Think about being the only ship moored a mile off Playas del Coco in the particular Guanacaste region of southwest Costa Rica, then having a Zodiac to coast to explore the funky beach town on foot or to catch the half-day riv cruise through the nearby bush to watch for monkeys, alligators, and other rainfall forest dwellers.
Or getting the just noticeable vacationers in La Paz on Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, biking the particular beachfront esplanade known as Malecon, and wandering via a road market associated with local, natural foods and handmade projects and jewellery rather than engine block after corner of memorabilia and T-shirt shops that will are commonplace in more heavily touristed cruise ports. All whilst never seeing another get ship—well, nearly.
Earlier this The fall of, as my fellow passengers and am disembarked in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, from a two-week, small-ship sail along the Pacific coastline of South america and Costa Rica, we encountered only the second some other cruise dispatch of the entire journey. (The first was the single ship at dock in the normally active port of Puerto Vallarta. ) Once we walked towards the buses that will take all of us to the airport, I actually noticed most of the passengers getting off the Netherlands America Line ocean charter boat, likely sailing one of the even more common Costa Rica or Central America itineraries offered by larger ocean cruise outlines, curiously loking for our smaller sized expedition ship, Ocean Victory .
“Where did that boat originate from? ” one few sidled up to ask me.
Not really a surprising issue. After all of, this 186-passenger polar-class ship was built to get around rough, frozen waters and is outfitted using a host of expedition extra supplies not really needed or even utilized in cozy coastal hanging around. I explained which the ship itself had been moving from summer within Alaska in order to the winter months in Antarctica.
With just 50 passengers and seventy seven crew aboard, the Oct sailing has been Ocean Victory’s inaugural repositioning cruise —an one-way, one-off sailing that boats make as they travel in between two seasons destinations. It was also the test-run of sorts simply by the ship’s operator, United states Queen Trips (AQV), to scout slots and activities for what is going to be twice-a-year, slightly off-season warm water cruises.
The lesser touristed the slot calls, the particular better
All of us started the cruise in San Diego, sailing two days to achieve our first stop within Los Cabos. Probably the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico, all of us all agreed it was not the particular best suit for Sea Victory’s objective and consumer base.
Rather, for potential sailings, AQV executives said they wish to hit an inferior port among San Diego and Bajita, then mind into the ocean of Cortez, with possible stops to get kayaking along with other water-based routines in Loreto, on the eastern part of the Bajita peninsula, or even San Carlos, for the eastern coast of the Ocean of Cortez.
As all of us sailed southerly from Mis Cabos, the particular port calls became more appealing and (generally) much less touristy: Una Paz, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Huatulco, and Puerto Chiapas in South america, followed by Playas del Coco plus Puntarenas in Costa Rica. Even though Puerto Vallarta is a massive cruise hub, our sailing was quite early inside the fall/winter season, therefore the amazing lack of ships even there.
Each stop included both free and premium outdoor trip options—premium choices (for which passengers spend extra) incorporated swimming along with sea lions in La Paz plus salsa building and salsa dancing in Los Cabos. I’m not much to get group trips, but there was clearly plenty associated with beach and culture to explore separately as properly.
In Manzanillo, although some frequented a turtle sanctuary, our husband and I grabbed an genuine Mexican breakfast in a 60-year-old corner restaurant, bought fresh coconut drinking water from the road vendor, plus wandered the particular back streets to obtain a glimpse of nearby life within the central Philippine coast.
In Huatulco, we all joined a mountain bicycling excursion that took us to an almost drain, pristine, white-sand beach prior to heading uphill towards the area’s famed Tangolunda coastal ignore and after that coming back to discover the low-key resort town that draws in mostly Canadian travelers.
And in the particular southernmost Mexican state of Chiapas, considerably off the country’s well-traveled path of luxury seaside resorts, we all strolled through an archaeological web site of the Izapa Mayan ruins, took part inside a Mayan cleansing ceremony, then went to a close by village where locals welcomed us in the city square with traditional dances and the demonstration associated with how they turn raw cacao nibs into their particular own unique chocolate.
As soon as we have got to Costa Rica, our ship had gone completely remote, stopping at Playas del Coco, and areas with no correct port associated with any sort, needing us in order to anchor the mile out there make our way to banks on Zodiacs—a big benefit to sailing the location on an trip ship which is equipped for the kinds associated with off-the-beaten-path explorations.
What it’s like sailing at the “Ocean Victory”
A single of a new but fast-growing breed of small boats made to explore glacial oceans, Ocean Success is a cross of kinds between experience ship and luxury boat.
On the outside, the particular ship is usually a state-of-the art trip vessel, along with X-Bow Infinity stabilization technologies for smoother rides in rough oceans. On the particular port and starboard sides of the boats, you can find retracting, over-the-water remark decks that are opened up on sea days designed for better wildlife viewing.
Inside is 100 % pure comfort, with all the feel and amenities of a contemporary boutique resort.
The cabin rentals are spacious—most have balconies and seats areas having a small sofa and table. Among 3 categories associated with suites, the particular largest feature a balcony jogging the complete length of the going to sleep and sitting down areas, a walk-in wardrobe, mini-bar, and a full-size couch and chairs in the adjacent private living area.
The open public areas include a fitness center, an outdoor infinity-edge pool, two outdoor very hot tubs, 2 dining areas (one has indoor plus outdoor seating), three bars, two large lounge places with floor-to-ceiling windows, plus a lecture hall.
What the ship does not have (a plus inside my opinion) is definitely an on-board gambling house, fancy shows, or shopping. Instead, cruising days plus evenings are filled with more romantic options for passageway the time: hands-on science demonstrations and lectures hosted by expedition leaders and naturalists, guest discussions from professionals on local culture plus history, plus impromptu video games (more about said games below).
The crew closes the deal
Boarding the ship in San Diego, I was immediately reminded of one particular of the factors I very first fell in love with Ocean Triumph during its inaugural Alaska sailing in May 2022: the staff and trip team—most of whom remembered me, and many of whom even welcomed me simply by name.
In contrast to on many ships, exactly where it’s frowned upon regarding crew to mingle with passengers, on the Sea Victory the particular expedition team is stimulated to hang out with guests.
Plus besides supplying their medical insight and expertise more than drinks plus meals, the staff were always upward for organizing alternative ocean day and evening activities, like a good afternoon hammer toe hole tournament at the sun deck and a hilarious post-dinner sport of Fish Bowl, that is a cross among charades plus Taboo.
There is also music every evening in the lay, where several guests danced and sang along with the unterhaltungskünstler and my husband, which happily joined up with in the piano.
The simple and calm atmosphere (there were zero formal dress up codes) was one of the details I loved most about Ocean Success . Yet small-ship cruises—and repositioning sailings in particular—aren’t for everyone, specifically those looking for meticulously planned times, multiple eating venues, plus elaborate displays.
And because the mail had a tough deadline for getting from the last Alaska sailing from the season to Ushuaia, Argentina, to begin the Antarctica season along with the organization that works the ship in the winter, Albatros Expeditions, there were more ocean days and often shorter slot stops compared to one would expect upon a traditional coastal-hugging sea cruise.
That may be an in addition or perhaps a less. But for versatile, even traditionally cruise-averse tourists or digital nomads seeking for the close-to-home, sluggish adventure with good Wi fi and sufficient downtime to relax plus work, I’d argue it is one of the biggest draws.
Intended for more info about times and prices for upcoming repositioning cruise trips, contact American Queen Voyages .