The Galapagos Islands on a Cruise Holiday
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sea lions Galapagos

As the cruise industry continues to evolve, so does the experiences the cruises provide. Interest in adventure cruising is the latest experience that is growing in popularity as more and more cruise passengers are seeking active, mind-expanding experiences on their holiday.

Located in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, 600 miles off the west coast of Equador in South America is the archipelago of volcanic islands known as the Galapagos or the “Enchanted Islands”.  Comprising of 13 main and 6 smaller islands, the name Galapagos is derived from the Spanish word for “saddle”.  It was awarded this name based upon the saddle-backed tortoises found only on its islands, most often near the edges of the volcanic calderas.

Cruises to the Galapagos will introduce guests face-to-face with a living museum.

A GALAPAGOS CRUISE HAS LIMITLESS POSSIBILITIES

Some of the rarest animals in the world that cannot be located anywhere else are here. Amongst the unique creatures are the giant Galapagos tortoises, iguanas and sea turtles. Naturalist-led experiences on a cruise holiday to the Galapagos Islands include shipboard lectures and tours and excursions that focus on this magical natural wonderland.

Another way to experience the Galapagos is to get acquainted with the aquatic life with a scuba diving tour. Going down into the depths below to see coral and beautiful fish of all colours makes this something to remember. There is a large amount of diving companies to choose from for the experience so be sure to research as much as possible.

Other off the ship activities are available such as kayaking, that is sure to build up strength in the upper arms will also create long lasting memories of the glistening water and the soft sounds of the waves.

The Galapagos flora and fauna have adapted to their environment and developed features not found in species from anywhere of the world.

iguana

THE DARWIN CONNECTION

One island in the Galapagos chain is the same one that famed biologist Charles Darwin visited.  The connection between Darwin and the Galapagos is very close and strong. Besides serving as the inspiration for his “Theory of Natural Selection” that detailed the origins of mankind, he also analyzed the natures of finches and tortoises.

CELEBRITY XPEDITION

Celebrity Xpedition of Celebrity Cruise Lines accommodates guests with amenities in a most exceptional and friendly ambience. The 92-passenger ship is intended not just for travel, but for exploration of the Galapagos Islands with seven day sailings. All guests can enjoy an all-inclusive experience with gourmet cuisine, room service and in-suite dining.

Celebrity’s Galapagos tours follow the ecotourism regulations of the National Park. While exploring unmatched natural wonders of the Galapagos, Celebrity is committed to a partnership with the Galapagos Conservancy for protecting and leaving the islands pristine by keeping tourism small scale and non-intrusive. Image courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Xpedition

SILVER GALAPAGOS

Something unique in the luxury cruise market is the 100-guest Silver Galapagos of SilverSea Cruises. Featured as a true upscale line, the atmosphere on board is more relaxed than formal. The experience offered is one that is halfway between a sophisticated cruise and an intrepid explorer’s voyage.  The all suite all-inclusive ship contains ocean-view accommodations, complimentary beverages, wines and spirits with personalised butler service and all gratuities.

Expeditions ashore are guided by certified and authorized Galápagos National Park guides. SilverSea’s passengers obtain up-close encounters with an abundance of wildlife including Darwin’s famous finches. Image courtesy of Silversea Cruises

Silver Galapagos

SEASONS

The Galapagos’ tropical climate undergoes two seasonal changes annually. Because the Galapagos Islands are below the Equator, summer and winter are seemly interchangeable. Between December and May, the average sea and air temperature rises to 75 degrees F and sunshine and clear blue skies predominate, thus making the warm waters of the Galapagos excellent for swimming, snorkelling and scuba-diving.

The Galapagos Islands are named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and after one goes there, it can easily understand why. Of course, there are plenty of places to explore other than animal watching and island hopping on the Galapagos Islands.  Begin with a pre & post cruise stay in Quito, Ecuador and create a 10 or 11 night experience with the 7 day cruise.

Another alternative, besides spending time with 7 day cruise or 11 day land/cruise holiday in Quito, is to really make this a trip of a lifetime.  Let the adventure continue with a pre & post cruise holiday in the Amazon Rainforest, Machu Picchu, the glorious “Lost City of the Incas” or Lake Titicaca.

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How to Save Money on Your Cruise Holiday
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A question that many people ask is how best to save money when booking a cruise and whilst on board. Here are a few of my top tips for making your hard earned cash stretch a little further whilst you’re on holiday.

Try A Repositioning Cruise

Repositioning cruises take place when cruise ships need to relocate from one region to another and mainly take place in the spring or autumn when ships move from one continent to another. They usually tend to sail from one port directly to another with very few, or no ports of call at all.

Repositioning Cruise

This is the reason why they tend to be very cheap and can offer great value for money for people who are more looking to relax and enjoy the cruise experience. As repositioning cruises have many more sea days than regular cruises there tends to be a whole host of extra activities and themed events on board that can keep passengers occupied throughout the duration of their journey.

Consider Booking a Drinks Package

One of the most costly things you spend money on whilst you’re on board a cruise ship is drinks, especially if you’re a fan of a tipple or two to accompany your holiday experience. Most cruise lines offer drinks packages which allow you to buy soda, wine or other drinks all together and save on the total price.

Drinks Packages

Most cruise lines offer soda packages which can be useful if you’re travelling with children. Wine packages can be great value for money if you enjoy a fine wine with dinner. If you opt for a wine package and open a bottle of wine with dinner that you don’t want to finish that evening, the waiters will be happy to cork it for you to keep for the following evening, or you can take it with you to enjoy in one of the ship’s bars after dinner.

Are Shore Excursions Necessary?

Another thing many people spend large amounts of money on during their cruise holiday is shore excursions booked through their cruise line. Whilst these can be exciting, interesting and are easy as all of the research is done for you, they can be very expensive. Often it’s far cheaper and more rewarding to plan your own itineraries for a day in port. Doing your own thing in port allows you to spend time seeing the things you’d like to see and they are far more flexible than organised tours where you must adhere to set times and set routes.

Shore Excursions

They allow you to linger over lunch if you desire, spend an extra half hour seeing that attraction you’ve been dying to see, or skip over the things you aren’t too interested in. After all, it’s your holiday so you should spend your time doing the things you want to do instead of simply following the crowd.

Images courtesy of MSC Cruises

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Are All Inclusive Drinks Packages good value?
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In recent times I have noticed that there has been an increasing amount of ships and cruise companies offering complimentary drinks packages with certain bookings, or the option to upgrade you cruise holiday to an all inclusive package which includes drinks at the time of booking.

Celebrity Cruises is one example. They have been offering complimentary drinks packages on selected European sailings in 2013 which depart from the UK on Celebrity Infinity and Celebrity Eclipse. Complimentary drinks packages such as these ones generally include soft drinks, coffees, domestic spirits, beers and house wines with premium spirits, fine wines and selected other drinks incurring a charge.

Martini Bar on Celebrity Infinity

Complimentary deals such as these can be great value if you’re not too fussy with what you’ll be drinking while you are on your cruise holiday. If you don’t necessarily need premium spirits and expensive wines during your time on board, then packages such as these can be real bargains as you will barely have to spend a penny on your on board account on drinks.

Also the Spanish line Pullmantur Cruises have all inclusive packages on all of their ships and at very good prices with Cruises from Barcelona a very popular choice on their ship Sovereign.

Fusion Restaurant Bar On Sovereign

If however, you’re a lover of a particular wine or spirit that you know won’t be included within an alcohol package such as this one, then it’s perhaps not the best deal for you, and I wouldn’t allow it to sway which cruise holiday I was thinking of booking.

If you fall into the latter category then cruise companies which offer ALL drinks complimentary with all sailings, such as Seabourn, could definitely be the answer if you’re a fan of premium wines and spirits. With this sort of policy in place on board it allows all passengers to enjoy fine wines and delicious spirits without having to worry about running up a big tab, as it’s all included in the price you pay for your cruise holiday.

Observation Bar on Seabourn Sojourn

Of course, cruises on board Seabourn are more expensive than your average cruise. However, if you are going to spend a considerable amount of money during a normal cruise on wines, spirits and other beverages then it could work out just as cost effective. If you are prepared to spend a bit more on the initial cruise and then enjoy not having to spend any money on drinks during your cruise holiday. Do your maths and try to come up with a figure of how much you generally spend on board on drinks and if it’s worth the extra money, you might just surprise yourself!

With the majority of cruise companies it is possible to purchase drinks packages once you are on board. You can generally purchase soda packages that will give you unlimited soda or wine packages that will give you a discount on a certain number of bottles. Have a look at the sample packages offered (these can normally be found on the website) and again, do the maths to work out the potential savings.

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