There are so many reasons explore the incredible world of the Galapagos Islands on a luxury cruise. Not only will you enjoy all the amenities of a top-notch cruise, but you’ll explore a land tucked away in time, where friendly marine iguanas bask on the beach and centenarian tortoises glide through emerald waters.
Combine Luxury and Learning on a Galapagos Island Luxury Cruise
Galapagos luxury cruises perfectly combine the best of education, wildlife encounters and premium amenities. Yachts include such high-end delights as sophisticated bar/salons, elegant dining rooms, fitness rooms, sky bars, sundecks and libraries.
Savor World-class Cuisine
You’ll work up an appetite on exciting daily shore excursions, and cruise cuisine is designed to provide a delicious end to a thrilling day. Dine al-fresco or in elegantly appointed dining rooms surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, taking full advantage of the islands’ exotic beauty.
Experience Amazing Wildlife Encounters
Galapagos wildlife, historically unthreatened by natural predators, is fearless when it comes to humans, allowing visitors to get up close with all sorts of exotic creatures, including marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies and giant Galapagos tortoises. Your experienced naturalist guide will lead you across haunting volcanic landscapes and along breathtaking shorelines while exposing you to all sorts creatures, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.
Follow Evolutionary Variations Across the Islands
While on your Galapagos cruise, stopping at islands that have their own unique landscape and creatures, you may feel like you’ve entered a time machine. Swimming iguanas, massive tortoises and flightless birds move about a dramatic landscape of prehistoric volcanic eruptions, towering cactus plants and magnificent undersea reefs.
Stay on the Move
Fortunately, there isn’t a lot of downtime on a Galapagos cruise. We enrich your holiday by providing you with plenty of options. Because of the Galapagos National Park’s sunrise-to-sunset rule, cruises are very structured to take full advantage of available daylight hours. You’ve usually had breakfast, jumped in the boat and reached shore around 8 a.m. Most operators split the day into two excursions which will mostly include land & aquatic programmes. Evening brings a related lecture, a relaxing cocktail and a sumptuous dinner.
Get Close to an Extinct Volcano
If your chosen cruise heads out to the lunar volcanic landscapes of Bartolomé, your guide will surely take you up to Pinnacle Rock, where you can climb 372 steps to the top of an extinct volcano. The path up is a geological lesson itself, with cooled-off lava flows, spatter cones, lava lizards and lava cacti. Or, you may explore the coastline looking for the always elegant Galapagos penguin.
See the Island of Mating Birds
While on Española, you may witness some interesting aviary mating rituals. Galapagos birds here perform a variety of mating dances, from the beak-cracking routine of the albatross to the showy performance of the blue-footed booby and Nazca booby.
Experience Western Wonders
Isabela is the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago and is famous for its wildlife encounters and for its recent volcanic activity in May 2015. Out west you can see Fernandina island, home to the largest colony of marine iguanas, who quite charmingly snuggle up to each other to get warm after swimming. The only flightless cormorants in the world also reside here.
Choose the Itinerary of Your Dreams
Whether you want to tour for five days or two weeks, you can find a luxury Galapagos expedition to suit your holiday needs. Although all cruise ships follow a 15-day route that has been approved by the Galapagos National Park, the routes are divided up for more variety, with itineraries often lasting four, five or eight days. Other itineraries are 11, 12 and 15 days. Most navigation is done overnight, and the island visits and water-based activities are scheduled during the day. Quite naturally, the longer you stay the more islands & sites you will explore, and that formula matches the total amount of wildlife encounters.
Enjoy Exemplary Service
Like the best five-star hotels, top-notch Galapagos luxury cruises offer the finest service. For example, the 40-guest Isabela II treats guests to a glass-bottom boat, ocean kayaks, snorkeling equipment and multilingual naturalist guides. Enjoy it all onboard a splendid vessel with three spacious decks, a bar, gift shop, library, sundeck and game room.
Visit a Red Beach
Otherworldly Rabida is fringed by a dark red beach courtesy of its iron-rich sand. Watch sea lions play on the rugged shore and then travel a bit inland to a lagoon where flocks of flamingos feed. Experts and explorers agree this island holds one of the best snorkelling areas of the marine reserve.
Follow the Best Guides
Luxury cruises hire extremely well-trained Naturalists in natural history and language interpretation. This training is provided by the Galapagos National Park, but experience counts as top priority when hiring Naturalists. These multilingual guides have university degrees in biology, tourism or a related field and have to have six or more years of experience guiding in the Galapagos.
Bring the Family
Many Galapagos expeditions are geared toward families. Ships like Metropolitan’s Santa Cruz II have excellent choices of suites and cabins with the option for connecting rooms and suites. Many ships have internet connections, game rooms and glass-bottom boats for exploring the reefs without even getting wet. Family bonding truly happens in the Galapagos.
Visit the Charles Darwin Research Center
This archipelago of isolated islands inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, and today Darwin’s legacy continues at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Here, you’ll get to see what humans are doing in order to restore numbers of former populations of Galapagos wildlife, and meet magnificent Galapagos tortoises.
Dive into Incredible Snorkeling Adventures
Offering incredible scuba diving and snorkeling experiences, the waters around the Galapagos Islands are teeming with fish and other distinctive marine critters. You can swim and snorkel among sea lions, white-tip reef sharks, tropical fishes, and sea turtles, to name just a couple. This is the World’s second largest marine reserve.
Choose Your Luxury Style
You can choose among an assortment of stellar ships for the one that best suits your luxury style. The always exclusive 48-guest Yacht La Pinta boasts floor-to-ceiling windows in all cabins and has the biggest cabin of any ship in the archipelago. Meanwhile, the state-of-the-art expedition vessel Santa Cruz II is designed to carry up to 90 explorers in luxury to the remotest areas of this enchanted archipelago. For the intimate experience of a smaller yacht, book Isabela II for just 20 couples, with its Jacuzzi, fitness room, bar and alfresco dining deck.