Best "luxury" cruise in Galapagos

Old Apr 14th, 2007, 05:12 PM
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Best "luxury" cruise in Galapagos

Would greatly appreciate suggestions for luxurious cruises (i.e. intimate, great food and wine, great service, great rooms, etc.) to the Galapagos.
By way of background- my husband and I are twenty and thirty-somethings planning a trip for early 2008. We were looking into southeast Asia, but today he expressed interest in a Galapagos "cruise." We don't really consider ourselves the cruising type, as we prefer to explore destinations on our own schedule as well as try many different restaurants when we travel. However, after reading many posts on this board, it seems as if cruising is the "way to go" in the Galapagos. Many thanks!
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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 08:46 PM
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Again, I am not an expert on the Galapagos, I will leave for there in two weeks for the first time. I feel though I need to respectfully question your expectations of "luxury" cruise. This is the Galapagos, not the Mediterranean or Carribean. It's pretty remote and tends to be more basic, from what I can gather, though the service on most boats is rated very high by travel reports I've read.
The Celebrity will probably fit your requirements the best, but even then, I don't think you should expect Mediterranean style 5 star luxury.
"A Traveller's Guide to the Galapagos Islands," by Barry Boyce, gives a great amount of info re: the nature of the islands, what to expect, and a summary description of most of the boats operating in the islands.
That book helped me greatly deal with planning the trip.
We also have always been "independent" travelers, but in the Galapagos, you go on the boats, the only really practical way to go, and the only way legally to see most of the sights.
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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 11:42 PM
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We were aboard the Eclipse - I could have not asked for more.

Keep in mind for the Galapagos that only 16 people can be on any shore excursion at any time (Eclipse limited this to 12). So if you're on a big luxury boat with 100 people, that's 7 different zodiacs/pangas/whatever that will have to load and unload every time.

Most of the better boats have only 50-75 people, which of course limits the luxury of the boat. Another reason for a smaller boat is that it can get closer to shore - the cruise ship itself never docks on shore.

So all in all, "luxury" as most people think of it is neither nonexistent or impractical in the Galapagos, but the Eclipse was very very nice.
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Old Apr 15th, 2007, 02:44 AM
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Lindblad's Polaris is great! They have an unbelievable floating spa!
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Old Apr 15th, 2007, 05:49 AM
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Bon Voyage! You'll have an outstanding trip. I second the book Barry Boyce recommendation. I've gone with Barry Boyce's company twice and with luck will go another few times during my life.

For a Galapagos trip to be a success, I think you have to enjoy wildlife and agree that spending several hours a couple of times a day doing nothing but bird, sea lion, and lizard watching is fun. While the food, service and accommodations on my two Galapagos trips were wonderful, the focus was on what's living on the islands.

If you decide that you want to immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the Galapagos, I think you might enjoy the smaller, 16-passenger or fewer boats. That's what I was on. However, there is more pampering on the larger boats.
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Old Apr 15th, 2007, 07:22 AM
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We were also on the Eclipse and really enjoyed it (first cruise as well) - there was a boat we saw one day at anchor that the crew said was quite exclusive - called the Millenium

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Old Apr 15th, 2007, 07:52 AM
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I haven't been, but the Galapagos are in my sights for future travel. This website (by a travel booking agent) lists most of the smaller yachts and has good photos and descriptions:
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Old Apr 15th, 2007, 08:37 AM
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We were extremely happy with our decision to cruise the Galapagos with Celebrity, on the "Xpedition". The land/cruise package is virtually all-inclusive (hotel, most meals and tour of Quito, air fare to/from Quito/Galapagos, all alcoholic beverages on board the ship). The Xpedition was comfortable, the food was good and the service was excellent. The naturalists were knowledgable and experienced. While I can't compare the Xpedition to any other ship, I would think it, along with Lindblad's Polaris would be worth some additional research. I have four albums of photos (Quito, The Xpedition and two of the Galapagos) posted at
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Old Apr 20th, 2007, 05:55 PM
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My family and I went on a Galapagos cruise on the Letty, one of the Ecoventura boats and a sister ship to the Flamingo and the Eric.

3 out of 4 members of my family and 7 out of 22 people on the boat contracted a stomach virus with symptoms including fever, diarrhea and vomiting.

Not a "luxurious cruise." I would stay away from those boats.

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Old May 22nd, 2007, 07:47 PM
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This is a question for sceneisle (sp?)

I have a trip on the Xpedition booked. I'm a regular cruiser and am used to both luxury and adventure cruises; does the Xpedition have any formal night or other regular luxury cruise offerings besides a spa and hair saloon (i.e. casion, entertainment)?
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Old Jun 6th, 2009, 05:49 PM
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I was delighted with our trip on the Evolution. The service was really exceptional and there were two naturalists on board that I was unable to stump. They knew each island really well, down to what boulder the resident Galapagos Hawk liked to perch on. The food was amazing. I would sign up again with Quasar Expeditions in a minute. However, now I see they have this new yacht, the Grace, that used to be owned by the Princess Grace and Prince Rainer of Monaco. It was actually used by the royal couple on their honeymoon. I dream about cruising on that boat through the Galapagos. You can see it at
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Old Jul 22nd, 2009, 08:48 PM
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TravelingNinja, I just got back from a trip on the Grace! It is AMAZING. It is luxurious but at the same time has the adventure/nature cruise feel that you want in the Galapagos. Cabins are very comfortable, spacious and seviced 3x/day, but there are no phones or TV or salon/spa or "entertainment" or anything silly like that. The focus is on being outside and seeing the animals. And our naturalists were great - we had 2 for 18 guests.
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