Once you’ve chosen to make your Galapagos adventure a cruise, the next task is deciding on a boat. There are over one hundred options to choose, from motor sailers to catamarans to bigger ships and even small yachts. Though it might seem overwhelming, it can be broken down into a few groups – luxury class, moderately priced cruises, and budget cruises.
With the luxury class, travelers experience the utmost in comfort, cuisine, and service, while the budget class offers a fun experience with considerably less creature comforts, amenities, and perhaps a bit of a sacrifice with the cuisine and service. That’s why the ample selection of moderately priced Galapagos cruises might be the perfect fit for your trip! You’ll still get first class accommodations, excellent service and great food, without the price tag associated with the luxury cruises.
What’s the price range?
Moderately priced cruises in the Galapagos tend to range between USD $350-$700 per person per day. As far as Galapagos cruises go, you’ll find that you really do get what you pay for, so if you do find a cruise in this category that costs more or less, you can expect that the service and accommodations will vary accordingly.
What type of boat should you choose?
Within this category, you can choose pretty much any style of yacht or ship that you’d like. Here are a few pointers for picking the right one for you…
Small or big?
Although all Galapagos cruising vessels are small compared to the giant ships that sail in other regions of the world, they range in size from just 8-16 passengers all the way up to 200.
Smaller yachts with capacity for around 16 people are much more common and have pros and cons.
- Pro: Get to know the guide, fellow passengers, captain and crew much more personally.
- Pro: More flexibility with the schedule if you want to spend a bit more or less time doing a certain activity.
- Con: Smaller boats generally mean smaller cabins and a bit more rocking with the current.
- Con: Less onboard social areas, amenities, and facilities.
Larger yachts and ships follow the same basic idea – their larger build allows them to have more social areas and amenities onboard, plus the higher guest capacity means you can meet and mingle with more people on your cruise. The weight of these vessels also makes them more stable against the currents.
Catamaran, ship, or motor sailor?
This is all about personal preference, since each one offers a unique onboard experience. If you want a boat with a higher capacity, that pretty much limits you to the ships. If you’re hoping for the stability of a larger vessel, including the expansive social areas, but the environment of a smaller boat, then the very stable twin-hulled catamarans offer a great alternative. If you want more of a traditional experience, then consider a motor sailor, which largely depends on its sails and the wind to navigate (they also have motors to supplement the sails); sailboats do tend to rock more and have smaller cabins, which can be either a pro or con.
Which Galapagos boat should I choose?
One great way to decide which Galapagos boat you’ll choose is by checking out the itineraries. There are a limited number of visitor sites that any cruise will visit, so if you have an idea of which activities and destinations interest you, that can really help determine which cruises you can choose from.
There are less than 10 diving cruises to choose from, so if that is definitely something you’d like to do, your list of boats to choose from just got a lot shorter!
Here’s a list of some of the best moderately priced Galapagos boats: