Aside from Charles Darwin and his Theory of Evolution, the Galapagos Islands are mostly renowned for being a worldwide cruise destination for being remote and pristine, where travelers expect to live a fantastic and unforgettable experience.
More than 80 vessels cruise the Galapagos, and people mostly choose based on the journey, boat category, and prices. Yet, which are the features that can make the cruise trip memorable?
To answer that question, let’s discover the regular cruise experience and some things that can make the cruise trip unique, based on our more than 15 years of experience operating cruises in the Galapagos Islands.
How’s the standard Galapagos cruise experience?
One thing that travelers may not get is that the adventure begins on Ecuador’s mainland, right at Guayaquil or Quito’s airports, where travelers meet the cruise representative, who will help them pass the first control of the Galapagos authority. In that way, travelers quickly get the INGALA or Transit Control Card before flying into Galapagos.
Then, as soon as the aircraft land in the Galapagos, a new world and landscape are open for visitors. But first, there is a migration and custom process to pass before meeting the naturalist guide, who will help travelers fall in love with the Enchanted Islands and understand its beauty and uniqueness. Also, this encounter at the Galapagos airport will be the first approach for the cruise mates enjoying the journey.
On board a Galapagos cruise ship, guests must expect a busy but rewarding daily journey that begins with a brief explanation at night of the next day’s adventure, helping everybody be ready and prepared for the next day’s journey.
Moreover, guests must be prepared to have at least two visits to touristic and controlled sites daily. They can be combined with several aquatic activities like snorkeling, kayaking, or paddleboarding, and then some time to chill at the end of the day.
Also, it’s important to consider that the cruise ship will not be alone at each destination, either on inhabitant or isolated sites. The Galapagos National Park Authority grants access to all the cruise ships a schedule that they need to follow to avoid crowds on nature sites and minimize the tourism footprint. Nonetheless, groups never mix and barely meet on the sites. In that way, the pristineness of the archipelago is safeguarded.
Depending on the cruise ship and the date, the cruise journey can be from three up to seven nights on board. It can also be combined to get an overall itinerary across the islands of 14 nights. Each journey visits different parts of the Galapagos Islands, from Genovesa Island, the northern side of the Galapagos, to the western part of Isabela and Fernandina Islands, to the jewel of Española Island on the southeastern side where the Albatrosses mate.
The small details that help excel a Galapagos cruise experience
All the cruises in the Galapagos Islands follow the same itinerary structure: two or more daily excursions combined with activities and resting time. Yet, the differences between cruise ships are the quality of services and the experiences on board, and those help travelers build lifetime travel memories. Hence, let’s dig into some of them.
Tasting and discovering the Ecuadorian flavors
Depending on the yacht, food menus are pretty much international, with some local dishes on the menu. In that way, guests can eat what they are used to, sometimes on a buffet menu or plated. Yet, we have seen that guests usually enjoy tasting and discovering the Ecuadorian flavors while cruising.
Furthermore, the cherry on top of the cake for guests comes from the opportunity to prepare some of the dishes they like the most. Imagine having a cooking class on board that teaches how to make an Ecuadorian ceviche and understanding the main differences from the Peruvian one.
By having that culinary experience, guests can get a meaningful cruise experience that they probably will remember every time they prepare a ceviche at home. If not, they have had a fun time among their cruise mates that will be part of some anecdotes with friends back home.
Food is the best way to meet a new culture because it surrounds many traditions and customs that represent the local idiosyncrasy.
Take a sneak peek of this gastronomic experience aboard one of the Galagents boats.
Navigating among pirates
There are records that pirates used the Galapagos Islands as a hideout. Nowadays, there are no more pirates, and the Galapagos nature only hides beauties and wildlife. Yet, on board the Galagents fleet, guests can meet some pirates that only steal boredom and invite them to have fun while socializing with the cruise mates and the crew.
It’s not, and don’t pretend to be a party every night, but it definitely sets the perfect stage for interacting among the 16 guests aboard while cruising the Enchanted Islands.
How wild and fun are these pirate nights? Check our Pirates Experience !
Being the captain of the boat and visiting the heart of the yacht
As a cruise operator, we realized along this cruise operation years that many guests are very curious about how the vessel works and even sneak onto the bridge to see how the captain leads the ship.
Most of them are surprised after knowing the captain stays awake all night to navigate from one island to another, and in that way, gifting guests different sunrises during the cruise journey. So, on board the four cruise ships that Galagents operate throughout the Galapagos Islands, guests can visit the bridge and the engine room, the heart of the yacht.
Surprisingly, we’ve seen many travelers as the child that the pilot takes into the pilot’s bridge on an aircraft. It fulfills the curiosity, answers their questions, and allows them to be the captain, at least for the picture, but don’t tell anyone, at least the friends of the ones in this video.
Among the massive variety of Galapagos cruise vessels, the small detail became priceless and huge in crafting memorable experiences for guests! Thus, aside from the category, the type of boat, the price, and the facilities on board, the cruise experiences and quality of service can help travelers choose the best option for them.