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Galapagos: Which boat is best for me?

What type of Galapagos experience are you looking for? "I want…"

A family Trip with kids

Galapagos with kidsThe Galapagos Islands are great for multi-generational trips!

All boats in the Galapagos accommodate kids of a certain age (some starting at 5 years old and some starting at 8 years old).  However, some boats have child discounts (typically 15-25% for kids 11 and under), special family departures, and special programs for the kids. Only some boats can accommodate 3 people to a room, and/or have cheaper cabins for kids with connecting doors.

Our favorite boats when taking kids are

  • Aggressor III (children 5-17 years: 25% discount)
  • Alia (children under 12 years: 20% discount)
  • Anahi (children under 12 years: 20% discount)
  • Archipell I & II (children: 20% discount)
  • Coral I & II (children under 12 years: 25% discount for child sharing the cabin with 1 full fare paying guest and 50% off sharing a cabin with 2 full-fare paying guests)
  • Celebrity Xperience f/k/a Eclipse (family-friendly departures for children 4 years and up; non-family departure for children 7 years old and up; children 7-12 years: 25% discount)
  • Celebrity Xploration f/k/a Athala (children age 7-11 years sharing the cabin with an adult: 25% discount.)
  • Eric & Letty (family-friendly departures for children 5 years old and up; children age 7-11: 25% discount; teens age 12-17: 15% discount)
  • Estrella de Mar I & II (children under 12 years: 30% discount)
  • Galavan (children under 12 years: 20% discount)
  • La Pinta (children under 12 years: 25% discount for one child sharing cabin with parent/guardian per adult paying full fare; 4 cabins with sofa bed)
  • Legend (Kids Corner;  children under 12 years: 25% discount for child sharing the cabin with 1 full fare paying guest and 50% off sharing a cabin with 2 full-fare paying guests)
  • Majestic (children under 12 years: 20% discount)
  • Millennium (children under 12 years: 30% discount)
  • Natural Paradise (children under 12 years: 20% discount)
  • Nemo I (children under 12 years: 20% discount for 1 child under 12 years of age travelling with two adults)
  • Nemo II (children under 12 years: 10% discount)
  • Nemo III (children under 12 years: 20% discount)
  • Odyssey (children under 12 years: 20% discount for 1 child under 12 years of age travelling with two adults)
  • Origin (family-friendly departures for children 7 years old and up; children age 7-11: 25% discount; teens age 12-17: 15% discount; college students 18-21: 10% discount)
  • Reina Silvia (children under 12 years: 20% discount)
  • San Jose (children under 12 years: 20% discount for 1 child under 12 years of age travelling with two adults)
  • Santa Cruz ( “Pirates Aboard” program; 36 rooms can be interconnected)
  • Seaman (children under 12 years: 15% discount for 1 child per two adults)
  • Sea Star Journey (children under 12 years: 20% discount for 1 child travelling with two adults)
  • Tip Top III (children under 12 years: 10% discount)
  • Treasure of Galapagos (children under 12 years: 10% discount)

Children 11 and under pay half the national park fees, so only $50.

Lots of Activities

Sea kayaking in the Galapagos IslandsActivities available in the Galapagos Islands:

All cruises will have hiking and snorkeling opportunties daily. These boats also have sea kayaks:

Luxury

Natural Paradise CabinYou can visit the Galapagos in style! Luxury boats will have larger cabins and suites, great guides, good food, and included extra amenities, like wetsuits and snorkeling gear.

Our favorite luxury boats are:

More Luxury Galapagos Cruises >>

Scuba Diving

Scuba diving GalapagosThe most famous dive spots in the Galapagos are at Wolf and Darwin Islands. It is near these islands where you can see whale sharks or large schools of rays.

There are currently only a few boats still offering scheduled live-aboard diving itineraries. You will need 8 days in the Galapagos for these trips.

Some boats offer at least one day of diving on their regular itinerary. These include:

More information on scuba diving boats in the Galapagos >>

Solo Travel

Galapagos LegendAll boats will accommodate single travelers in a single cabin with a pretty hefty single supplement (50-100%). We have found a few boats with exceptions to this rule:

  • Odyssey (1 lower deck cabin available with no single supplement)
  • Origin (no single supplement for 2017 cruises)
  • Eric/Letty (offers single travelers willing to share a cabin and who are matched with a traveler of the same gender the per person double occupancy rate for off-peak departures only)
  • Mary Anne (no single supplement)
  • Nemo I (no single supplement for solo travelers willing to share with a person of the same gender, even if no roommate books)
  • Santa Cruz II (15% single supplement)

3 People in a Cabin

Eric, Flamingo, Letty in GalapagosMost cabins on the boats in the Galapagos only accommodate 2 people -- either in 2 twin beds, or in 1 matrimonial bed. There are only a few boats which can accommodate 3 adults in a room -- either as 3 bunks, or as 1 large bed and 1 sofa bed.

These boats can accommodate 3 adults in a cabin:

  • Coral I & II (25% discount for the third person sharing cabin with two full-fare paying guests)
  • Eric/Letty ($200 discount for each person; 2 cabins located on lowest deck)
  • Legend (3rd person gets 25% discount with two full-fare paying guests; quadruple accomodations: Junior Suites only: 25% discount for the third and fourth person sharing cabin with 2 full-fare paying guests)
  • Lonesome George (2 cabins with one double bed and one bunk bed)
  • Natural Paradise (1 cabin with one king bed and one queen size sofa bed)
  • Nemo III (3 cabins)
  • Origin ($200 discount for each person)
  • Reina Silvia (50% discount for 3rd person)
  • Santa Cruz II
  • Seaman
  • Sea Star Journey

For 2 adults and 1 child, see the Family Trips above.

A boat that won't make me seasick

Explorer II GalapagosThe best options if you get seasick is a larger, more stable boat, or a wide catamaran. Regardless of which boat you pick, you will want a cabin on a lower deck, mid-ship.

Here are some of the larger boats we recommend:

The Galapagos limits the number of people on a boat to 100 maximum.

Some of the catamarans we recommend are:

You may also want to consider one of our Island Hopping Galapagos Tours.

A smaller boat

Athala II GalapagosAlmost half of the boats in the Galapagos carry 16 passengers. There will be 1 naturalist guide on board. They range from budget to luxury. We will need some other parameters to narrow down the best boat for you.

A smailer boat is a great option if you have 16 people in your group -- you can charter the boat just for you!

Also, here are some boats that carry less than 16 passengers:

To travel over Christmas / New Years / Easter

You will want to book these dates at least 1 year in advance!

A boat with no kids and good scotch

Yes, we really did get this request! None of the boats in the Galapagos completely restrict kids on board. Your best bet to avoid kids is to travel when schools are in session and go on a luxury boat.

If requested ahead of time, the boats will accommodate any liquor or food request if at all possible.

 

 

 

A cheap boat

We do not recommend budget boats. They will be very small and rocky. They will have bunk beds and no hot water. The most economical boats we recommend are mid-range boats like the:

WIFI Connection

Most boats do not have connection to the Internet. You can get connected in almost all bars and restaurants on the Galapagos Islands.

The Santa Cruz II, however, has WiFI / Internet availability, in common areas, though the Internet connection is intermittent and low-bandwidth ($40 plus taxes).

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