There are many different options when you are looking for a cruise around the Galapagos. Most people tend to organize their cruise way in advance through a travel agent, but it is possible to find cheap deals if you look around either online or in Quito or the Galapagos themselves.
We found a good deal for one of the better cruise ships around the Santa Cruz II. It is one of the biggest cruise ships around the Galapagos and can have up to 90 passengers. When we went all the cabins were full but there were many families hence some were only one in a cabin – hence the total number of passengers were only 80.
We were fortunate to get a good deal on the very last cabin on the ship which made the trip a bit more affordable. It was indeed the very last cabin on the ship – and it seemed nobody had been willing to pay the extra money for the Darwin Suite – hence our deal ended up even sweeter since we got one of the 3 Darwin Suites on the boat (which currently has a listed price of just shy of $10,000 for two – somewhat over our budget for the trip). This was very nice since it is twice the size of the ordinary cabin on the ship.
There was a nice big double bed in the cabin and a small living area with a sofa and a couple of armchairs in addition to a desk with a couple of chairs. And the bathroom was bigger than my bathroom at home. In addition there was a small hall with an actual closet to put your clothing.
Staying in the Darwin suite meant you got additional service like extra cleaning, free wet suit rental and free soft drinks during the cruise. Hence our cabin was in excellent condition during our stay and kept much cleaner than an average hotel room.
The only slight problem was during the briefing about the ship where the crew only told how the ordinary cabin was set up – and nothing was placed the same way in our cabin since the layout was completely different from the rest. Fortunately it was pretty much self-explanatory where things were so we could easily find it.
Our cabin was at the top deck right behind the captain’s cabin and the bridge of the ship – which meant we had a good distance to the anchor which apparently woke other people up when it was lowered or raised in the morning. It was close to the bar area – but since people didn’t tend to stay long in the bar or drink much there wasn’t any noise problems with the location. I assume people rarely drink much on a Galapagos cruise since the drinks are not included in the price and you have to get up fairly early every day to go on the different excursions.
The food was served in a dining room on the lowest level and the standard was pretty good for a ship. The service in the dining room was excellent and the waiter quickly figured out what the guest usually wanted for drink orders.