- Well organized and executed excursions which fortunately led to lifetime memories such as snorkeling in the midst of a penguin feeding frenzy, watching a dozen wild dolphins leap in unison several times ahead of the ship, swimming with sea lions and manta rays, standing inches from three foot long iguanas, and other priceless interactions with unafraid animals.
- quality of meals was quite good, especially dinners which were five course meals with innovative and subtle takes on South American fusion and more conventional dishes. Lunch at the Grill, a beautiful outside terrace, featured grilled lobster and fresh fish and excellent salad bar, Ecuadorian soups and stews, and top quality desserts
- naturalist guides and service generally, from the butlers to waiters to massage therapist and piano bar musician, were uniformly friendly and highly competent. Likeable and knowledgeable. Israel was an excellent expedition leader and a couple of the naturalists, Ernesto and Juan Carlos, each had decades of guide experience.
- our veranda suite was too cold, and it wasn’t until repeated tries and five days into the seven day cruise that the engineer was able to fix the air conditioning
- the lunch ended at 130 but the dinner didn’t start until 730 pm. Very sparse food other than a bare bones room service menu was available until dinner, which meant many were tired and hungry at the end of long days. And the late dinner meant going to bed too soon (excursions began as early as 7 am)
- given that water temperature was in the mid to high 60s F, the cruise should have provided full wetsuits, not shorty wetsuits, to all customers. We brought our own full wetsuits (3 mm and 5 mm thickness) and were so glad we did as the four snorkeling trips would have been miserable without that.
Overall, my wife and I rated the cruise a solid A, with A plus for the animal sightings, A for the personnel, A for the food, and B plus for the accommodations and dinner time problems noted.
So thankful we got the veranda which we used daily to sit out in the sun. Room was fine for my wife and I, and kept clean by staff. Some minor service errors by the butler but he was well meaning and earnest. Shower had excellent hot water pressure. Room was too cold until they fixed the air conditioning after five days. Room 510 was well positioned in terms of noise level. Beds were extremely comfortable and the weather was good so were rocked gently to sleep when we felt any motion at all. Zero need for seasickness pills in this late November trip...we were fortunate!