Family Reunion on the Sea of Cortes
An Uncruise is an ideal vacation for a multigenerational family. It’s an all-inclusive option. Nobody has to cook, yet the food is amazing and catered to different tastes and dietary requirements. My sister’s vegetarian dishes? Delicious. My son-in-law’s very picky tastes with no sauces? His loss, but yes, they came out cheerfully sauceless and meats well done. There are activity choices offered in multiple time slots a day. Nobody is bored. Nobody is exhausted. The dining room and lounge bring the family group together to share our stories about today and our reminiscences about the past.
Three generations of my family got together to have a reunion on the Baja’s Bounty cruise, and it was amazing. After an easy flight from Seattle to Cabo on Alaska Airlines for my husband and I and my daughter and my son in law, we stayed at an airport hotel awaiting the rest of the family. My sister flew in from Portland, and John’s parents from Everett. In the morning, we took a private city tour and transfer to the Barceló Gran Faro Los Cabos with Cabo Transfers, which I was able to book in advance online.
Clear signs at the front led us right to the hospitality area, where we checked in with UnCruise. The agent tagged our bags, gave us wrist bands for the resort, and told us when to be back. Barceló Gran Faro is an all-inclusive, and those wristbands let us eat in restaurants, drink at the pool bar, and play on the sand during the day. Perfect! We met back at hospitality in time to meet our fellow cruisers and a few Expedition Guides. Then off for an overland trip to La Paz with narration and snacks along the way (bathroom is on the bus). In La Paz, we boarded and were treated to champagne and then dinner.
We settled into our cabins that were all three in a row – but honestly, the boat is small enough we would have been just fine separated. No quarter mile hikes down featureless corridors on THESE boats. The cabins are small but well organized, with room for everything we needed. We didn’t spend much time in them except to sleep and take a shower!
Every night the seven of us got together in the lounge with the rest of the guests to find out what our activity options were for the next day. Choices ranged from Snorkel 101, Kayak 101, shore walks, ridge hikes, mule rides at Bahia Agua Verde, skiff tours, SUP (stand up paddle board), and more, like tours of the galley and the engine room. After gamely trying Kayak and Snorkel 101, my in-laws determined that snorkeling was right out. But kayaking, they enjoyed. My son-in-law wanted the desert hikes. My sister-in-law wanted a mix of kayaking, hiking, and time on own with a quiet book and a glass of wine. My husband and I enjoyed snorkeling especially, with skiff tours and tide pooling thrown in the mix. All of us got what fit and pleased us best.
Having seven in the party meant that we didn’t all get to sit together at meals. That was a blessing, really. We met a lot of people by breaking up into smaller groups. The other guests we met were a huge part of the experience. You could hear the booming laugh of an Aussie couple across the lounge. We hiked with teachers and lawyers, had dinner with scientists, students, and an actor. Shared photos with people from states we’d never seen and exclaimed over photos of each other’s adorable grandchildren.
My husband’s 50th birthday was just before that cruise, so we asked to celebrate it onboard. The crew did a fun dessert after dinner one night, with small cakes for people celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, retirements, and other occasions. Yummo! We enjoyed that celebration, but we also really appreciated the opportunity to raise a glass together to my sister-in-law’s husband Greg, whom we lost that year. The crew was wonderful about that as well.
Hard to choose highlights! One morning early, I was out leaning against the rail to watch the sunrise and heard an odd sound from the water. Splash…. SLAP. Splash….SLAP. A crew member smiled and pointed my eye the right way to see mobulas leaping from the water and slapping the surface as they landed and dove back in, over and over. The sound was very clear in the early morning quiet. Very cool. Going out to Los Islotes to see the sea lions was another. The brave among us suited up in wetsuits and snorkel gear to actually swim with them – playful marine puppies that they are. They do nip the fins and swarm around the swimmers. Those of us who watched from the skiffs also got a fun display from above.
I loved snorkeling. We were provided with wetsuits in Baja – the water is cooler than Hawaii or Costa Rica. I loved seeing my in-laws out in a kayak, mom with her floppy hat, laughing and laughing. I loved the panoramic pictures that the kids brought back from a ridge hike.
We were not in season for the gray whale migration in Magdalena Bay, so our cruise offered swimming with the whale sharks. That was another activity with snorkelers for the bold and fit and skiff tours for those who would rather watch from above. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea – they can be up to the size of a school bus – and polka dot spotted all over. Seeing one come up from below and hovering so nearby has to be experienced to be understood. An amazing end to the trip.
The family loved the UnCruise experience, and we want to go back! Hard to choose. Maybe Alaska, maybe Hawaii, maybe even Belize … though I’d like to go back to Baja in the right season for the gray whales, too!
The variety and quality of food and activities makes this a wonderful family reunion trip, and I highly recommend it from personal experience!