UnCruise Adventures: 10 Reasons This Is Your Next Hawaii Vacation

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For many, Hawaii is the ultimate bucket-list destination. The golden sand beaches, the adorable green sea turtles basking in the sun, the looming volcanos and of course the immense spirit of the islands. That said, actually planning a trip to Hawaii can be quite overwhelming. There are so many options on each of the islands, countless hotels, restaurants and activities to choose from that information overload comes on quickly.  And this my friends is the allure of going on a cruise in Hawaii. 

That said, if you have been around here for a while you know I am not a traditional cruiser. But one cruise company that has always called out to me are the small ship sailings with UnCruise Adventures. Just the name alone is like a beacon signaling to me.  I’ve always been super independent minded and spirited which is how I travel as well. When I hear “uncruise” it says “Welcome independent minded, anti-cruiser, we have a home for you right here.”

Friends, this trip was nothing short of spectacular. Cruising with UnCruise Adventures opened up my eyes to how and why so many people have fallen in love with this company. Half of the people on our sailing were former UnCruise patrons who have sailed on their other trips, with several having even done the Hawaii trip previously. This is what UnCruise does. It lures you in and gives you a home, whether you are a long time fan of cruises or just wetting your appetite.

Read on to find out why UnCruise Hawaii needs to be your next adventure!

What is Uncruise Adventures?

UnCruise Adventures is a small ship expedition cruise company specializing in immersive and adventurous travel with a focus on providing low impact travel opportunities. Since 1996, UnCruise Adventures has provided access to remote and off-the-beaten-path destinations that larger cruise ships cannot reach, thus providing a less common view of popular destinations. Some of the destinations UnCruise currently sails to include Hawaii, Alaska, Baja California and the Galapagos. 

UnCruise operates their expedition style cruises in small ships with less than 100 passengers. This allows guests to really get up close to areas typically off limits to larger cruise ships. You can expect to get off the boat in zodiac-type boats, kayaks as well as on land with hiking, wildlife viewing and local community interactions. 

We absolutely love that UnCruise Adventures is one of the few companies catering to travelers of all ages with unique and off-the-beaten-path experiences in popular tourist destinations. 

Did you know that I offer Travel Advisor Services and can book your next cruise – whether it is to Hawaii, Alaska or even Antarctica! Let me take the stress off planning your next trip!

10 Reasons UnCruise Adventures Should Be Your Next Hawaii Vacation

Sunrise near Maui

We have visited Hawaii several times, and as most people, focusing on the traditional “Hawaiian” tourist spots of the Big Island, Honolulu and Kauai. The beauty of an UnCruise trip however is being able to experience the islands from the water.  On our recent trip to Hawaii with UnCruise, we were able to really experience a new side to Hawaii, which was such a cool experience. Not only did we get unparalleled access to the marine life of Hawaii, we also were given opportunities to really connect and learn from the native people of Hawaii, which is often so rare in this day of commercialized luaus and over developed beaches. 

Intimate Exploration: Get Off the Beaten Path

UnCruise offers a more intimate experience compared to large cruise liners that typically ply the waters around Hawaii. With smaller ships, you can explore hidden coves, secluded beaches, and pristine reefs that bigger vessels can’t access. This level of intimate exploration is the heart of every voyage with UnCruise. Guests have the opportunity to really see off the beaten path locations to reveal Hawaii’s best kept secrets. 

Even though I had been to Hawaii several times before this trip, I had never heard of Moloka’i or Lana’i. When I first saw the itinerary, I was confused about where exactly this trip was taking me. These islands take you back to the Hawaii of old. Neither island is that easy to visit, making sure that both still retain the charm of yesteryear. Think unspoiled rolling volcanic hills with craggy cliff lines leading into the beautiful turquoise waters below. On all of our excursions with UnCruise on land, we were the ONLY tourists there, which is such a rare and unique thing to say about anywhere in Hawaii!

When we were in Moloka’i, I saw signs all over the island saying “No Cruise Ships”. Me being me, I had to ask the locals what this meant. Apparently larger cruise companies were trying to fight their way onto the island, but the small local population said no. I heard that it took years of discussions even for UnCruise to get access. However, once the local population saw how UnCruise works, bringing no more than 36 passengers a week, interacting with the local population in an educational way and without overpopulating the island,  the locals willingly accepted UnCruise as the ONLY cruise onto the island. 

Unpack once for a week of exploration

Hassle Free Travel

While there are many perks to exploring Hawaii by ship, one of the main benefits has to be that the hassle of  is negligible. Pick your itinerary, pick your dates and then all you need to do is figure out which bathing suit and flip flops to bring along.

UnCruise offers one main route in the Hawaii Islands, with the direction of travel being the only difference between itineraries. (Read our review of our trip here) You can either start your adventure on the Big Island (which is what we did) or start your adventures in Moloka’i. Honestly it really doesn’t matter which way you start or end as you will need to find your way either to Moloka’i or off the island.

For our trip, we ended in Moloka’i which was perfect. Our itinerary ended with a wonderful dinner with locals which felt like the perfect way to end our adventures. This ending dinner could be your start dinner and a great way to begin bonding with your ship mates. You cannot go wrong with either decision. 

Also, did I mention that you only have to unpack one time the entire trip? This is the peak of hassle free travel!

Amazing All Inclusive Food & Drinks

So many amazing meals! Gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner daily

Who doesn’t love a trip where everything is included! With only 25 passengers and a dedicated chef and pastry chef, we were spoiled for choice on this boat. Since the Safari Explorer is on the smaller side, it is one of the few UnCruise sailings where all of the meals are set menu. While each meal typically had a meat option, fish option and a vegetarian option, the beauty of this boat is that you can sample all 3 dishes every single night if you want. Once I figured this little tidbit out, it was game over.

All alcoholic and non-alcohol drinks are included as well as reusable water bottles provided in each room to refill with water as you please.

Our daily cookie fix!

Our favorite part of every day was “Cookie O’Clock” which was when the chef would put out the freshly baked cookies of the day.  We were not the only people waiting each day for our cookie fix – it quickly became the afternoon meeting spot for chatting and community. 

Exciting Adventures

From volcano hikes to kayaking to snorkeling, there is something for everyone.

One of the most unique aspects of UnCruise is their expedition style of cruising. What this means is that you may not have a good sense of what your itinerary will look like because it is all based on the weather conditions and in some part the interest of the passengers and crew. While yes, there is a predicted itinerary, you cannot get your heart set on it as it may change with the wind, literally. 

As a type A traveler, this was definitely a challenge at first, but once you are able to get on board and let yourself go with the flow of the ship, you will find that your stress melts away and your must haves become much simpler. 

Then, whether it’s snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, kayaking along rugged coastlines, or hiking through lush rainforests, UnCruise Adventures provides guests a plethora of adventure activities tailored to your interests and skill level.

On our adventure we had people of all ages and skill levels. The staff were great at offering options for the folks who weren’t quite sure what they could handle. 

Meet Like Minded Travelers From Around the World

From almost youngest to oldest on the boat – Bert was 93 on our sailing and she had a ball!

Are you curious about who else might be on this cruise? Is it just for older people? Or just for younger?

If my trip is anything to go off, UnCruise is a way of thinking that doesn’t disappear with age. We had an 11 year old on our trip, a 12 year old, a 13 year old, a 16 year old and adults all the way up to age 93!! Yep, 93 years old. Bert was her name and she was the light of our trip. She cruised around the boat, hopping on and off the zodiac boats, exploring with all of us.

This was a true gift as a solo parent traveling with a 13 year old; being in a space for my son to have the opportunity to mingle with people from all walks of life, of all ages and from all over the world was something that he doesn’t get to do often and it was one of the most unexpected bonuses of this fabulous trip. I loved seeing my son engage in conversations with the other guests who treated him as an equal versus “just a kid”. 

While we had all ages represented on this trip, we also had people from all over the world. We had another solo parent from Australia, a multi-gen family from Canada and singles and couples from all over the United States.

Our daily conversations with our fellow passengers at meals or out on excursions were always engaging and meaningful. Despite the range in ages and backgrounds, we all really got to enjoy one another’s company and walked away as friends. The people who choose UnCruise Adventures really are a special type of people.

Personalized Service with Expert Naturalist Guides

The amazing crew!

One of the most amazing aspects of UnCruise Adventures is that the knowledgeable guides accompany you on every excursion, sharing insights about Hawaii’s history, geology, and marine life, enriching your experience with fascinating stories and facts.

Furthermore, with a high crew-to-guest ratio, UnCruise Adventures provides personalized service, catering to your needs and preferences, ensuring a comfortable and memorable vacation experience. If you need a helping hand down a rocky volcanic trail, they are there for you. If you need help with your snorkel mask while out in the ocean, they are there.

See More in Less Time

Another amazing aspect of cruising with UnCruise is that you are able to cover more “ground” in a short amount of time. You can see the Big Island, Molokai, Maui and Lanai with very little trouble on your part. NO logistics to sort out. Nothing. It really makes seeing Hawaii so much easier than if you were land hopping or just visiting one island at a time. Our trip of 7 days felt like weeks in a good way. We saw so much every day, had so much time to connect with the guides and fellow guests as well as explore both in the water and on land. I felt I saw and experiences so much more to Hawaii than I had on our previous trips. 

Up Close Wildlife Encounters

While this can never be a guarantee with any trip that hopes to see wildlife, with UnCruise you can be sure that you will encounter Hawaii’s incredible marine life up close and personal. From swimming alongside elegant sea turtles to witnessing playful dolphins frolicking in the waves, you will have unparalleled opportunities to observe and interact with the diverse wildlife that calls Hawaii home. With the expert guides leading the way, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of Hawaii’s ecosystems and the importance of conservation efforts and see so much more than you would if you were off on your own. 

Take the Burden Off Over-touristed Areas

If you have followed the news at all in recent years you will have undoubtedly heard about how strained many communities throughout the world are by tourism. It is a double edged sword as it brings much needed resources to areas, but can quickly become overburdened.

A unique aspect of taking a cruise with UnCruise instead of planning your own overland journey is that you are able to visit more off the beaten path destinations, helping reduce your impact on major tourist areas. Unique approaches to tourism such as UnCruise will be needed more and more in the future. We love that the UnCruise way allows both the communities and tourists to mutually benefit from this relationship without damaging the local environments and while also providing great local insight for the tourists. 

Low-Impact Sustainable Tourism

Do you believe in being a sustainable tourist? Do you want to make sure you are leaving only a positive trace of your visit? This is something I am for in all of my travels and truth be told it is not always easy. Enter UnCruise who is committed to responsible travel practices, while minimizing their environmental impact and supporting local conservation efforts at the same time. From shopping for supplies locally, to reducing waste on board the ship and minimizing its contribution to over tourism, UnCruise offers a great way to travel while supporting conservation and local communities in the regions it operates.

FAQ’s for UnCruise Adventures Hawaii

The open deck times were a hit!

If you haven’t read our other post on our review of our trip (which you should go read!) and have questions still, here you go!

Who is an UnCruise Adventure for? 

Honestly UnCruise is for ANYONE! Like I mentioned above, there were guests of all ags on our trip in all type of physical condition. The beauty of this small ship expedition style is that there is room to accommodate different abilities. For those who were unable to participate in all of the more rigorous activities, they were given opportunities to take skiff rides around or provided with less strenuous options. 

Without a doubt I would recommend this trip to families, multi-generation groups, young couples and older folks alike. 

Is UnCruise all inclusive?

Yes, from the minute you step off the plane to the minute you depart, everything is included in your base price. There are no extra fees for drinks, for airport pickups or excursions. Your base fare is your final price except for your flight!

How does UnCruise compare to bigger Hawaii cruise companies?

If you are looking at other cruise options in Hawaii, you might think that this trip feels a it more expensive. However, when you start to add up all the things like airport transfers, all inclusive drinks packages, excursions, etc, the “cheap” big line cruise may not be so cheap!

How big are the boats?

The boat used in Hawaii is the Safari Explorer with a capacity of 36 passengers. This small ship offers comfort for the waters of Hawaii in a small package. While these boats do not offer pools or full size gyms like larger cruise ships, they keep you so busy experiencing Hawaii that you don’t have time for much of that.

Where Does UnCruise Sail?

As with every company things come and go. While UnCruise has been known to venture to a vareity of destinations in the past, right now, the top destinations that they sail are:

  • Alaska – the most offered and popular cruise itineraries through the state
  • Hawaii – itineraries from Moloka’i and the Big Island
  • Baja California – in search of marine wildlife from La Paz and throughout the Sea of Cortez
  • Galapagos Islands – a dream trip for many and well worth saving for! (We did a Galapagos trip on our own, but would love to go back to explore the UnCruise way!)
Water play time off the back of the Uncruise Adventures boat
Plenty of time for water play every day.

Why choose UnCruise versus exploring Hawaii independently?

If you have been here for a while, you know how much we love the independence of a road trip and being able to set our own schedule and itinerary. As I mentioned previously, I am an independent traveler and it is my nature to get off the beaten path a bit, explore random nooks and crannies that could be a total bust or could be the best part of our trip.

This is exactly why I loved my trip with UnCruise. I still got to have a ton of off the beaten path adventures, exploring where there were NO other tourists, interacting with locals in meaningful ways AND the best part was that I didn’t plan any of it. I knew that each day would be an adventure worth waking up early for and I didn’t have to be the one planning it.

After decades of being the main planner in our family, I have to tell you I am starting to get used to the idea of well researched tour companies doing the planning for me. And that is exactly what you will get with UnCruise Adventures.

If you have more questions about cruising with UnCruise, feel free to reach out to me. I never thought I would be a cruise person, but since this trip I have been on another to Antarctica and am looking forward to planning another trip with UnCruise this year. I am SOLD! This really is a great, sustainable way to travel and experience destinations in a unique way. 

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