We took the 7 day cruise to the Galapagos and the add-on land trip portion to Machu Picchu. The entire trip was amazing!
As far as the cruise to the Galapagos:
-if you like nature: animals, fish, geology, land formations, climatology and watching evolution in action, you can't get much better than this. Every day we saw a wide variety of birds, fish, amphibians as well as insects. The variety was amazing as was the camouflage! We saw turtles, tortoises, land and sea iguanas, fur seals, sea lions,a huge variety of birds including the Blue Boobies, manta rays, penguins, etc, etc. We enjoyed snorkeling and appropriate equipment was provided to us.
-the cruise director and naturalists were top notch especially William Cox, Marvin and Fatima. They were very informative, knowledgeable, personable and enthusiastic. All scheduled activities were punctual and well organized and went off without a hitch. I liked the daily reviews of the following day's two activities and the choices given for easy and more challenging options. The zodiac drivers were well trained and skilled in maneuvering the boats with the currents and rocks as challenges in navigation.
-I enjoyed some of the on-board educational presentations especially the BBC two-part shows on the Galapagos and the in-person conversations with the Galapagos-born naturalists.
-as I am more accustomed to fancier cruise ships, it took me a while to adjust to the more 'basic' nature of this Xpedition. However the rooms were an adequate size and were well-kept. The showers were a decent size too. I think the common areas could use some updating though. The food ranged from very good to needing improvement [e.g. salads tended to be water-laden]. However they had some nice food events including one of the best BBQ lunches I have ever had [BBQ'd lobsters!!!!!!]. The fish choices on the dinner menu were great and I had one daily. I also enjoyed the freshly made omelets for breakfast. Fernando was fantastic - always concerned, hard working and smiling.
The land portion to Machu Picchu:
-this was fantastic! The main guide, Cesar, was highly organized and took excellent care of all details! Everything went off without a hitch including flights, transfers, hotel stays, tours and restaurant meals.
-the restaurants and hotels used were of exceptional quality. In particular, Lo Monasterio in Cusco was the nicest hotel I have ever stayed at.
-the day tours of Cusco, to Sacred Valley and to Machu Picchu were well run. The train ride to Machu Picchu was not only beautiful scenery-wise but the service was top notch.
-the natural beauty of this area was outstanding and the archeology and history fascinating.
-my only concern was that not enough time was given to adjust to the altitude in Cusco particularly after travelling the whole previous day. Instead of launching right into a day tour, we should have been given the first day to do leisurely activities in order to adjust to the altitude and also to rest.
Overall, both the cruise and land portions of this outstanding trip were excellent and I really have no significant complaints but praise and gratitude for all involved staff!!