Galapagos cruises versus Caribbean cruises


A vacation is supposed to be a relaxing time when you disconnect from your routine and have a stress-free couple of days… or weeks. Cruises are a great way to spend your vacation since you don’t have to worry about anything but being on time for the daily excursions and enjoying the activities included in your itinerary.

Once you have booked your cruise all you really need to do is to show up where the cruise starts, your excursions will be planned ahead of time and guided by a professional who will give you a more in-depth insight of the place you are visiting.

Caribben Cruises

Accommodations can vary depending on the cruise; some cruises may include the basics, so you have some creature comforts while on your trip. Others may even have a gym and infinity pools. Some may have a capacity of 5400 passengers and others will only have up to 12 passengers on board.

Going to the Caribbean on your vacation is an incredible experience, but how does it compare to a Galapagos cruise?

Can you expect the same from a cruise in the Galapagos? Let’s find out.

Personalized service

Although Caribbean cruises and Galapagos cruises offer impeccable service on board by experienced professionals, you must know that on board a Galapagos cruise, you won’t feel like a needle in a haystack as you would aboard a cruise ship with another 1000 people. Since most Galapagos vessels have a capacity of 12-20 passengers, this guarantees that your experience extra special. Crew members will always be looking after you and your excursions will be remarkable as your guide will have time to clear any doubts and help you look for local wildlife. Although wildlife comes to you in the Galapagos, so you don’t really need help on that part.

On-board activities

Caribbean mega cruises offer many activities onboard, like dance lessons, bingo games and other workshops. Additionally, coffee bars, restaurants, casinos and water slides are usually part of the cruise amenities.

On your Galapagos cruise, the swimming pool will be replaced by the ocean as snorkeling, kayaking and swimming with sea lions will be part of your daily activities. Bingo games and dance lessons will be replaced by exploring a new place in an inhabited island almost every day, walking on lava rocks, hiking to the top of an island or simply watching the untamed wildlife of the Galapagos around you.

Learning

Although the Caribbean is rich in colonial history, ancient cultures, and pirate stories, most cruises prefer to take their passengers to more popular sites like white sand beaches and port cities focusing more on activities like cocktails on the beach, water sports, and shopping.

Galapagos cruises offer a unique insight in the remarkable history of the Galapagos Islands, from a famous scientist who was fascinated by its wildlife, to the pirates and conquistadors who arrived in an archipelago without knowing it was one of the most beautiful secret jewels in the ocean, to the German families who fled from the war and had to survive in a hostile archipelago filled with what for them were strange creatures. During your Galapagos cruise, you will have a first-hand experience of the adventure of a lifetime, while at the same time getting to know some curious history and science facts to take home and share with your friends and family.

Of course, everyone has their preferences. Some might enjoy a mega-cruise in the Caribbean, packed with activities that are fun but familiar.

However, for those that prefer a cruise with outdoor activities like kayaking, snorkeling, meeting face to face with giant tortoises, swimming close to sea lions, sharks, rays, and marine iguanas, walking on lava flows, swimming at a pitch-black sand beach, all while learning about geology and biology… then a Galapagos cruise is definitely for you!

Carlos Beate is the Commercial Manager at Andando Tours. Andando Tours offers exclusive traveling experiences, specializing in sailing around the Galapagos Islands and overland along the magnificent Avenue of Volcanoes on the Ecuadorian Andes.

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Comments (11)

  1. Jim says:

    You make a very persuasive case for the Galapagos. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t enjoy a Caribbean cruise but I think the Galapagos is more my sort of thing.

  2. Caroline Bartlett says:

    For me the real issue is the size of the ships. I’ve been on a massive cruise ship that docked in St Johns, Antigua and it literally cast a shadow over the town. Then thousands of us swarmed our into the capital. Don’t get me wrong, within half an hour we’d all got tours and taxis and were all over Antigua with the cruise ship forgotten and it was a great way to see the island and several others in the Caribbean. It’s just that I find the size of these mega ships overwhelming. Definitely think that I’m ready for a smaller cruise around the Galapagos.

    • Carlos Beate says:

      Hi Caroline,

      that´s only possible in certain destinations. The Galapagos is not a destination where thousands will set their footprint at the same time in a visitor site. You will have an amazing experience!

  3. Julian Bird says:

    At the end of the day it comes down to why you are travelling. In my twenties I was desperate to explore the world. In my early thirties I would have given anything to escape from my frenetic work on a Caribbean Cruise. Next it was all about keeping the kids occupied. Now it’s about seeing the world again, trying to make sense of it, travelling more slowly and in more comfort than in my twenties. A Galapagos Cruise would certainly tick all those boxes.

  4. Rachael Jessop says:

    The Galapagos used to be more of a dream destination years ago reserved for the select few, whereas it seems far more accessible these days. The same goes for the Caribbean in my mind. Both ooze luxury so I’m not sure what I’d pick between the two either so it’s interesting to see a comparison. I hadn’t realised the Galapagos cruise ships are often smaller. I quite like the idea of less people in some ways. As you say, it’s likely you’ll get a more personalised and special experience. I’ve not been on any cruise before but I know plenty of folks that have.

    I never would have thought about doing it until more recently, I think as I’ve learned more about how they work, that you can stop off at plenty of destinations and there’s so much on board to do, I think I’ve warmed to the idea.

    And it’s so convenient. Someone else is figuring out what to do and where to go so you can just relax and not stress about the travel and itinerary. Quite like the sound of that too!

  5. Jake says:

    My first thought upon reading this was: Can I jump right into the water while I’m on the smaller type of cruise. Haha, I was pleased to read on and see that, yes, that’s plausible and accepted. Snorkeling sounds great and learning about the history of the Galapagos is something I hope to experience one day.

    • Carlos Beate says:

      Hi Jake,

      actually, you can´t jump into the water from your cruise, but you can when doing snorkeling activities from the small panga and accompanied by your guide.

  6. Deshawn Cline says:

    I see the difference now, Galapagos cruises are more intimate, there’s less people, and more laid back. Well, sometimes you want the fun of a crowd on a big cruise and sometimes you want the more quiet and relaxing one. It’s good to have choices and I’m sure both types of cruises will bring a lot of enjoyment.

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