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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This was a family cruise with 6 of us going. Very interested in seeing the ecology of the Islands. Lindblad/National Geographic did not disappoint. In fact, it was so incredible we will never forget! We saw so much and learned so much. ... Read More
This was a family cruise with 6 of us going. Very interested in seeing the ecology of the Islands. Lindblad/National Geographic did not disappoint. In fact, it was so incredible we will never forget! We saw so much and learned so much. A wonderful immersive experience. Thanks to the best crew EVER! They were so caring and informative. The small ship meant everyone received the same amazing treatment and experience. We saw almost ever Animal we hoped and not from a mile away, but right there. We swam, snorkeled, hiked our way around 6 do the Islands and each one was an experience. Each one was absolutely stunning inits landscape and animal life. On board, the ship was beautiful and the food incredible. Locally sourced and delicious. The information talks were great. Keep in mind our expedition leader has been doing this for 40 years. You can understand how good they are! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Visiting the Galapagos Islands has been on our travel list. When we were offered an opportunity to do it with friends we immediately agreed. This cruise was hosted by Lindblad / National Geographic. The cruise was great, there was no ... Read More
Visiting the Galapagos Islands has been on our travel list. When we were offered an opportunity to do it with friends we immediately agreed. This cruise was hosted by Lindblad / National Geographic. The cruise was great, there was no part of the cruise which I found lacking or poorly done. L/NG provided the smoothest transition from the airport to the hotel on the day of arrival and then the same service the next day as we flew out to the GI and boarded the Endeavor II. The handling of the people and our luggage was smooth, and quick. They transferred the people and luggage from shore to the ship in Endeavor II zodiacs. By the time we completed the buffer lunch our luggage was in our room. We traveled to and visit 6 islands, with hiking, snorkeling or kayaking available to see this natural wonder up close. Each days events were briefed in detail the night before, during an open bar happy hour, and then again in the morning. Carlos the Expedition Leader kept track of what was going an insured that the schedule was kept in order to accomplish the myriad of events which occurred through out the day. Ecuador does not allow individuals onto the islands with an Ecuador licensed Naturalist. There were seven Naturalists on board the E II. The lead all the small group tours, hikes and snorkeling. They were very knowledgeable and all were native to Ecuador. The promised sightings of the varieties of wildlife and birds always happened. Breakfast was always a buffet. Lunch was also a buffet. Dinner was a menu selection of local seafood and other meats. There were always at least three choices. One of which was Vegan/Vegetarian. The food was awesome. The ship crew was friendly and always helpful. If they had trouble with English they would find someone to help them and then help you. All the Dining and housekeeping staff spoke English fluently. The Deck Crew and Engine Crew understood English, but did not necessarily speak it well. However, they never ran away if you asked a question. They always got answer. The crew was very proud of its ship. It was clean, and in very good repair. I highly recommend this cruise, Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
My husband, myself and 16 of our friends were guests in the Galapagos on the Grace, starting on Feb 9. The Quasar team also handled our ground plans in Quito, and a trip to Mashpi before and after we left Galapagos. What an amazing ... Read More
My husband, myself and 16 of our friends were guests in the Galapagos on the Grace, starting on Feb 9. The Quasar team also handled our ground plans in Quito, and a trip to Mashpi before and after we left Galapagos. What an amazing experience we have had. The Quasar team created an experience that all 18 of us agree, is one of the most memorable, and impactful of our lives. Planning the Trip We spent approximately a year planning this trip. Most of us also had Quasar plan our visit to Quito and Mashpi as well. Diane was EXCEPTIONAL. She was helpful, inspiring, and detail oriented. There was not a detail missed in either the planning, nor the execution of the trip. I am impressed, because it is not easy ‘herding cats’, but Diane does it with flawless execution, and “grace”. Based on the planning process alone, our entire group was expecting this trip to be the best of their lives. Our Quito Experience We arrived in Quito to beautiful and memorable accommodations at the Hotel Carlota, and tours of the Old City that we all loved. Carlota was filled with character and hospitality. Every Quasar guide we had was fantastic. Galapagos and the M/Y Grace team We arrived in the Galapagos and the Grace via our two guides Roberto and Carolina. From the moment we met them at the airport, to the moment we left them at the airport for our flight back to the mainland, we felt the warm, caring nature of these two really special people. We created an intimate connection with them. They led our group throughout the week with confidence, excitement, knowledge, inspiration, conscientiousness, thoughtfulness and mindful of all the details. The two of them have high emotional IQ. They intuitively knew when to make a slight change to the plans, based on the feeling of our group. This made the week feel “personalized”, even though we know that you spend great effort in following the plan that has been created. These two individuals created tremendous value towards the overall experience. Our daily snorkeling and land excursions were fantastic. The Quasar team we had last week on the Grace were beyond our wildest dreams. Our cruise director was fantastic. She made everything happen, again flawlessly. She was always so cheerful, warm, hospitable and helpful. Housekeeping was exceptional. Public areas of the yacht and our cabins were always spotless. The housekeeper was like a fairy. Every time anyone would leave their rooms, she was in there cleaning it up a little. What she was doing was like magic. I stay in a lot of hotel rooms each year and never have I felt such joy and care in housekeeping. The boat Captain leads quietly behind the scenes much of the time, but the Grace would not operate so beautifully and seemingly effortlessly without the strong leadership of the captain. I almost forgot the amazing food and culinary team. Wow! We had three amazing meals a day. All dietary requirements and preferences for some of our group, were met at each meal with really special meals. Those individuals typically feel that their needs are an afterthought, but on this trip, they felt special at each meal. They even accommodated an unplanned Caftan and Critters dinner party, as more of an informal cocktail supper on the bar deck. They prepared an amazing sushi evening. All the food the entire week was spectacular. (and many of us are fussy foodies) Many of our group travel a lot, and none of us has had an experience like your team created for us in such an “authentic” and caring way. What this teams does each day is truly special. My company consults with restaurant companies, hospitality companies and retailers. I know how hard it is for any company to consistently deliver exceptional service, hospitality and memorable guest experiences. The Quasar team, and the special small yachts, in my opinion, are unmatched in what you deliver. You are truly ‘best-in-class’. I have not been on your larger boat, but I think you have some special magic in having these smaller, intimate luxury yachts. I know our trip was somewhat unique since we basically chartered the Grace with our friends. However, this really amplifies the trip experience. It was pretty easy for us to fill the boat. I think there are a lot of people that dream of going to the Galapagos, but need a little inspiration to start. Our group appreciated being able to book with people they knew, and not have to think about anything, other than paying and packing. We saw all the other boats in the Galapagos. None matched the Quasar yachts. I can't imagine having the experience we did on the larger boats of 50 - 150 people. 16-32 people is the ideal size. We are already planning our repeat trip in 2-3 years of the other Northern itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Ok, I could only give 4 stars...because of the unrefurbished ship. But otherwise, all was perfect. Silversea will get a new ship in 2020, so if having clean, comfortable, but not shiny new accommodations will bother you, wait a year. ... Read More
Ok, I could only give 4 stars...because of the unrefurbished ship. But otherwise, all was perfect. Silversea will get a new ship in 2020, so if having clean, comfortable, but not shiny new accommodations will bother you, wait a year. You will not be disappointed with the organization of the expeditions and the care taken to ensure safety. Plus, the food is excellent even though the Galapgos has significant restrictions on food import (true for all cruises there). The Grill Restaurant was particularly fun at lunch with a keyboardist providing upbeat music. Overall, I'm glad we went when we did as the ship was just fine and really didn't detract from the main event of seeing the islands. The stay in Quito was a bonus. We self-guided ourselves through the old city and then took a taxi to Cafe Mosaico for the views and refreshments. The hotel provided was good. The day room in Guayaquil was excellent. Unfortunately we had a downpour and couldn't enjoy the city. Still, silversea made sure we were more then comfortable. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My siblings and I along with our spouses cruised on the M/Y Grace at the end of January 2019. The ship was great, the food wonderful, and the crew amazing. Ever one of the crew members was personable and made it clear they were there to ... Read More
My siblings and I along with our spouses cruised on the M/Y Grace at the end of January 2019. The ship was great, the food wonderful, and the crew amazing. Ever one of the crew members was personable and made it clear they were there to serve. The captain took time to snorkel on several days with members of our group who were not experienced snorkelers. He worked with them each day to improve their skills. The naturalists, both Rafa and Walter, were extremely knowledgeable and a lot of fun. Nothing about their presentations were rote. During our visit to one of the islands, some members of another ship started asking our naturalists questions because they found them to be more knowledgeable than the persons they had on their boat. Shout out to Saul who tended bar and served every meal. He was terrific. Also to the chefs, who served up a wonderful variety of food and very delicious desserts. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I did the Western loop of the Galapagos on the Xpedition. The cruise was wonderful, meeting or exceeding all of our expectations. A detailed review follows. My wife and I generally look for values when we cruise. We try ... Read More
My wife and I did the Western loop of the Galapagos on the Xpedition. The cruise was wonderful, meeting or exceeding all of our expectations. A detailed review follows. My wife and I generally look for values when we cruise. We try to book mainline cruise trips for $100 or less per person per day. Needless to say, there is no such option in the Galapagos. The best “deal” we could find in relative comfort was on Celebrity’s 100 passenger Xpedition. In an effort to save some money, we booked the least expensive cabin we could find at the least expensive time of the year. And we avoided the expensive mainland add-ons (to Quito and elsewhere) that Celebrity sells, booking only the seven day cruise and making all of our flight arrangements to and from the Galapagos ourselves. OK, after all of that, our cruise price per person (including taxes and fees) was still about $560 per person per day, making this the most expensive cruise we have ever done. Was it worth it? Absolutely! One thing that mitigates the cost is that this cruise is truly all inclusive. For example, no tipping is expected, and all types of alcohol are included. The only additional things my wife and I paid for on board was a $30 bag of laundry and a $23 bottle of sunblock. Yeah, not a typo, bring a lot of sunblock so you don’t have to buy any on board. We arrived two nights early and stayed in the small town of Puerto Ayora. There is a $20 visa fee tourists have to pay, and a $100 national park fee at the airport. Now Celebrity pays this as part of your cruise package, but when we arrived the officials at the airport did not yet have the “list” of Celebrity passengers, so we had to pay the fee. On the day our cruise began, however, Celebrity immediately refunded our payment, so that was no problem. OK, some details about the cruise. Embarkation was a breeze. We made our way back to the airport on the morning of the cruise and met with a Celebrity rep there. After a pleasant one-hour wait in the terminal, they put us on a short bus ride to the Baltra marina, and an Xpedition zodiac met us at the marina and took us out to the Xpedition. We were then shown immediately to our cabin. Our oceanview cabin was not particularly remarkable. In terms of size and layout it was very similar to oceanview cabins we have had on larger cruise ships. The shower was a bit bigger, and nicer, than some we have had on other ships. There was plenty of hot water, good water pressure, and the in room hair dryer worked well. The water that comes out of the taps in your cabin is, of course, potable, but it also tastes of chlorine, so the ship also has drinking water dispensers on each deck that have no chlorine taste. The food served in the main dining room was also similar in quality to what we have had on other cruise ships, but was more limited in variety and, not surprisingly, heavy on fish and seafood dishes. The food was not the best we have had, but it easily met our expectations, given the difficulty of resupply that the Xpedition faces. We were told that about 50% of the food is sourced locally, but many products that we westerners are used to (like beef) have to be flown in by Celebrity or otherwise sourced over long distances. And some of the food has to be specially treated before being allowed in the Galapagos. Ok, and now the superlatives. The ratio of crew to passengers on the Xpedition is very high, with 62 crew members vs 100 passengers. And that meant a level of service we have not experienced on any cruise. For example, our room was serviced multiple times a day, seemingly every time we left it (OK, maybe not quite that often). When we were in the bar or restaurant the waiters were constantly circulating and asking if they could get you something. And when we would return from a shore excursion the staff was always right there waiting with cold beverages and snacks. One thing that surprised me, but I guess shouldn’t have, is that the crew was almost entirely Ecuadoran. In fact, 61 out of 62, including the Captain, were Ecuadoran. What a competent, energetic, and pleasant group of people. Hey, but accommodations, food, and ship board service are not really why you come to the Galapagos. It is for the wildlife! And Celebrity shines in getting you to the action. Each day of the cruise you have at least two activities, morning and afternoon. There were three basic types of activities: a walk ashore, a snorkel, or a lengthy zodiac ride (without landing or snorkeling). With regard to the walks, there was always the option of a longer or shorter walk. The snorkel trips were sometimes shore snorkels (right off the beach) or deepwater snorkels. My advice: always do the deepwater snorkels when offered because the water clarity and sea life variety is better than the shore snorkels. And Celebrity plans the deepwater snorkels very well. There was virtually no current on any of our snorkels, and what current there was was always pushing the way we wanted to go. On one snorkel we went three quarters of the way around a small island, for a total distance of 1.5 miles, and it was so easy that we virtually never used our arms, only our flippers, with the wetsuits providing plenty of buoyancy. As for signing up for what you wanted to do on a given day, you got a briefing the night before and right after that briefing chose what you wanted to do. There was no rush or pressure to be “first in line” to sign up for anything, as the Xpedition can accommodate everyone on every desired option. Group size ashore was usually 14 to 16 persons with one naturalist, which was about as many folks as one zodiac could comfortably carry. The naturalists were great -- well informed with a pretty good command of English. As for the wildlife, we saw pretty much all the biggies: Tortoises, boobies (Blue Foot and Nazca), land iguanas, marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, penguins, flamingos, crabs, rays, and sharks. We even saw three albatrosses very close up, although we were well past the season when the albatrosses have normally departed the islands. And we saw many other species of birds, including, of course, multiple species of Darwin finches. Many of these animals have incredible coloration. And since there are no large land-based predators in the Galapagos almost all of these animals are completely unafraid of humans and you could get very close to them. A true photographer’s dream. Some offbeat highlights: (1) One day we were momentarily stuck on some rough rocks in a zodiac because of an extremely low tide, and the crews of two other zodiacs worked quickly to free us. A bit much excitement that. (2) One morning a lava gull landed next to me on the ship, and I remarked what a beautiful bird it was to a naturalist sitting nearby. She then told me the lava gull was the rarest gull in the world, and there it was five feet away eyeing my croissant!! I asked if I could feed it (just joking). (3) There were an incredible number of baby sea lions. OMG, so cute. And so curious. The naturalists warned us that for the protection of the babies we should not touch them. But sometimes it was difficult, as they would come right up to you in their curiosity. (4) Probably the highlight of the trip for me was watching sea lions while snorkeling. They would swim like torpedos all around you, and then groups of them would play with each other, and then one might come up and eyeball you before swimming away. Wow. Debarkation was also a breeze. Settle up you bill, if you have one. Put your suitcases outside your room by 5:30 AM, and they are then delivered directly to the airport. Exit your room by 8:30 AM, wait in the lounge, and they call your cabin number for boarding a zodiac back to the short bus ride from dock to airport. Let me close with two more tips. When going ashore for a walk, the footing varied wildly from place to place. Sometimes the landing would be wet (meaning you had to wade a few feet up onto a beach) or dry (directly on to a dock, or jetty, or on some rocks). Then your hike could be on sand, or compact dirt, or broken rocks, or slippery rocks (algae and/or guano), or broken lava, or even some small boulder scrambling. My wife and I brought Tevas (for the wet landings) and lightweight hiking shoes, but on some hikes it would have been nice to have had actual hiking boots for more ankle support. Several times some of the older folks fell -- even on the short, so-called “easier” walks. Another clothing tip is to bring a very broad brimmed hat of some sort, and perhaps some neck covering like a scarf or other neck protector. The sun is brutal on the equator, and unexposed skin burns fast even in cloudy weather. One thing you don’t really need is your own snorkeling equipment. Celebrity provides all that, including wetsuits. As a final note, they told us that the composition of the Celebrity Galapagos fleet will change soon. Currently there are three Celebrity ships, the Xpedition (100 passengers), the Xperience (48 passengers), and the Xploration (16 passengers). The Celebrity Flora, a new, hyper-modern 100 passenger ship, joins the Galapagos fleet later in May. And sometime after that the Xpedition will be refurbished, with its capacity reduced to 64 passengers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
All I can say is our “expedition” with Nat Geographic far exceeded our expectations. We went with Linblad and National Geographic in the Nat Geo Endeavor 11 because we knew they had been there the longest as far as a “cruise line” ... Read More
All I can say is our “expedition” with Nat Geographic far exceeded our expectations. We went with Linblad and National Geographic in the Nat Geo Endeavor 11 because we knew they had been there the longest as far as a “cruise line” But this was not a cruise.. it was indeed an Expedition! Full of hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, and lectures, loaded with information on everything “Galapagos” for the 7 days we were fortunate to experience all of it. As I said, This was a week long amazing, beautiful course in the Galapagos. We are NOT cruise people, we love active vacations. And this is exactly what we received. The entire staff was gracious, well educated on where we were, extremely wanting to please. I was most impressed by the hotel management and attention to detail, even in the dining room. We were not only served organic, sustainable typically Ecuadorian fare, but we were also served up an education on local cuisine including meats, fruits, vegetables, spices, desserts .. which also added to a very well rounded “immersion” in everything Ecuador! Naturalists gave us their rich wealth of information. Tips on Photography, both on land and under the sea. Lectures everyday were well attended.. by the entire guest population on the ship. Rooms were well appointed and cared for. Housekeeping was also impressive as rooms were tidied up 3 times a day, laundry was usually back same day.. The ship paid very strict attention to cleanliness, as there were hand sanitizer stations all over. Ship doctor was always available, even graciously, for 1 bandaid. I will most definitely look forward to my next Linblad Nat Geo trip. Hopefully Antarctica! (Only if Emma and Walter are our Naturalists!!! Book this trip if you’re interested in seeing and experiencing everything the beautiful Galapagos has to offer through the eyes of knowledgeable professional hosts. It’ll be worth every Penney. It really was the trip of a lifetime. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
When it comes to wildlife, outdoor exploration and comfort, Linblad-National Geographic is top of the line. We chose the Galapagos because we wanted to be outside exploring and photographing. The Endeavor II provided a highly functional ... Read More
When it comes to wildlife, outdoor exploration and comfort, Linblad-National Geographic is top of the line. We chose the Galapagos because we wanted to be outside exploring and photographing. The Endeavor II provided a highly functional and comfortable boat for the experience. Our cabin was large enough for two people to comfortably enjoy the week long trip without feeling crowded. The windows allowed for excellent viewing even when we were in the room. The boat staff also exceeded expectations. Carlos, the food maestro, provided healthy but incredibly flavorful options. We had the best of the best local food. He remembered our names and our food preferences--remarkable for a 98 person passenger list. Likewise, the naturalists on this boat were also exceptional. The photography expert, Antonio was quite good. Rather than focusing on camera mechanics, he focused on composition and what really makes a photograph special. He skipped all the technical mumbo jumbo and talked to us about how to tell a story in pictures. He used examples from the Galapagos so we had real concrete ideas of what to photograph on each day's adventure. My husband snorkeled every day. I hiked and kayaked. We both were thoroughly exhausted at the end of each day so we savored every sunset in this beautiful island setting. For people looking for an active, busy vacation, this is a good fit. The Galapagos dazzles with its underwater sea life, colorful birds, sea lions everywhere, land tortoises and iguanas with personality. Highly recommend booking a trip on the Endeavor II. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The other reviews tell almost all you need to know. I just wanted to add a couple of comments. 1. There are not locks on cabins doors when you are not in the room, it’s company policy and was very strange to me. 2. The showers are ... Read More
The other reviews tell almost all you need to know. I just wanted to add a couple of comments. 1. There are not locks on cabins doors when you are not in the room, it’s company policy and was very strange to me. 2. The showers are huge compared to other ships that are much larger. 3. There were only 20 guests on our cruise and we had a lot of space, I would guess when you get 40+ people the ship will seem small. 4. The naturalists were well spoken and answered all questions at any time. 5. Food was fine, not sure how you could do better in the Galapagos. 6. December is not the correct time to come for snorkeling, water is pretty rough and cloudy. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Quasar Expedition’s Evolution is a 16 cabin luxury yacht. We had the opportunity to spend 7 nights on this boat cruising the eastern Galápagos Islands. Every day brought new and different experiences, while hiking and snorkeling, ... Read More
Quasar Expedition’s Evolution is a 16 cabin luxury yacht. We had the opportunity to spend 7 nights on this boat cruising the eastern Galápagos Islands. Every day brought new and different experiences, while hiking and snorkeling, which were explained by superb naturalists expert on the history, conditions and intricacies of the different islands in the Galápagos Archipiélago. The yacht was just the right size for this sort of cruise with plenty of common space for lounging but cozy enough to enable one to get to know every passenger and crew member on a first name basis. I would not hesitate to strongly recommend this yacht and cruise line to anyone interested in seeing this remote and fascinating part of our world. From the moment we made the decision to book to now several weeks post cruise, there is not a single thing I can recommend be improved. They have their act together in every aspect of their cruise adventure!!!! Read Less

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