This laid-back, 62-passenger ship from Un-Cruise Adventures focuses more on nature than almost anyone else at sea. A typical day consists of kayaking or paddle boarding off the back of the ship, or taking an inflatable skiff out to watch for wildlife while onboard experts weigh in. And even though the emphasis here is on the nature and not onboard entertainment, you might find yourself lounging on the sun deck, cozying up in the library, or grabbing a drink at the bar. Best of all, these spaces look newly refreshed as the ship was almost entirely rebuilt in 2016.
What We Love
Complimentary Massage: The best follow-up to an active day on shore is a soothing massage, and on Safari Voyager, one complimentary 30-minute massage per passenger is included in the fare.
All-Inclusive Excursions: There is no extra charge for any of the excursions on offer, from kayaking to hiking to snorkeling, so you can do as many as you like without incurring extra fees.
Best Known For
Active Adventures: Safari Voyager's fleet of inflatable skiffs take passengers ashore on exploratory excursions, whether that means scanning rainforest canopies for scarlet macaws or trekking to a turtle sanctuary. You can also kayak, paddle board, or snorkel right off the ship's platform on the stern, which is specially designed so you don’t need to climb up and down ladders to reach it.
Knowledgeable Guides: Experts in everything from marine life to birds make up the expedition crew. Their lectures and insider knowledge make exploring new destinations a joy as much as a discovery.
Repeat Guests: There is a fierce loyalty to the Un-Cruise brand among passengers, many of who seem to be going down the list of every destination on offer to soak up the line's signature nature-rich itineraries. More often than not, some passengers will recognize fellow guests and employees from former trips.
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Who It's Best For
Intellectually Curious Types: As a small and nimble vessel, Safari Voyager embraces the spirit of adventure, escorting guests beyond the "been there, done that" ports and cultivating an onboard atmosphere that's social and convivial. This ship tends to attract like-minded guests who are fascinated with nature and the environment and are seeking to engage in these topics in out-of-the-box ways.
Outdoor Lovers: Anyone who revels in hiking, swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking will love this cruise.
Laid-Back Travelers: For those who think wearing a tie or a pair of heels to dinner is torture, the casual nature of this cruise will be a welcome relief. T-shirts and shorts are perfectly fine whenever and wherever (including at meals), and because changes occur when high tides or bad weather roll around, being flexible is a key attribute.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Few-Frills Standard Cabins: Standard staterooms are small and comfortable, but on the basic side. There are TVs which can play DVDs (which you can borrow from the lounge) as well as iPod docking stations in every cabin. Some guests might find the layout — the sink is in the main cabin, not in the bathroom — annoying. Limited drawer space should also be considered when packing.
Not for Passengers with Disabilities: With no onboard elevator and plenty of staircases to climb, plus excursions that require getting out and about, passengers should have few mobility restrictions. Note that skiffs are the primary method of transportation between ship and shore, which means extra effort is involved when boarding and disembarking — and landings can sometimes be wet.
Don’t Expect to Sleep In: You may find sloths in the jungle, but there is little time to act like one on board. Your day is strictly regimented: breakfast starts at 7:30 am, lunch at 12:30 pm, and activities are packed in between. Once you're back on board after the day's adventures, you’ll have time for a shower — then it’s straight to dinner before another full day of exploring.
Aaron Saunders is a Calgary-based contributor to ShermansCruise.com.
Kim Foley MacKinnon is a Boston-based writer for ShermansCruise whose work has also appeared in The Boston Globe.