Expert Review: M/Y Passion 8-Day Galapagos Cruise
M/Y Passion 8-Day Itinerary
The M/Y Passion Galapagos cruise has two set itineraries, the East and the West. Over 8 full days, we cruised to: Santa Cruz, Genovesa, Bartolome, Santiago, Rabida, South Plaza, Santa Fe and Espanola Island. We were lead by our experienced naturalist guide, Fernando Ortiz, who we truly believed to be the best of the best. Fernando has spent many years working for the Galapagos Conservancy and runs the Galapagos triathlon, an international event. He was very knowledgeable about the islands and the wildlife that inhabit the archipelago. Fernando knew exactly where to take us for the best snorkelling, wildlife watching and trekking. He was more than happy to answer all of our many questions.
We were briefed with the itinerary of the day each morning at breakfast. The day typically started at 6:30am and ended when the sunset, at around 6:00pm. Each day was full of excursions: island walks, snorkelling, kayaking, zodiac rides and always ended with more snorkelling. All equipment is provided on board.
The Passion Yacht
The M/Y Passion was once a private yacht, but has recently been renovated in March 2015, to serve as a Galapagos vessel for its lucky passengers. There are 6 cabins spread over 4 decks, 2 large and comfortable lounge areas, an indoor and outdoor dining room, and of course a top deck for sunbathing. The Passion offers incredible customer service, all of the staff are very helpful, kind and well-trained. With the ratio of one staff member per guest, you can expect 5-star accommodation.
The meals are board are very delicious and presented in the finest details. Breakfast is typically served at 6:30am in buffet style. You can expect to find eggs (ordered the way you like them) accompanied with french toast, cheese, ham, fruit, yogurt and granola.
Depending if the boat is moving or not, lunch and dinner are either served outside on the top deck (with breathtaking views of the islands), or indoors in the beautiful dining room. Lunch and dinner are both three-course meals. Appetisers are typically soup, salad or ceviche and the main meals vary between grilled meats, sushi and lobster! The meal ends with dessert, often cake, crepes with ice-cream or a tropical fruit salad. You also have the choice between wine or national beers during lunch and dinner and of course, tea and coffee for breakfast.
The Galapagos Islands
Each island visited was significantly different from the other. Whether it was the wildlife, beaches or geology, you can be sure to experience something different each day. I personally thought Rabida Island was a very unique experience. The island is easily recognisable by its red earth and volcanic coastline. There, we spotted a large group of sealions, Galapagos hawks, iguanas and mockingbirds, among others.
Tortuga Bay, is a beautiful beach on Santa Cruz Island. We were lucky to spend a full afternoon there. The white sandy beaches and teal colored water made for a breathtaking backdrop when photographing the many marine iguanas who sunbathed on the shore.
Black Turtle Cove on Santa Cruz Islands resembled the Amazon Rainforest. With green trees and still water around us, we observed sea turtles swimming and mating. On Española Island we saw where sea turtles lay their eggs, and how carefully they build their nests.
The most impressive lava fields are located on Sullivan Bay, on the east coast of Santiago Island. The lava looks like it was hardened yesterday. The fields have a perfectly formed ropey texture and are truly a sight to be seen.
Snorkelling is fantastic wherever you are in the Galapagos. You'll see schools of fish, seal lions, starfish, rays and if you're lucky (or not so lucky), sharks!
Overall, the M/Y Passion cruise is a great way to experience the Galapagos Islands, with luxury comforts on board, exceptional service, a professional naturalist guide and delicious food, you can be sure your time onboard will be just as good as your time on the islands.
A Few Highlights:
- Observing a newly born sea lion cub attempting to have his first meal
- Snorkelling with playful sea lions
- Watching a pod of dolphins swim with our boat
- Observing sea turtles
- Walking over fields of hardened lava
- Observing Blue-Footed Boobies
- Seeing Galapagos Flamingos
- Seeing Starfish while snorkelling
- Spending the day at Tortuga Bay, a beautiful beach on Santa Cruz Island
- Sushi and Lobster night on board
- Enjoying the Galapagos sunset from the top deck