Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Cruise West
Ship: Spirit of Endeavour
Sailing Date: 03-10-2009
Itinerary: Whales and Wildlife Sea of Cortez
Overall I found this tour to be a magical experience, transporting us to new places physcially and mentally. Our first cruise, we are spoiled and would never choose a large cruise ship. The service was very personal, the cabins more than adequate, the tour guides very knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and off shore experiences were well thought out and interesting, and not least of all, the food was fantastic with varied choices.
The food was to die for! A light breakfast, consisting of Danishes, yogurt, oatmeal, fruit and dry cereal, with juices, was available in the lounge with a hot breakfast available in the dining room. We were never disappointed. Lunch was served in the dining room, as was dinner. There was always a choice of various items, including vegetarian.
During social hour there was an array of appetizers available in the lounge, and in the afternoon there were freshly baked cookies on the bar.
Our room was quite comfortable, actually a little larger than I'd expected it to be--with sufficient room for storage, and an adequate sized bathroom. What was great was the large windows which looked out onto the sea. We could step right out our door onto the deck. We had selected a step up from the cheapest room.
The onboard activities consisted primarily of socializing, eating, drinking, and wildlife viewing with the naturalists. The focus was on was was going on outside of the the ship, which is what we were looking for.
Don't miss anything! The excursions we took were all included in the tour. There were a few which were optional. The trip to San Javier mission received good reviews, as did the ceviche-making option--though we were told it was more a ceviche eating experience!
We flew into Los Cabos a day early and opted to find our own hotel, which we were able to obtain for perhaps a third or less of the prices of the more luxurious hotels. We were also just a few minutes walk from the ship. The first night was the most rough at sea, with our morning destination of Isla Espiritu Santo. The scenery all the way was wondrous, with clear turquise blue waters. Our guide came over the intercome at 645 for our "wakeup call" and to advise us of the hundreds of dolphins leaping and running through the water near the ship! At Isla Espiritu Santo we kayaked, snorkled, and hiked. If you don't want to engage in any of those activities, you can just lie on the beach and take in the sun and/or read.
The next morning, after our first humpback sighting off the ship, we traveled by bus across the peninsula to Puero Adolfo Lopez at Magdalena Bay. Here we all got onto pangas and headed off into the fog to hunt for the famous gray whales--and wow, we did find them! Whales, whales, and more whales--mothers and calves--lolling, rolling, surfacing--under and around our boat. This was an experience I had been pining for for many years and I was not disappointed. Upon our return to shore, we were treated to lunch, then we returned part of the way by bus and stopped at a small town for a display of charros--a display of traditional Mexican horsemanship. Delightful!
The next morning we left by the small DIBS crafts for the beaches of Isla Carmen, where we once again kayaked and snorkeled, and went on an hour and a half hike, where we were witness to the diversity of landscape and vegetation, some supporting salt waters, others not. That evening as the sun set, we were witness to the completely unchoreagraphed performance of a lifetime--the sperm whales showed up--blowing, surfacing, and diving; while at the same time a large contingent of bottlenosed dolphins (hundreds) began twirling, leaping (up to 5 at a time), diving, speeding around the boat. This seemed to go on for hours!
After our dinner of red snapper we had another prsentation on the history of Baja California--not quite as dramatic as the first!
We spent one day in the small, old town of Loreto, where we visited the mission and had most of the day free to wander. In the afternoon we were guests for wine, fruit and cheese in the patio of the mission, followed by a musical performance by a vocalist (Reina) and two guitarists. There was even opportunity for many of us to join in and dance.
The next day we were anchored off of Los Islotes, home to a large sea lion rookery. My spouse was one of those who opted for the sea lion encounter--where the ses lions would frolic in the water with the snorkelers, playing "chicken", pulling any hanging cords, and gently grabbing extremities! The rest of us took DIBS tours around the rocks, observing the mother sea lions and babes, the brown boobies, blue-footed boobies, gulls, pelicans, and even a peregrine falcon. That afternoon we again took the small crafts out to another gorgeous beach where my spouse snorkeled and kayaked, and I opted for the Boulder Scramble--and 2-1/2 hour hike up into the interior of the island, where we had to use our arms and legs to make our way over and around the large boulders blocking our way. This was my most exercise of the trip and it felt good.
The next day, our last full day, was in La Paz, where we were pretty much on our own, except for a Mexican fiesta held at one of the local nightclubs. We indulged in a Mexican meal with entertainment afterwards consisting of young members of a ballet folklorico. They were very talented and colorful.
Some members of our group opted to continue the tour to Copper Canyon and we said our farewells. The remainder of us traveled on the Spirit of Endeavour that night back to Cabo San Lucas, where we disembarked in the morning.
There was really nothing that disappointed me at all. I loved the casual dress--sandals, T-shirts, and shorts were appropriate at all times. Some of the women put on a skirt for dinner, but it was by no means required or expected. I would have liked to have been informed of the likelihood of the first night's rough waters. If so, we would have taken meclizine in advance and have not been startled by the rocking and rolling that first night.