First of all, I am giving the ship a rating of 3, not the entire Galapagos experience.
So let me break it down.
This ship is going into port now to be refurbished, and no-one is sure what it be like once that is done. So what I'm going to tell you will refer to the ship the way she is before the refurbishment. Frankly, I can't see them making too many changes, but you never know.
The ship is old- but serviceable. She works very well for the purpose intended. This is a ' no-frills' ship. Nothing fancy. Cabins are very small. As I was travelling alone I had an upgraded ( I was told pretty much the largest) single and I found it to be fine for me , but the other singles I saw were virtually closets, and the people in them felt rather claustrophobic. The doubles I saw were not much larger than my single. The ship is air conditioned, so that is good, and cabins are equipped with a fan which helps move the air ( and is great for drying clothes too!). There are 2 driers on board but you have to wash your clothes in the sink in the bathroom as there are no tubs, just small showers. . Because almost everyone comes & goes at the same time there was frequently a shortage of hot water, and I ended up having a number of rather cool showers as a result.
Meals are taken all together at one sitting- you can sit wherever you like, there are no assigned places.. The food was disappointing- there was enough of it, but it was very blah and repetitive. Breakfast and lunch were always buffet style, while dinner was a sit down. For dinner you had to make a choice in advance from 3 entrees every day, Everything was portioned out, you could not ask for seconds. There were supposed to be 24 hours snacks upstairs in the lounge but this was not the case- snacks ( which were very good BTW) were brought up for the seminars before dinner, and any leftovers ( of which there rarely were) were removed, so all you could get was some tea or coffee or very good hot chocolate. There was no room service.
Rooms were cleaned three times a day, which was amazing. No complaints there. If you like better quality toiletries bring your own as everything on board was ecological to better fit in with the policy of the ship being environmentally friendly as much as possible. They had everything you needed though- a very nice oatmeal soap, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, some body lotion etc,
There are no elevators, and the stairs are rather steep, and lots of them if you plan to go from the bottom cabins to the top. This is not a ship if you have any mobility issues.
Getting from the ship to the Zodiacs required a step from a platform onto the zodiac, a bench and then onto the floor of the zodiac. The zodiacs were fine, a bit bouncy and sometimes wet if conditions were choppy. The zodiacs were always used for every excursion and also to board and disembark.
There was a tiny gift shop that was surprisingly well stocked with items. You could buy NG branded clothing and a few books, souvenirs etc. Prices were not too unreasonable compared to what you would find on other ships. Again, it is best to bring your own supplies as much as possible. Because most of the islands are not densely populated there was only one stop where you could really go ' shopping' , and that was very limited.
There is one Dr. on board ship- the one I saw was excellent. She had quite a stock of medications and could handle most common issues. Don't break anything though because there are no xray machines on board and there is only one bed in the Dr's office, which is very small. If there was a major emergency I don't think they would be able to handle it. I was told that if something did happen the ship would have to turn around and make for the closest port that had medical facilities. Medical care is free in Ecuador so that is bonus, though.
Now about the cruise itinerary. Firstly, you can only see half the Galapagos in 7 days, but WOW! there is a lot to see and experience. You must be fit to do the excursions as they move along pretty well most of the time and the paths you follow are often rough. Snorkeling is great, but again, not for a weak swimmer as there are currents.
The expedition staff are amazing!!!!! Excellent knowledge and sharp eyes to boot. You couldn't have any better. Every day was a fabulous experience, but be warned the days are very busy! You get up early and generally have two, sometimes 3 excursions. The only break is for lunch, and then you go out again and come back for a shower & the evening seminar/recap and dinner. You will be tired and probably go to sleep early. I never had a problem with the beds or falling asleep, and I am an insomniac, so that says something.
If you like nature, geology and wildlife, you would love this trip. If you don't, it is not for you. Don't expect to be entertained, there is none, but you'll be too tired anyway.
I would recommend the NG/Linblad connection for any real nature lovers, even though it is very pricey. You are really paying for the experience and quality of the guides on board, the organization of the excursions, not the ship or food. These are certainly the best guides I have ever encountered, by far, and I didn't paying the price for it.