There are more options for exploring the Galapagos Islands than ever before, thanks to the rapid rise of land-based tours, but no serious person would argue that cruising is still the best way to go. The routes once sailed by buccaneers, adventurers, and eventually, scientists are now patrolled by dozens of small cruise ships, each with its own personality, itinerary, and ethos, but all drawn to the islands by their elemental magnetism. From budget-friendly cruise lines to almost unbelievable opulence aboard luxury yachts. The options for traversing the Galapagos Islands can be overwhelming. In this article, we are going to be looking at the best top 5 Galapagos Cruises.
#1. Metropolitan Touring
Metropolitan Touring’s fleet of three ships provides variety to match its hard-won experience in the Galapagos. The company, which has been in operation since the early 1950s, has adapted its tourism product over the years to make the most of the islands. The ships — the well-known La Pinta, Santa Cruz II, and Isabella II — essentially offer the same service. Having expert guides leading landings and lectures on board.
If you want to sail to this one-of-a-kind destination in style, Ecoventura’s ships are a cut above their nominal competitors. The evening cocktails are excellent, and the spacious cabins are as comfortable as any in the region.
#3. Hurtigruten Cruises
Hurtigruten, originally known for scenic voyages up and down the Norwegian coast, has expanded into expedition cruising, including to this part of South America. In collaboration with Metropolitan Touring, it is using the refurbished Santa Cruz II for its Galapagos tours. This is one of the larger vessels sailing on the islands, with 90 passengers, close to the maximum capacity of 100 passengers allowed by local law. A science center and Hurtigruten livery have been added. Each seven-night expedition begins with two nights in Quito, which includes a visit to the smoldering Cotopaxi volcano.
Silversea’s dedicated Galapagos ship, Silver Origin, may be one of the largest legally permitted to sail in these protected waters, but it aims to demonstrate that size does not have to mean sacrificing quality. The ship, which was built specifically to sail around this archipelago, visits all of the major sites, with seven or ten-day cruises covering everything from Espaola, the oldest island, to Fernandina, the youngest. There are several restaurants on board, as well as a small spa and a private balcony for each cabin.
#5. The G Adventures
G Adventures, G For Good project aims to be a little different. In the Galapagos, this means a chance to meet the locals in Floreana, some of whom are descended from eccentric German settlers who attempted to establish a utopian society on the island in the 1930s. The ships vary depending on how much time you want to spend on the islands. The Eden and Reina Silvia Voyager, which each carry 16 passengers, are two of the most popular.
How To Choose The Best Galapagos Cruise
Do you know how to pick the best Galapagos cruise? Follow our advice to find your personal best. We are here to assist you along the way by providing honest, unbiased opinions and expert advice.
#1.Plan Ahead for the Best Galapagos Cruise
The first step in locating the best Galapagos cruise is to plan ahead of time. The Galapagos Islands are one of the most beautiful and remote places on the planet. The national park restricts visitor numbers, vessels are small, and cabins fill up quickly. As a result, many Galapagos cruises are frequently sold out 6 to 9 months in advance. They have holidays booked up to 12 months in advance. Advance reservations are encouraged and often required, for the best Galapagos cruise selection. Planning ahead of time also allows for the thrill of anticipation. While a last-minute trip is preferable to none at all, Savings from early-bird deals are another benefit of planning ahead.
#2. Work Out the Best Galapagos Cruise Itinerary
Which Galapagos Islands should you visit? With 13 major islands in the archipelago, each with its own unique mix of wildlife, determining the best Galapagos cruise itinerary can be difficult. We actually recommend that you focus on the length of your cruise rather than the itinerary. If you take at least an 8-day cruise, you will see a diverse range of Galapagos habitats and species. And if you stay for more than 8 days, you don’t have to pay attention to the itinerary at all! Why? To protect this treasured, pristine archipelago, the Galapagos National Park dictates sailing schedules and landing sites over a 15-day circuit.
If you choose a cruise that is less than 8 days long, think about what islands and experiences are important to you. It is critical to consult with a Galapagos cruise expert who has visited the islands and is familiar with the landing sites and general areas. They will match you with the appropriate Galapagos cruise based on your interests, abilities, and budget.
#3. Select Your Galapagos Ship
As previously stated, the best Galapagos cruise is the longer one. So, if you are not constrained by a tight schedule, the best strategy for deciding how to choose the best Galapagos cruise is to choose your ship first. Small yachts and sailboats carrying 8-32 passengers, mid-size cruisers carrying 40-60 passengers, and small ships carrying 60-100 passengers are divided into three categories below. Many factors should be considered when selecting a vessel, but one important consideration is that the Galapagos National Park limits shore groups to 16 people in order to minimize environmental impact and preserve a wilderness experience for visitors.
#4. Consider Your Special Interests to Compare Galapagos Cruises Further.
It can be overwhelming even if you’ve narrowed down your ship or general ideal itinerary. We recommend that you consider your special interests and travel requirements before looking for the best Galapagos cruises for your group to choose from. This includes taking into account your group size, traveler ages, whether you intend to travel by land, your activity interests, how customized you prefer to travel, and so on. These factors can help you compare Galapagos cruises and find the best fit.
Know Ahead of Time That There Are a Few Things That All Archipelago Cruises Have In Common:
Daily guided shore excursions in small groups to explore the islands and see wildlife up close, disembarking twice daily for landings or pangas (dinghies) Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served on board, and snorkeling is included as an activity. With this in mind, you can try to figure out what makes certain cruises and ships stand out. Some ships, for example, may offer photography classes, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and/or glass-bottom boat rides. If anyone in your group is not comfortable snorkeling, glass-bottom boats are an added bonus, as the underwater experience is essential in the Galapagos.
Are you traveling with your family? For Galapagos family cruises, not all ships are equal. The best Galapagos cruises for families frequently include additional kid-friendly programming, menus, and/or themed departures. Look for ships that offer triple or quadruple occupancy, extra space, and/or interconnected cabin doors. Or do you want to spend less (or more) time at port in towns? For even more flexibility and customization, many families consider a Galapagos Islands yacht charter. Many people believe that the best Galapagos cruise itinerary is one that they can help design!
Budget is also an important consideration, whether you are looking for a Galapagos luxury cruise or the best Galapagos cruise deal. When booking your trip, obviously be mindful of your budget, but keep in mind that the allure of a low price can quickly be overshadowed by a bad trip or a mismatch of your travel interests. The Galapagos Islands offer unique wildlife encounters that you won’t find anywhere else. It is also critical to book your trip with reputable guides and long-term operations. Make every effort to budget for this once-in-a-lifetime trip.
#6. Select a Time to Go
The next step in determining how to choose the best Galapagos cruise is deciding when to go. This deciding factor can sometimes help you choose your itinerary, especially if your wildlife wish list is very specific. However, because the Galapagos Islands are a year-round, warm destination on the equator, you can go whenever you want and see plenty of wildlife. There is no hurricane season to consider, and stormy conditions are extremely rare, so you’re really just looking at averages for rainfall and water temperature. You can also try to time it if you are prone to seasickness. Increased tradewinds can cause chop on open-water crossings during the cooler months (June through November).
#7. Inquire With an Expert or a Past Traveller
On the internet, there are numerous Galapagos cruise and travel review websites. Many people provide honest advice, but many can also be with a grain of salt. Use Galapagos reviews as a tool, but don’t jump to conclusions if you read a negative review. This is frequently the result of a mismatch between the traveler’s style and the type of cruise they were on. A personal recommendation is the best Galapagos cruise review.
Galapagos Inner and Outer Loops
Consider your level of interest in the flora and fauna of the islands visited on each loop when deciding on Inner Loop vs. Outer Loop Galapagos itineraries. If seeing the Waved Albatross is on your bucket list, take the Outer Loop with a stop at Espanola, which is home to the majority of these amazing Galapagos birds. If you’ve always wanted to see a blue-footed booby, the Inner Loop provides several opportunities to do so at North Seymour Island, as well as two other species of boobies at San Cristobal.
Are the Seas Rough in the Galapagos?
The Galapagos seas are generally calm, but it can get rough during bad weather and when the boat is traveling against the current. Because of the Humboldt Current, seas can be a little rougher from July to December, especially in September and October.
Which Island on Galapagos Is the Best to Stay?
Santa Cruz is the best island to stay on in the Galapagos Islands; it is the most popular for tourism, has excellent hotels such as the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, and from here you can take a boat trip to other islands.
What Is the Best Month to Visit Galapagos?
However, our experts agree that the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands is between December and May. Why? These months correspond to the warm season, and the ocean conditions are clear and warm, making them ideal for snorkeling and diving.
In conclusion, the Galapagos Islands have it all, wildlife like nowhere else on the planet, perfect weather all year, and the best small-ship, expedition-style cruises. However, there are dozens of different cruises available in the Galapagos, and determining which option is best for you, from vessel types and sizes to the numerous itinerary options.
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FAQs On Best Galapagos Cruise
When Does It Rain In The Galapagos?
The months of December to May are known as the “wet (warm) season.” The Galapagos’ climate is more tropical during this warmer season, with daily rain and cloudier skies. Furthermore, the water temperature is warmer for swimming and snorkeling.
Do I Need Malaria Pills For The Galapagos?
The CDC recommends that visitors to certain areas of Ecuador take prescription malaria medication. Depending on the medication, you may need to begin taking it several days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip.
How Long Should You Stay In The Galapagos Islands?
How long should I stay in the Galapagos if I want to visit every island? Laughter tells us that it takes 14-15 days to visit every island in the archipelago. However, we recommend scheduling some downtime between snorkeling, hiking, and exploring lava tunnels over the course of two weeks