A day aboard a Galapagos cruise – what to expect

by on 21st October, 2016

What to expect on your Galapagos Islands holiday

You’ve booked your Galapagos cruise, watched the nature videos and bought the sun cream – then start to wonder…

Is the cabin too small?

Will I get seasick?

Here, Galapagos Islands’ expert Tom explains what to expect during a typical day on your dream Galapagos holiday.

Don’t forget to check our own Galapagos photos on Facebook and Pinterest, plus our youtube videos.


He writes:

“The low rumble of the anchor being pulled up gently raised me from a sleep as deep as the ocean floor.

My body is used to the gentle swells of the Beagle now, and I sprang out of my bed just as the breakfast bell rings up in the al fresco dining area. The patter of feet in the hall tells me more of my shipmates are about to lay topside, too.

It’s 06.00, but early starts are the norm on Galapagos. The equatorial sun is very strong and it’s best to be active early. It also means you get to catch the sleepy fauna waking up, too – great for photographs.

I’m famished and there is always plenty of coffee, juice, toast, bacon, eggs and more to satisfy the hunger.

While we’ve been grazing and our guide reminding us of what to take and expect ashore, the boat has dropped anchor at Genovesa, an island thrown out in the far north east of the archipelago. I did get a little sea sick on the long overnight sail, so having some sea sickness pills handy was a must.


Beagle at sea Galapagos

Beagle at sea, Galapagos


Morning visit to Prince Philip’s Steps

There are three types of landing – dry, wet and straight into the water – and you always wear a lifejacket when leaving the main boat.

This is a dry landing – lifejacket fastened and on before getting off the boat, suitable shoes or tevas, plus sun hat, camera and water.

We walk down easy stairs at the side of the Beagle. A sailor in the inflatable zodiac secures my hand, while another member of the excellent staff aboard the main boat secures the other.

I ‘step out’ from the stairs and onto the lip of the bobbing boat with ease. All the other shipmates complete the same task and we are whisked to shore.

The dry landing is completed in reverse, stepping out of the zodiac with a helping hand from a crew member already on land and the guide in the boat. I touch down, this time on a flat rock, but it could also be a wooden jetty.

We ramble for two hours atop this magnificent island, visiting nesting boobies and gazing at the Frigate birds above.

Most walks are fairly easy on Galapagos, concentrating on moving around slowly so that your guide can explain the environment and for you to fill memory cards with photos and videos.



With the sun warming, it’s time reboard the zodiac and back to the main boat for a quick juice and change of clothes. We spring once more into the zodiac for our next trip – a straight in the water  ‘landing’ – snorkel time!

This requires a little bravery the first time around for beginners. You put your flippers and mask and snorkel on while in the zodiac, then sit on the lip of the dinghy. Next, one by one, everyone flips over backwards directly into the sea.

I look at my flippers, roll backwards, see the sky and splash in. The day’s heat melts as I enter the cooling sea, delicious to feel. Within minutes of swimming and we’ve spotted sea lions, puffer fish, a cormorant fishing and rays gliding by.


Snorkelling wiht sea horse at Tuneles Isabela Galapagos

Snorkelling with a sea horse


I could spend all day here, but after 90 minutes of incredible snorkelling, it’s time to head back to the Beagle for a quick refresh and then a slap-up lunch while the boat moves closer to our afternoon destination.

Sailings are often done while eating/sleeping, to maximise visiting times.


Wet landing

Following a hard-earned siesta, lifejacket is on and we’re off to explore a bay with a wet landing.

The same zodiac routine is followed as we disembark the Beagle. But on arrival at our destination beach, instead of a jetty or rock to step on to, we take our shoes off and jump from the front of the zodiac onto the sandy beach.

This sounds easier that it is!

Some Galapagos beaches have some decently sized waves and steep beaches, and most people land and get sea water up to their thighs, which soon dries in the heat.

We explore the beach and ogle the sea lion pups and mum lazily playing in rock pools. A snorkel later on and we see rays, turtles and, to my surprise, a white-tipped shark swims alongside me, a beautiful second, christalised as a moment that always remains mine.


Beagle wet landing Galapagos

Beagle wet landing, Galapagos


Cocktail hour

Back aboard, my partner and I take turns to shower as although the cabins are a good size for us both to be there, it’s just easier to take turns to get ready. The cabins are only really for sleeping, as most of our time is spent in the company of the islands or above deck watching the waves, spotting dolphins or whales or gazing.

Having enjoyed an awesome day on Galapagos, a shower and sundowners are served to us by our popular waiter – mine’s a gin and tonic – while watching a sunset from a boat. Nothing is sweeter than this moment for me.

Dinner is a casual and effervescent affair, stories of the day spliced with people’s entertaining memories and tales from their lands of birth.

This is one day in Galapagos, and we spent 6 more like this, happy comrades on the open seas.

When it came to end, I just wanted more and and more and more.

Contact us for more information about Galapagos Islands.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Us
Get in touch