It’s the ultimate destination for animal lovers. The Galapagos Islands offer some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities. The remote archipelago of islands in the Pacific Ocean lies 620 miles off the coast of Ecuador. You’ll need deep pockets to get there, but it’s a once in a lifetime experience, say those who have been lucky enough to explore this enchanting spot, following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin.
Leading small group adventure travel operator G Adventures are the latest to offer increased accessibility, whilst being committed to developing responsible tourism. They will introduce a sixth yacht to their fleet of vessels touring the Galápagos Islands with departures starting in July 2020.Thecustom-builtReina Silvia Voyagercatamaranwill be among the most comfortable passenger touring vessels of its size in the Galápagos.
With 40 different itineraries, offering access to the 20 different islands of the Galápagos, ranging from seven to 17 days in length, the Reina Silvia Voyager will allow G Adventures to meet the increasing traveller demand it is seeing for Galápagos adventure. There has been a 19 percent surge in global bookings of its marine-based cruises in the region since January 2016.
The 103-foot Reina Silvia Voyager catamaran will cruise the Galápagos Islands as a high-end touring vessel, accommodating up to 16 passengers in 10 cabins on two decks. Eight of those cabins are designed for twin/double stays, and two are dedicated to solo travellers who prefer their own space. Eight rooms offer private balconies, while all rooms have panoramic windows for optimal ocean viewing, plus bright, contemporary furnishings, artwork by local naturalist photographers, and energy-saving LED lighting.
Common areas on board will include an expansive third deck with lounge chairs for sunbathing, covered cocktail bar, grill station and an outdoor Jacuzzi tub for relaxing under the sun or stars. An indoor, air-conditioned salon with large video screen will enable visual presentations from specially trained naturalists, who will guide each group’s tour and help guests learn about the iconic wildlife and culture of the Galápagos Islands’ inhabitants.
Landings and exploration of the region’s remote ports and wild, rocky coasts will be accessible to guests, thanks to the Reina Silvia Voyager’s nine on-board kayaks and two zodiacs for guests’ guided use. A crew of nine, including a dedicated chef and G Adventures Chief Experience Officer, will serve guests daily.
“There is nothing in the world like making eye contact with a curious sea lion, gentle sea turtle, tiny seahorse or prehistoric iguana in a place where Darwin himself studied evolution. We want our guests to have all of these adventurous experiences and still enjoy a dose of maritime luxury,” said Yves Marceau, G Adventures’ Boston-based global Vice President of Product, who is overseeing the design and construction. “The Reina Silvia Voyager is being purpose-built to enable nimble, immersive moments in and under the water, before welcoming guests back on board in ultimate comfort.”
To comply with the Galapagos Islands ban on single-use plastic bottles, straws and bags, passengers will be supplied with a reusable stainless steel bottle and on board toiletries are provided in refillable containers.
All of the 2020 voyages will start and finish in the capital city of Quito, offering sailing through either the eastern or western Galápagos, including the inhabited islands of Isabela, Floreana, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal, plus eight other uninhabited islands which are protected within the Galápagos National Park system. An 8 day Galápagos – Central & Eastern Islands aboard the Reina Silvia Voyager, Cruise Only – starts from €4,799 per person, excluding international flights. The 10-day Galápagos from Quito – Central & Eastern Islands aboard the Reina Silvia Voyager – starts from €5,299 per person, excluding international flights.