Uncruise review of Costa Rica and Panama: Why small ship cruising is great for families

Tips for your Uncruise:

Ok, so by now, you’re booking an Uncruise, right? Here are a few practical tips we learned during our cruise:

safari voyager

Taking a turn on a crew member’s ukulele before dinner.

  • Pack more clothes than you think you’ll need. This tip is painful for me to write, because if you read Pit Stops for Kids regularly, you know I always recommend packing light. But in Central America, it is very humid, even in the dry season. Our clothes got very sweaty from hikes, and we couldn’t rinse them out and reuse them as I planned; they simply never dried in the humid air, not matter what we did. We packed carry on-only, and still had some room in our bags, so next time, we’ll be bringing a few more pants and shirts each.
  • Pack quick-drying, insect and sun resistant shirts and pants. You’ll need them for jungle hikes. See our recommendations here.
  • Pack two swimsuits each. As noted above, they’ll never quite dry.
  • Unless you have skin sensitivity, don’t bother packing sunscreen and aloe. They provide reef-friendly sunscreen and aloe vera.
  • All water on the ship is potable, so you don’t need to bring your own bottles of water. However, do bring reusable water bottles to refill, and note that the water onboard is filtered but still doesn’t taste very good. We recommend adding tea bags or EmergenC (provided) or your own powered drink mixes to disguise the taste of the water. You’ll need to drink lots of it to stay hydrated.
  • There’s no laundry services on board, but there is a spinner to (mostly) dry your swimwear on the back deck by the EZ dock.
  • There is no WiFi anywhere on board. I found that I had cell service about half the time (so plan to have an international plan if you want to use it), and the remainder of the time, we were too remote for any kind of service.
  • Your cabin will have plenty of electric outlets. This was so useful for recharging cameras and phones!

Have you been on an Uncruise? Share your tips!

Disclosure: We experienced Central America as guests of Uncruise, for the purpose of review. All opinions remain my own.

About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.



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  1. Are all these excursions at an additional cost or are they included in the cost of the cruise?

  2. Excursions are included ( see page 2 of the review )

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