean & Katie O’Connor, Michael Nolan and Ralph Lee Hopkins. Visit the Sunstone Tours & Cruises Alaska Photography Theme cruises page for itineraries, dates and details.