It Was A Wonderful Trip And We Would Love To Go Back
We enjoyed a 6-day cruise on the Cachalote in July 2017 on the Fernandina Itinerary.
The Cachalote has a 16 passenger capacity, but there were only 9 of us. Everyone was great and we all got along well. There were also 6 crew and one naturalist guide.
The Cachalote was clean and comfortable.
My husband and I had the 'matrimonial cabin' on the main deck. The bed wasn't long, but we managed. The other two in our party had bunks on the lower deck, and everyone slept fine.
Our room was cozy and the bathroom was adequate. Everything was very clean. We had brought our own shampoo and soap, but there were dispensers for soap and shampoo in the shower and soap by the sink. Two towels were provided per person (white for on board and blue to take on excursions to dry off after snorkelling if desired). The linens were changed several times.
Air conditional controls are separate for each room, and kept us cool. (Windows/portholes didn't open). There was a plug for charging electronics; we had brought a "splitter plug" to handle multiple devices. There was adequate storage in closet and a bit under the bed.
As we expected, the boat was noisy, so we had brought ear plugs for sleeping, which worked fine. Yes, it was quite noisy when the anchor was raised or lowered, but it doesn't last long. And although our cabin was right beside dining area, never heard crew working there, setting up, etc.
On the first night, traveling west from Puerto Villamil, the ride was a bit rough and some people were sick, but after that we were sheltered from the waves by Isabella so there were no more problems.
The lounge/dining area was comfortable; outdoor sitting areas were good, especially on the upper deck. Clothes pins were provided for hanging bathing suits and laundry on railings at back on upper deck.
On the first day, we participated in an emergency drill, so we knew what to do and where to go in an emergency (fortunately we did not experience one). This gave me great confidence in the professionalism of our awesome crew.
Food was great and always fresh with good variety. Two of our party had food restrictions (one ate no red meat, one ate no seafood) and these were accommodated with no problems.
Breakfast was cereal, toast, sliced cheese, cold cuts, awesome fresh juice (I loved the passionfruit!), and a hot item like eggs, pancakes, or french toast.
Lunch and dinner were plentiful with salad, veggies, starch and protein, plus dessert (often fresh fruit).
After snorkelling there was always a snack.
An urn of coffee and another of hot water for tea were available all day, beside the drinking water dispenser.
There was a welcome cocktail where the crew in their in spiffy uniforms were introduced on first and last evenings.
Our typical daily schedule was: breakfast, walk, snorkel, lunch while cruising to the next site, then another walk or panga ride and another snorkel, briefing, dinner. At the briefing we'd hear where we'd go the next day, what to expect, and what to bring.
We removed our shoes after shore excursions, and they were disinfected and cleaned (mine ended up far cleaner than I had seen them in a while!)
The crew was fantastic, helping us in and out of the pangas, pointing out wildlife to us on the pangas, and the captain even pointed whales out to us while he was driving!
Outings were great: land walks, panga rides, and snorkelling.
I have snorkelled in Hawaii on several trips, and in the Red Sea. Snorkelling in the Galapagos was different from other places, but still fantastic, and beyond my expectations. We swam with turtles, penguins, sea lions, flightless cormorants, boobies, pelicans, octopus, marine iguanas, sharks, and of course, tons of fish (I even saw a sunfish!). No, the water wasn't always crystal clear, and the coral wasn't the most colourful I've ever seen. But the tameness of the sea life was incredible.
Being the 'cold' season, we brought our own wetsuits (3 shorties and one long). But being hardy Canadians, I only used mine twice; others used their all the time. We also brought our own snorkels and (prescription) masks, so we knew they fit and could use them before and after the cruise. Others on the boat had no trouble with the equipment provided on board.
There was no hassle over tipping: on the last day our guide explained lightly that tips were appreciated, and where to place tip envelopes. On arrival we had received a booklet of information which included suggestions on tipping.
Overall it was a wonderful trip. We'd love to go back and see the islands we couldn't fit on this trip.
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Jetsonsyvr, Canada, 8th April 2017