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by on August 30, 2019

A day in the life aboard the Elite Galapagos Cruise

After spending a week on the Elite Galapagos Catamaran, I have written a blog of what you can expect in a 24 hour period on the brand new Galapagos Catamaran. This goes over everything from traveling, your arrival, the daily excursions, the magnificent meals, and the spacious rooms.

Introduction

Elite Galapagos Catamaran-Galapagos Crab with Elite in the Background
The Elite Galapagos Catamaran
I recently had the opportunity to spend a five-day four-night cruise aboard the Elite Galapagos Catamaran.

This ship is the newest catamaran to be released to the booming fleet of ships, and it was beyond amazing.

Although this was my second visit to the islands, it never got old. Not for a second.

A vacation in the Galapagos Islands is like your favorite movie that you can watch a hundred times and see something new every time. This cruise blew me out of the water with everything it had to offer, and I can highly recommend it to anyone looking to purchase a ticket.

As you read on, I am going to present a “day in the life” aboard the Elite Galapagos Luxury Catamaran, along with the process of traveling to the Archipelago.

Arrival

I arrived at Quito airport early in the morning on the day of the cruise. You will meet the airport assistance guide at the airport at the Avianca desk two hours before your flight. This English speaking guide will have your boarding pass and all other information ready to go. Once I met with the airport assistance and was given my ticket, the excitement started to sink in and build.

PRO TIP

I highly recommend buying a sandwich or snack at the airport before your flights begin. If you are flying out of Quito to the Galapagos, you will first stop in Guayaquil. Once there, you will wait about thirty minutes to gather new passengers, and then head off to the Galapagos in the same plane. The plane will provide a small salty snack such as a bag of “Chifles,” These are plantains that have been dried until they are the consistency of thick potato chips. They are very tasty, but with all the hours of traveling, you will be hungrier than a small snack!   Once you are on the plane, there won’t be any opportunity for a true meal until you are on the cruise, which won’t be until much later. You will wait about thirty minutes, and then head off to the Galapagos in the same plane.

Galapagos Islands first look

Elite Galapagos Cruise - Galapagos National park Guide
My Elite National Park Guide, Daniel.
Once you depart the airport, you will see you a friendly person holding an “Elite Galapagos cruise” sign.

This will be your Galapagos National Park guide for the duration of your cruise. Ours was named Daniel, and he constantly cracked jokes and had all the guests laughing. He was also incredibly knowledgable about the ecology of the islands, and always patient with questions.  Once everybody on your cruise is gathered together, the journey begins and you will hop on the bus from the airport to the port. The trip is less than fifteen minutes.

Once you arrive, the magic begins immediately. Right off the bat, you will see blue-footed boobies and pelicans dive-bombing the water for minnows below the surface.

If you want to get these on your DSLR camera, set your shutter speed as high as possible!

Within ten minutes of getting dropped off at the port, an inflatable motorboat will come to pick you up and take you to the Elite Galapagos Cruise.

Stepping foot on the Elite Galapagos cruise

Upon arrival, expect a very warm welcome! Generally, there will be a delicious fruit juice that you can only find in Ecuador. Additionally, a delicious snack will be provided. You will meet the ship manager, equivalent to a hotel manager, who will introduce you to your gorgeous rooms.

I truly don’t know how the architects fit so much space on these ships. The rooms are HUGE. It will feel like a five-star luxury hotel room with a view that changes every morning. Every detail was crafted with the guest’s daily activities in mind. Everything from a clothing line crossing the shower for drying wet bathing suits after excursions, to hairdryers in the bathroom for the evening, and giant windows with shades curtains to keep the light out while sleeping. This is only a fraction of the accommodations put into the rooms for guests. You can find out more about all the facilities and information on the elite Galapagos Cruise main page.

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Amazing snacks provided after every excursion
Exploring your New Home

After your arrival on the ship, go ahead and take some time to explore the rest of the three available levels of the ship. I didn’t even realize there was an access door to the front of the ship until the third day and it was an awesome spot to relax as you cruise through the waters!

Prepare to be stunned by the amount of the commodious living areas provided by the ship, along with the beautiful design of the sundeck. One of my favorite parts is alongside the Jacuzzi, where there is a giant cushion that can fit at least eight people comfortably. This area is perfect for taking a nap after your excursion or soaking up the sun.

Don’t forget your sunscreen! I highly recommend bringing the excursion backpack the Elite Galapagos cruise provides and double-checking you included your reef-safe sunscreen. The sun on the equator is incredibly powerful. Thirty to forty-five minutes in the sun is all it takes to burn without sunscreen! I emphasize this as I just got burnt after forgetting my sunscreen on Bachas Beach.

A Day in the Life on the Elite Galapagos cruise

Breakfast of Champions

A wake-up call will come over the announcement speaker every morning. Between 6:30 and 7:15. Generally, your cruise manager will put music for about twenty seconds.  Some kind of fun energizing tune to get the day going. Then they will proceed to announce that your mouth-watering breakfast will be ready in fifteen minutes. This will be served buffet style and will include a huge selection. Some of these options include pancakes, french toast, bacon, a huge variety of fruits, cheeses, salami, ham, and freshly baked croissants, However, the best part is that the chef can whip up any style of egg you desire.

After eating to your heart’s desire, you will have twenty to forty-five minutes to prepare for the excursion. The guide will always the departure fifteen minutes before departure, so you will never have to worry about setting an alarm clock or worrying about a schedule.

Land-based Excursions

Safety First

Your guide, along with other assistants, pulls up the inflatable motorboats called “Pangas.” Safety is a huge concern for the staff, and they will make sure you get onto the boat safely no matter what age you are. You will grab the guide’s wrist and he yours, and they will assist you from the first step until you are safely seated.

After, there is a short commute on the panga to the island you are visiting that day, which takes generally between five and ten minutes. Upon arrival, you will have the same level of assistance when getting off the Panga.

Witness the Spectacular

Owl capturing a petrol midair
Owl catching a petrol mid-air!
Here is where you will witness the most spectacular events. When I visited Genovesa Island, I couldn’t believe how many storm petrels, a small swallow-like bird, were flying around swarming the island.

It truly is a bird paradise straight out of the Jurassic straight park. During that trip saw a Galapagos owl swoop down and snatch petrol mid-air!

Even better, a baby seal was sitting in the path before starting the short hike up Prince Phillips Steps.

We had to forego the two meters away from creatures Galapagos park rule and step over the little guy because he wouldn’t budge!

Slim chance or frequent occurrence?

Elite Galapagos Cruise- Galapagos flamingo
Flamingo on Bachas Beach site
At first, I thought to myself that what I had witnessed on that day must be a one in a million chance. I was wrong.  I saw seen spectacles of that caliber of magnificence every single day.

On one occasion, as I sat on the beach and a baby seal ran up to me and gave me a sniff as a dog would. One night eight huge sharks surrounded the Elite Galapagos cruise because the lights from the ship activated plankton activity and awakened the hungry fish.

These are only some of the things you will likely witness during your adventures, and most likely many more unique and stunning events will occur on yours.

These excursions provide amazing opportunities for witnessing creatures in their natural habitat, and much closer than anywhere on the planet as these animals are never scared. Lastly, the beaches on the Galapagos are some of the finest on earth. The beautiful white sand has the consistency of powdered sugar, and you will have the chance to relax on them!

Bachas Beach in the Galapagos
Bachas Beach is one of the best beaches I've ever visited

Water-based Excursions

a group of many rays swimming together in the Galapagos
I have always have been a huge fan of snorkeling, and the Elite Galapagos did not disappoint. Although I did not get to see a hammerhead shark as hoped, I got to see so many other amazing creatures. On the final day, we visited the famed kicker rock snorkel destination. This is a massive boulder jutting out of the water. It seems like a cliff face straight out of Yellowstone that was transported to the Galapagos Islands. Here, I saw two white tip reef sharks, ten or more sea turtles swimming by, and a sea lion looking for a snack. However, swimming through the giant rock formation was without a doubt the highlight of that excursion.

Off the shores of Bachas beach, I witnessed two eels protruding from little crevices in the coral, a brilliantly colored blue pufferfish, and hundreds of colorful fish amongst the coral reef. However, the most breathtaking of all was a group of forty to fifty rays swimming through the water in a massive “fever.” Apparently, fever is the term for a group of rays! My guide managed to get it all on film and play it back to us later that night.

A final note on the water-based excursions. All equipment is included. The wet suits felt great and provided the perfect level of warmth for the waters (I went during the coldest and windiest period) Moreover, the snorkel masks were incredibly clear and vision was never a problem. All of the equipment was modern and none of the guests had problems.

A Blissful Cycle

Every time you get back from an excursion, you will be welcomed with an amazing treat. The chef prepares delicious snacks and refreshing freshly squeezed juices. One guest from North Carolina said that it is impossible to go hungry on these ships, and it really is true. You are constantly eating something new throughout the day. On one occasion, they served an Ecuadorian dish called “Choripán,” which is a sausage wrapped in a croissant-like bread. Coffee is also always available.

Most people don’t know that the Galapagos Islands also produce coffee, and it is delicious! Not a fan of coffee? Soft drinks are also part of the inclusion, along with hot water and tea if you enjoy that over coffee.

After your meal, you will have some downtime to relax. I usually took a quick rinse off in the shower after snorkeling to warm up. The showers get steamy hot within two minutes! After a short period, you will then be served a delicious lunch.

Then, you can take some time to enjoy the sun deck with your company and sip on a Galapagos craft beer or glass of wine. Two to three hours and the process repeats again. Adventurous island exploration/snorkeling, followed by a snack, followed by a delicious meal, and lastly relaxing on a luxury ship! A truly blissful cycle. Not too shabby, right?

Evening on the Elite Galapagos cruise.

At the end of the day, as you wind down, the spectacular does not stop. One of the best parts I must mention is the amazing sunsets and the stars. Every night you will witness an incredible sunset with blood orange skies, and then the stars come out and showcased their beauty.  I saw Jupiter and Saturn, and a handful of constellations. The cruise provides extra blankets and pillows so you can cozy up on the sun deck and stare into the great marvels of the universe.

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Galapagos Sunsets are one of the most romantic visuals you will behold

Final Notes

I went solo on my Elite Galapagos cruise, and it turned out wonderful.  On my trip, I shared my time during excursions and free time with friendly companions.  I met a professional makeup artist and photographer with hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram. I met an Austrian couple that was incredibly friendly and we constantly swapped stories of our culture.  Lastly, I met two Americans from North Carolina that told story after story that literally had me belly laughing the entire week.  The company you will on the cruise is totally out of your control, but in my case, it made the trip even better.  By the time it was time to leave, we all were exchanging hugs on the plane!

If all this sounds like a vacation for you and your family or friends, talk with a Green go travel agent. They will give you all the information you need and expedite the booking process on the Elite.


About Keenan Ennis

Keenan Ennis studied Conservation and wildlife biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This eventually lead him to a program in Ecuador studying hummingbirds and their keystone nutritional species in the Jama-Coaque Ecological Reserve. Since, he has worked with the critically endangered Bandurria Andina, or black-faced Ibis of the Andean Páramo. Through his ecological background, he provides an in depth insight into the conservation processes of the Galapagos Islands.

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