After much research and deliberation my partner and I booked a cruise on the Quasar evolution. I was looking for an interesting, yet relaxing holiday, whilst my partner was looking for more of a nature adventure. I am very glad that the evolution was able to deliver exactly what both of us wanted!
The evolution is a refurbished fishing ship and I must say that it was the most elegant looking ship we saw in the Galapagos. It really has a charm, elegance and character that only wooden-decks and brass fixtures can convey. Other ships looked fairly cold and sterile, while the evolution really felt luxurious and stylish. It just has a special aura to it that adds to the majestic feel of the beautiful Galapagos islands. The best spot on the ship was in the jacuzzi sipping on a cocktail in the sun or under the stars!
The staff of the evolution was very helpful and friendly. They did everything to please everyone and were very attentive. Service was truly available 24/7, and given the small number of people on the boat they could help you with any special wishes (food, hike length and duration etc). What made the service special was the friendly and happy nature of the crew as a whole, the service wasn't cold and pompous, it was genuinely friendly and they perpetuated a friendly and happy mood throughout our 7 day cruise.
There were 30 passengers on the ship when we took our cruise (I believe maximum capacity is 32), which felt like a small family group. This meant that there were usually about 25 of us on an island at a time (some stayed on board) split into two groups of around 12 people that would take opposite paths on the islands. The majority of the islands are completely uninhabited and walking around them with only 12 people was incredibly surreal, you felt like you are completely immersed with nature. The guides were the highest level of guide on the galapagos (level III, there are almost 4 times as many level I and level II guides so most other ships will not have level III guides, this is an important consideration!) and were incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining. The small group size also helps with animal spotting as you are less noisy. Other ships land on the same islands with over 150 people, this is clearly a very different experience.
The cruise was perfectly planned and coordinated. Given the logistics of transporting people on and off islands and navigating between islands whilst serving meals etc I was impressed at how seamless everything worked. The crew seem to be extremely experienced because despite what a complex undertaking a cruise is it always seems like everything was just automatic and there were never any logistical issues whatsoever. You never 'noticed' any planning issues or schedule conflicts etc, it all simply worked! Even with my preference for a more relaxed holiday, the hikes and excursions were so well planned that it was actually easy and relaxing to take part, but adventurous enough that every new island landing felt exciting!
We had a great time on the evolution and wouldn't for a minute hesitate to go back or to recommend it to friends. The galapagos is a special place and it deserves a special crew and special ship!!