During Summer vacation I had a cruise on Galapagos Island, prefered to the so called Island Hopping (for further info on the difference, follow this link).
Now, I wil try to describe the typical cruise day on board of the Galapagos Legend cruise ship.
The typical day on the ship began at 6.45, with a message in English and Spanish with which the cruise manager, after apologizing for interrupting the dreams of the passengers, invited them to wake up and have breakfast.
Between 7.00 and 7.45 a rich breakfast buffet was served, with international food (bacon, pancakes, etc.) and local food (every day a dish based on corn, but always different; fruit; etc.).
At 8.00 used to begin the landing operation on the islands. The ship’s 100 passengers had been divided into groups of 10-15 units, each named after a Galapagos animal. For example, my family was part of the “Gruppo dei Gabbiani” (“gabiotas” in Spanish, “seagull” in English), together with three other Italian tourists and a family from Ecuador.
The landings were made on rubber boats that approach the ship. Each dinghy carried one of the cruise groups. So, we always went ashore and went hiking with the Seagull Group.
Most of the landings have been wet (wet landing); therefore, once they reached the island, passengers had to jump into the water to reach the mainland, wetting their lower limbs up to their knees. Only on a couple of occasions, there has been a dry landing, in which the boat docks at a pier.
Once landed on the island, we took off our life jackets and put on our shoes, after drying our feet with the towels made available free of charge by the ship.
The actual excursion lasted about an hour and a half. It was a pleasant walk through the wonders of the Galapagos Islands, where every glimpse represented the opportunity for the naturalistic guide to explain the flora, fauna and geology of this earthly paradise. During the excursion, you could see land and sea iguanas, sea lions (which differ from seals in that they have ears), cormorants, and many other animals of all sizes and colors. The guide took care to explain the species, the evolutionary history, and the curiosities of the animals and plants that met during the visit.
Around 10.30 the excursions ended and we returned to the beach. Here it was possible to stop for about an hour to swim, take photos, or to snorkel with the equipment made available to the ship.
Return ship operations were held between 11.30 and 12.00, where we were greeted by a snack and a drink (usually fruit juice), different from day to day. Generally the snack consisted of a fried of typical Ecuadorian products whose name I can’t remember, but still exceptional. The most banal snack, but equally appreciated, was the one based on fresh fruit which could be dipped in two fountains of hot chocolate: the first of milk chocolate; the second of white chocolate.
Lunch and snorkeling
At 12.30 there was lunch. Later there were meetings with the guides to explore the various naturalistic themes of the islands: from evolutionism and the selection of the species to the gestation of the animals.
At 2.30 pm second snorkeling session of the day. On a couple of occasions, for those who did not feel like going down to the water, a trip with a glass-bottomed boat was organized, in order to allow everyone to see the seabed and the fish. Clearly, my 4 year olds took advantage of this opportunity.
The second guided excursion on the islands was held between 16.30 and 18.30, structured exactly like the morning one: landing on the island, walk for about 1h 30 minutes, return by boat with a welcome snack on board.
Between 6.30pm and 7.30pm you could relax in many different ways: there were those who did gymnasium, those who went to the library, those who simply stayed in the main hall of the ship to chat and / or watch documentaries on the Galapagos broadcast on high definition screens.
On at least a couple of occasions, I have been in the whirlpool located at the stern of the ship, to admire the sunset pampered by the high-pressure jets of hot water.
After dinner there was a briefing in which the guide explained what would be done the next day, giving in particular instructions on the clothing to be worn also due to the type of landing scheduled on the island.
For those who wanted and had the strength, the evening ended with games and group activities.
Before leaving, I was afraid of getting bored on the ship. In the end, I never had a free moment: the activities followed one another with a frenetic and exciting rhythm.
Furthermore, it seems appropriate to underline that the activities were marked by the announcements of the ship’s staff who warned you of the approach of dinner, disembarkation, snorkeling. As a consequence, there was not even the stress of having to check the clock or set the alarm. Fantastic and relaxing!
In order to read about the single excursions on the Galapagos islands, click here.
If you want to know whether it is bettere a cruise or the so called Island Hopping, click here.