The Galapagos islands where on our bucket list for a long time. So many people have recommended we visit the islands we could not keep up with the pressure and decided to make the trip. Our usual cruise choices include a Silversea voyage from Athens to Istanbul, we learned all that is sunny about sailing the high seas. We specially loved the camaraderie onboard, the ease of relaxing in large areas without hauling luggage between hotel rooms, and the ocean breeze. When we finally made the decision to come to the Islands we narrowed down our choices to Latin Trails and the Sea Star Journey yacht, we were excited to be in a cabin again, yet we felt a bit adventurous for choosing a smaller boat than usual, my wife and me do not have problem with sea sickness so this was not a concern, although we were risking our comfort zone it just felt right to explore the islands on a smaller boat.
To our surprise, the cabins were extremely large for a small 16 passenger boat. We noticed few similarities between our yacht and her distant Med megaship cousin. The remote nature of the destination lends itself to a more all-inclusive experience — excursions, snacks and meals are included in the price, wines were not inlcuded and a bit expensive I must say. The size is intimate — Traveling with only 14 other guests plus crew really made the difference.
The Sea Star has just three decks, there is no elevators. The dining room is located on the main deck, breakfast and lunch are served buffet style while dinner is served a la carte. Meals where not gourmet, they were actually more on the hearty side, which was actually good due to all the physical activity involved. Our cabin was located on the second deck and was made up of a king size bed, a small lounge area and our bathroom. Very spacious with ocean views. The only thing that was a set back was that we had to throw toilet paper in a bin and it could not be flushed, I guess this is the norm. Our cruise director Mirely did explain that it is due to the boat having a black water processor that separated elements and would not be able to take in the paper... don't know if I can believe this bit, yet it was a minor disturbance compared to all the positives.
The third deck was our favorite — a sun and shade deck, an outdoor lounging area with two jacuzzis, loungers and day beds. Every evening we sipped down cocktails and enjoyed the views of the islands.
On the first day of our itinerary, we set off early for an afternoon walk excursion. our guide Hansel gave us all the instructions about abiding the Galapagos park rules, which left me feeling like I was back in school with a teacher leading us, I guess it is the necessary trade off in visiting a nature sanctuary.
We landed on Dragon hill, our objective was to find land iguanas, we spotted 2 of these creatures, yet along the trail we found dozens of Darwin's finches and the scenery was just breathtaking, between dry forest and the sea.
The next few days were just full of wonderful surprises we explored black turtle cove, Genovesa island with thousands of sea birds flying around us. I was amazed by the Galapagos owl, as we spotted a couple in the cracks alongside the trail. This trail was perhaps the highlight of the entire trip, dozens of masked and red footed boobies. We loved walking up Pinnacle rock on Bartolome island and enjoying a view of the volcanoes and lava fields. We snorkeled with penguins and sea turtles. When we thought it could not get better, on the final day a pod of whales was feeding just next to the boat... we almost lost our transfer to the airport since we just kept on watching and could not draw away...
All in all the boat is very nice, the service great yet the highlight was the wildlife and the scenery. The Galapagos are truly magical.
Spacious, always clean. King size bed, mattress a bit firm, good linens. Private bathroom with Amazon sourced amenities. Hot water worked fine, except one day it took a few minutes to heat up. Downside was toilet paper could not be flushed.