Who Should Take a Galapagos Cruise?

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Introduction: Sailing Celebrity Cruises’ Flora in the Galapagos

What to Pack for a Galapagos Cruise

Getting to Quito, Ecuador in Delta First Class

JW Marriott Hotel Quito Review

Exploring Quito, Ecuador on a Celebrity Cruises Excursion

Quito to the Galapagos and Back by Avianca Charter

Ship Review – Celebrity Flora

Cabin Review – Penthouse Suite 5125 on Celebrity Flora 2024

Celebrity Flora – Dining Review

Exciting and Unique Activities on a Galapagos Cruise

Revolting Copa Airlines Business Class – Delayed, Dirty Windows and Mold!

The Santa Maria, a Luxury Collection Hotel & Golf Resort, Panama City Review

Who Should Take a Galapagos Cruise?


This marks the final post in our series on our amazing Galapagos Island cruise on Celebrity Cruises, Celebrity Flora.  The cruise was simply amazing, but we found that it’s not a cruise for everyone including some of our fellow passengers.  So as we share our final thoughts on this cruise and some amazing wildlife photos mixed in, we thought it might be most useful to do so through the lens of – who should take a Galapagos cruise?  And who should consider other cruise options.

a map of islands with cities

Who Should Take Galapagos Cruise

If you love animals of all kinds and seeing them at zoos or aquariums just isn’t close enough, then a Galapagos cruise may be for you.  Having travelled to more than 40 countries and spending well over 100 nights at sea, we have NEVER had the proximity to wildlife anywhere else.  And the animals had a genuine curiosity (not fear) of us.  This lead to daily animal encounters that form lifetime memories.

a bird standing on a rock
Blue Footed Boobie

If you love an active vacation where physical activity is woven into every day then a Galapagos cruise may be for you.  On a Galapagos cruise you will never be bored and you will look forward to going to be early each night.  Sounds great to some and exhausting to others.  I simply loved how active we were and would go back tomorrow if time and resources were no object.  My wife very much enjoyed the cruise; however, she would have liked a bit more leisure and isn’t in a hurry to repeat the expedition.  It’s not that she’s not an active person.  In our daily lives she beats me in physical activity nearly every day.  But she doesn’t love snorkeling, is more prone to seasickness, and just generally looks for more relaxation on a vacation.  I’ll touch on the first two points a bit later.

a bird standing on a rock
Galapagos Hawk

If you like interacting with your fellow passengers a Galapagos cruise may be for you.  With ships capping out at 100 passengers and with boutique ships with as few as a dozen guests, you’re going to see the same people every day, typically multiple times per day.  This is especially true for people with similar interests and activity levels where you will cross paths even more frequently and in close quarters like the Zodiacs.  If you are the kind of person who enjoys the relative anonymity of a 6,000 passenger mega-ship then you might not enjoy a Galapagos cruise.  You will meet your fellow cruisers whether you want to or not.

Who Should Consider Other Cruises

Those with limited mobility should really consider the cruise as there’s very little that’s accessible by US standards in the Galapagos.  If getting in and out of a Zodiac seems like a chore or worse, this really isn’t a cruise for you.

a turtle swimming in water
Sea Turtle

Those that don’t love the sun.  This one is a bit tricky as my complexion is decidedly pale and prefers to stay that way.  But I’ve found clothing and sunblock that make the sun workable.  That doesn’t mean that I didn’t get a “tan” on this cruise – a red stripe starting at my knee and continuing up about five inches of lily white thighs.  You see this is the only bit of consistently exposed skin during our Zodiac rides to and from excursions.  My wetsuit and activity routinely rubbed the sunblock off my legs leaving me vulnerable.  I affectionately called this my “tender tan.”  I counted myself fortunate because many of our passengers, unaccustomed to the intensity of the sun at the equator, found themselves looking like cooked lobsters after only a day or two on board.  I’m certain that based on my tender tan that they had to be really uncomfortable for the remainder of the cruise.

a iguana swimming in water
Marine Iguana

Those that don’t love the water.  If you aren’t comfortable in the ocean you should really consider whether a Galapagos cruise if for you even if you’ve cruised before.  On your typical cruise you walk up a gangway or through the cruise equivalent of a jet bridge to board your ship.  You’re floating high above the water from port to port and reverse the boarding procedure to visit many of your ports of call.  Sure, some ports may require tendering, but if you miss a port because you’re not comfortable in a small boat it doesn’t ruin your vacation.  In the Galapagos the ship never touches land, every activity requires a zodiac ride from embarkation to disembarkation.  This doesn’t even count the sheer number of activities that are snorkeling, swimming, or include wet landings when you have to wade in the water to get on or off a Zodiac.

Those that prefer the built world to the natural one.  If your dream cruise vacation requires a casino, a theater, excursions to museums, cathedrals, or other manmade wonders this isn’t the cruise for you.  These cruises are all about nature, that’s the draw and the reason to spend the time and money to get to this remote part of the world.

a crab on the ground

If you are a night owl and don’t like getting up early and like it that way a Galapagos cruise may not be for you.  The rhythm of a Galapagos cruise involves early to bed, early to rise, and lots of physical activities in between.  We noticed that early in the cruise there were those that were looking for after dinner drinks and entertainment.  But after a few days these night owls started to go to bed shortly after dinner.  Why?  Because they needed to in order to get enough sleep to have the energy to take advantage of the next day’s activities.  Because of the early to bed nature of these cruises nighttime entertainment is extremely limited.

a group of flamingos drinking water

Those that are prone to seasickness or motion sickness. The ships in the Galapagos are TINY compared to the average cruise ship.  This means that they experience a lot more movement, even in relatively calm seas.  The Galapagos Islands are in a remote part of the Pacific and have weather and current moving through that can shake things up.  Riding in the Zodiacs can present additional challenges for those with motion sickness as they can really bounce when under way and rock quite a bit when holding position.

a lizard on a rock
Iguana Seems to Be Smiling

Will We Cruise the Galapagos Again?

The answer is probably not.  Despite having a great time it’s just wasn’t the ideal vacation for my wife for the reasons mentioned earlier.  When factoring in the cost (we could easily cruise for twice as long on “regular” cruises for the same cost) we will look to visit other parts of the world before considering going back to the Galapagos.

Will we do another expedition cruise?  If it’s up to me – absolutely!  I really want to visit both polar regions by ship.  But before we book one of these cruises we need to figure out if there’s a good way to prevent my wife from experiencing seasickness.

This cruise also got us thinking about a French Polynesia cruise.  Why?  Because these also tend to be on smaller ships, more inclusive, and focused on the natural world.  If you’ve taken a French Polynesia cruise please share your thoughts in the comments.


And with that we’ve finished our series on our Celebrity Flora Galapagos Cruise.  Thank you for coming along with us!  If Who Should Take a Galapagos Cruise? is the first post in the series you’re reading because you’re considering a Galapagos cruise I hope that you find the other posts in the series helpful.

a sea lion lying on its back on a beach
Baby Sea Lion

For our next trip report we’ll be covering an Oceania Cruises sailing on Sirena in a Vista Suite from Panama City to Miami including a Panama Canal transit.  We hope you’ll join us for that adventure! – Michael


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  1. Did you get a really good deal on your cruise for the Flora? I think we can do 10 “regular” cruises in a single balcony room on a mass market ship for the cost of the 2 rooms that we had to purchase for our family of 3. It was still a great time regardless and I’m glad that we went but like you all it’s a one and done. We’re going to Svalbard on a cruise next month. I’d love to do an Antarctica cruise but the schedule doesn’t fit with school vacation.

    • @Jeff – As a percentage of what it would have cost to book the Penthouse suite we got an amazing discount. Looking at it another way the fare we booked on our original balcony cabin was pretty good because we booked shortly after the schedule opened up, but then we added a significant amount for the upgrade making the cruise the most per day we’ve ever spent on a cruise by a wide margin. I wouldn’t do it again because I would have been perfectly happy in the balcony cabin for as much time as we spent in our suite, but as a once-in-a-lifetime experience having the suite for the bid amount was pretty cool. Ultimately Galapagos like most of the expedition ship destinations is pretty expensive versus a mass market ship in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean. Visiting Antarctica is high on our list too, but we need some time to save up some $s and vacation time for that one or jump on an amazing deal if we see one.


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