One of the most popular ways to travel to the Galapagos Islands is by cruise. In this post, you’ll find out what to consider before booking one, what itineraries to choose, starting costs, and the types of boats available.
Luxury cruises: welcome to paradise
The Luxury Class represents the Top Choice for a Galapagos cruise. Higher you cannot go; you can only go down from here!
Why choose a luxury cruise to the Galapagos?
- Size of suites and cabins. Cabins are respectable in size: for the claustrophobic who can afford them, there are yachts with 50-square-meter suites. The average size of a two-bed cabin, whether double or twin, is 20 square meters and up.
- Lots of space on board. Not only cabins have plenty of space, of course. Luxury yachts have lengths from 35 meters and up and are arranged on at least two decks (the main deck plus the upper deck), adding the Solarium, the ultimate relaxation area.
- Panoramic windows. Almost all cabins have panoramic windows that start from the floor and go up to the ceiling. In other words, standing in bed, you’ll see the Pacific Ocean and islands!
- Jacuzzi on board. If you are a fan of the genre, all boats have a Jacuzzi in the Solarium area, obviously capable of accommodating several people at once.
- There is undoubtedly no staff shortage on board; the ratio averages one staff person for every 1.5 passengers, which means that one is well taken care of and pampered (and even spoiled). Some boats even have a Quality Manager who oversees that everything is perfect.
- Stability of the boats. The boats in the Luxury class are practically all catamarans; there is even a recently arrived trimaran. So even those who suffer from the sea should have no problems.
- The quietness of engines. I am not saying that one does not notice that one is sailing, but it is close.
- Naturalist guides. All guides operating in the Galapagos have been trained by the park and have a license to work. So you will find the best guides on these luxury boats, and they can tell even the most seemingly insignificant detail about the Galapagos flora or fauna and hold your attention.
We must say that this aspect is especially appreciated if you are passionate about Nature and already leave with a good knowledge background.
- Cuisine. Ecuador’s finest chefs work on the boats. Lunch and dinners thus turn into triumphs of unforgettable flavors and aromas.
Unfortunately, there are no entertainment shows or physical casinos to play in while sailing. However, you can always entertain yourself with your smartphones or play at online casinos, which can sometimes be even better than physical ones, as many offer attractive no deposit bonuses that are easy to claim. Above all, the website offers explanations of how no deposit bonuses work, together with security-related details and in-depth analyses of each suggested operator, making it risk-free as if you could play without establishing a spending limit.
What to expect from a cruise to the Galapagos Islands?
All cruises are regulated by the Galapagos National Park, which means they follow visiting procedures that are the same for everyone.
A typical day on a cruise involves two visits per day, so two landings.
Usually, the days are designed to alternate evenly between shore visits with walking and snorkeling activities (water and land).
There are no ports on the protected islands of Galapagos National Park. So disembarkations are always made from the dinghy and can be wet or dry, meaning you might get your feet wet or land in potentially wet rocky areas or on natural platforms.
The routes are predetermined, and it is mandatory to follow the group for the entire visit.
How many Galapagos cruise days is it best to book?
Galapagos Island cruises follow more or less similar itineraries, but below, you will understand the differences and why to pay attention to each one.
Generally speaking, most offer 4-, 5- and 8-day cruises. Few offer 6- and 7-day itineraries. If you want to take a 10-day cruise, you have to combine two 5-day itineraries.
Considering that the first and last days are half days of sightseeing, the great distances are done at night while you sleep, it would be better to exclude the 4-day cruise but choose an 8-day one.
Only then can you reach the more distant islands, respectively:
- Fernandina (western itinerary)
- Genovesa (northern itinerary usually included in a 5-day northern or 8-day circuit with the west)
- Espanola (southeastern itinerary)
4-day cruises generally make shorter trips and are part of longer itineraries, so they don’t stray far from embarkation and disembarkation points. But, most importantly, they take you to islands that, in most cases, you could reach even with day tours. That is unless you can find a 4-day that includes Genovesa Island, which is not easy.