I am writing this as we pull into the harbor at Baltra, after a glorious week traveling 435 miles around the Galapagos aboard Silver Galapagos. We came to the Galapagos to see pristine beaches and exotic wildlife, to snorkel and kayak, to soak up the sun, to dine outside in warm breezes, and to have guides and crew who knew what they were doing, who kept us safe and who were uncommonly nice. We also came for a curated itinerary that would expose us to the best of the Galapagos, and give us a taste of history and science along the way. We got what we came for!
Silversea gave us a wonderful week. The expedition staff, especially its leader Danny, was truly top notch. Their skill made all the difference. It is hard to imagine a higher degree of luxury or personal service onboard or on shore, especially given where we were. Yes, the ship is old and the facilities limited compared to cruise ships, but this is an expedition ship that allows travel into remote coves and adjacent to isolated beaches. An upcoming dry dock holds promise that the physical plant will improve. But compared to the expedition ships we viewed in a couple of harbors along the way, this is far and away the most luxurious option.
In terms of personal service -- which truly determines the degree of luxury -- it was the best we have had on a cruise anywhere. Each of us celebrated birthdays onboard, and our butler and cabin attendants made them very special indeed. The spa professional was the sweetest AND most capable masseuse, pedicurist, etc. The maitre d' took care of us like he worked only for us, especially in ensuring vegetarian options. He even allowed us to use the restaurant menu at the outdoor grill for dinner, which provided greater choice. For meals, the quality of the ingredients was always good, with unlimited native lobster, prawns and exotic fruits. You don't go on an expedition ship for soufflés and cherries jubilee; we ate plenty, and we ate well.
We opted for the top category suite, and because of the small size of the ship, it turned out to be the smallest cabin (much less smallest suite) we every have had on any ship. No matter. It was efficiently laid out. The bed was very comfortable. And the bathroom was fine. So we had a week of adventures, were cared for beautifully, slept well and ate well. Can't ask for much more from a cruise. I recommend the Silver Galapagos enthusiastically.