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UnCruise in Costa Rica/Panama Canal this coming November
Old 08-22-2016, 11:41 AM   #1
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UnCruise in Costa Rica/Panama Canal this coming November

Hi Everyone -

Anyone have any experience with UnCruise? DW and I have taken many traditional cruises around Mediterranean, North Sea, Caribbean, and Hawaii (which we enjoyed very much). But for my 50th we wanted to do something a bit different. I've always wanted to see Costa Rica and Panama Canal and this seems like a great way to do it. Casual, active oriented, very small ship, naturalists on board.

I originally booked a National Geographic cruise (basically same itinerary and ship size) but it was about 2x cost of UnCruise so I ate the $500 reservation deposit and shifted to UnCruise. I would love to hear anyone's experiences or tips/tricks with Uncruise.

Related question re Costa Rica - Zika is a bit of a concern, but since we are well past pregnancy age we are gong anyway. Any thoughts on that as well?

Thanks!
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Old 08-22-2016, 11:50 AM   #2
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You might want to go to Cruisecritic.com and look up reviews and comments on that line
Best Un-cruise Cruises 2016: Reviews and Photos
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Old 08-22-2016, 12:34 PM   #3
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We LOVE UnCruise- took 2 Alaskan cruises with them. My reviews are on CruiseCritic.

No rock-climbing walls. No casinos. No eat/drink/party till U Puke mentality. Staterooms unimpressive but they have all the basics. Food fresh, healthy, always good vegetarian options, some interesting options (lavender scones, chocolate-ginger cookies- and they share their recipes). Crew are US-based, US-flagged ship, most have advanced degrees in marine biology or something else relevant. Excursions 99% included (I paid a little extra to snorkel in some Jacques-Cousteau gear they supplied for the cold Alaskan waters). Good mix of smart, high-powered people who leave their bling at home and a few people retired early on good civil pensions. A few Australians and Brits. Some kids, but well-chosen by their parents. The ones we met were bright, active and curious and not stuck to video games.

Can you tell we love them? If you're used to luxury, being treated like the Maharani of India by people who were born into less-fortunate circumstances, and are looking forward to eating, drinking and partying to excess, this isn't your ship. They will not fold your jammies into cute animal shapes. Personally, I've never taken one of the other lines because UnCruise is my type of travel.
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Old 08-22-2016, 01:12 PM   #4
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We are booked for Jan 2017, this will be our 5th cruise with them. You should have said something, I could have saved you and I $400. Get ready for a fun time. And on the Galapagos trip they did fold our stuff into animals.

DSCN0340.jpg
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Old 08-22-2016, 01:23 PM   #5
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And on the Galapagos trip they did fold our stuff into animals.



Attachment 24543
Oh, heck. They better not start with the art auctions and the wet T-shirt contests.
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Old 08-22-2016, 01:36 PM   #6
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Oh, heck. They better not start with the art auctions and the wet T-shirt contests.
Or dress up dinner night.
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Old 08-22-2016, 04:08 PM   #7
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Thanks grasshopper and athena53. We have enjoyed our past cruise experiences (we just avoid the over-eating/over-drinking crowds) but this one sounds even better. I hope this becomes our new cruise of choice...
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Old 08-22-2016, 04:57 PM   #8
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I have done this cruise line in Alaska and it is very pleasant and relaxing. I don't think you will regret it. Pricey but a very different experience than on major cruise lines. I had done a similar Alaska cruise on Princess and the experiences don't compare, enjoy!!
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Old 08-22-2016, 09:21 PM   #9
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I hadn't heard of this outfit so thanks for this thread--will keep it in mind for future travel.
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Old 08-23-2016, 06:37 AM   #10
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Contact Grasshopper if you want to book them! There's a referral bonus for both sides in the form of a credit. Since UnCruise has straightforward pricing with no "deals", discounts, etc., it helps.
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:28 AM   #11
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I like the no shenanigans pricing...it's annoying to find out you paid too much for something because you didn't know the trick to getting good pricing.

Sounds like my kind of cruise, but if the rack-rate for the cruise is what you really pay, I'm finding it difficult to justify; a quick check is $1000/night per person.

That price is:
Three times the rate for a European river cruise (included beer and excursions)
Five times the rate for my last Central America cruise (no beer, no excursions)
Ten times the rate for my last trans-Atlantic (included beer, but not excursions)

You could have a nice long vacation in Central America with an apartment, a maid, a cook, a driver, and naturalist touring for much less.
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:40 AM   #12
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Wow. I'm not a cruise-type person, but we were 'talked into' one w/ friends about a decade ago. We chafed at the expensive room, just under $1000/each for 7 nights in Alaska. But that's nothing compared to Uncruise. Holy moly!

It really does sound like a wonderful time, but I'm with Seng - I'll fly in and book all my own individual excursions and still save a bundle.
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:55 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by sengsational View Post
I like the no shenanigans pricing...it's annoying to find out you paid too much for something because you didn't know the trick to getting good pricing.

Sounds like my kind of cruise, but if the rack-rate for the cruise is what you really pay, I'm finding it difficult to justify; a quick check is $1000/night per person.

That price is:
Three times the rate for a European river cruise (included beer and excursions)
Five times the rate for my last Central America cruise (no beer, no excursions)
Ten times the rate for my last trans-Atlantic (included beer, but not excursions)

You could have a nice long vacation in Central America with an apartment, a maid, a cook, a driver, and naturalist touring for much less.
As UnCruise Adventures says It's not the journey it's the experience. If you note they go to places where the big cheap ships can't really get close to the experience go, and everything is pretty much inclusive. I have been on big ships, this is just a better experience in my mind. YMMV. Like the OP said compared to other small ships they are pretty competitive. Try going to the Galapagos Islands or the Sea of Cortez on a big ship. In the Galapagos tours on some islands are limited to 12+ a guide how long would it take to unload 1000 people to go see the sights. I have been to Denali's road end, stayed in a $400 a room lodge, guess what they have to charge that for a what 10 week season. If you want that experience you need to pony up. River cruises in europe, and big ship cruises in Alaska aren't worth my time or money. I like to spend the time I take away from home to get the real deal.
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Old 08-23-2016, 11:19 AM   #14
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I agree with grasshopper-YMMV. That is why they have small ships and big ships. On some of these river cruises they offer an extension at a price twice what you could do it for on your own, but some people want a seamless trip.
I would never go on any of those megas, because they cannot go to the smaller ports.
When we were in Tahiti, we sailed on the Paul Gauguin, with 300 pax, instead of a Princess ship with 700 to 2000.
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UnCruise in Costa Rica/Panama Canal this coming November
Old 08-23-2016, 02:23 PM   #15
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UnCruise in Costa Rica/Panama Canal this coming November

One reason for the higher prices is that the ship sails under a US flag (try finding that on Princess), is subject to US regulation and pays according to US laws. We appreciated that. It's one reason, BTW, that their Alaska cruises can go from Juneau to Ketchikan or vice versa with no Canadian ports on the itinerary.
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Old 08-23-2016, 02:31 PM   #16
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One reason for the higher prices is that the ship sails under a US flag (try finding that on Princess), is subject to US regulation and pays according to US laws. We appreciated that. It's one reason, BTW, that their Alaska cruises can go from Juneau to Ketchikan or vice versa with no Canadian ports on the itinerary.
Don't you mean have to ?
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Old 08-23-2016, 03:42 PM   #17
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We've never cruised, because I didn't want to buy the wardrobe that seemed necessary. So, are you saying UnCruise isn't all about where you buy your clothes? Kohl's would work?
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Old 08-23-2016, 04:01 PM   #18
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So, are you saying UnCruise isn't all about where you buy your clothes? Kohl's would work?

You'll probably see more of the pricier brands of outdoor wear (and, depending on where you're going you may also want that protection) but yeah, Kohl's would work.
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Old 08-23-2016, 07:35 PM   #19
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I looked at Uncruise a couple of years ago when we wanted to do the Panama Canal on a small ship. Lots of their journeys looked intriguing, and I've saved their info for the future; but at least at that time, they were doing the canal transit at night and we really wanted to do it during the day. I found this was true of pretty much all the well known eco-cruises. (Haven't looked recently, things may have changed.)

We ended up doing the trip with a Panamanian company instead and had a fabulous time (https://www.pmatours.net/discovery/t...itinerary.html). We really enjoyed getting to know the local crew, and both the naturalist and first mate were amazing at spotting wildlife. The whole cruise was great, but the real attraction for us was that the canal transit was two days, with an overnight in Lake Gatun and a hike on Barro Colorado, the Smithsonian's research island. I'm sure Uncruise is a great trip too, but just wanted to offer an alternative in case anyone is looking for something similar in Panama.
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:45 PM   #20
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We've never cruised, because I didn't want to buy the wardrobe that seemed necessary. So, are you saying UnCruise isn't all about where you buy your clothes? Kohl's would work?
You could go on a nude cruise and not even bother to bring a wardrobe
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