There are numerous boats offering Galapagos Islands cruises. Which cruise is the best for your Galapagos vacation? Which yacht is most suitable for you or your family vacation to these splendid islands? Here you find reviews of many of the best cruises to the Galapagos Islands. The boats are listed alphabetically rather than in any order of preference - all are excellent cruises. Cruise reviews follow.
Large Cruise Liners
Eclipse - This luxury cruise ship offers spaciousness, comfort and an excellent range of facilities. The Eclipse cruise is fast and nimble allowing easy access to more distant islands and their small bays. A total of 48 passengers (plus staff) fit into the 27 air-conditioned cabins are both large and spacious, with fine decoration. Amenities include a 6 metre swimming pool (large by Galapagos standards), a video room, shop, observation deck and al fresco dining. The Eclipse is one of the best cruise ships available. The seven night cruise departs on Saturdays.
Galapagos Explorer II (2) - One of the larger ships cruising the Galapagos Islands, the Explorer II (2) offers excellent stability and plenty of space to its 100 passengers. The 50 air-conditioned suites (with both twin and double beds) are distributed over five decks and have outside view of the islands. There is a wide range of facilities to entertain vacationers including a library, games room, small pool with Jacuzzi, solarium, massage suite, and occasional shows and discos. The Galapagos Explorer Cruise has quite a cruise ship feel to it (eg. shows are often put on in the evening) and it is one of the cheaper large cruise ships in the Galapagos. The seven night cruise departs on Saturdays.
Isabella 2 - The Isabela II is a top of the range first class cruise liner designed for clients who wish to experience the exploratory spirit of a Galapagos Island cruise on a luxury holiday. The Isabella 2 has capacity for just 40 passengers. Acommodation is in 21 cabins of four different categories, all of which have air-conditioning and external windows. The cruise's décor is extremely smart. There is a bar, dining room, spacious sun-deck, library/video room, Jacuzzi and solarium. The Isabella 2 is a glass-bottomed cruise boat which offers an alternative to snorkelling. This seven night cruise departs on Tuesdays.
La Pinta - La Pinta is one of the newest large cruise ships in the Galapagos (first cruise departure March 2008). La Pinta is a 63-metre motor yacht with 24 cabins. There is also a library and sun-deck. This seven-night cruise begins and ends on the small island of Baltra, just off Santa Cruz Island.
Legend - The Legend is a classic cruise ship offering comfortable travel for its 100 passengers. There are five different cabin types, the main difference being the window size. There is a full range of amenities including a small outside swimming pool. The cruise's decor is a little bland. This is a more typical cruise - including folkloric shows and dance lessons - it has that "cruise feel" about it. This 7 night cruise departs on Mondays.
Santa Cruz - the popular and imposing Santa Cruz can accommodate 90 passengers. The 46 cabins range from single to quadruple (this making is an excellent choice for family vacations and single travellers on holiday in Ecuador). Facilities on the Santa Cruz cruise are first class: there is a cosy restaurant, lounge, library and sun-deck with bar and Jacuzzi. The Santa Cruz has a glass bottomed boat offering an alternative to snorkelling to view the vibrant undersea world of the islands. There are 52 crew and naturalist guides. This is an excellent choice for any vacation to the Galapagos. Departures for the seven night Santa Cruz cruise are on Fridays.
Small Cruise Boats & Yachts
Alta - this graceful yacht, a 46m three-masted staysail cruise, epitomises elegance. The Alta cruise offers passengers a romantic sea-borne vacation experience in the maximum comfort allowable on a vessel of traditional design. Eight double and twin cabins are quite cosy (each has a square window and en suite facilities). The boats relaxation areas are spacious and comfortable with cushioned seating and loungers on the sun deck. There are eight crew members and one English speaking naturalist guide. This seven night cruise departs on Saturdays.
Beagle - A graceful cruise boat with teak decking, the Beagle is a charming option for those seeking a romantic and close-to-nature Galapagos Islands holiday. There are six air-conditioned double cabins and one single (note this single travellers!). There is a friendly dining area with large picture windows, and open and shaded deck-space for relaxation. The seven night Beagle cruise departs on Tuesdays.
Beluga - a 33m motor yacht designed for those who prefer the intimacy of travel on a small craft while enjoying the maximum comfort possible. Recently renovated, the Beluga cruise accommodates 16 passengers in eight en suite, air-conditioned double cabins. There is plenty of space on the yacht's deck. There are nine crew members including an English-speaking naturalist guide. The seven night Beluga cruise departs on Fridays.
Cachalote - This small motor-sailboat offers guests a true seaborne experience at very good value. The Cachalote cruise accommodates 16 passengers in eight cabins with bunk beds which nevertheless have private facilities and air-conditioning. Meals are taken communally. As this is quite a small yacht and many of the cabins suffer from slight engine noise. There is a crew of six, including an English-speaking guide. The seven night Cachalote cruise departs on Wednesdays.
Coral (Coral 1 and Coral 2) - The Coral is good value and availability is rarely a problem - it is often available for last minute Galapagos vacation bookings. Guests are accommodated in compact but bright cabins with lower berths, air-conditioning and en suite facilities and plenty of storage space. There is a spacious restaurant with large picture windows and the spacious sundeck has a Jacuzzi with fine views. This yacht has ten crew members and two English speaking naturalist guides, and has a total capacity for 36 passengers. Potential vacation-makers should be aware that in the past it has been common that clients are swapped to the larger Legend cruise ship at the last minute. The seven night Coral cruise has a Sunday departure.
Diamante - the graceful Diamante is a brigantine motor-sailer boat. The Diamante carries 12 passengers, and will appeal to those who wish to travel the Galapagos in a more intimate environment. Fully air conditioned cabins are six in total. There is a bright deck house where the comfortable dining room allows guests to enjoy 360 degree views. There are six crew and one English speaking guide. The seven night Diamante cruise has a Wednesday departure.
Evolution Cruise - This stylish yacht will appeal to those who would enjoy the nostalgia of a 1920s style cruise while benefiting from modern amenities. The cruise ship has an interior reminiscent of an English country house hotel with classic décor and comfortable furnishings. It has a warm and welcoming feel. Facilities include al-fresco dining area, a small plunge pool, sun deck, observation deck and bar. The service is excellent and highly personalized. Up to 32 passengers are accommodated in 12 cabins and 4 suites. There is a yacht crew of 18 plus two English speaking naturalist guides. The Evolution is one of the best boats cruising the Galapagos Islands. The seven night cruise departs on Saturdays.
Fragata - The Fragata is a 25 metre motor yacht that can accommodate 16 passengers in single and double cabins. All of the cabins have en suite facilities and the boat is air conditioned throughout. Facilities include a sundeck, diving platform and bar saloon. The Fregata offers a five day cruise normally departing on Mondays.
Lammer Law - the sleek blue and white Lammer Law sailboat has a vast sun deck area and spacious cabins. The eight cabins have plenty of storage space and beds can be configured as doubles or singles. The yacht is fully equipped for diving - the Lammer Law is often a cruise whose main activities will involve scuba diving. The seven night Lammer Law cruise has Sunday departures.
Letty, Eric & Flamingo - these three identical craft, the MVs Letty, Eric and Flamingo, offer comfortable cruising at the top end of the tourist class range. They are not quite first class Galapagos islands yachts, but very good nonetheless, and are excellent value for money. As such, availability can often be a problem - you'll need to book this Galapagos cruise well in advance. There are ten cabins on three floors. The sun deck is particularly spacious and the cruise has a lot of emphasis on snorkelling. Departures are on Sundays for this seven night cruise.
Mary Anne - one of the most romantic and beautiful ships in the Galapagos Islands, this is a genuine sailing boat. There are 10 cabins and a maximum 16 passengers on the Mary Anne meaning it is a spacious boat. The sun deck has covered seating area and al fresco dining areas. One of the best cruises for those seeking a smaller boat, this 7 night cruise departs on Wednesdays.
Mistral - The Mistral is an ideal choice for those on vacation who prefer the ambiance of a small boat and a more adventurous feel to their cruise. The mistral accommodates 12 passengers in six cabins with upper and lower berths and private facilities. There is a spacious dining room with picture windows and a comfortable sun deck. You can also opt to eat al fresco in the aft deck. There are five crew and a naturalist guide. The boat is well-equipped for diving and adventure vacation departures. The Mistral's 7 night cruise departs on Saturdays.
Parranda - a deluxe motor yacht perfect for those who wish to travel around the Galapagos Islands on a relatively small craft but in comfort and style. Equipped with stabilisers, this is one of the smoother cruises - there's less rocking on boats with stabilizers, and hence this is a good option for those concerned about sea sickness (likewise those concerned about their children getting sea sick). There are eight cabins accommodating 16 guests. The outside decking area is very spacious. The seven night Parranda cruise departs on Saturdays.
Sagitta - The Sagitta sailing ship offers passengers the romance of travelling on a sailing ship with more space and comfort than is sometimes found on such craft. There are ten cabins accommodating up to 16 guests. The seven night Sagitta cruise departs on Wednesdays.
Samba - A very good value cruise, the Samba looks more like a fishing boat! The Samba carries 13 passengers in six fully air-conditioned cabins each with en suite facilities and one with exterior shower and toilet. There are both indoor and al fresco dining facilities, a small bar and two sun decks. A great option for those on a tighter budget for their vacation. The seven night Sagitta cruise leaves on Tuesdays.
Sea Cloud - An 84-foot motor-sailer the Sea Cloud is ideal for those who want to explore the islands as part of a smaller group or family holiday cruise charter. There are four air-conditioned cabins, each with double lower and single upper berths and private facilities with hot water shower. The 7 night Sea cloud cruise departs on Saturdays.
Sky Dancer - the M/Y Sky Dancer is a motor yacht with a capacity for 16 passengers, six crew and two dive instructors or dive master/naturalist. This is a diving cruise to the Galapagos Islands. Accommodation is in eight twin bedded cabins located on two decks. Specialist facilities include dive gear storage, a photo and video film lab, light tables, daily E-6 processing. The Sky Dancer offers up to four dives per day on a pre-planned but flexible itinerary. The seven night Sky Dancer diving cruise departs on Sundays.
Tip Top 2, 3 and 4 - Offering fantastic value for money the Tip Top boats are often full - book these boats well in advance. The Tip Top boats have a total capacity for 16 passengers and eight-crew including one naturalist multilingual guide. Seven night cruise departures are on Fridays.