Galapagos on Isabella 2

Old Jul 12th, 2003, 11:55 AM
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Galapagos on Isabella 2

Hi There

Has anyone been on this 40 passeneger luxury class cruise boat recently.
I would greatly appreciate all comments.

It says that this cruise boat sails only 7 day cruise but this is not so, it will do 5 days / 4night also
Please comment on food , service,size of cabin (eg adequate!?) Were the guides good.? Did you see all you wanted to see.
Thank you
Percy is offline  
Old Sep 3rd, 2003, 04:09 PM
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Well you may be back by how did you like everything? We were in Cabin 8 and were pleasantly surprised at the size of the room.

Food was best at the buffet and dinner was fair....our waiter almost had a heart attack when we asked for ice cream or another basket of bread.

Loved Pepe and am spoiled rotten with juice and appetizers served everyday.

Took tons of pictures and wasa very lucky to have a couple do a Power Pt. Presentation for us.

Did you like Lobo,Celso and Geoff....knew their stuff!

Can not wait to hear about your experience both on the islands and in Quito.

Welcome back!
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Old Sep 4th, 2003, 01:31 PM
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Hi lobster103

I got back yesterday and tried to write twice but lost the message both time,so decided I was too exhausted.
Yes, I loved everything about the Isabella 2, what a nice clean lovely Yacht, mush better than I would have expected.
I was in Cabin #18, one door away from the back deck.
You know I like all the food, the buffets were good and the sit down dinner where they served us was also great.
Gee!! ,No, we never had any problems asking for anything extra, in fact we asked for more bread about 2-3 times , other times they just brought our table more bread, when they saw out bread basket was low. I loved the bread, wasn't it great.
And yes, Pepe was a real treat. He was the bartender and as you know each time we came back from shore on a tour, he was waiting for us with these beautiful juices, like mango, blackberry etc, you never knew what he was going to dream up next.!!! and those hot snacks hit the spot until lunch was served.
Out Naturalists were Mario, Lobo and Alexis and you are right they are very very knowledgeable.
You see they take turns getting time off, so at the end of our trip when the time was over , Mario was taking a week off and Celso was coming on.
I paced myself about taking pictures because,there is no end to taking pictures.( I took 72 pictures) I also brought back about 15 postcards of things and animals that I saw...
You know I arrived at the Galapagos Airport on August 29th at 11:45AM...our bus was a little late so I went outside ,it was 86F and the heat hit you like an oven...I looked up at the sky and there were frigate birds flying about.
But I wanted to see a Blue Footed Boobie and was hoping during the tours I would see one.
Well, the bus came and we went to the Ferry to cross to Santa Cruz, it is only a 5 minute ferry ride, anyway, on this rock about 10 feet away from me, as we are crossing is a Blue Footed Boobie... I was so excited to see those blue feet..
About Quito,
I was there for 4 days and it was great because we had such good guides.
We went to
Bellavista Cloud Forest
Otavalo and Cotacachi
Mita del Mundo...the Equator Line
to Cotopaxi and a very nice town called Saquisili which has this gigantic market every Thursday( I was there on Thursday,,better than the one in Otavalo our guide said)
Our guides had a new Mercedes Benz Van and we got personal service because there was only the two of us and the driver and our Guide Carlos Avila..we had a great time just the four of us.
It was nice to be one on one always.
I could talk about the trips in Quito for the next hour but I will say bye for now and too bad we missed each other by one week.

I have a friend , Peg from Toledo and she is going in late September,so it will be nice to hear her comments when she returns.
Ask more questions on Quito or anything.
Take Care

Percy is offline  
Old Sep 4th, 2003, 04:11 PM
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Welcome back, Percy. I will be leaving in 2 weeks for Peru and will be on the Isabella (cabin 12)about a week after that. I know that the dress on board is very casual. Did you feel the need to change your clothing for dinner because you might have been icky from being out all day, or did you just wear what you had on? I need to know about how much stuff to bring. Did you go to more than 1 island during the day? I too am looking forward to seeing the blue-footed booby. Any other detailed info would be greatly appreciated. I can't wait to depart.
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Old Sep 4th, 2003, 07:33 PM
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Hi, you will really love the Isabella 2, take my word for it.
I know exactly the cabin you are in, it is just great with a nice window and bathroom etc.
About clothes...bring a sweater or a light jacket, it can get cool in the late afternoon and evening as you are sitting on the top deck sipping coffee or a drink.
I brought 2 pairs of slacks and 3 pairs of short and 7 t shirts and one shirt and ONLY wore half of what I brought!!
When you come back from the tour , you are not necessarily icky, I would shower and change to another T shirt , at other times I just wore the same one as on the tour.
I wore sandals all the time and went to the dinning room in shorts always, it is very casual.
Yes Lolo , you go to more than one Island during the day, one in the morning and another one in the afternoon, but it is all so very well organized.
The day before you receive a sheet in your room outlining the next days events.
Here let me give you an example:
We went to Genovesa Island( which is the bird island..birds everywhere), well they give you a little write up on the island and what you will be seeing and then they outline your day like this:
06h30....wake up call
08h00.... snorkeling talk
09h00....Darwin Bay, wet landing( this means when you disembark from the panga, you will be in about ankle deep water). Easy walking for about half a mile.
12h30....Ecuadorian typial lunch.( Lolo , this was good, wish I had some right now!!!)
15h30....Prince Phillips Steps. Dry Landing. If you have thoughts about the 90 foot climb , then go for the panga ride along the coast.
(Lolo, the 90 ft climb is easy!)
19h15......Naturalist briefing


Lolo , you get this outline every evening in your room outlining the events of the next day.
They also tell you the temp and the high and low tide.
You just have to eat ,sleep drink and go on tours, not a bad life for a while.
So remember the dress is casual.
About footwear, well,just the common water proof sandal from any store will do. A few wore only a light beach sandal with no heel strap.
Only one person had a pair of Tevas.
Oh yes, one more thing, people have written and said bring water and drink lots of water on the is JUST the opposite!!!!!, let me explain.
Do all you drinking on the Yacht with enough time to go to the bathroom BEFORE the tour.. you see there is no "peeing" on the islands!! there are NO bathrooms and no shrubs or bushes you can duck behind, besides the Naturalist would not allow it.
Now of course if you are snorkelling, well that is a different story, if you know what I mean.
BUT no one was drinking water on the tours, you never got thirsty and soon you would be back at the Yacht.
If you want me to write to you offline I can send you some pictures via e mail of the cabin room, the dinning room and the Foyer/desk area and the lounge.
I guarantee you WILL love this yacht and the three Naturalist.
Ask anything else before you leave
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Old Sep 5th, 2003, 05:00 AM
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I just answered you on the Cuenca part before I read this one. Your info on the Isabella in invaluable. Thanks so much. My husband and I will be bringing only what we can stuff into a duffle, one for each of us. The rest of our gear will be waiting for us at the hotel in Guayaquil upon our return. Were there hair dryers on board, or should I bring my own from the states? And what about the voltage? Also, I understand there is wine served with dinner, true? We both have tevas and figure that shoud be enough.
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Old Sep 5th, 2003, 02:16 PM
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Hi Lolo
Yes leave as much of your clothes as you can guayaquil(pronouced Why-a-keel,)
There was wine served with the dinner twice.
The other times you have to purchase the wine..but you can do this, when in the lounge having a wine with your husband, purchase a bottle, then what you do not drink, the bartender Pepe, will cap the bottle and you can ask for and receive the bottle at dinner, then cap it again (if it is not empty!!!).
Yes there are hair dryers on board, just ask at the Pursers desk. No Charge.
Tevas will do just fine.
There were 36 of us on the Isabella 2 and there were 36 different types of footwear.
e mail is $4.48 per e mail , you have to use the Pursers Laptop.
Free drinks at the Captains welcome and again on the final day at the Captains Farewell, just before the final dinner.
Have a great time( I know you will)
Any further questions ,just ask.

Percy is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2003, 09:04 AM
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You are leaving in less than 2weeks!!!
here is some added information:
1.There is a $100 US fee/person payable in cash upon your arrival at the Galapagos Aiport.
2.There is a $25.00/person fee when you depart from Ecuador ( for you that is when you are leaving Quayaquil).
3. There is plenty of shampoo and soap in the bathroom, so you do not need to bring any.
4.If you are going to use the computer on the Isabella 2, then for e-mail when you need to type @ ( that little a with the circle around it),you do this:
Press down and hold the ALT key and type 64 ( you probably know this).
5.There is lots of free bottled water, so there is no need to bring any with you.
6.The Main deck has the lounge, dinning room and Foyer/desk area.
Second deck is your cabins.
Third deck is the Sun Deck with lounging chairs and a hot tub.
7.Tips at the end of your trip are as follows( envelopes are provided):
$25.00/person for the Guides
$45.00/person for the Crew.( This is all the crew, waiter, purser, panga boat drivers etc.) at your discretion..mainly related to how much service and time you spent in the lounge.!!
8.I bought a stuffed Blue Footed Boobie while I was strolling around in Puerto Ayora after touring the Charles Darwin Centre. The prices on this stuffed toy vary and I saw prices of $15.00, $12.00, $10.00,$8.00 and $7.00 !!all within a 2-3 block walk, amazing !!,I bought the $7.00 one.
If you buy one as a souvenir, this is who they, ( the people that lives there) want you to buy:
get the one that has a tag on it that reads, "NATIVA, hand made in the Galapagos by group of women from the fishing village." This helps the local people..this is the one I bought, but I knew this before I came.
9.There is a Glass Bottom Boat and you will get the opportunity to do a little trip and look at some fish,if you are lucky you will spot a turtle.!!
10. Oh yes, let me add that the movie star Morgan Freeman and his daughter were on the Isabella 2,the week before we got on.!!!
He is going to be doing a documentary on the Galapagos sometime this Fall/ Winter.
You are all set ,have a great time and please let me know about your trip and your opinion of the Isabella 2 when you get back.
PS. take some antinasuea , anti motion sickness meds...BUT here is a doctor's office on board and a full time doctor.
Percy is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2003, 11:25 AM
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Your comments are so helpful. I will be with a tour company (Tauck) so all gratuities will be taken care of, including the $100 entrance fee. I already know about the departure tax of $25. Actually, we will be on the Isabella only 4 nights, the other time will be spent in Peru and Guayaquil. I'm expecting the waters to be rather chilly, so we may not be doing much snorkling.And we will be prepared with something for seasickness. When the tour ends in Guayaquil, my husband and I plan to visit Cuenca. We are leaving on the 20th. Can't wait. Will keep you posted and will report when I return. Just give me a couple of days to recoup.
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 11:51 AM
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Hi Percy and Lolo,

I just recently started my research into the Galapagos Islands and have a few questions. Please excuse myself if these questions have been asked before and I have yet to discover them.

For the cruises that you have taken (or are getting ready to take) in the Galapagos, did you also have a hotel room somewhere? Lolo made a comment in a previous post that her luggage would be waiting at her hotel. I didn't know if that meant in storage or if she had a room their while also on the cruise.

Are the daily excursions a part of the total price for the cruise? Or is it like the bigger cruise lines in which you have a selection of excursions you can take and pay for them as you go? Is there just one set iternary everyone follows?

Is seeing the Galapagos on a cruise ship as the Isabella the best way to see the Galapagos? Is there anything you wished you'd seen or done differently? Did you miss out on anything by being on the cruise ship?

I would also like to see parts of Ecuador while visting. Is it better to do this before or after the Galapagos cruise?

Percy, I have already requested more information about the cruise from Sangay based on your glowing reviews.

Thank you in advance for your reply!
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 02:53 PM
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Well , I will answer the questions I can and leave the others to Lolo!
1. I was on the Isabella 2 ( a luxury class yacht) was terrific both outside and inside. The food and service was great.
There was 36 of us on this 40 passnger yacht, because some people came in three's and therefore one person had a room to themselves( I do not know the price for being single in a room..sorry)
2. I was going to go in March or April and Martin agreed ,but then he sent me this e -mailin mid July ,telling me that he has this great price for me if I can go on August 29th.. it was a good deal and I thought I better go now , who knows about next April.!!!
3. The cruise is all inclusive ,including all the food and drinks ,(except alcohol drinks), and all your transfers and ferry rides after you arrive at the airport.
In fact when my luggage was tagged at the Quito airport, the next time I saw it was in my room on the Isabella 2!!.
All the tours to the involved Islands are included in the price.
It is NOT like a cruise ship, where all the off shore excursions are extra.
Yes... I saw and did all I wanted, I of course did not visit all the Islands, but after seeing 100's of Blue Footed Boobies( for example) , how many more do you want to see.?! I do not mean that in a boring way.
I did a good deal of research on the Galapagos and knew in advance what each Island had to offer, so I did not feel Like I missed anything at all.!!
Ooops!!..I just got an e- mail from Martin In Quito, he is thanking me and telling me to stay in touch. Hmmm..I should be thanking him.
Anyway, I can only comment on the Isabella 2, which I was on, I had a look from the outside only at some of the other yachts like The Ambassador, The Deflin 2, The Galapagos Explorer2, The Legends....etc.
I felt like I was on a great Yacht with great service.( I am sure the other luxury yachts,some are bigger ,eg.90-100 passengers, are good also.)
I did the four days in Quito and area before my trip to the Galapagos..for this (personal ) reason:
I felt the highlite of the trip would of course be the Galapagos, so I did not want to tour Quito and area on my way back, as it would be sort of semi-climatic.( That is my personal reason), besides after the Galapgos,I just wanted to go home.
Martin booked all my tours to :
Otavalo and Cotacachi and Mitad del Mundo( The Equator Line)
Cotopaxi( the Volcano) and the town of Saquisili...the very large Market ,each Thursday was an eye opener.!
I did not have one glitch, in my tours of Quito and area..everything went smooth as silk..
I stayed at Hotel Quito ( buffet breakfast included for $50.00 US/day.
But my tour package included this also.
Once I paid Martin from Edmonton Alberta, the only extra money I spent was on tips,a few meals in Quito.(The Bellavista tour included breakfast and Lunch).. oh yes and I bought my tour guide and the driver lunch once ,because they were so good and after 4 days , you felt like family with them.( There was just us 4, the driver, the tour guide and 2 of us).
I also called Marin a few time on the phone, just before I left,it was nice to place a voice to the e-mail!!
One more cost I endured in the Galapagos..I bought a stuffed Blue Footed Boobie for $7.00 !!!
I willlet Lolo answer the question about the luggage in the hotell as she is leaving from Guayquil to the Galapagos.
Hope all this helps
Percy is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2003, 10:17 AM
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Hi sjb0115 and also Percy.
I have one more week to go - am getting excited!!
I will be on a Tauck tour that starts in Lima, goes to Cusco, Macchu Picchu, Guayaquil and on to Galapagos and then ending in back again in Guayaquil. My husband and I will then be going on to Cuenca on our own. As a courtesy, the hotel in Guayaquil will be holding our luggage during the time we will be in Galapagos. We are not paying anything extra for this.
As for seeing other parts of Ecuador either before or after, I don't think it really makes too much difference, it's all up to you. Percy did his sightseeing before, I will be doing most of mine in Peru before and Ecuador after. If you go before and will be returning to the same hotel, they would probably hold your luggage in storage for you. This is a big help as you don't need too much on the boat and storage space is probably very limited . As you can tell, I have done a lot of research on this subject, both on this sight and elsewhere. In selecting Tauck as my tour operator, several details were important to me, one of which was they use the Isabella. You don't want to be on a boat that is too small. This size of the Isabella is just right. We will be 36 people and everything is included.
If you want to do exploring in other parts of Ecuador but are not sure where to go, look at Fodor's guide, or any other guide to Ecuador ( or S. America). Doing a lot of reading will perk your wanderlust and then checking with airlines will help also. That way you can see where is is feasible to fly in and out from.
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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 12:07 PM
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Percy, you seem to be forgetting to thank one person. Oh yeah that would be the person who did all the research for this trip, make it sound like you have been planning this vacation for awhile.


We are going on a boat with about 16 people on board if it is full. We personally didn't want to tour the islands with 40 other people.

The cruise price is the excursions to the islands. So there are no extra prices, except on our boat we pay for bottled water and alcohol.

We, for example, are arriving in Quito Sept. 26, on Saturday we will be going to Otavalo, and a couple of villages for shopping, stopping at Mita del Mundo on the way back, and then leaving for the Galapagos Islands on Sunday for four nights. Then we are in Quito for another night and head up to Bellavista lodge in the cloud forest for a night and then back to Quito. Then we will do Cotopaxi and leave the next day.

We are staying at Cafe Cultura and they have a storage service. So we will be combining some of our luggage and leaving some behind at the hotel while we are in the Galapagos and Bellavista.

So there are many options for things to do.
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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 01:16 PM
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You did a terrific job in your research of the Galapagos,to which you are going on September 26th.
I thank you for putting me on to Sangay Tours in Quito.
Like I mentioned , my plans were to go in April but when Martin came up with this quick "deal"..I thought ,better go now.
Thank you also , very much, for your great information about Costa Rica and all about your tour there last October.
Your information and advice and the pictures that you sent me were truly much valued and appreciated.
Also , your information on Thialand was great and I will take your advice and not place it high on my list.
I sincerely wish you the best on your trip on September 26th to the Galapagos, if you get to see Martin in Quito,please pass along a hello form me.
When you go to Cotopaxi, please take a heavy sweater, don't want you freezing.
The higher up you drive the colder it gets( and windy)..believe me it is cold up there.
Have a great trip and let us all know about it when you return, as you will visit some different Islands than we did on the Isabella 2.
There were 36 of us on the Isabella,but we went out in groups of 12,many times smaller,because ,there were 2 Spanish speaking groups and one English speaking group.
So I was never in a large group.
Once again thank you for your valued information re Costa Rica and putting me on to Sangay Tours.
And Lolo ,we who took the Isabella 2,will also look forward to your report.
Have a very great,safe and wonderful time.
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Old Sep 15th, 2003, 06:50 AM
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Thank you Percy, Lolo, and Peg for your responses. You all have posted very good information throughout this site. I have been talking to Martin through emails about the tours he offers. So the wheels are in motion for the Galapagos! Thanks again.
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