When we first started planning out our South American adventure, we knew the Galapagos Islands were at the very top of our wishlist, along with other key highlights like Patagonia, Machu Picchu and the Bolivian Salt Flats. What we weren’t expecting though was for the Galapagos to take out not only the top spot amongst out Latin American experiences but to firmly place itself as our best ever travel experience.
Ecoventura: Hands-Down, the Best Galapagos Cruise Available
Before committing to our cruise, we investigated a few options – looking at both shore-based itineraries and a range of cruise ships. Without doubt though, the MV Origin is the best of the best and, in a place like the Galapagos, we figure you may as well go big or go home.
With two naturalist guides and a team of staff (all for only 14 guests in our case), everyone received personalised service like we’ve never experienced before. And best of all? It’s actually 7 nights which means you’ll squeeze a little extra time out of the cruise!
We’ve been very fortunate to have done some pretty amazing things but honestly, our cruise through the Galapagos Islands goes down as being our most memorable travel experience to date.
Don’t take our word for it though – find out exactly why we really rated our cruise through the Galapagos.
The Real Reason You’re Heading to the Galapagos: Animals Galore
Anyone that’s been following us for a while knows that both Nathan and I are big-time animal lovers. The majority of our travels involve us hunting out adventure or ethical animal experiences… bonus points if we can combine the two!
We knew that in visiting the Galapagos we’d enjoy seeing a range of amazing animals up close but we didn’t realise just how close we’d be able to get. It’s almost as if the animals on the island didn’t get the memo when the animals on the mainland were warned off of us. The Galapagian animals genuinely don’t have any fear of visitors.
If you love animals, there’s simply no better place in the world to spend time.
Over the course of our sailing, we were treated to countless encounters with sea lions, turtles, giant tortoises, marine iguanas, land iguanas, penguins, boobies (Nascar, blue-footed and red-footed), flamingos, flightless cormorants, frigatebirds, whales, sharks and more.
The animal life in and around the islands really is unlike anything we’d ever seen before.
Relax in Style
Though a cruise through the Galapagos islands undoubtedly a busy affair, luxury launches like the Origin come fully equipped to help you make the most of your time out. Onboard, you’ll be able to enjoy:
- A cosy spa pool/jacuzzi, perfectly positioned at the back of the boat – watch as the last island slips away behind you.
- AppleTVs in each and every stateroom, loaded to the brim with the newest movies, series and documentaries.
- A collection of board games to play with other guests (though none of us ever actually had the time – we were too busy having fun doing everything else).
- A professional gym.
- Sunloungers, daybeds and hammocks to enjoy the sun.
- Stand up paddleboards, kayaks, pangas and glass bottom boats to allow you to get up close with the wildlife.
- Professional snorkelling gear and wetsuits – issued to you for the duration of the cruise.
- A fully-stocked library.
- Onboard wifi, allowing guests to stay connected to the outside world (for an additional fee).
Honestly though, with all of the fabulous guests onboard and action-packed days, we spent most of our spare time chatting after dinner with our fellow travellers. Isn’t that the best of both worlds? Plenty on offer but company too good to walk away.
Fine Dining Onboard the MV Origin
Though we knew the food onboard the Origin would be amazing, incredibly, it exceeded our already high expectations. With endless food (and drinks) on offer, all prepared by talents chefs and bartenders, every meal was something to look forward to.
With an ever-refilling supply of snacks in the lounge and delicious gourmet treats put together between our meals, I’ve genuinely never looked forward to morning and afternoon tea quite so much!
Breakfast and Lunch
With a combination of made-to-order plates and a fresh buffet, the first meals of the day were consistently delicious. Lunch always served up a healthy dose of fresh seafood and dishes that were both international and uniquely Ecuadorian.
Though all of the meals onboard our luxury cruise were something to look forward to, dinner time really raised took it up a notch. Every day we were supplied with a new menu, giving us the choice of two appetizers, mains and desserts along with soup and fresh bread to start.
With options like the following, you can imagine how difficult it was to choose!
- Ecuadorian “Encebollado” with fresh sliced tuna, onions, yuca chips, corn, tomato, and cilantro
- Crab croquettes served with kiwi chutney and lemon confit
- Fresh mushroom risotto with goat cheese and truffle oil
- Salmon carpaccio, cucumber, avocado, and tomatoes drizzled with creamy dressing
- Grilled octopus Basque-style served with roasted peppers and sautéed potatoes
- Tournedos of beef in mustard sauce and mashed potatoes with garlic confit and glazed carrots
- Pork pancetta in guava and spiced pineapple barbecue sauce accompanied by baked sweet potato puree
- Demi–cut beef fillet, house style potatoes, asparagus and tamarind chimichurri
Whatever your poison, Ecoventura have you covered with an open bar onboard the Origin! A few of the super-premium drinks incur an extra cost but the house bevvies tick more than enough boxes for you to have an awesome time onboard… and of course, thanks to the amazing team they have onboard, you can be certain that your fabulous bartender will have your order memorized in no time.
Do You Need a Hand Deciding Which 7 Day Galapagos Cruise Itinerary Is Right For You?
With two amazing sailings, guests are able to see all of the Galapagos highlights (and then some!)
Though both sailings looked incredible, we made the decision to join ‘itinerary B’ because it takes visitors further afield. Travelling to spots that day trips simply can’t reach, we managed to get off the well-trodden tourist trail to experience a Galapagos that incredibly far exceeded our expectations.
Itinerary A – Southern Central: San Cristobal, Espanola, Floreana and Santa Cruz
- Pinnacle Rock on Bartolome
- All three boobies (Nazca, blue and red-footed)
- Marine and land iguanas
- Great and Magnificent Frigatebirds
- Snorkel with Galapagos penguins
- Giant tortoises in the highlands
- Waived Albatross on Espanola
- Kayak and swim with sea lions at Cerro Brujo and Gardner Bay
Itinerary B – Northern Western: San Cristobal, Genovesa, Santa Cruz, Isabela and Fernandina
- Galapagos Tortoises in the highlands
- Red-footed Booby and Nazca Booby at Genovesa (Tower)
- Land and Marine iguanas
- Snorkeling with penguins on Isabela
- Volcanic formations of Fernandina
- Flightless Cormorant
- Kayak at Darwin Bay and Tagus Cove
- Whales and Dolphins
Regardless of which itinerary you choose, there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that the MV Origin is the best 7 day Galapagos cruise on offer. It’s a boat that manages to offer the very best in luxury travel, adventure and fun, whilst attracting a great bunch of people keen to explore together.
Isn’t it time you got your travel bucket list out and updated it?
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Thank you to Ecoventura for inviting us to review their luxury cruise offering. As always, all thoughts are entirely our own.