Our Galapagos vessels survey trip included an assessment of the various vessels plying the Galapagos seas. The ships reviewed ranged from large 90-100 pax luxury vessels to the medium-sized and the small. Our on-site analysis includes a discussion of the various boats’ pros and cons with several Galapagos naturalists who have worked on many of the ships.
Although the large 90-100 passenger luxury vessels offer a more pampered cruise experiences (spacious cabins, spa, etc.), the critical downside is their limited wildlife opportunities and experiences. Based on the boats’ large size, they have less landing sites, less snorkeling/kayaking activities, and less time for the numerous shore excursions. With 100 passengers being transferred to and from the islands, the total time devoted to wildlife viewing is diminished. One of the naturalist guides referred to these larger ships as “faux Galapagos.” With that being said, medium-sized vessels are the preferred option when exploring, providing stability in the ocean to combat sea-sicknesses while offering a more in-depth experience exploring the islands.
Xperience & La Pinta
The two highest quality medium-size vessels are the Xperience and La Pinta. To be newly relaunched March 25, 2017, the Celebrity Xperience (formerly the Eclipse) should take the Galapagos mid-size ship expedition experience to a whole new level. Unlike other mid-size vessels, the Xperience will offer premium bedding, flat screen TVs, internet access, and room service! Both the Xperience and the La Pinta offer the perfect balance of a premier wildlife experience with quality comfortability and stability: stability/security of a larger ship, while not degrading the more personal, intimate wildlife off-shore experience.
Integrity Luxury Yacht
The 141 ft., 318-ton Integrity yacht is the ideal vessel for extended families or groups of friends wishing for a more private luxury Galapagos sailing experience. With a 16 passenger capacity, upgraded dining options and an onboard Class II certified naturalist, the Integrity is one of the top luxury sailing experience in the Galapagos.