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NG Islander vs Endeavor to Galapagos?

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Trying to decide between two ships in going to Galapagos? any info or views would be appreciated. Also inner loop vs outer loop or Northern vs southern route. Want to swim with sea lion, penguins, etc. 

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We went on the Islander in March/April. It was amazing from start to finish. I highly recommend this Islander due to it's perfect size. I considered the small Yacht type ships, the Islander and the 100 passenger vessels. We found the Islander to be a perfect size. In my opinion the 48 passenger size was perfect for interaction with other passengers, ease of embarking and debarking for the different excursions. We thought the ship was beautiful. The options for excursions were perfect. 

 

Any questions, feel free to ask.

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We've been on both ships.  Well the Endeavor we were on has been replaced by a new one, but the same size as the original.  The staterooms on both ships are much smaller than a traditional cruise ship.  But we only were in them to sleep, clean up and change after a swim/excursion.  If I were to go again, I'd pick the Islander due to the almost family like atmosphere due to the limited number of people.  I go to a family picnic every June and there's twice the number of people there than on the Islander. 

 

Regardless of which ship you take, the excursions are the same.  The particular island you stop at determines what's offered.  Each excursion is limited to 16 people and a naturalist from the ship.  But they have enough naturalists on board the ship to allow everyone to take the excursions they desire.  

 

You had the opportunity to go on an excursion in the morning and another in the afternoon.  There was always a swimming and non-swimming one to choose from.  We had a pre-breakfast excursion on one stop.

 

Getting on and off the ship the ship is not the same as a cruise ship.  You use Zodiacs, which are hard bottomed with inflatable sides.  You sit on the sides of the Zodiac while going to and from shore.  Life jackets are mandatory during these rides. My wife, who is not very athletic did just fine stepping up off and down onto the Zodiacs.  You get plenty of help from the crew.

 

We were fortunate, between the two cruises, Feb and July 2015, to get to most of the islands.  Regardless of which trip you take, you'll get to swim with plenty of marine wild life, including white tip reef sharks. (We were told they were vegetarian.)

 

Both ships had a computer station where I transferred pictures from my camera memory chips, which I had one for each day, to a thumb drive as backup.  I purchased an underwater camera (works just as well in air :-)) before I went.  This allowed the obvious underwater pictures and those from the Zodiac.  Many people missed some good pictures while on the Zodiac due to protecting their cameras in waterproof bags. Be sure to get a float-able wrist strap to attach to the camera.  

 

But either way you go, Endeavor or Islander, and which route you take you'll have a great time.  The second time we went, which was only five months after the first was just as wonderful as the first. 

 

The pictures below:

1. Shows sitting on the side of a Zodiac.  Also shows me holding my camera with the float-able wrist strap.  Normally you're sitting right next to someone, not like this with some "social distance" between us.

2. A typical drive on the island of Santa Cruz on the way to the Darwin Research Center.

 

Now after writing this, I want to go back again.

 

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