In order to help make the best of your Galapagos Cruising Experience, we at Zenith have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions from our travelers. If your question isn't listed on this list, please feel free to contact us using the Live Chat, officie, phone or contact forms available throughout our site. We'll be happy to assist you.
Which different classes of boat are available?
We divide yachts into 5 classes:
- Deluxe Class: Best overall experience when a budget is not an issue
- First Class: Offering great comfort and experience for moderate to high budgets
- Tourist Superior Class: A nicely balanced experience of comfort at a nice price range
- Tourist Class: A good economic option offering suitable comfort and focus mostly on the tour experience
- Economy Class: Focus mostly on the tour experience while still offering comfort and quality at an affordable price-range.
What types of cabin are available on the yachts?
This varies greatly, so it is best to check out individual yacht pages on our webiste for more information on each specific yacht based on class, review their itineraries and referencial price. For Special Zenith-Traveler pricing and custom tours, contact us at any given time.
If I'm traveling alone, Do I have to share a room with a stranger or pay a single supplement?
Actually you have a choice in the matter!
If you don't mind sharing or actually prefer the company in your cabin, then you will get a better price quote than then you choose a single supplement cabin. The boat operator will try to match you together with somebody of the same gender (although this is no always guaranteed).
If you do not wish to share your cabin, then the boat operator will place a single supplement rate. While this rate may be upwards of 50% the normal rate, it is well worth it if you want the added privacy and leg room. Rates and options will vary by yatch. Some yatchs may have single occupant cabins, in which case, the supplement may not apply. Contact us for additional information, availability and rates.
What is and isn't included in a cruise?
Specific items will vary from one cruise to another, however this list shows what mostly applies to all ships.
- Accommodation on board
- 3 meals per day (first day lunch and dinner - last day only breakfast)
- All excursiones mentioned in the itinerary
- English-speaking naturalist guide
- Drinking water / tea / coffee
- Transfers in Galapagos
Price does not include:
- Air fare Quito/Guayaquil - Galapagos - Quito/Guayaquil (Rates and Schedules may vary)
- Galapagos National Park entrance fee of US $100 per person (to be paid in cash in Galapagos airport)
- Transit control card INGALA of US $20 per person (to be paid in cash in Quito/Guayaquil Airport)
- 12% ~ 14% VAT tax on cruise rate.
- Fuel surcharges on cruise or flights (may vary)
- Tips to guide and crew (optional but highly appreciated)
- Drinks from the boat bar (may vary)
- Other personal expenses
- Dive immersions (optional - may vary)
Why do I have to pay extra for Airfare, Ingala and National Park Fee?
We would love to include these prices in your package, unfortunately these are some rules imposed on us and cannot do much about it. In some instances, we include the INGALA or the AIRFARE, whenever possible, to make it easier on you to enjoy the trip as best as possible. However, the Galapagos National Park entrance fee must be paid in cash for each member of your travel group.
Another reason airfares may not always be included is because the prices will vary by airline, season and other factors beyond our control.
When are Last Minute prices available?
Typically prices start at under the 2 month mark or up to 15 days before departure, and if spaces are still available then rates may fall further 1 week or less before a cruise departure date. As this is not mandatory for boats, the availability of last minute pricing will change every month and spaces will be limited so we recommend booking as soon as possible.
Please keep in mind that waiting until the very last minute can backfire and some rates may shoot up instead of down, or you also run the risk of not getting a better cabin than booking at an earlier date.
Why do Last Minute Deals usually start on the 2 month mark?
For the best cabins and benefits, we always suggest booking with at least 2 month window for your cruise vacation. This is a requirement by all Cruise and Yatch operators in Galapagos and we have to adhere to their rules. If by the deadline of 2 months (and sooner) prior to their departure on specific dates, the ship still has available cabins or space, a Last Minute Deal may become available. Keep in mind spaces are very limited and if you wait too long, you may miss out on a deal altogether.
When is High-Season at Galapagos?
High season in terms of most popular month to travel to Galapagos and highest tourist volumes is in July, August, Easter, Christmas and New Year. Some of the yachts also have different definitions of high and low season with different processes accordingly, while other yachts run on just one season the whole year through. There may even be special events occurring depending on the dates of your trip. For information, contact us.
Why are some prices not listed?
For Last Minute Deals we usually put Ask when the price is either too low to post, or multiple rates apply on the same dates based on your cabin of choice. It can also be because we did not receive the actual rate from them.
When the price is too low to publish, it means that this is a deal unique to Zenith Travel to provide you with the most of your travel experience.
For Land and Cruise, a mix between the two or any of our other package deals, when we don't publish the rate, is because it'll be constantly changing due to many factors. We strive to provide the best and most complete packages out of all tour operators to truly provide the best deal for the money. When in doubt, simply give us a call or drop us a line and we'll further assist you.
Can I just head out to Puerto Ayora and book there?
It is possible to do this and there are agencies based at Puerto Ayora that can help you. You must be extremely flexible in your travel plans though, as you will have to wait around in port until a suitable cruise space is available - this may take as little as 1 day or as long as 1 week.
We do not recommend this option as it is often more expensive and if you could not find a good deal, you will find yourself on the islands without a tour. But you may also contact us and we'll find the best cruise options for your schedule and budget.
Can children/babies travel on a cruise?
Each yacht has its own policy for children/babies - please let us know if you are planning to travel with your young family and we will recommend a suitable yacht.
Can a yacht cater for vegetarians and/or special food requests?
Yes, only if you let us know in advance so can rely this information to the boat operator to ensure that the yacht's chef is prepared to cater for vegetarians as well as any type of food allergy.
Do yachts have electricity points aboard?
This depends upon which yacht you are travelling on - Most of the modern boats have US-style 2 or 3-prong 110v electricity points in each cabin, while some of the older yachts will only have these points in the common areas. Some of the higher class ships may also have european or other type of electric points.
What is the smoking policy on yachts?
It varies per yacht but naturally smoking is forbidden in cabins and inside the yacht. In some cases passengers may be able to smoke on deck but should be respectful of other non-smoking passengers and nature. Never throw cigarrettes or ashes away except for directly onto ashtrays. Help us keep oceans and our environment clean.
What happens in case of mechanical problems during my cruise?
Mechanical problems do sometimes arise and may affect your cruise but the probability of this happening is less than 5% of trips. When such issues do pass, the boat operator should always try to find a suitable solution to minimize the impact on your cruise but it really depends on the exact situation as to what the solution will ultimately be.
If the problems adversely affect your trip and you are unsatisfied with the boat operator's solution, then Zenith Travel will always try to represent your case for you. In some cases it is simply not possible to do more than register a complaint with the boat operator and relevant authorities; in other more extreme cases we may be able to get some form of refund from the boat operator.
This is yet another reason why it is important to book your trip with a reliable Tourist Agency such as Zenith Travel who cares deeply for their passengers.
How can I avoid the problem of sea-sickness?
The Galapagos Islands are in the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (known as the "Doldrums" by early seamen), a tropical belt along the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans known for calm waters, and historically feared by sailors in the past for the exact reason it is preferred by most sailors now: lack of strong winds. For this reason, no ship in the Galapagos has the needs for stabilizers. Some pitching or rolling may be noticeable during the cooler months (May-Nov), but even then we rarely have guests bother by motion sickness. Our experience is that most of the time, discomforst is psychosomatic. We suggest guests bring ginger items (candied ginger, ginger gum, jelly, etc).
Which airlines fly to Galapagos?
Currently flights to Galapagos are handled by TAME, Aerogal - Avianca and LAN.
This may change at any time and in rare instances, an airline may completely stop operating to/from Galapagos, which is why we usually recommend you book your flight through us, as we will be able to make the proper arrangements in the event of a sudden change, including a modification to your tour to adjust to a modified flight plan.
Can zenith Travel organize my Galapagos Flight booking for me?
For sure we can! - We always look after both the flight bookings and ticket issue for our Galapagos clients. If you prefer to book your own flights then in most cases it is not a problem, but please do let us know first so we can inform you of which airline / flight you need to be on. Also note that with certain yachts you (and we) will be obligated to issue the tickets directly with them - In some cases the yacht operator may even charge a cost if the tickets are not emitted directly through them.
Can I fly on different dates than my cruise?
Yes. You can fly out before your cruise starts and/or back after it finishes, but only subject to available space on the new date you would like to book. Just let us know in advance.
How many airports operate at Galapagos?
Only 2 airports receive flights from mainland Ecuador: Baltra and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno - San Cristobal.
There is also a small airport on Isabela Island in operation for occasional small plane flights from Santa Cruz and San Cristobal.
Is airport transfer included?
In Quito / Guayaquil transfer not included, unless otherwise specified for special trip deals. You are usually expected to make your own way to the airport. At Galapagos your guide will meet you at the aiport and have transportation waiting take you to the yacht. Please contact us to make sure you know wether your transfer is included or not, or a way to include them to your package.
I have additional questions. Who can answer them?
For most questions, our Zenith agents and operators will be able to help you directly. If necessary, they'll provide you with the contact of the entity that'll be able to answer your question. You may start by filling out the contact forms on our site with your inquiry, or contact us directly at our main office, provided phone numbers or live-chat tool.
We look forward to hearing from you.