Galapagos – FAQ’s – Sea-based

Galapagos – FAQ’s – Sea-based

Why do some people prefer to see GPS on a cruise ship?
Exploring the Galapagos on a cruise ship allows you to see and visit much more of the archipelago without losing too much daylight between trips. The nice thing about Galapagos cruise ships is that they only travel the long distances from island-to-island at night. This allows you to rest up and save energies for the adventure that awaits the next day! Not to mention, they have a number of activities available and all of them come with at least one National Park guide.
Why do I always have to be with a guide in order to visit the National Park?
National Park rules strictly require the company of a guide in order to ensure the preservation of flora and fauna throughout the archipelago. Their presence not only helps to keep the islands safe, but educate visitors on its importance as well.
How much walking will the excursions have? How difficult are the walks?
The great majority of visitor sites have trails that were designed to be approximately 1 mi (1.6 km) long in order to allow visitors to observe the wildlife without disturbing it. While most National Park trails are not long, their difficulty level varies due to uneven terrain composed of lava rock, gravel and/or sand. Some trails require wet landings, others have stairs, but in general, none requires significant exertion. At most sites, there is no shade for resting and there are no bathrooms. The longest trails are restricted to non-national park areas. At some of the Galapagos National Park visitor sites, some of the trails are made of cement or boardwalks.
How much sailing does this trip involve?
Most well-planned cruise itineraries cover the longest sailing distances at night. This allows activities and island exploration to happen during the day. The exact distances to be covered depend on your itinerary but range from 3-140 nautical miles.
Are expedition cruises the only option for wildlife viewing opportunities?
They may not be the only option but they are definitely the best option. With island hopping, only a limited number of visitor sites can be reached. On land, only the inhabited islands have the infrastructure for land transportation – which means that the number of wildlife spots that can be accessed may be limited.
Are there any night activities on board? (i.e. entertainment, movies, etc.)
Night walks are not permitted by the National Park authorities at visitor sites, and at the end of a very full and exciting day of discovery, most guests prefer to call it a night reasonably early. However, on our ships, we offer an activity that is fun for young and old alike: stargazing. Guests get to check out the constellations of both the northern and southern hemispheres. Of course, those who want to share a good conversation over a nightcap are always welcome to mingle in the lounge. And for those staying in town, be sure to take a stroll and check out the local nightlife.
Is there a doctor on board the ships?
There are doctors aboard all of our ships. Note that this is a service not provided by all cruise companies operating in the Galapagos.
Why do you call it an expedition vessel rather than just a cruise ship?
Expedition vessels have all of the comforts, top hotel services, gourmet meals, safety procedures, and professional captaining of cruise ships but we offer something extra: an expedition leader with the rank of a cruise director whose goal is to adapt the natural conditions on the islands (weather, mating periods, etc.) to the physical abilities and interests of our guests. Naturalist guides provide daily briefings and thematic lectures in which they share their love for and knowledge of the islands with guests. Additionally, all itineraries are designed to maximize the wildlife viewing experience of our guests.
Who will be piloting my ship?
As with commercial airplanes, vessels that with high-level tonnage must be captained by internationally-accredited Merchant Marine Officers with several years of experience. A high-ranking officer is on duty 24/7 on the bridge as per international regulations.
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