If you can get a cabin on Silver Galápagos, one of Silversea’s three expedition vessels and one of the world’s most in-demand cruise ships, you’ll enjoy a front-row seat to dramatic volcanic islands and some of the “tamest” wild animals on the planet. The ship has space for just 100 passengers, which means you’re never fighting for camera space when you step onto land.
On board the Silver Galápagos you can look forward to cabins with ocean views – some come with private balconies – and niceties such as a mini bar stocked to your liking, down duvets, a butler service for all suites and on-demand movies.
A highly knowledgeable expedition team, including National Park guides, staffs the ship and lecturers share their knowledge of the islands’ fascinating wildlife, history, ecology and geography through expedition recaps and guided field studies ashore.
An archipelago of volcanic islands off the coast of Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands have been enthralling naturalists, ornithologists and environmentalists for centuries. A strict limit on the number of visitors at any given time – there are only 116 visitor sites, including 54 land sites and 62 scuba-diving or snorkelling sites and small groups are permitted in two- to four-hour shifts only – means the UNESCO World Heritage Site is blissfully crowd-free.
Complimentary expeditions ashore are guided by Silversea’s experienced team and might see you hiking through mangrove forests and across volcanic fields, exploring natural lava tunnels or swimming with sea lions.
The archipelago is comprised of 18 main islands, three smaller islands and 107 rocks or islets, each with distinctive flora and fauna. Depending on which Silver Galápagos cruise you book, highlights along the way might include stops at Genovesa Island, where you’ll find huge colonies of seabirds, including two species of boobies nesting, as well as yellow-crowned night herons and great frigatebirds with their fiery red sacs.
North Seymour, meanwhile, is home to magnificent frigatebirds and hundreds of sea lions snoozing on the sand. Around them, blue-footed boobies perform distinctive courtship dances while marine iguanas patrol the beach. The island’s highlands are also home to giant tortoises, foraging for moss and lichen in the fertile area. Moving on, the ship stops at Rabida, home to dramatic rock cliffs and Darwin’s finches as well as lava lizards. It’s here that you can snorkel with sea lions, reef sharks and marine iguanas.
Silversea Galapágos’ itineraries also include San Cristobal, where researchers at the Galápagos National Park Service and Charles Darwin Research Station work tirelessly to protect and research the Galápagos giant tortoise, the largest living tortoise in the world.