I have not been on a cruise in 20 years so this was a trip of a lifetime for my multigenerational family. We did spend one night in Equador, at the Hotel Colon, prior to our last flight to the islands. It took 1.5 days of travel to get ... Read More
I have not been on a cruise in 20 years so this was a trip of a lifetime for my multigenerational family. We did spend one night in Equador, at the Hotel Colon, prior to our last flight to the islands. It took 1.5 days of travel to get there with lunch and an excursion to an island scheduled for the same day.
Unfortunately, 25 of us lost our luggage via American airlines errors, and the sweet people of Lindblad/ Nat. Geo took us to a town to buy some clothing. I mention this because we have a story about not finding much available in Mucho Grande Pantaloons size. The Ecuadorians are a much smaller people than Americans. A size 12 to 14 is a mucho grande. The hotel manager did everything he could to supply us with essentials including laundry for our paultry supplies. They were such gracious people.
Although the ship may be small compared to the super cruise liners it was comfortable and charming. We became a small family of explorers. My grandaughters and I had a two room cabin that was nicely size (300.) My daughter and SIL had a much smaller room for 2 (206) Gifts were left in the bathroom for us to use during the trip including a reusable water bottle, loofah etc. Of course the chocolates left on our bed were a nice treat left after beds were set for nite time.
There were multiple shore excursions and choice of visits to see the local economy or a school. We chose to visit the school. I wish I had known enough to bring some old children s book and or supplies to the school since anything brought into the country has a high tax rate. Most of the children were learning English as a second language.
We were pleased with the food. There were no rich sauces but an array of fresh local vegetables and fruits. All the fish was great and simply cooked. Chicken and fish was also served. Breakfast was a standard buffet. A soup was served with lunch and dinner.
We had educational activities several times a day, all were very good and well received. There were special activities for the children including going our on a Zodiac and "learning" how to drive one.
Being 70, I thought I'd have trouble getting in and out of the Zodiacs but they are professionals and knew how to assist all of us. They planned an assortments of high and low physical activities every outing. My family learned to snorkel and loved it. I would recommend purchasing an underwater camera. Natural Geographic hooked me up with a photographer who made a recommendation for us. The photos are great memories. Short wet suits were provided since the water can be quite cool due to the Humbolt current from Antarctica. We viewed an assortment of islands, islets and rocks with different flora and fauna. They high points were the wild giant tortoises, penguins and blue footed boobies.
Disembarkation was without incident. Getting home was difficult and took 3 days due to American Airlines fouling up. The lovely people from Lindblad and National Geographic stayed with us, getting information, rooms and meals for us. They were wonderful.
I can recommend this cruise for those that want adventure, safe travel, well educated multilingual staff and naturalists and wonderful memories. This is not for those that want glamour, dancing, and eating heavy french food. Read Less