This is not a cruise for those who want to have all the standard facilities of large cruise ships. There are no elevators. No wide choice of dining. No theatre or entertainment.
I loved it.
The ship (which will be phased out next year) looks like a ship, not a tipped-over skyscrapper. It carries 95 passengers. The rooms are small, but one doesn't take such a cruise to get a suite. The dining is quite good, sometimes excellent. The ship is throughly comfortable, with a variety of places to relax, assuming one has time for it.
What makes the cruise is the Galapagos. The guides (all are National Park employees) are outstanding. This was a photo cruise, and the photographers were simply excellent, with sound advice for beginners and experts alike. And wow, could they take photographs.
The guides work on a variety of ships (their presence is required on every landing). They are understandably discreet about other ships, but various comments made it clear that the National Geographic Endeavor is a favorite ship to work on.
Typically there are two stops a day, since the islands are close together. Here's a typical morning visit. We came in for a "wet landing" (we had to wade ashore from the Zodiacs. We promptly saw a Galapagos Hawk. They there were hundreds of marine iguanas. A Great Heron wandered past. We saw some Sally Lightfoot Crabs working there way down the skelton of a snake, There were some flightless comorants. Various pelicans, frigate birds, sea lions, and sea turtles. And that's only a partial list. Then back to the ship for a tasty lunch.
The delight of the Galapagos is that the animals have no fear. Instructions are to stay six feet away from wildlife — unless the wildlife on its own decides to have a look at you. Those blue-footed boobies wandered close, although we were more curious about them than they were about us.
The scuba diving is astounding.
The disadvantage of a ship this size is that it can be overwhelmed by groups. On this sailing there was a large alumni group and 15 members of one family. They were all delightful people, but of course they tended to hang out together. However, the group as a whole was most interesting.
There were an unusual number of children on this sailing, most well-behaved, but some were a tad rambunctious. A minor annoyance at times.
The ship's doctor was excellent. Unlike larger cruise lines, there is no charge. I visited her for a back problem, and as a bonus she promptly diagnosed another medical issue which my regular physician confirmed on returning home.
This is not a cruise for the mobility-impaired. Getting on and off the Zodiacs requires some flexibility.
In short, this is an expensive cruise, not one I'd spring for often, but this exceeded expectations.