Galapagos Cruises

Galapagos Cruises

How to take the best Galapagos cruise in 2021


Seaman Journey | Galapagos cruiseSo, you’ve decided to visit the Galapagos Islands, a stunning volcanic archipelago 1,000 kilometers from the shores of Ecuador. With 19 glorious islands filled with unique and exotic flora and fauna, a Galapagos cruise is a wonderful way to experience this world treasure. You just won’t get the same feeling staying in a land-based hotel. 

The best Galapagos Islands cruises offer 4-8 day itineraries that allow you to come face-to-face with ancient tortoises, swimming lizards and sea lions. You can take excursions on land, or go scuba diving beneath the surface, all to come back in the evening for a dinner aboard your boat. 

Galapagos cruises are strictly regulated by the government to protect endangered plants and animals. The Galapagos National Park decides routes and cruise capacity to cut down on overcrowding. Therefore, seeing the islands by boat is a relaxing experience. You won’t be on a huge cruise ship with thousands of passengers like you would in the Caribbean. 

If a Galapagos cruise fits into your travel itinerary and budget, we encourage you to explore this stunning chain of islands by boat.

Reasons why we recommend a Galapagos cruise over land-based travel

There are a number of reasons to choose a Galapagos cruise over staying in a hotel on one of the islands.
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You’ll spend less time planning

Sea Star Journey | Galapagos Cruise

Taking a liveaboard vacation means less time planning. Each cruise line follows an itinerary, meaning you get to sit back and relax. You don’t have to worry about lining up all of your land excursions and arranging your hotel bookings. With the help of an expert travel concierge, you can even design a unique itinerary that caters to your particular interests.


You’ll make the most out of your time on a Galapagos cruise

Sea Star JourneyIf you’re staying on land in the Galapagos Islands, you’ll be surprised by just how much time it takes to get from Point A to Point B. You’ll spend a lot of time getting from your hotel, onto a day-trip boat, out to the day’s destination, then sailing back to your hotel.

When you take a Galapagos cruise, the boat will move from place to place during the night, so you can see even more during your short time in the islands


Restricted access keeps your trip unspoiled

Taking a Galapagos Island cruise means you’ll see fewer people than if you were land-based. There are limits to how many people are allowed on expedition ships and yachts, and how often they run. In order to add a new boat to the fleet, one has to be removed. This means you’ll see beautiful, unspoiled nature this remote enchanted archipelago.

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A few examples of Galapagos cruise ships and sizes

Larger vessels like the Galapagos Legend have more room for luxury. On this incredible ship, you’ll find five decks to wander and mingle with other guests. The Galapagos Legend has multilingual naturalists on board that will give you insight into the variety of plants, animals and geologic features of the islands. This ship boasts a swimming pool and jacuzzi, a fitness center and kids area. 

A large boat like the Galapagos Legend can handle rougher seas better than a smaller boat, which means less of a chance of getting seasick.

If you’re craving a more intimate experience, consider a Galapagos cruise on the Catamaran Petrel. This motorized catamaran has a spacious sundeck, Jacuzzi and private balconies attached to each stateroom. Booking a Galapagos island tour on this ship is an experience you won’t soon forget. 

The Seaman Journey offers an exclusive feeling with space for only 16 guests. This small catamaran style yacht features 8 comfortable cabins with panoramic windows and private bathrooms. There are even a solarium and outside dining, the perfect spot to relax after a long day of exertion exploring the Galapagos Islands.

Choose your favorite yacht


Price per day


What to expect on a Galapagos Islands cruise

There’s so much to see and do on a Galapagos Islands cruise, no matter your fitness level. Not into hiking or snorkeling? No worries. You can do shorter shore excursions, or watch the scenery go by while on deck.

If you love getting exercise while on vacation, a Galapagos cruise can offer challenging activities. Here are some common activities offered on the daily excursions:

Volcano Hikes

Volcano HikesHiking through the surreal and beautiful volcanic landscape of the Galapagos is a great way to see the natural beauty of the Galapagos Islands up close.

Take a hike around the rim of the Volcán Sierra Negra, the second largest active caldera on earth and the only volcano on the islands that visitors are allowed to hike. The trail has a gradual incline, so it is manageable for those with moderate fitness (although you should bring plenty of water as the equatorial sun can be strong.)

The 9 km wide, 91 metre deep crater is a truly spectacular site, especially with the views of the ocean in the distance. Be sure to bring an expert guide with you on this 5 hour hike, so that they can tell you about the flora and fauna as well as the history of the landscape.



Snorkeling in GalapagosAnother one of the most popular Galapagos tour activities is snorkeling. Peer beneath the surface of the water to see the incredibly diverse marine life of the Galapagos. You might even spot turtles, hammerhead sharks, golden rays and parrotfish.

Some of the best snorkeling spots in the Galapagos include North Seymour Island, James Bay on Santiago Island and Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela Island. Your yacht charter cruise will provide you with flippers, a mask and a snorkel – but you can also bring your own if you have them.

The great thing about snorkeling is that you don’t have to have any special training. Anyone can do it – as long as you know how to swim. At the beginning of your cruise trip, you’ll receive a snorkeling orientation from your guide – who will teach you what to look out for and how to avoid damaging the delicate coral.


Scuba Diving

Scubba diving in GalapagosThe Galapagos Islands are considered one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world. There is excellent diving the year, but June-December is exceptional – as this is when hammerheads, whales, rays and other large marine creatures come out to play. 

Some of the best diving destinations are Wolf and Darwin Islands – which can only be visited by boat.

Typically, diving in the Galapagos marine reserve is for more advanced divers who feel comfortable in deep cold water with potential for strong currents and low visibility. So, make sure that you have the appropriate training and experience level before attempting to scuba dive in the Galapagos.


Sea Kayaking

Kayaking in GalapagosWith thousands of miles of rocky shorelines and secluded coves, the Galapagos Islands are ideal for exploring via kayak. Kayaking is a great activity during your Galapagos vacation, as it allows you to get up close with the wildlife and see remote spots that cannot be reached any other way.

Of course, the Galapagos National Park Service carefully regulates sea kayaking in the marine reserve, so you’ll need to make sure you have booked your tour with a company that has been granted special kayaking permissions within the park.



Convinced? How to choose the right Galapagos cruise

When booking a Galapagos cruise, you’ll first need to think about what type of cruise suits your needs. Do you want to have an intimate experience on a sailing catamaran or monohull sailboat? Or would you rather be on a spacious yacht with fancy staterooms and fine dining?

If you’re worried about seasickness or are traveling with small children, you may enjoy a luxury vessel. These Galapagos expedition yachts divide guests into small groups for hikes and activities. A small luxury liner is a great way to experience the Galapagos without the giant hordes of people you’d find on a larger ship.

Onboard a luxury ship you’ll usually have a larger cabin, sometimes with your own private balcony. The cabins are usually en suite and are compact in their design so that they can maximize living space. However, even on the smallest of vessels, you’ll usually find a sun deck where you can stretch out and relax and watch wildlife, as well as a dining area and lounge.

All Galapagos cruises remain fairly small. The Galapagos Islands National Park prohibits cruises with more than 100 people on board. Most Galapagos yachts carry around 16 people.

Another factor to consider when choosing the best Galapagos cruise is how much time you want to spend diving. If you’re a certified scuba diver, there’s much to behold beneath the surface. Luckily, there are several dive-oriented liveaboard programs to choose from. These boats are built to accommodate diving gear and bring passengers to amazing locations to swim with whale sharks, hammerhead sharks and manta rays.

How much do you want to pay for your Galapagos cruise?

Price is a big consideration for people looking to go on a Galapagos Islands cruise. How much you’ll pay varies on the size of the boat and the amount of luxury.

Here are a few guidelines to consider when choosing the best expedition yacht .

Economy class cruises offer more rustic accommodation and basic amenities. You’ll find a very good price point with this type of cruise, which brings it within reach for a variety of people. 

Midrange class yacht cruises will usually offer private quarters but they will often be small with private bathrooms.

First-class Galapagos tours boats offer private cabins with en-suite, top quality English speaking guides and better communal facilities. 

Finally, top-of-the-line Luxury class yachts and vessels have everything you would expect and more from a liveaboard cruise, including exquisite food, ample sun decks, and a Jacuzzi to enjoy after a day of hiking or swimming.

What time of year should you take a Galapagos cruise?

Solaris YachtThe great part about taking a Galapagos Island cruise is that any time of year works. With a location close to the equator, the islands have a mild and warm climate. 

What you should consider when booking a Galapagos cruise is which animals, and behaviors, you want to see. Some species are migratory, which means they only call the archipelago home a few months out of the year.

In December and January, you’ll be able to see the giant tortoise eggs hatching. In February you can watch the penguins migrating to Isabela and Fernandina from Bartolome. In March you can see the marine iguanas making their nests on North Seymour. May is blue-footed booby mating season, so you’ll be able to watch their unique courtship dance.

If you are interested in seeing humpback whales while on your expedition cruise, June is the best month to spot them. July and August are ideal for sea lion watching, as this is when they will be breeding and giving birth. If you visit during September and October you’ll have a chance to spot adorable sea lion pups and blue-footed booby chicks – and in November you can see whale sharks in the northwest.

When it comes to weather, the warmer season from December to June is ideal for a relaxed Galapagos Island boat based trip, as you’ll have sunnier days, calmer seas and better underwater visibility. 

The June to November season sees the islands transform from green, lush tropical lands to a more barren, desert-like climate.

As you can see, the best time of year to take a Galapagos cruise is totally up to you.

We are confident you will have a life changine experience on a  Galapagos liveaboard tour

By now, your heart might be set on taking a Galapagos cruise to see all the marvels of these islands that Darwin visited so many years ago.

There are so many options to choose from. You can take an economy cruise with bunk-style sleeping arrangements, or a luxury cruise with your own private balcony.

Visiting the Galapagos Islands is a bucket list item for so many people. We hope you make the most of your limited vacation time by booking a Galapagos Islands cruise.