Just Returned - Galapagos Cruise on Galaven ship
Jun 18, 2012 5:51 PM
Just Returned - Galapagos Cruise on Galaven shipGalaven Cruise Ship - small, friendly boat - excellent
We just finished (May 2012) an eight day cruise of the Galapagos Islands (itinerary B) with four friends and enjoyed a very fine time. The boat Galaven carried 20 passengers and was full, but a staff of two guides and about nine others, from our Captain to a housekeeper and deck hands, made everything run efficiently. They are very experienced at leading tours of the islands. One of the guides, Billy, was a level 3 guide, quite passionate about conservation, the Galapagos National Park, and all of the plant and wild life. He certainly offered us lots of additional information about the flora and fauna. Our second guide also had a great spirit and lots of info to share, especially about the marine life, as he was a dive instructor.
We snorkeled about six times (twice on one of the days) and all the spots except one were wonderful. We saw much more sea life, including turtles, sea lions, sharks, rays and zillions of small and large, brightly colored fish, than any of us expected. We also walked or hiked every day and just about all guests came on every outing. We almost had enough time for taking all the photos we wanted, but those with sophisticated camera systems and an eye for natural art were often frustrated because of the lack of time available on each of our outings. This is regulated by the Park Service, not the individual boats or guides, so is the same with all cruise boats. Nonetheless every one of us got spectacular shots of the land and sea Iguanas, the giant Tortoises, crabs, birds and penguins. Those with underwater cameras got great scenes or videos of sea lions, Green Sea Turtles, some sharks and rays, as well as of a wild array of very colorful fish, starfish and other marine creatures.
Food on the boat was abundant and freely available for self-serving. It was certainly typical Ecuadorean food, prepared with individual sauces for each dish, like beef with mushroom sauce or fresh fish with a fruit sauce. There were plenty of fruits, fruit juices and veggie main dish options too. They also provided light food and drink snacks after many morning and afternoon outings, always a delightful and welcome surprise.
The Galaven was a happy home base for a week, with two outside lounge areas (bow and stern) as well as a top deck for great sea bird watching and an inside TV video and library area with a satisfying bunch of natural history and field guides. The staff were always ready to help or to answer questions and guests were welcome in the bridge to learn about the boat's navigation and workings. I do advise bringing ear plugs if the engine sound might disrupt your sleep, as we did often motor at night.
The Galaven was well worth the mid-range price. Our travel agent, Diego at Columbus Travel in Quito, made all of our arrangements so the cruise was discounted from the posted rate.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$90.00 per night
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(0 star Hotel)
From US$19.00 per night