This post is part of a series called Photographic Guide to the Galapagos. Click the links below for other categories:
Most travelers to the Galapagos take an overnight cruise at some point during their trip. There are hotel-based alternatives, but overnight cruises are the easiest way to see the islands and the only way to see the more remote islands.
There is some variety in the boats, but they are generally classified as follows: Luxury/Deluxe; First-Class; Tourist Superior; Tourist. The levels are based on the spaciousness, quality of food and guide, whether the rooms have air conditioning and private baths, etc. Also, catamarans (more stable boats) are only available at the higher levels.
We decided to combine day trips based in Puerto Ayora with a 5 night cruise on a 16 passenger catamaran (“Archipell I”) — On some websites this ship is called First-Class and on others it is called Tourist Superior. Either way, we were very content with the accommodations, food, crew, and guide. We booked this ship last-minute from a travel agency in Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island. By booking last-minute we got the cruise at about a 60% discount off of what we would have paid booking at home.
Here are some images to give you a feel for what a Galapagos catamaran cruise is like:
A photo of a 16 passenger catamaran.
Inside a matrimonial cabin on the Archipell I. Other rooms have two single beds. Note: I forgot to take a photo before throwing all of our bags on it. The bed was very smooth and neat before I messed it up.
Inside our cabin bathroom.
The dining room where we ate three meals a day.
The catamaran from the rear-loading dock, where you board.
Two zodiak boats shuttle passengers from the cruise ship to land/snorkeling excursions each day.
A few times, the navigators drove the little boats underneath the cruise ship!
On land-based hikes, we would be dock at locations with the passengers of our boat and never more than one other boat.
The cruise bar/lounge area — decorated it for a fellow passenger’s birthday party.
Inside the control room of the cruise ship (the captain was navigating from the roof.)
You’ll quickly become friends with everyone on board.
The rooftop deck is a lovely place to relax…
And watch the sun set….
As the sun sets…
Our wonderful captain and crew.
Do you have any tips for choosing Galapagos cruises? If so, let me know in the comments!