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Galapagos Cruises

Old Mar 25th, 2006, 08:55 AM
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Galapagos Cruises

Going crazy and spending way too much time on the internet at work and at home looking for Galapagos cruises for September of this year. We want the full 7 days at the islands with a 4 day add-on to a jungle lodge (Sacha Lodge?). Leaning towards OAT or GAP. Has anyone had any recent experience with these operators or could recommend someone? Smaller ships better than larger ones? Any advice appreciated!
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Old Mar 25th, 2006, 09:21 AM
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I almost lost my mind trying to figure out cruises!

We just recently went on a 7 day cruise on the Eclipse - a 48 passenger ship - it was bigger than I *thought* I wanted but in the end was great - the size was good for a couple of reasons - the ship has 4 pangas (Zodiacs) so they can move everybody on and off the boat quickly and 4 naturalist guides - so it somewhat approximates the small boat feel.

Also - we wanted to see the flightless cormorants on Fernandina Island and mainly the bigger boats go west.

One of the reaons I had read for a smaller boat (i.e. 16-20 passengers) was that the smaller boats go into smaller harbours....well that wasn't our experience - I think the itineraries are pretty similar now. We looked at a few boats of that size (we had a few weeks in Puerto Ayora beforehand so we shopped for cruises) and I'm sure would have been happy - the only comments I'd make is that the sailboats don't seem to sail much (people we met who had been on sailboats said they put up the sails "one afternoon for photos") and there's not a lot of covered common space (in the event of rain).....

In one book I read it made a point to carefully evaluate the 7 day cruise to make sure it was a "real" 7 days - not a 4 day + 3 day option (which means you go back to the main airport at some stage for pick up passengers - the Eclipse was a true 7 day tour)

Regarding operators - we booked directly so can't help there - a friend of mine took a GAP tour in November and was very happy.

Happy to answer any questions you may have - pix of the Eclipse are on our blog -

http://lizandrichardsa.typepad.com/l...gos/index.html


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Old Mar 25th, 2006, 11:17 AM
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Hi

My husband and I went to a Galapagos cruise this past February on the 20 passenger Letty. There are three sister ships which are basically identical; the Eric, the Letty and the Flamingo. They all have two pangas and two naturalist guides so we too moved quickly on and off the boat without the need for relay shuttles.

http://www.ecoventura.com/default.asp

The trip was wonderful, we went up to Tower island, over to the west side of Isabela, to Fernandina, Santa Cruz, Baltra, Espanola, Bartoleme, Santiago, North Seymour and San Cristobal.

I really liked the intimacy of the smaller boat but I am sure if I had been on the Eclipse, I would have loved it too.

Sea-sickness is one concern on the smaller boats and I did have a minor bout with it the first day but was fine thereafter. Lessons learned: take preventative precautions (don't wait til your seasick to take dramamine) and if something is starting to make you queasy - stop it immediately (sitting inside starting to bother you - don't try to tough it out - move outside or lay down with eyes closed).

We had a wonderful time, the land excursions were marvelous, the snorkeling was incredible (we did more snorkeling than I had anticipated and it was a real highlight.)

We had a chance to see giant tortoises in the wild, boobies(red-footed, blue-footed and masked), flamingos,frigates, flightless cormorants, numerous herons, galapagos hawks, a barn owl, land iguanas, marine iguanas including some in their turquoise and red mating coloration. We saw penguins on the shore and in the water, snorkeled with sea lions and sea turtles and much much more.

I had a wonderful time on the Letty, the food was great, I liked the layout of the boat, the crew and naturalists were fantastic.

We worked with Andrew Gilchrist of Lost World Adventures to plan this trip. He also took care of our land arrangements in Quito, which where silky smooth. We were met at the airport, transported to our hotel (El Patio Andaluz,a wonderful botique hotel in the old town), taken on a private city tour the next day and then the following day brought back to the airport for our Galapagos flight, all by the same person. Gina, our personal guide, then met us at the airport when we returned from the Galapagos, shuttled us to our hotel and then the next day took us back to the airport for our flight home.




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Old Mar 25th, 2006, 12:17 PM
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The Eric and Letty were doing virtually the same itinerary as the Eclipse - they looked like lovely boats and one of our guides also worked on them and said they were very nice......

Eveningcrane raises a good point about snorkeling - we also did lots of snorkeling - much more than I expected which was great for us.....but for some people on the cruise is was a (not happy) surprise. I think they felt short changed on the excursions....we often had 2 snorkeling opportunities each day plus a land excursion - if you didn't snorkel it was more time spent on the boat.

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Old Mar 25th, 2006, 12:48 PM
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Hi again

We generally did two land excursions and two water excursions each day. Most of the time the water excursions were snorkeling but we also had one morning where we did sea kayaking and another when we had an extended panga ride along the coast of Isabela. (The Letty actual pulled up anchor and followed us along the coast) We had a great view of a large flock of blue-footed boobies repetitively (sp?) diving into the water.

Some of the snorkeling was off the beaches and other times it was deep water snorkeling off the pangas.



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Old Mar 26th, 2006, 12:34 PM
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Loru100, Whilst I can't give you first hand information, I am planning the same trip. We are considering the Lammer Law as our cruise ship and Napo Lodge for our jungle adventure. Good luck with your planning. It is a lot to take in.

http://www.napowildlifecenter.com/

http://www.lammerlaw.com/index2.html
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