The Top 8 Most Overrated Features of a Galapagos Cruise: Amenities you don’t really need (and how to avoid them)

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Surely, Galapagos cruises often redefine luxury in a place as remote as the Galapagos. However, how far should you go before crossing the line of necessity in the Galapagos? Be cautious, dear reader, as many Galapagos marketing tricks (often portrayed as “valuable amenities”) are out there that we strongly advise against. Why? Mainly because when the fundamental essence of an experience is lacking, cruise operators may resort to misleading methods to compensate for what’s missing. These “overrated features of a Galapagos cruise” should not sway your decision-making process.

In this blog, we warmly invite you to join us as we debunk many of these “deciding factors” when choosing Galapagos tours based on several questionable aspects.

Do I need a swimming pool on my Galapagos cruise?

Hot Tub In The Galapagos Cruise.
Enjoy A Relaxing Moment In The Hot Tub Of Our Galapagos Cruise.

All right, swimming can be enjoyable, but the critical question is: will you even have the opportunity to use a swimming pool in the Galapagos?

Seeing a pool as part of the amenities list is always pleasant. However, remember that in the Galapagos, you are surrounded by an expansive ocean where daily activities like swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, coastal explorations, and glass-bottom boat outings are the norm. In other words, you’ll spend most of your time engaged in thrilling activities in nature’s grand pool – the vast ocean – teeming with wildlife that isn’t shy about swimming up to you!

If your chosen vessel includes a pool, look closely at the itinerary and the exploration tools available for island adventures. Why? An onboard swimming pool is a clever way to distract from the vessel’s missing or inadequate exploration features; also, the collections on expedition vessels in the Galapagos are small and so compact that you won’t be able to swim laps, and you’d be fortunate if you could take more than five steps in any direction before reaching the edges! Even Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps would find little enjoyment in a Galapagos expedition vessel’s swimming pool.


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What to do: Don’t let the presence or absence of a pool be a deciding factor when choosing your cruise. Remember that many activities will be available throughout the day to keep you (or your young ones) engaged on land and in the ocean. If you’re hesitant about swimming in open waters, rest assured that our expedition vessels feature a hot tub for relaxation and soothing tired muscles after a day’s adventures. These hot tubs are conveniently located near the boarding platform, allowing you to transition seamlessly from your excursion to a relaxing soak. Hot tubs are a practical amenity year-round, making them a more realistic bonus. During the Galapagos hot season, explorers relish spending as much time as possible exploring the ocean!

Does my cabin really need a balcony to better enjoy my Galapagos cruise?

Communal Sun Deck Balcony In The Galapagos Cruise.
Our Ships Have Several Communal Areas You Can Enjoy During Your Galapagos Trip.

While a personal balcony on your Galapagos cruise sounds appealing and incredibly romantic, it’s essential to consider that direct access to the outdoors from your cabin is only sometimes beneficial. Remember, when vessels in the Galapagos navigate between locations, they often do so under windy conditions. During transitional periods between seasons, and indeed throughout the Galapagos dry/windy season, real-feel temperatures can drop as low as 62 °F (16 °C). The wind chill factor is often noticeable across the islands, particularly with the southeast trade winds blowing towards us.

What’s more? A room with balcony access means there’s a route for moisture to enter your cabin from the warmer Galapagos outdoors during the day. The downside? Once it gets in, it can dampen everything, potentially damaging your electronics and clothing.

We’ve observed this “filler feature” on other Galapagos vessels, often found on ships where social areas are limited in number and small in size. Consequently, ships that offer balconies as an amenity often need more space for you to enjoy the better-insulated indoor areas. In contrast, ships with a more significant number and variety of communal areas provide more inviting options for enjoying indoors and outdoors on your cruise.

Do I need to have an ATM on my Galapagos cruise?

Short answer: No. Long answer: There’s no need to have one, as all our boats accept credit cards!

Do my rooms really need a key to access them?

First and foremost, the crew on our ships is highly reputable and trustworthy. They have worked with us for many years without any incidents. Secondly, there’s a practical reason for not providing keys aboard our expedition vessels: we aim to avoid burdening our guests with the responsibility of keeping track of their room keys at all times. Remember that most of the time, you’ll be out exploring the stunning outdoors, likely carrying a fair amount of gear already: a camera, hat, sunglasses, snorkeling equipment, binoculars, and water bottle, among other items. Do you want to add a key to this list?

Galapagos Yacht Isabela Ii Reception
The Reception In Yacht Isabela Ii.

It’s standard practice for vessels in the Galapagos to prioritize the safety and security of guests’ belongings. However, do consider what we’ve previously mentioned. Be assured that we have 24/7 vigil cameras monitoring every hallway. Additionally, all cabins have a compact safety deposit box for your valuables. Furthermore, while you’re inside your cabin, you always have the option to lock it from the inside for added peace of mind.

Will my vessel have a First-Aid Kit?

Medical Officer Onboard In The Galapagos Cruise.
Our Ships Have A 24/7 Medical Officer To Help All Of Our Guests.

This might only be necessary if you think you’ll encounter trivial scrapes or bumps. But in the case of our expedition vessels, we don’t take any chances. That’s why we have our Naturalist Guides carry a first aid kit and an onboard 24/7 Medical Officer who can help you with any physical needs you might encounter during your stay at this once-in-a-lifetime destination!

Note: If you carry personal medicine (i.e., an EpiPen, rash/allergy medication, etc.) or something of personal use, then please be sure to bring it along with you.

Will I really need laundry services on a Galapagos cruise?

Most laundry requests are usually related to over-packing. That’s why it’s always important to pack smart and bring only what you’ll need when you come to the Galapagos! In Galapagos, we always recommend packing extra shorts rather than getting excess long pants! Please look at our handy Galapagos packing list for more information on what to bring.

Javier Garcia

Eduardo Silva

Carolina Escobar


Javier Garcia

Eduardo Silva

Carolina Escobar

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Will I have Cable and Satellite TV on a Galapagos cruise?

No matter where you travel, your cable and satellite system at home invariably offer a more comprehensive selection of channels. So, why would you need a TV in a remote and exotic location like the Galapagos, where the signal is often weak? If you genuinely need to stay connected with the world, rest assured that we provide intermittent, low-bandwidth internet service on board our vessels. This will allow you to access news, sports scores, social media, etc., connecting you easily with global happenings. Don’t worry! You’ll have plenty of time to catch up with Sheldon’s “Big Bang Theory” and similar shows once you’re back home.

Discovery Room Onboard For Entertainment In The Galapagos Cruise.
If All Else Fails: The Discovery Room Comes Equipped With Dvd’S And A Tv.

How often will I need Room Service aboard my vessel?

Indeed, while some boats include services like butlers, maids, and 24/7 room service as part of their core offerings, we assure you that we will provide full assistance if you fall ill, including meal delivery directly to your cabin if necessary. However, remember that such amenities can sometimes detract from the socialization opportunities with other explorers. Boats in the Galapagos offering these services often do so due to limited or smaller social spaces. These are just eight examples of potentially overrated features on a Galapagos cruise!

Yacht Isabela Ii In The Galapagos Islands.
Our Beloved Yacht Isabela Ii.

Updated:April 15, 2024

Published:April 24, 2018