The Baja Whale Miracle
Every year gray whales make their way from the Bering and Chukchi seas in the arctic to the lagoons of Baja in the world’s longest mammalian migration. It’s nothing short of a miracle that these giant animals swim over 5,000 miles south to Baja to have their babies in protected and warm waters.
One of the bays where they raise their calves is Magdalena Bay, home to a comfortable whale watching camp.
Set on a sand dune island, the camp has walk-in canvas tents with cots and a large dome tent for evening presentations from naturalists. Usually guests eat outside unless the weather makes it necessary to eat inside the dome.
Small groups and fresh air make this experience an ideal vacation during the pandemic. Each day guests go out in groups of six to seven people per motorboat to view the whales. They stop 100 yards or so away and it’s up to the whales to come closer or not. Often they do.
And this is another miracle. While they have the entire bay and ocean, they seem to enjoy interacting with people. They come right up to the boats, mothers often nudging calves in the boat’s direction. We look each other in the eye. Sometimes they lift their heads for us to touch, even resting them on the edge of the boat. It’s a powerfully moving experience.
The season is short‒mid-January to late March. Tour operators have trips that combine kayaking in the Sea of Cortez with a stay at a whale camp. Whale enthusiasts come in February and March when there are also blue whales, orcas, fin, and others in the Sea of Cortez.
4-days/3-night inclusive Island Whale Camp: US$1698 + $271.68 (16% IVA tax); total US$1969.68 for two guests. Whale sightings are 100 percent guaranteed or no charge for any of the services.
2021 Wave Season Deals on Ocean-going Ships
From Dec. 17, 2020, through Jan. 31, 2021, Celebrity has offered discounts on airfare booked through the line as part of a cruise or cruise-tour. Passengers can save up to US$200 per person on flights from major U.S. gateways for more than 130 select cruises from May 1 through Oct. 31, 2021. This offer is valid on new bookings only; flights must be reserved through FlightsByCelebrity.com.
Additionally, Wi-Fi, alcoholic beverages, and gratuities are included on every sailing as part of the line’s “Always Included” program.
Holland America Line
With Holland America’s “View & Verandah” sale, cruisers can snag six extra perks when they book 2021 or 2022 voyages by Feb 28.
Freebies include a “BIG” stateroom upgrade, free one-night specialty dining, the line’s Signature Beverage Package, 50 percent reduced deposits, free or reduced fares for kids in the same cabin, and a 10 percent discount on shore excursions.
Through March 2, Princess is running the “Best.Sale.Ever.,” which offers cruisers five free add-ons with the booking of a cruise or cruise-tour.
They include the line’s Premier Beverage Package (for passengers 21 and older) or Premier Coffee and Soda Package (for those who are younger), gratuities, unlimited Wi-Fi access, cabin location upgrades, and specialty dining vouchers for each person on the reservation.
Royal Caribbean International
For bookings made by Jan. 31, 2021, cruisers will save up to US$150 on select sailings departing April through Dec. 2021. Plus, they’ll receive 60 percent off the fare for the second passenger in each cabin and 30 percent off fares for the third and fourth passengers staying in the same stateroom.
As part of its wave season offers, luxury cruise line Silversea is featuring 20 percent off for cruisers who book select 2021 or 2022 sailings early and pay in full by Feb. 28, 2021.
Further incentives for bookings on select 2021 voyages include reduced deposits and the ability to claim a full refund or 100 percent future cruise credit within 30 days of sailing, or during the sailing if you or a member of your travel party tests positive for SARS-Covid-2.
In light of recent vaccine developments and approvals to begin inoculations, sailings could resume by the summer of 2021, meaning that it’s not unreasonable to start thinking about booking now.
Deal of the Week
Northern Spain Self-Drive
8-day/7-night package starting at US$2,785 per person
Package pricing includes
- Car rental for eight days, medium size, automatic with A/C
- Two nights in Santiago de Compostela at Hotel A Quinta da Auga, Classic double room, breakfast and VAT
- Santiago de Compostela: Private half-day city walking tour
- One night in Oviedo at Hotel Barcelo Oviedo Cervantes, Premium double room, breakfast and VAT
- Two nights in Bilbao at Hotel Gran Domine, Superior double room, breakfast and VAT
- Bilbao: Private half-day Pintxos-tasting walking tour
- Bilbao: Private half-day city walking tour including Guggenheim Museum
- Two nights in Segovia at Hotel Eurostars Convento Capuchinos, Superior double room, breakfast and VAT
- Segovia: Private full-day tour of Avila, Valley of the Fallen, and El Escorial
Judy Newell, an international travel consultant since 1971, heads Perfect Journeys and specializes in unique travel experiences to destinations around the world. She custom designs journeys that are tailored to suit your interests, physical abilities and budget. Please contact Judy for further information on Travel News topics and around-the-world travel. Cell phone 415 111 8765; Vonage 949 300 3682; email email@example.com.
Sources: Magdalena Bay Whales, Cruise, Eurobound