How to Choose the Best Galapagos Cruise: 3 Simple Tips to Narrow Down Your Options

With nearly 70 vessels to choose from in Galapagos, narrowing down the best Galapagos cruise might seem like a daunting task at first. But with a proper sense of what you want to get out of your trip, as well as looking at safety during your travel, then the answer to the question “Which is the Best Galapagos Cruise?” is actually quite simple!

We’ve identified the top 3 hacks to help you select the Best Galapagos Cruise

How To Choose The Best Galapagos Cruise.
Here’S A Guide You Can Use To Choose The Best Galapagos Cruise!

1. Look for Simultaneous Activities

Multiguided Cruises And Excursions In The Galapagos.
Enjoy A Variety Of Simultaneous Activities During Your Galapagos Cruise Trip.

Does your Galapagos cruise offer a proper variety of simultaneous activities throughout each day?

Make sure that your Galapagos cruise offers a decent variety of different activities that cater to your interests. To experience Galapagos is to explore them, to engage with them, and be active throughout each and every visitor site available. Now imagine if your vessel of choice offered just one activity per visitor site. Wouldn’t you feel somewhat disappointed, or even worse – feel that dreaded bit of FOMO?

Such is the risk one takes when they choose to experience the Galapagos aboard a single-guided vessel.

Taken from Cruise Critic’s article ‘So Far from Mass Tourism’: How the Galapagos Islands Could Help Restart Cruises:

“One company has already quietly restarted its operations in the Galapagos. Ecuadorian-based Metropolitan Touring resumed its first post-shutdown operations aboard the 48-passenger La Pinta on August 2, 2020, and has committed to operating every sailing, taking all the necessary safe travel measures — even if only one passenger is on board.”

It is highly important to remember: Visitors are not allowed to explore the Galapagos National Park on their own. The Galapagos National Park Authority requires that all vessels host their excursions with one Naturalist Guide per (maximum) 16 guests. Consequently, single-guided boats only offer one activity per site at a time.

So, which is the best Galapagos cruise when it comes to offering an actual, decent selection of activities? Multi-guided cruises, of which there are only 18 in Galapagos. Multi-guided vessels give guests the added benefit (and actual freedom) to choose from a variety of different activities throughout the day, rather than feel beholden to what their guide designates as the activity of the day or, even worse – what the majority of passengers vote for. What’s more? Multi-guided vessels often times have an even lower guide-guest ratio when it comes to excursions, making for a more intimate and personalized encounter with nature.

2. Safety First

Onboard Medical Officer On A Galapagos Cruise
Our Ships Have An Onboard 24/7 Medical Officer.

Is your Galapagos cruise actually concerned about your travel safety and the wellbeing of Galapagos waters?

Sure enough, many come to the Galapagos Islands assuming they’ll be OK throughout the entire excursion, and more often than not, they absolutely will be perfectly fine. But only a handful of vessels in Galapagos (10, to be exact) go the extra mile by providing a 24-hour onboard Medical Officer. Why you might ask? Just so that, in the highly rare event that anything should happen to you during your trip to Galapagos, you can quickly be assisted in getting back up on your feet and return to exploring the Galapagos in no time. After all, you wouldn’t want to let a small accident or minor injury end up ruining your Galapagos tour of this once-in-a-lifetime destination, right? That’s what onboard Medical Officers are there to help with.

This group of 10 vessels with an onboard Medical Officer also happens to keep the Galapagos waters in mind when it comes to protecting the delicate flora and fauna of each visitor site. Black and grey water are continuously treated aboard this specific group of vessels, too, giving guests a special peace of mind when it comes to enjoying Galapagos responsibly. What’s the difference: Galapagos Cruise or Yacht? There are plenty of boats and cruise options in the Galapagos, so it might be hard to start planning your trip to the Galapagos Islands. Here we have a few things to take into consideration when choosing between a Galapagos cruise ship (otherwise known as Expedition Vessels) and yachts:

  • Galapagos Yachts: These are ideal for a comfortable stay and exploration of the islands. Yachts offer comfortable social areas and, on average, around 24 cabins for up to 48 guests. Water stability and luxury are their key features.
  • Galapagos Cruises: All the commodities are covered and exploration activities are abundant. Cruise ships include a restaurant, numerous, spacious social areas, and a gym, among other features. They usually have, on average, around 50 cabins for up to 90 guests.

3. Explore the Galapagos Properly

Kayaking And Exploration Tools In The Galapagos
Make Sure Your Galapagos Cruise Has All The Tools You Need For A Proper Exploration Of The Islands!

Does your Galapagos cruise provide you with the exploration tools you’ll need to properly experience Galapagos?

Because it just so happens that only 8 cruises in Galapagos provide their guests with the full list of exploratory tools, such as glass-bottom boats, kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkeling gear. Don’t forget: the Galapagos Islands are an EXPEDITION DESTINATION that is meant to be experienced in as many different ways as possible! This hack actually ties in quite nicely with our first hack, given none of these activities would be as enticing as they are if you didn’t have the freedom to pick from the numerous different ways that these vessels offer for exploring the islands. Not in the mood to get wet, but still curious about the underwater world of Galapagos? Glass-bottom boats are here to save your visit! All while other guests are equally free to plunge into the water and snorkel around, or glide above it on a kayak in their own group with a guide!

Updated:May 30, 2023

Published:July 18, 2018


Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands Tour 2024 Package: 12 days / Quito, Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu / From USD 9,598 per person



Condé Nast Traveler ONLINE

This small, secret rooftop of the restored Casa Gangotena mansion peers over Plaza San Francisco in the center of Quito’s colonial Old Town, the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Order a Cedrón Spritz, a refreshing mix of rum, lemon, sparkling wine, and fresh lemon verbena (cedrón) syrup and leaf, then revel in the mesmerizing, real-time montage of daily life in Ecuador’s capital as it parades past.

National Geographic Traveller

A Font of information, Klaus has spent decades in the field, leading tours in the Amazon, Andes and Galapagos Islands. He hung up his guiding boots a few years back and now creates itineraries for the tour operator, Metropolitan Touring. Adrift in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from mainland South America, Galapagos is one of the most biodiverse locales on Earth.

Cruise Critic

Santa Cruz II is a replacement for the much-loved Santa Cruz, which plied the waters of the Galapagos for 36 years. It is not a new ship; it was built in 2002 and sailed as Mare Australis under the Australis cruise brand, operating expedition cruises around Cape Horn and to Antarctica. Metropolitan Touring bought the ship in 2015 and completely refurbished it, launching it as Santa Cruz II in October 2015.

Telegraph Ultra Travel: 50 Greatest Hotels in the World

When this modern, minimalist, glass-walled jungle lodge opened in 2012, it changed the accommodation game in South America. Arquitect Alfredo Ribadeneira’s “protective cocoon” would impress in a modern city; in the depths of an Andean cloudforest, it is wild, audacious and beautiful. Though only 70 miles from Quito, Maspi Lodge sits in splendid isolation, perched on a cliff at the end of an unsealed road.

Terms and Conditions

Itinerario de 5 días / 4 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (4214 USD + impuestos por persona)
Itinerario de 7 días / 6 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (5672 USD + impuestos por persona)
No reembolsable. Aplica únicamente para residentes ecuatorianos en nuevas reservas directas realizadas, hasta el 30 de junio del 2022, con un ejecutivo de ventas del hotel. Válido para estadías hasta el 31 de agosto de 2022. No puede ser combinada con otros descuentos, promociones u ofertas. El descuento no aplica para otros servicios. El precio no incluye recargo de combustible de $20 por noche de crucero.

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