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Spirit of Endeavor

Cruise West History

With American-owned, family-operated Cruise West, focus remains on the destination, often accessible only by sea, specifically by small-ship. When the West family, founders and owners of the expanding operation, began offering personal travel experiences in Alaska more than 50 years ago, a philosophy prevailed remaining true to this day: Providing up-close focus on scenery, wildlife, natural history and culture, with like-minded travelers in limited numbers whose concept of a rewarding memory is scrutinizing barnacles on a humpback's fin. In every Cruise West destination, at least one shore excursion or highlight is included in each port of call. Cruise West guests would rather watch for whales than spend the afternoon in a casino, and would rather linger on deck as the Captain maneuvers than go to a Las Vegas-style show. Cruise West is environmentally conscientious, with a "take only photographs, leave only wake behind" philosophy. In 1990, Chuck West and son Dick, now Cruise West chairman & CEO, acquired a 52-guest mini-cruise vessel, renamed the Spirit of Glacier Bay for two-nighters from Juneau into Glacier Bay National Park. Success led to acquisition of the Spirit of Alaska for the first cruises between Seattle and Alaska in nearly 40 years. In the 1990s, Cruise West expanded into British Columbia, the historic Columbia and Snake Rivers, and the California Wine Country. In December, 1998, winter-season cruises to the spectacular Sea of Cortés and Baja California stretched the company's range to Mexico. Shallow draft, small size and skilled crews provide access to Mexican coastal areas big-ship passengers can only dream about.

Quick View

Each winter from December through March, Cruise West’s Spirit of Endeavor repositions from Alaska to Mexico for an action-packed season of whale-watching and watersports on 7-day adventures that also can include pre- or post add-on rail tours to Mexico’s spectacular Copper Canyon. Landscapes of Baja and the Sea of Cortés can be a welcome surprise to guests accustomed only to Mexico’s mega-resorts or popular east coast ports calls such as Cozumel. Awaiting on this Baja itinerary are mile after mile of sun-splashed shoreline, mostly uninhabited, with rugged islands accessible only by small ship. On the Baja coast, the few ports include Loreto, with its centuries-old Jesuit mission, and La Paz, with its lovely waterfront promenade. Guests aboard Spirit of Endeavour are treated to close-up views of nature as the ship’s launches zip right onto beaches with rarely a footprint in sight. Waters invite snorkeling among sergeant majors, rainbow wrasse, and puffer fish. It’s possible to kayak into sea caves, and beachcombers can explore thickets of exotic cacti. Also included is opportunity to swim and snorkel with sea lions at Los Islotes, whale watching in the Sea of Cortes or Pacific lagoons, and a traditional Mexican fiesta with pinatas in La Paz.

Fast Facts

Year entering service: 1983, major refurbishment 1996
Registry: United States
Tonnage (GRT): 95
Cruising Speed: 13 knots
Capacity: 102
Decks: 4
Crew: 28
Officer Nationality: American
Cruise / Hotel Staff Nationality: American
Destinations: Alaska and Baja Mexico

About Gratuities
Guests are invited to tip as they see fit. Recommendations are outlined in travel documents.

Disabled Access
Spirit of Endeavor does not have passenger elevators. It is equipped with limited medical supplies, and sails with a trained first aid responder. Guests requiring wheelchairs must provide their own collapsible models. Some ports of call, shore excursions, docks, gangways and other ship requirements may preclude a wheelchair-user from leaving the vessel, depending on the Captain’s decision. Certain physical conditions, including raised door thresholds from 2 to 16 inches, may limit accessibility of wheelchair guests to some areas. In many instances, staff members will be available to assist passengers so that access is possible.

Ship Features

Cruise West’s Spirit of Endeavor, one of the line’s fastest overnight vessels for dealing with Sea of Cortes challenges, has a sleek, stylish décor with light wood, etched glass and a soothing dining room. The Explorer’s Lounge has comfortable chairs, couches and cozy banquettes for getting to know fellow travelers in various conversation groups, and there’s always coffee, tea and hot chocolate available on the starboard side near the bar.

Cruise West vessels have open guest access to the bow area – a rarity among cruise ships. Once on board, guests spend most waking hours out on deck, in the spacious lounge, or in the dining room where appetites are sharpened by extraordinary scenery passing by. Private cabins offer all the necessary comforts, and guests can choose from twin beds or a double/queen/king. The chef and staff prepare fresh-baked breads and sumptuous desserts, and a certified interpretive guide is on hand to share insights and knowledge, address questions and organize the day's events. Friendly crews, working diligently to create a family-style atmosphere aboard, make a point of calling guests by name and remembering their dining and beverage preferences. The Captain in (or out) of his wheelhouse is often accessible for casual conversation, and guests are welcome to view radar screens or pore over charts.

Every stateroom has private bath with shower, a desk, and a wide picture window or porthole. Bed sizes vary from standard twins to larger.

Stateroom amenities
Phone and a TV monitor for viewing video tapes.

Kid & Teen Stuff
There is no formal children’s program.

Life Aboard

The Resolution Dining Room has open seating at scheduled hours with thoughtfully prepared meals typically with a choice of entrees served by a friendly staff. Baja cruises include fine American cuisine with Mexican regional specialties. Complimentary soft drinks, coffee, tea, and cocoa are available throughout the trip. A wine list accompanies dinner.

Sports / Health / Fitness
Sun Deck provides a great place to stretch. Smoking is allowed outside only while on board the ship. No smoking is allowed on board.

Breeching whales and other wildlife provide plenty of daytime excitement. By night, small musical combos perform at intervals, and there are naturalist lectures. There’s also a crew/passenger talent evening. The Explorer’s Lounge has a small library of books and videotapes.

There is no casino, but there’s always the gamble on when the next whale sighting will occur.

A small bar awaits at the rear of the Explorer’s Lounge.

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