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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Quasar Grace Galapagos 1 week tour (originating in San Cristobal, ending in Baltra) exceeded my expectations in every way. The boat was elegant, well-appointed and very comfortable. I didn’t see a single boat in the Galapagos that ... Read More
Quasar Grace Galapagos 1 week tour (originating in San Cristobal, ending in Baltra) exceeded my expectations in every way. The boat was elegant, well-appointed and very comfortable. I didn’t see a single boat in the Galapagos that was as beautiful as Grace. Her age (built in 1928, later gifted to Princess Grace and Prince Rainier by Ari Onassis) was not an issue at all - she is fast, nimble and beautifully maintained. The itinerary and activities were perfectly planned, with several excursions a day on land and sea. Land visits were timed to capture the animals in their most dramatic moments (e.g., the mating dance of the blue-footed boobies), while also avoiding other tourists. We snorkeled almost every day, and it was the best I've experienced, swimming with sea lions, turtles, reef sharks, and many schools of beautiful fish. I am physically fit and a long-distance swimmer, but the activities were structured in a way that even older and less able guests could fully enjoy them. Late January was a perfect time to visit because the water was warm enough to swim without a wetsuit. The food was wonderful, served al fresco. I can’t imagine preparing 3 meals/day for 16 guests plus crew in a yacht kitchen, but the kitchen staff continued to surprise us with new delicacies. The fruits and vegetables were incredibly fresh and flavorful. I looked forward to the fresh breads in the basket every morning, prepared by Walter. There were 2 ceviches (shrimp and crab) that were so good that we asked the chef for the recipe. The fresh tuna was a crowd pleaser, and the preparations and sauces always had a unique and harmonious mixture of ingredients. The crew was exceptional. I was impressed with their expertise across multiple roles, commitment to pleasing their guests, professionalism and work ethic. Melissa (hospitality) was delightful, very responsive and energetic. Freddy and Miguel, our zodiac pilots, were very capable, confident and fun. Saul, our bartender, learned our names and preferred cocktails and wines very quickly, and always appeared just as my glass was getting low. Nelly crept into our rooms several times a day to tidy up, and quickly replaced any linens as they began to get grimy. Our guide, Rafael Pesante, was extremely knowledgeable, which of course, is critical. But on top of that, he was a skilled teacher and story teller. He was full of energy and good cheer. He treated every single guest as if they were his top priority. He took beautiful photographs of every excursion and supplied downloads to departing guests. He treated the other crew members as equals and fostered a sense of family. I can’t imagine that there is a better guide in the Galapagos. Most impressive of all was the way they all work together to give their guests a memorable experience. One morning around 6am, one of the crew members spotted orcas near the boat. Immediately after that, Rafael came on the intercom encouraging everyone to come to the zodiacs in their pajamas ASAP to chase the orcas. Within minutes, all 16 guests were loaded into the boats and on the chase. We had a thrilling ride and captured dramatic footage of the orcas. A less-organized crew would never have been able to pull that off, and a bigger boat never would have even bothered. I could not have been happier with the Grace experience. My only hesitation in giving this glowing review is that it might create more competition to get a reservation when I inevitably return to the Grace one day! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We went on a two month trip within South America, from Atacama, Chile to Machu Picchu, Peru to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands being the Galapagos islands the last part of our trip and indeed the Galapsgos was the highlight of our ... Read More
We went on a two month trip within South America, from Atacama, Chile to Machu Picchu, Peru to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands being the Galapagos islands the last part of our trip and indeed the Galapsgos was the highlight of our adventure. We visited the islands at the end of October for a 7 night cruise in the yacht MY Grace. We cannot be more grateful to choose this yacht. It was highly recommended to us by our agent, and indeed it was the perfect choice for us. The classic look and history of this beautiful yacht was what we were looking for, with less than 20 people on board, it was like having our own private boat in these wonderful islands. The Grace offer so much ample spaces inside and outside. We saw many other yachts in the islands and this yacht looked outstanding. Our cabin accommodation and services were just perfect for us, we stayed in the top deck. The food was delicious and well prepared considering that I have some food restrictions, the chef was well appointed and experienced to accommodate our personal needs. The cleaning of our cabin and areas of yacht was acceptable. All the staff were very friendly and always with a smile on their faces and ready to help everyone in our group in / out the raft, the bartender well prepared drinks. Our guide Rafael was oustanding, he has so much acknowledge and caring for these amazing Galapagos islands. We share a week with very entuciastic and caring people. Our trip on the Grace was beyond our expectations. We definately planning to return back to the Galapagos in a few years to experience the other part of her itinerary. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We cruise several times a year and we also travel with friends on a private yacht. The Evolution had the luxury of cruise ship with elegant bed linens, amazing service and crew, but the intimacy and flexibility of a private yacht...at a ... Read More
We cruise several times a year and we also travel with friends on a private yacht. The Evolution had the luxury of cruise ship with elegant bed linens, amazing service and crew, but the intimacy and flexibility of a private yacht...at a very affordable price! First I would caution anyone planning this once-in-a-lifetime trip to not be land-based. Day trips require many hours back and forth in small boats and only the ability to get to the most frequented islands. Also, it is a waste of your travel dollar to only spend 2-4 days on the boat or to cut the trip short for Machu Picchu or other add-ons. Plan 2 weeks if you want to go to the Peru, Amazon, or explore Ecuador. The latter is very reasonable and quite amazing in itself. Our group of 32 family, friends, and associates was not an easy one to organize or to please. Most are discerning travelers and many are budget-minded. We had diverse abilities, needs, and expectations—and everyone ended up with nothing but praise and also awe at this one-of-a-kind interaction with nature, science, and culture with very intense encounters with nature while feeling pampered and respected. (You can, of course, just book a single cabin or bring a family along.) One member of our group had a limited ability to walk due to recent knee surgeries and other problems. He fully expected to lounge on the boat while others enjoyed the creatures up close. Your crew determined that he would see and do almost as much as the others and created a exceptional plan where the ship’s captain and doctor went on every excursion with him to assist his walking and insure his safety. You arranged special panga rides to the prime spots so he could avoid walking too far or make difficult landings. This was so far above and beyond an expectation that not only did this gentleman have a fantastic time, we all reveled in his enjoyment—and noticed that his physical abilities improved with what turned out to be therapeutic! Our group included serious mountain climbers, expert divers, professional photographers, a marine biologist, experienced yachtsmen, many doctors, lawyers, PhDs in various fields, a writer, filmmaker, judge, editor, and policymakers—a very tough crowd! We also had two people with medically challenging diets. There was not a single complaint about the cabins, delicious meals, or even the demanding schedule. Not only was every need met—the crew intuited some before the request was made. (One guest prefers to drink iced tea and she brought her own mix. When the bartenders saw what she was doing, he brewed some fresh and served it to her as a surprise. Many of us started ordering it as well.) Of course we could rave about the amazing sightings of many varieties of whales, rare birds, undersea encounters in crystalline water, but another group might have a different—but surely as interesting—experience. However, the value of these was not just a list of species but the depth of the information and context that our naturalists conveyed. Also, it was because of their expertise in knowing where to go, the exact time of day, how to avoid other groups in the same location, which was food for the mind and soul as well as the immediacy of the uniqueness of the moment. First and foremost, though, I must praise the safety on this vessel. Getting off an on pangas in various sea conditions can be tricky and their system of three people assisting helped those in their 30s to late 70s to be confident. Plus they always had staff to lend a hand at sea, while snorkeling, or on land in difficult terrain to help many—including me—to have a “personal best” in terms of meeting physical challenges. Their system for handling various levels of snorkelers in open water was the best I’ve ever seen. I cannot praise the crew highly enough for their smarts, professionalism, and personal kindness. Plus, there were certain touches of comfort and luxury made the voyage extra special for me including icy towels after a hot excursion, those delicious and healthful tropical fruit smoothies, the always-fresh and interesting Ecuadorian cuisine, the warm Jacuzzi and cool beverages after a snorkel, the generous beach and spa towels, the wet suit assistance, the luxury linens, tasty snacks, yummy soups, and so much more! I cannot praise Quasar highly enough for its preparation, attention to detail, educational aspects, humor and fun, professionalism, and personal kindness from everyone we encountered. Highly recommended as not only the premier ship in the Galapagos, but one of the most reasonable! Read Less
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