Originally built as an oceanographic research vessel, Un-Cruise’s upscale-but-rugged Safari Explorer takes adventure-seeking cruisers to hidden hideaways in Hawaii and Southeast Alaska. With a maximum capacity of 36 guests in 18 cabins, Safari Explorer has a low-key, homey ambience. The all-American crew prepares locally sourced meals paired with quality wines (included in the fare) and takes guests on thrill-inducing Zodiac rides, and kayaking and snorkeling excursions.
What We Love
Open Bow and Bridge: Spot seals and old-growth forests or sacred “heiau” (temples) and taro fields from the open-bow platform. Access to the bridge (weather permitting) keeps guests in close touch with their watery surrounds.
Dive Platform: A marina platform at Safari Explorer's stern comes in handy in Hawaii, where snorkeling among the isles' coral and tropical fish is a frequent activity.
Maui Night Dive: One of the most spectacular excursions offered is a nocturnal dive in Maui with giant Pacific manta rays. These graceful creatures have enormous wingspans and feed on brine shrimp that are attracted to light.
Best Known For
Uncommon Itineraries: Whether cruising in Hawaii or Alaska, Safari Explorer stops at unconventional places such as pristine Molokai and Lanai, or the shallow Alaskan inlets and coves that shelter glaciers, whales, and bears.
Genuine Adventure: Serious hiking, kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling excursions are abundantly available to those seeking more than just a casual encounter with nature.
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Who It's Best For
Foodies Who Enjoy Adventure: These cruises are a choice pick for seekers of beyond-the-beaten-track destinations. Bonus: The food on board is tasty, fresh, and sustainably sourced (seafood caught from local waters shows up on your plate).
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Tipping Is Not Included: Although most amenities — like beverages and shore excursions — are included in the cruise fare, gratuities are not. Count on setting aside a good chunk of change for tips for the crew.
Peter Knego is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.