If you’re looking for some of the most exquisite wildlife in the world, nowhere even comes close to the Galapagos Islands. Located 1,000 kilometres off the coast of Ecuador, each of the 13 major islands that inspired Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution has its own unique ecosystem and is populated with different and fascinating animal species. From giant tortoises meandering through marshes and sea lions swimming in crystal-clear waters to blue-footed boobies and the magnificent Galapagos albatross, when it comes to exceptional wildlife, the Enchanted Islands certainly deliver. They say the best way to see the Galapagos Islands is by boat – and we would have to agree, especially considering the high standard of luxury cruises available today.
As well as unbeatable comfort and luxury, on a Galapagos luxury cruise, the activities and itineraries are second to none, too. From hiking with naturalist guides and kayaking through crystal-clear waters to strolling along pristine beaches whilst learning all about the different plants and animals, or snorkelling in search of turtles, Galapagos sharks, multi-coloured marine life and stingrays, one thing’s for sure: when it comes to cruising the Galapagos, no two days are the same. So get ready to follow in the footsteps of Darwin and discover our top picks of luxury ships as you prepare to set sail and see all the Galapagos Islands have to offer…
As sleek and stylish as a luxury private yacht, the boutique cruiser, Origin, is one of the most luxurious and sophisticated in the Galapagos Islands. Sleeping 20 passengers in 10 deluxe staterooms decorated in tasteful neutral tones, each room boasts impossibly comfortable beds as well as floor-to-ceiling windows so you can lie back and take it all in as you admire the incredible views. Feeling active? Then why not venture out and do some exploring in one of the Origin’s kayaks or stand-up paddle boards, or even indulge in a spot of snorkelling; all equipment is included, so the choice is yours! Back on board, there’s a bubbling Jacuzzi waiting for you, as well as a fitness centre, library and plenty of comfy lounge areas. There are also two expert naturalist guides on hand to answer your questions and guide your excursions, as well as 12 other staff members, including a talented chef to whip up delicious gourmet food. Trust us: your every want and need will be taken care of onboard the Origin!
Modern and luxurious with plenty of space, the Endemic is a first-class catamaran and one of our own personal favourites. With eight cabins accommodating 16 passengers, the Endemic is less boat, more floating five-star hotel. The cabins are larger than most, with floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies so you can soak up the views, as well as incredibly spacious bathrooms. The hand-picked staff are all readily available to tend to your every need, and there’s also an expert naturalist guide on board with over 20 years of experience to answer all of your wildlife questions. Snorkelling equipment is provided, as are glass-bottom kayaks, so you can get out there and explore until your heart’s content – or if you fancy just relaxing on board, there’s no better spot than the enormous Sky Deck with its comfortable sun loungers and a Jacuzzi. There’s also two other smaller outdoor areas and two living rooms as well. And we have to mention the chef, a culinary genius who is renowned for serving up delicious food using only the freshest of ingredients. Pure perfection!
If you thought the Endemic was impressive, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Launching in June 2019, the Elite is the sister ship of the Endemic and the newest mega catamaran in the Galapagos Islands. Sleek and luxurious, if you want to see all that the Galapagos Islands have to offer in the utmost comfort and luxury, the Elite is the cruise ship for you. Sleeping up to 16 guests in spacious and well-appointed suites, this is a Galapagos luxury cruise as you’ve never seen it before. Each suite has panoramic ocean views and a private outdoor balcony, whilst the social areas include a salon complete with 180-degree panoramic views, as well as alfresco dining areas where chefs serve up delicious dishes made with the finest locally-sourced food. Up on the Sky Deck, you can watch the Enchanted Islands float by from the comfort of the hot tub or enjoy a drink at the bar area, and an expert team of captains, guides and crew are always on hand to cater to your every need. All excursions are led by bilingual naturalist guides and the itineraries on offer aboard the Elite include visits to some of the best sites in the Galapagos Islands, such as the opportunity to snorkel with sea lions and explore the famous Bird Island of Genovesa.
One of the newest catamarans in the Galapagos Island line up, the Ocean Spray carries up to 16 passengers in its nine elegant cabins. A mega catamaran with some of the roomiest cabins in the Galapagos Islands, if you’re looking for cruising with a side of comfort, this is the ship for you. Each cabin has huge panoramic windows complete with private balconies (which is pretty rare in the Galapagos Islands!). The decor is contemporary and chic with teak decks, and for an extra touch of luxury, all of the en suite bathrooms have L’Occitane amenities, whilst the cabins also boast TVs, DVD players, an iPod dock and air conditioning. There are plenty of social spaces to relax in too, including indoor and outdoor dining areas, a library, bar, and ample deck space. When you’re not off sightseeing or exploring on one of the kayaks provided, why not recline on the spacious Sun Deck, soak in the Jacuzzi or sit back and relax in one of the super comfy lounge areas as you take in an amazing equatorial sunset – you can’t beat it!
Sea Star Journey
One of our favourite yachts in the Galapagos, the Sea Star Journey is lavish, luxurious, and a super stylish choice. Sleeping up to 16 passengers in eight elegantly-designed suites, this boutique yacht has recently been renovated to include private balconies on all four of the main deck suites, and there’s a light, bright and airy feel throughout. However, it’s the spacious Sea Star Suite with its panoramic windows that’s the jewel in the Sea Star’s crown. When it comes to social areas, you can relax in the cosy dining room where the chef serves up delicious local and international dishes, or brush up on your reading in the library. There’s also a sprawling sun deck where you can recline on one of the day beds or take a dip in the Jacuzzi, and there’s a solarium, snorkelling equipment and kayaks available. You could even venture out on the brand new glass-bottomed panga with an expert naturalist guide, too.
With such luxurious cruises available, there has never been a better time to explore the Galapagos Islands by boat. There’s nothing our expert team don’t know about the Enchanted Islands, so if you’re ready to start planning your Galapagos luxury cruise – without scrimping on comfort, of course! – you’ve come to the right place.