It was one of the BEST vacations we have ever experienced.
We found every aspect to be top notch. We booked the cruise directly through Metropolitan touring. Our internet contact was Paulina Garces. She was outstanding to work with and made sure every step of the way was addressed from airport transfers to hotel arrangements. We flew in the night prior to leaving for the Galapagos and stayed and the Wyndham in Guayaquil. It was a great choice for a hotel and we found the experience very enjoyable. The staff and accommodations were excellent, it has a nice view of the river and a short walk from a quaint old section of the city.
The next morning, Metropolitan Touring took us to the airport and literally walked us through Galapagos customs and airport check in. Our guide Francisco, who assisted us, was very courteous and helpful.
The MV Santa Cruz expedition itself was outstanding. The crew was universally helpful, friendly, and courteous. We were upgraded to the Master Suite and Junior Suite on the boat desk which was outstanding in and of itself, but the other cabins were also nice.
The nature guides were excellent, and the excursions were special. They do a nice job of disembarking in a timely manner even though there are about 90 passengers on board. I do not think the larger size of the group made much of a difference (i.e. 40 people versus 90) in terms of the enjoying the wildlife, there was plenty of iguanas, booby birds, frigates, Sally light foot crabs, and sea lions to see and they mostly could care less about the humans. I’m not going into detail each excursion since the itinerary is on the website, but the first day is a fantastic intro and the snorkeling was excellent, especially the last day with the sea lions. I would advise on Santa Cruz Island to take the excursion to the tortoise habitat as opposed the beach kayak. My wife and kids did the kayak trip and didn’t see a whole lot of wildlife and you see a lot of beaches anyway throughout the cruise versus I got to see a LOT of big tortoises for the afternoon.
Having a larger boat is key given that the boat was still pretty rocky a times despite going during the calm season! When we were docked, I saw some of the smaller boats rocking a LOT more than us. I normally don’t get seasick and did get so by the third day. So make sure to get your scopolamine patches, dramamine, sea bands, etc BEFORE you cruise.
The food was excellent as well, which was a surprise given that this was more of an adventure cruise. I had friends who took the cruise say the food was so-so but it was quite good overall. There is certainly plenty of food and in between snacks so don’t bother packing extra food for the cruise.
We were very satisfied with the trip and now have many fond memories (and photos) of our experience. We highly recommend Metropolitian Touring to friends and family interested in visiting Ecuador and the Galapagos.