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G Adventures Galápagos Cruise Review

My honest review of the G Adventures cruise “Galápagos – West and Central Islands aboard the Reina Silvia Voyager”

Table of Contents

I. Galápagos Islands with G Adventures – My Review

If you’re considering booking a Galápagos cruise with G Adventures, keep on reading this review. It is my personal, comprehensive review, including some detailed information, I was not able to find when I did my own research before booking.

A trip to the Galápagos Islands is an amazing experience. Since Darwin visited the archipelago in 1835 not too much has changed thanks to strict protection and fierce conservation efforts. Due to the remoteness, the volcanic landscape and of course the unique flora and fauna it is an absolute bucket-list destination. I decided to make this travel dream come true and visit the Galápagos Islands with G Adventures. I booked their “Galápagos – West and Central Islands aboard the Reina Silvia Voyager” Tour in May 2022. In my opinion, it is THE BEST Galápagos cruise. I also wrote a separate article about what to consider when booking a Galápagos cruise and why I booked this particular one.

This G Adventures review is pretty detailed. If you’re looking for something specific only, please see the Table of Contents above. And should you have a specific question which is still not answered, please don’t hesitate to drop me a note, I’ll do my best to answer!

II. Overview G Adventures Galápagos Cruise

1. Itinerary Overview

Let’s start the review of my G Adventures Galápagos cruise with a broad overview of the trip itinerary. Their website gives a great overview including a map. I encourage you to head over there to check out the details. And of course they might adjust the route from time to time so you’ll always find the latest directly on the G Adventures site. But here is a brief summary of what my itinerary was like:

  • Day 1: Arrival in Quito, Arrival transfer included
  • Day 2: Transfer to airport, Flight to Galápagos, Santa Cruz Island, Embarkation
  • Day 3: Floreana Island: Punta Cormorant, Post Office Bay
  • Day 4: Isabela Island: Punta Moreno, Elizabeth Bay
  • Day 5: Isabela Island: Urbina Bay; Fernandina: Punta Espinoza
  • Day 6: Isabela Island: Tagus Cove, Punta Vicente Roca
  • Day 7: Santiago: Bucaneer Cove, Puerto Egas
  • Day 8: Santa Cruz: Las Bachas; North Seymour Island
  • Day 9: Disembarkation in Baltra, flight back to Quito, transfer to hotel
  • Day 10: Departure Time

Latest Itinerary by G Adventures for the Central and Western Galápagos Islands

2. Review of Galápagos Cruise Activities

What I definitely need to mention in this G Adventures Galápagos review is the activity level. In general, this trip is VERY active. The days start early and usually we went to bed around 8.30 after dinner because we were all so tired. You do not have to participate in every activity of course, you can also stay on board and relax a bit. But I’m warning you, FOMO may make you want to do everything! It can be physically challenging, but the experiences are so worth it!

We went snorkeling every day, sometimes even twice. It’s an absolute highlight. Other activities include hikes and walks. Most of them easy, but for example on the lava fields you’ll need to concentrate. We also did kayaking twice and did some dinghy excursions. 

3. Trip Accessibility and fitness level

I’d like to include a word on accessibility in my G Adventures Galápagos cruise review. If you’re walking is challenged, I unfortunately do not think this trip is recommendable. Getting on and off the dinghies to the boat as well as the many the wet and dry landings around the islands can be quite tricky and that’s four to six times a day.

As just described above, the schedule is pretty packed and very active. Nevertheless, everything is doable with a regular fitness level at any age. Our group age range spanned from early twenties to seventy. Just know to what to expect, since this is an active, adventure expedition cruise.

Galápagos Giant Tortoise in the midst of green vegetation G Adventures Review

III. G Adventures Tour Administration and getting to Galápagos

1. Booking process with G Adventures

I have travelled several times with G Adventures. But if you have never booked with them, here is some basic information you may find useful:

  • G Adventures has been in business since 1990, has 28 offices around the world and more than 2000 employees. So if you had any doubt, they are legit!
  • They offer certain Travel and Book with confidence policies for most tours and full non-expiring credits if you cannot make your tour
  • Please watch out for the details however. Some trips are excluded from those extra policies and subject to the (still very reasonable) standard booking terms. At the time of my trip and the time of writing this article, all their Galápagos cruises were excluded from the “Book with Confidence” policies. Accordingly, please carefully consider G Adventure’s standard booking terms and conditions here.
  • You can book online via their website, or over the phone. I always had questions before booking the trip and have contacted them via email so many times. They have always been 100% responsive, quick and helpful. 
  • You can reserve a spot in a group for 48h absolutely free. I’ve also used this option several times before (yes, I may sometimes have difficulties deciding…) and it really is free. No hidden costs. Expect however a few G Adventure emails encouraging you to finalize your booking 🙂

2. Review of the arrival in Quito

As you can see in the itinerary, this trip includes pre- and post-cruise accommodation in Quito and the flights to and from Galápagos. Accordingly, I wanted to include these aspects in my G Adventures Galápagos cruise review as well. The hotel G Adventures used in Quito was the Hilton Colon Quito. While it is apparently considered one of the best hotels in the city, don’t expect too much. It’s a little on the older side. But we stayed in executive rooms. This means access to the executive lounge with some snacks and drinks (also alcoholic). The hotel has room service and restaurant options in case you do not want to leave hotel after arrival. Across the street is a drugstore / pharmacy which comes in quite handy if you forgot some meds, sunscreen or the like.

I flew in a day prior to the Galápagos tour starting and arranged a day tour to see Quito and the equator via G Adventures. They used a local tour operator for that “CarpeDM tours” who did a really great job. I had a fabulous time and saw so, so much on just a one day-trip. Highest recommendation to include that when it’s your first time in Quito. 

As all G Adventure tours, this one also started with a Welcome Meeting lead by the Chief Experience Officer (“CEO”). They will give you all necessary information, answer all your questions and you will have an opportunity to meet your fellow travelers. This should really reassure you if you’re a bit nervous about any logistics. You can ask anything. 

3. Traveling to the Galápagos Islands

We took a super early flight to Galápagos the next morning (with a refueling stop in Guayaquil), which meant leaving the hotel at 5am. But they had packed all of us a nice breakfast box.

I was so glad I had booked my Galápagos cruise including transport and flights to the islands. To me, this is an important aspect in my review of this G Adventures Galápagos cruise trip, because there is also the option to book just the cruise itself. However, there are some administrative particularities when flying to Galápagos. I wrote about this in more detail in my “The best cruise to visit the Galápagos Islands” article. If you do your research, absolutely doable on your own as well, but I was glad our G Adventures CEO took care of all of that.

After roughly 3hours and 40 minutes we landed in Baltra airport and met our Galápagos CEO. And I cannot hype her enough, our CEO was Indira, a National Park Guide. After dropping our luggage on a truck, the group went straight away to lunch and the first excursion. Accordingly, you had to pack everything you needed for that in your hand luggage and already wear appropriate clothing and footwear on the flight. A personal hint, G Adventures recommends for basically all their trips that a travel backpack or soft duffel bags are preferred. Several people of our group had regular hard shell suitcases and it worked just as fine on this G Adventures trip. We never had to carry our luggage for long or had limited space issues.

IV. Review of the Onboard Experience

1. The boat “Reina Silvia Voyager” by G Adventures

1.1 The three decks

Probably one of the most important parts of this G Adventures Galápagos cruise review is a description of the beautiful boat. It is such an amazing feeling to board the Reina Silvia Voyager during sunset in the bay of Puerto Ayora. It’s the first dinghy ride of the trip and the whole crew is awaiting you. It’s just marvelous.

Here you can find the link to the Reina Silvia Voyager deck plan.

The boat has three accessible decks. There is also a lower deck but that is for crew only. Next to some cabins, the main deck features the dining area, the lounge and the bar. There are a four more cabins on the upper deck, plus the bridge and another small outside lounge area. And then on top you have the sun deck with another dining area, sun loungers, sofas and the heated jacuzzi. A dream to warm up after snorkeling! 

1.2 The boat’s amenities

The boat was built 2019 or 2020 I think, so everything is quite new and in modern design. My group liked to hang out on the sun deck during the day or in the lounge with bar and huge TV in the evening. This is also where you will have your daily briefing in the evening to go through the activities planned for the next day. The bar is conveniently handled with tabs, so you just pay once in the end and prices are reasonable. Really no need to bring drinks yourself.

Maybe obvious to some travelers, but very important information: There is no Wifi on board. AND there is also no cell phone service. Like none! For about a week you’re really off the grid. Let your loved ones know, download your favorite Netflix series and otherwise enjoy some digital detox!

2. Review of the Cabins

Next in this G Adventures Galápagos Review are some notes on the cabins. Your cabin will be assigned to you based on booked class and you cannot choose a specific one. (If you write to G Adventures maybe, but ordinarily it’s just assigned). 

Lower cabins have the advantage that the sea can feel less rough, but I’ve heard from fellow travelers that lifting and setting the anchor can be so loud it may wake you up. 

If you book a single cabin, you will be on the upper deck and have a balcony. Having a balcony is of course nice. But personally, I have not really used it, because the schedule is so incredibly packed. If you participate in all activities there is barely free time, you’re not using to get in a quick nap. So if it helps your budget, you may also consider the non-balcony cabin option (only doubles).

The cabins itself are surprisingly spacious with a large cupboard, chair and bathroom with shower. Even the single bed was, I think a queen, with 140cm. Cabins also have AC. What they don’t have is a hair dryer. I was trying to find that information before my trip and couldn’t find it anywhere. After the trip I kind of understand. You’re in and out of the water so often, drying your hair makes not too much sense. But still, if you really need a hair dryer, you will need to bring one. Electric outlets on this boat are 110v and will have 2 flat prongs, so bring an adapter if needed.

3. Review of the Food

Of course a discussion of the food is a must in my review of this G Adventures Galápagos cruise. I love to eat. The tour package includes all meals on the cruise. And I’m telling you, food was really good! You get a breakfast buffet with tea and coffee, lunch, snacks and a three-course dinner every day! It was high quality, amazing fresh fish and nicely presented as well. 

We had vegans, vegetarians and some allergies in the group and they were able to cater to all of that. We all got G Adventure branded drinking bottles and would always get them filled with fresh ice water. Snacks and drinks were ready when we came back from a more tiring excursion… You’re really getting pampered on board!

4. Snorkeling and Kayak gear

The team will provide you with the snorkeling gear needed. This means shorty wetsuits (I‘m not an expert but I think those were 3mm ones), fins, googles and snorkel. Each passenger also gets its own net for taking and storing the gear throughout the trip, so you will not need to sort it out each time. All of that is of course free of any extra charge.

When we headed out, the team also provided us with no fog gel, so you don’t need to buy or bring your own. I personally had brought my own mask and snorkel and my 3mm Neoprene jacket. An amazing buy from Decathlon! Especially in the West of the Galápagos the water is cold (ca 19 degrees Celsius in May).

I have to tell you, snorkeling in the Galápagos is an amazing experience! Next to so many colorful fish, we saw Octopuses, rays, so many giant sea turtles and penguins! We also swam with sea lions and fur seals. Absolutely incredible!

Galápagos Black and White photo of people Kayaking with huge rock in the background G Adventures Review

V. Safety and Security

Since everything went smoothly, there is not too much I can say about safety and security in this G Adventures Galápagos cruise review. We received a clear and comprehensive safety briefing on board. Each cabin has life jackets and there was no reason to feel unsafe at any moment. 

When out snorkeling our naturalist guide was with us and we were asked to always stay in groups of at least two. We also always had a dinghy or two accompanying us with a skipper watching out for us while we’re in the water. We were taught which signs to use should we need assistance. Also in the water, I always felt safe.

VI. Review of Cost and Value G Adventures Galápagos cruise

While the entire trip was an amazing way to experience the uniqueness of the Galápagos Islands, it was not the cheapest option available. My tour package cost 6’579 CHF (at the time roughly 6’900 USD) with the Upper Deck single cabin option. Obviously the single cabin is the most expensive cabin to book. Depending on time of the year and current offers I see the Main Deck Double for about 5’200 USD per person. The tour is included in promotions quite regularly, so watch out. I booked with a 15% discount during G Adventures Great Adventure Sale in January 2022.

While it is a pretty steep price point, I was completely satisfied with the value for money. Let me briefly reiterate what’s included in this package price and with what you should calculate on top.

1. Inclusions of G Adventure Galápagos cruise:

  • Arrival and departure airport transfers in Quito, Ecuador
  • Pre- and Post-accommodation, 1 night each in Quito, Ecuador (our hotel was the Hilton Colon, Executive Room with lounge))
  • Basically all meals (only exception is any meals on your arrival day in Quito before the tour starts and again when you’re back in Quito after the cruise (hotel includes breakfast))
  • Most Beverages (water, tea and coffee)
  • Flights to and from Galápagos from Quito including airport transfers
  • Absolutely every activity and excursion on the tour including the Charles Darwin Research Foundation, Snorkeling, Kayaking and use of the gear
  • Guidance from a dedicated naturalist Guide by the Galápagos National Park (these guides are all top-notch! It’s extremely hard to become a guide there and additional training is required to be allowed to be a cruise guide. It’s like being in a live National Geographic documentary with them!)
  • Daily cabin cleaning, Shower Gel and Shampoo in your cabin

2. What’s not included in the G Adventure Galápagos cruise:

  • (International) Flights to and from Quito
  • Not to underestimate: Tips. G Adventure’s recommendation (of course though fully discretionary) is USD 100-150 per week for the Naturalist Guide and USD 100-150 per week for the crew, per person
  • The Galápagos National Park entry fee of USD 100 and the Transit Control Card fee of USD 20 (Payable in cash!!!)
  • Beverages from the bar
  • Discretionary spending on souvenir shopping (e.g. Puerto Ayora, Baltra airport or Charles Darwin Research Foundation)

3. What I added to my G Adventures Galápagos cruise package:

  • I arrived a day early in Quito and also stayed another additional night after tour (ca. 220 USD)
  • Quito City Tour & Equator Line (Full day tour excluding food and drinks) (46USD)
  • Quito Foodie and Culture Tour (Half day tour obviously including food) (59 USD)

4. Grand total:

Approximately USD 7’500 in the single cabin without the international flights

Tip: If you’re loving everything about what I wrote, but want to spend less, here are two ways to get the cost down:

  • Avoid the single cabin option. Sharing a double/twin cabin can bring costs down by ca. 1’700 USD alone. And if you can’t find a travel buddy to come with you, G Adventures allows you to book one spot in a double. They will pair you with another single traveler of the same sex (if you’re lucky, this can work out to have a single without having to book anything extra, but it does come down to luck).
  • G Adventures offers a variety of similar Galápagos cruises on two other vessels (the Eden and the Yolita). These boats are not as new, do not offer single cabins and don’t have a jacuzzi. But they still look nice and the price is generally a bit lower.

VII. Summary Review of my G adventures Galápagos cruise

To summarize this G Adventures review, I’ll keep it short. If you’re still contemplating whether to visit the Galápagos Islands, just go on and book! It’s one of the most unique places on earth. One of the last true sanctuaries of nature. The tourism is very restricted and sustainable. With your visit you support the conservation efforts and I’m sure it will make you an advocate for wildlife protection. 

I’ve met inspiring people on my cruise; Learnt so much about flora, fauna, climate and evolution; Had a Crossing-the equator party with the whole crew; Lost my fear of the ocean; Got close to some of the rarest animals on earth; Had a beer at the likely most remote bar on earth; Ate the best tuna tartar of my life; Swam with a shark; Played with a sea lion and locked eyes with a giant sea turtle while floating through the waves of the Pacific…

Yes, it really is that great!

Chase that travel feel and book your Galápagos trip NOW!

Galápagos Remote Bar with Neon sign by the beach G Adventures Review
Galápagos Sea Lion looking into the sun rays which are shining through a cloudy sky G Adventures Review

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