Getting a grasp of what’s involved when planning a dream Galapagos cruise to the archipelago is complicated. The behind the scenes legwork involves some serious lifting-most of what you can find online can be light on the actual logistics. Some points on the compass to consider. So in this article we give you some advice to find the right Galapagos Cruise for a dream vacation.
Finding the right fit for a cruise also means matching your itinerary to the boat. All of the ships from Galapagos luxury cruises to Galapagos budget cruises follow strict rules about visiting each island only once in a set time frame. If you want to see the mating dance of the waved albatross on Espanola Island during the second week of May while touring the islands with the Ocean Spray yacht-you might need to adjust your time frame or choose another boat depending on the availability.
The expertise involved in making the right choice given these details is extensive. Our team is well-versed in the ins and outs of itineraries and would suggest relying on our decade-plus wealth of knowledge to help you find the right fit for the trip.
One of the only yachts to combine the western islands of Isabela & Fernandina with Española Island, the Ocean Spray catamaran offers Galapagos luxury cruises and adventures that take you to some of the best places in the islands.
Large cabins with private balconies, spaces for dining inside and outside, and smart, attentive service makes time spent onboard and exploring the islands a world away from other options.
Other amenities include a library, lounge and bar, a Jacuzzi and spacious sundeck, and kayaks for exploring the coasts of uninhabited islands like Isabela and Santa Cruz Islands.
The size of the boat is also a major part of an experience in the islands. Larger boats like the Legend Cruise Ship carry up to 100 passengers on luxury Galapagos cruises, have outdoor space for relaxing after days of exploring, and have amenities including a pool and gym.
Boats like the Nemo II carry 14 passengers, the small size of the ship brings guests closer together during the journey.
The Legend cruise ship is one of the Galapagos adventure luxury cruises that visit the western islands of Isabela and Fernandina Islands where penguins and the archipelago’s largest marine iguanas are frequently spotted.
Refit in 2017, the ship is one of the largest in the islands, carrying 100 passengers. Amenities include ample outdoor spaces including a Skydeck and swimming pool, the Charles Darwin Panoramic Lounge where nightly presentations are held, and a fitness center, and sauna and jacuzzi area. A glass bottom boat is available with reservations to see the creatures of the marine reserve from above the waterline.
The Nemo II catamaran is one of the boats whose many attributes include its small size. Amenities include a lounge area, bar, sundeck, and smart cabins-two with double beds and the remaining with a combination of bunk beds.
Itineraries include 4 to 8-day routes that vary between the western and eastern islands. The crew and naturalist guide, are welcoming and have a great grasp on traveling the islands with a small group.
Your temperament to the sea also plays a role in choosing the right boat. Catamarans like the Archipell I and Archipell II are more stable in the water, as are larger boats including the Reina Silvia yacht. If seasickness isn’t a worry, smaller boats like the Camila Trimaran give you an exhilarating experience during adventure Galapagos cruises both on the sea and while discovering the islands.
The Archipel I and II catamarans are expansive sister ships that offer 4 to 8-day cruises in the Galapagos Islands. Some of the longer itineraries spend multiple days exploring the western island if Isabela and its surroundings-perfect if you are interested in animals like penguins, sharks, and whales who prefer the cooler waters of the area.
A solarium, lounge and bar, and spacious deck with al fresco dining are matched by spacious rooms, a staff to guest ratio of 8 to 16, and an expert naturalist guide who shows you the hidden wonders and creatures of the islands.
The Camila Trimaran is one of the newest additions to the fleet of Galapagos Islands boats, joining the armada in 2018. Its three hulls, small size, and varied itineraries make it more stable, intimate, and generally better suited for those looking to travel in style without worries.
The boat boasts a jacuzzi, kayaks for exploring exotic coasts, and views of the sea from staterooms, a lounge and bar, and outside spaces that give you panoramic views of the horizon, the sea and the creatures nearby.
Budget is often the main factor for choosing the right boat for your adventure in the islands. Unlike the rest of Ecuador, the islands aren’t cheap, but for the thrifty traveler, there are Galapagos budget cruises that give you an experience in the archipelago that exceeds the expectations of most who make the journey.
Boats like the Golondrina yacht and the Angelito Yacht have 4 to 8 day Galapagos cruises that cover a wide range of islands.
Golondrina is one of the best boats for value in the Happy Gringo roster, forgoing high-end amenities for adventure and discovery. It is one of the only boats in its class where you can combine their 4 to 8 day Galapagos cruises into a 12 or 15 trip that gives you a spectacular picture of the islands.
Rooms and public areas are cozy without feeling boxed in. All day trips are in the company of a bilingual naturalist guide, and snorkeling equipment is available to rent to make the most out of your time in the islands.
The Angelito has a reputation as a family boat-a great fit for children and their parents. Refurbished in 2013, the family-run ship has 4 to 8 day Galapagos cruises. The shorter trips cover the eastern central islands while one of the 8-day options heads to the western islands. Longer trips that combine itineraries are available. Amenities include four sundecks, a comfortable lounge and dining area, and wood detailing on the inside of the boat.
For those who want to splurge and make a splash with Galapagos luxury cruises, there are boats like the Grace Motor Yacht, the La Pinta Cruise Ship, and the Infinity Yacht offer high-end amenities, expert naturalists, and even well-stocked libraries.
The Grace Motor Yacht was a wedding gift to Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier from Aristotle Onassis. It was commissioned for luxury Galapagos cruises in 2007 and boasts some of the finest amenities in the whole archipelago fleet. A top deck al fresco dining area, the stateroom where Kelly and Prince Rainer stayed, a jacuzzi, and kayaks start the list followed by world-class food and service.
A luxury Galapagos option that spares no expense on furnishings, service, and amenities, the Natural Paradise Yacht pairs adventure with comfort. Teak decks, al fresco dining, a jacuzzi, upper deck cabins with private balconies, and sea kayaks put this boat in a class of its own.
Itineraries range from 4 to 8 days and stop at many of the hot wildlife spots in both the western and eastern islands.
The Infinity Yacht is one on the newest boats in the Galapagos Islands, built and put into service in 2018. The sleek ship has room for twenty passengers and features open-air spaces, opulent rooms, gourmet food, and luxury cruises that take you to the uninhabited islands that first captured Darwin’s imagination.
Amenities include private balconies, a solarium, an outside bar, and a dining area, and a jacuzzi and sundeck.