Aboard M/V Eclipse, Northern Circuit

Cruise the islands on one of the newest, medium-sized ships
Overview

overview

The Eclipse is a perfect base for any Galapagos cruise: a generously proportioned ship with a small yacht atmosphere. Ever since her arrival in 1999, the Eclipse has been considered the finest boutique cruise ship in the Galapagos Islands, offering unparalleled levels of comfort and service. She was converted specifically for upscale cruising in the islands, and was designed to meet the exacting demands of luxury travel. Whether you are snorkeling with sea-lions, watching a blue-footed booby feed its young, or following a giant tortoise through the forest, the Galapagos Islands will surpass all expectations, and there is no better way to enjoy the wonders of the islands than on board the Eclipse.

From your comfortable base aboard the Eclipse, you will be able to explore the islands’ best visitor sites. There are many opportunities to hike, swim, snorkel, bird-watch, and take great close-up photographs of the flora and fauna. For land visits, guests are divided into groups of a maximum of 12 people, each with its own naturalist guide. The Eclipse anchors off shore at two visitor sites per day, and passengers are ferried to landing points in small boats, locally called “pangas.” On the islands you follow marked trails, walking at a leisurely pace, with your guides explaining the unusual sights you see. Afterwards, there is often an opportunity to swim and snorkel before returning to the ship.

Taking children to the Galapagos Islands is an immensely rewarding experience. For this reason, we offer selected family departures during the months of July, August, and December. Specialist guides educate and entertain the children throughout the day, while adults enjoy the cruise at your own pace, knowing that the children are in safe hands and making their own discoveries about the history of evolution and the wonders of the islands.

Starting in 2012, two itineraries are offered to adhere to new touring regulations established by the Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve to limit tourist visits for the islands' health and recovery.  Choose between this northern itinerary, which includes Genovesa Island, and its companion tour of the south which includes Espanola, based on your preferences and dates.  If you want the complete Galapagos experience and have the time, take both!

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Quito or Guayaquil
    Arrive in the busy waterfront city of Guayaquil

    Arrive in either Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador, where you will be met and transferred to your local hotel.* Quito is located in a huge valley of the Andes Mountains at an altitude of 9,455 feet; it’s a great place to extend your stay to explore the city or the surrounding volcanic mountain range. Guayaquil is Ecuador’s largest city and, with its low elevation and more coastal location, is an ideal point from which to fly to the Galapagos. Overnight at the Swissotel or Patio Andaluz in Quito or the Hotel Oro Verde in Guayaquil, for two nights. (*Hotel/city tour package is not included in cruise rate.)

    Meals
    None
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  • Day 2: Quito or Guayaquil
    Wander along Guayaquil's lovely Malecon

    Quito city tour: Stroll down cobblestone streets and through flowering plazas. Visit the old colonial center of Independence Square, the elegant cathedrals of San Francisco and La Compañía, and also San Agustín, Quito’s oldest monastery. Drive through the residential section and past the Legislative Palace (Congress). Visit Panecillo Hill south of the old town, which affords great views of the city, snow-capped mountains, and surrounding volcanos. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure to explore or relax.

    Guayaquil city tour: Our first stop is Malecon 2000, a two-mile-long waterfront promenade along the Guayas River. The waterfront boardwalk features a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, shops, and museums with art exhibitions, as well as free weekend jazz and classical music concerts. Drive through the colorful streets of this, one of Ecuador’s most important port cities. Visit the Public Market, the waterfront, the docks, and Simon Bolivar Park, which is famous for its tree iguanas. Also, admire the watchtower, La Rotonda, Old Santa Ana Fort, and Las Penas, a charming colonial section of town occupied by artists. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure to explore or relax.

    Meals
    Breakfast
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  • Day 3: Arrive Galapagos/Baltra/Santa Cruz
    Sea lions and other creatures are unafraid of humans

    The flight from Quito (via Guayaquil) to the Galapagos is approximately 2-1/2 hours long (or about 2 hours from Guayaquil). Upon arrival at Baltra airport, travelers pass through an airport inspection point to ensure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands and to pay the park entrance fee (pre-paid for you). Guides will meet you, collect your luggage, and escort you on the short bus ride to the harbor. Motorized rafts called Zodiacs, or pangas, will transport you to the yacht, and the crew will welcome you onboard. After a briefing and a light lunch, you'll set off for your first sightseeing trip .

    Black Turtle Cove on Santa Cruz island is one of the most beautiful marine sites in the Galapagos. It is a complex maze of tranquil salt water inlets, surrounded by three different species of mangrove. Its waters are a nursery site for sea turtles, rays, and sharks as well as a nesting site for sea birds. This site is only accessible by panga. Difficulty level: Easy.

    Back on board, attend the first of your daily briefings on the next day's adventure, then enjoy welcome cocktails and dinner onboard.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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  • Day 4: Rabida Island/Puerto Egas/Santiago
    Enjoy the snorkeling and marine life off the coast of Rabida

    Rabida (wet landing) is a small island with red volcanic rocks surrounding a beautiful red sand beach, where there is a colony of sea lions and a pelican nesting site. The trail leads to a salt water lagoon where shore birds can be seen. Rabida is considered to be one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos Islands, and you will also have the opportunity to go snorkel, kayak, or panga ride.

    Puerto Egas (James Bay) is located on the northwest side of Santiago Island. The wet landing is on a black beach with eroded rock formations in the background. The trail crosses the dry interior, where the remains of a salt mining enterprise can still be seen, and then continues along the coast. Tidal pools are home to a variety of invertebrate organisms, including sea urchins, octopus and starfish. You will also see marine iguanas, finches, oyster catchers, and possibly the Galapagos Hawk. The trail leads to the fur seal grottos, one of the only places in the islands where these unique animals (actually a type of sea lion) can be seen.

    After the walk, you will have time to swim or snorkel off the beach, where you will see sea lions, fish and maybe some turtles, rays and maybe some reef sharks. Difficulty level: Easy to Moderate.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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  • Day 5: Isabela & Fernandina Islands
    The flightless cormorant is found only in this small corner of the world

    Tagus Cove (dry landing) was historically used as an anchoring place for pirates, buccaneers, and whalers. Here you will see the names of hundreds of ships painted on the high ridges (a practice now forbidden). On the hike, the trail goes through an area of vegetation and the volcanic landscape of Darwin volcano. At the top of the trail, you will enjoy an incredible view of the whole cove and Darwin Lake. The early morning activity is followed by kayaking or a panga ride, where you will have the opportunity to see a large number of blue-footed boobies perched on the ledges of the cliffs, as well as marine iguanas, penguins, brown pelicans, brown noddy terns and swallow-tailed gulls. Back on the ship as we head to Punta Espinoza for hiking and snorkeling, we sometimes encounter dolphins and whales while traversing the channel between Fernandina and Isabela Islands. Difficulty level: Easy to difficult (panga ride is easy, hike up to lake can be strenuous for some).

    Fernandina Island (dry landing at Punta Espinoza) is one of the most pristine ecosystems in the entire world and also one of the most dynamic. La Cumbre Volcano last erupted in April 2009 and dominates the landscape, with lava fields stretching towards the ocean from its base. Punta Espinoza is a narrow piece of land where some of the most unique Galapagos species can be seen, including the flightless cormorant, Galapagos snakes, marine iguanas, penguins, and the Galapagos hawk. Difficulty level: Moderate.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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  • Day 6: Urbina Bay/Punta Vicente Roca/Isabela
    Look for large land iguanas as you explore

    Urbina Bay is located on western Isabela Island at the foot of Alcedo volcano. This is the spot where the Galapagos National Park began their successful eradication of goats on Isabela Island. After a wet landing on a beautiful black-sand beach, you may be able to observe sea turtle nesting sites. This area is also known for penguin and flightless cormorant sightings and is one of the best places to see Darwin's finches as well as large land iguanas. Also, be on the lookout for Galapagos tortoises which like to feed within the site's dense vegetation.

    Punta Vicente Roca is a wonderful snorkeling site where you can usually see turtles as well as all kinds of fish. For those who do not snorkel, a panga ride will give you the opportunity to study some of the Galapagos' spectacular geological rock formations. Nazca boobies, pelicans, swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, and penguins are often seen in the area. Difficulty level: Easy to moderate.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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  • Day 7: Santa Cruz/Darwin Station/Highlands
    See wild tortoises up in the highlands

    On your visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station (dry landing in the town of Puerto Ayora), you will gain insight into the great efforts being made by scientists, guides, rangers and park managers to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will see the famous Galapagos tortoises that are the islands' namesake.

    After the visit, we drive to the green highlands of Santa Cruz, where you will visit a tortoise reserve to search for giant tortoises in their natural surroundings. Difficulty level: Easy to moderate.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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  • Day 8: El Barranco/Darwin Beach/Genovesa
    Look for the Nazca booby, as well as blue and red footed, on Genovesa

    Genovesa, or Tower Island, is the northernmost island that naturalist (non-diving) cruises are permitted to visit. This island is extremely remote and home to literally millions of birds belonging to many different species, including the red footed booby as well as frigates, swallow-tailed gulls, and even endemic owls. The M/V Eclipse visits two sites on Genovesa, El Barranco (dry landing), also known as Prince Phillip's Steps, is a steep path with stairs carved into the rock which leads to a plateau full of bird life amongst a Palo Santo forest. You will see Nazca boobies, Galapagos doves, mockingbirds, and petrels. With some luck, you may spot a short-eared lava owl. Difficulty level: Moderate.

    Later, Darwin Bay's soft, coralline white sand (wet landing) is only the beginning of a spectacular afternoon excursion. A trail from the beach takes you into lush mangroves where red footed boobies nest. Other locals include sea lions, swallow-tail gulls, frigatebirds, and more. Snorkeling is a must here as sharks, colorful reef fish, rays, and tortoises are common. Difficulty level: Easy to moderate.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Bartolome/Cerro Dragon/Santa Cruz
    Dragon Hill is a popular nesting site for land iguanas

    Our morning stop is Bartolome, a small island that has two visitor sites. At the first site, you can snorkel around Pinnacle Rock, where penguins are usually seen. Then, it's back on board for a quick change of clothes followed by a short dinghy ride to a dry landing for a climb to the highest point on the island. On the way up, you will encounter different volcanic formations, including spatter and tuff cones, lava flow and lava tubes. From the summit you will have a wonderful view of Sullivan Bay. For those not interested in the hike, there is the option of a panga ride. Area fauna and flora include sea lions, pioneer plants, reef sharks, rays, and colorful reef fish. Difficulty Level: Moderate. Walk up 375 low-grade stairs to top of volcano at a slow to moderate pace.

    Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) comes from it being one of the few sites on Santa Cruz Island where a healthy population of land iguanas was found in 1975. After landing at a pier in the afternoon, hike to a salt water lagoon behind the beach, frequented by common stilts, pintail ducks, and occasionally flamingos. A short walk up the hill leads you to a land iguana nesting site with breathtaking views of the bay. You will have the chance to go swimming after the walk. Difficulty level: Easy to moderate.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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  • Day 10: Bachus Beach/Fly to Quito or Guayaquil
    Leave the M/C Eclipse, your home for the week, and head for the mainland

    Before breakfast, head out on a short excursion to Las Bachas Beach, located in the north of Santa Cruz Island. Its soft, white sand is derived from decomposed coral, making it a favorite nesting site for sea turtles. Behind the beach there is a small brackish lagoon where it is possible to observe flamingos and other coastal birds, such as black-necked stilts and whimbrels. Difficulty level: Easy.

    Return to the ship for breakfast, then around mid-morning, head to the airport for your midday flight back to Quito or Guayaquil, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel with the rest of your day at leisure.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: Quito or Guayaquil/Onward
    Bid farewell to Ecuador

    You will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

    Meals
    Breakfast
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Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Thursday weekly departures (cruise departs on Saturday). Call for dates.
Land Cost:
$5,400
- $6,400
Costs are for cruise only See above for full details
Single Supplement:
$2800-6400
50% of cabin cost for standard staterooms, 100% for superior and deluxe staterooms.
Need to Know

Need to Know

About the Ship

The M/V Eclipse provides an exceptional level of comfort and elegance. She is an expedition vessel, 210 feet long accommodating up to 48 passengers in 27 cabins.

Ships the size of the Eclipse would normally accommodate many more passengers, but in designing her layout, cabin numbers were limited in order to provide passengers with unrivaled cabin space and ample social areas. The Eclipse is unique in offering the generous accommodation of a larger vessel, while preserving the atmosphere and exclusivity of a smaller yacht.
Fully air-conditioned, the Eclipse’s spacious cabins have either a double or twin bed arrangement, with two bedside tables, a writing desk, two chairs, ample closet space, and an internal communication system. The well-appointed bathrooms consist of a shower, toilet, sink, cabinet, hairdryer, and a basket of toiletries, with fresh towels provided every day.
The Eclipse has a well-equipped lounge for relaxation and for the nightly briefings on the day’s discoveries and the following day’s activities. There is also as well-stocked library for quiet study and reading. In addition to the elegant indoor dining room, there is also an al-fresco dining area located around the pool, where you can enjoy the islands’ spectacular scenery over a delicious lunch.

View the Eclipse deck plans photos, and more.

Cruise Costs:
Prices are per person, for 8-day Cruise only.
Please see below for additional costs.

 

2014 Rates:

$6,650 Deluxe Stateroom, Queens & Triples, Boat Deck Cabins 17-20

$6,250 Superior Stateroom, Twins & Doubles, Boat Deck Cabins 21-28

$5,700 Staterooms, Twins & Doubles, Main Deck  Cabins 3-8, 10

$5,400 Standard Staterooms, Twins & Doubles, Main Deck Cabins 9, 11,12,14,15

$5,600 Single Stateroom, Main Deck Cabins 1-2

Single supplements are assessed as follows: 1.5 x the twin rate for Staterooms;  2x the twin rate for Superior and Deluxe Staterooms

Triple occupancy
Adult 3rd person is assessed at the current twin stateroom cabin rate
Child 3rd person is assessed at the current twin stateroom cabin rate less child discount

2015 Rates:

$7,050 Deluxe Stateroom, Queens & Triples, Boat Deck Cabins 17-20

$6,650 Superior Stateroom, Twins & Doubles, Boat Deck Cabins 21-28

$6,050 Staterooms, Twins & Doubles, Main Deck  Cabins 3-8, 10

$5,750 Standard Staterooms, Twins & Doubles, Main Deck Cabins 9,11,12,14,15

$5,950 Single Stateroom, Main Deck Cabins 1-2

 

 

*Note:
On Family dates, children 5 years and older are welcome
On non-family dates, children 7 years and older are welcome
Children under 12 years sharing the cabin with an adult receive a 25% discount on cruise (only one discount per cabin) except for Easter, Christmas and New Year
Children booked in a single cabin or in a double cabin for single use pay the adult rate

Additional costs:
$110 National Park entry fee & tourist card

$560 Quito/Galapagos/Quito airfare

Hotel packages: hotel 3 nights, transfers & city tour or hotel 2 nights and transfers; inquire for costs

International airfare estimate: $1000-$1200

Fuel Surcharge is $260 per passenger

Duration:
11 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
3
Delightful ship and hotel
Group Size:
48
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
2
Delightful ship and hotel
Terms & Conditions: 

Galapagos Cruise

Please note that this trip operates under different payment and cancellation policies than those described in our Terms and Conditions as noted in our Global Expedition Catalog, on our website and elsewhere. Please request these if you do not have them before advancing a deposit.

Included in costs: Meals as noted, each night in double occupancy accommodations, English speaking guides, surface transport, equipment other than personal gear, government tax, airport transfer assistance, in-country ticket reconfirmation & check-in assistance (where permitted), complete pre-departure packet, toll-free pre-departure phone assistance.

Not included in costs: Meals not noted as included, gratuities, beverages (except tea or coffee at meals), park or site entry fees, transit card, international or domestic airfare unless specified, airport departure taxes not included with air tickets, visas, itinerary changes after confirmation, any services not included in itinerary, any costs incurred due to canceled or delayed flights, fuel surcharges, acts of nature or other happenings beyond our control, or other costs as are more fully described in JOURNEYS Terms & Conditions.

Deposit and payment schedule: For reservations requiring 1-2 cabins, a deposit of 30% of the cabin cost is due per person. Balance is due 90 days prior to departure. For reservations requiring 3 or more cabins, a deposit of 30% of the cabin cost is due per person. A second deposit of 30% of the cabin cost is due per person 180 days prior to departure and final payment for is due 90 days prior to departure. All payments are NON-REFUNDABLE. All payments are subject to cancellation if payments are not received by the due dates. Airlines require full payment when tickets are issued. All payments may be made by Visa, Master Card, American Express, or check, and the Reservation Form may be submitted by fax, mail or via our website.  *HOLIDAY departures require an increased deposit of 40% from the regular terms and conditions.

Insurance: When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Airfares: JOURNEYS can make complete air arrangements applicable to your trip as noted in this itinerary. If you wish to redeem frequent flyer mileage or arrange flights directly with the airline, you may do so on your own at no penalty. If you do, please consult with us on exact arrival and departure dates and times before having your tickets issued to avoid errors.

Itinerary Change Fee: There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Amazon Rainforest Lodge

Duration: 4 days

Explore the rainforest habitats accompanied by native guides while staying at a charming lodge, designed to offer comfort while preserving the environment and ambiance of the rainforest.

Otavalo Off the Beaten Path

Duration: 3 days

This in-depth exploration of the scenic area north of Quito, including a trip to the famous Otavalo market, as well as visits to some of the smaller towns known for a variety of crafts.

Machu Picchu

Duration: 6 days

This short trip to Machu Picchu can be easily combined with your trip to the Amazon, Ecuador, or the Galapagos. Many major South American cities have daily flights to and from Lima.

Quito Colonial City and the Equator

Duration: 1 days

Enjoy a day exploring the city of Quito before or after your Journeys trip.

Avenue of the Volcanoes

Duration: 3 days

In three days, you can visit some of the most important sites in Ecuador. Cotopaxi is the highest active volcano in the world, and Tungurahua has been erupting since 2001. The route is full of cultural, ethnic, and architectural attractions, along wi... read more

Guayaquil City & Optional Tours

Duration: 1 days

Guayaquil is Ecuador’s largest city, and with its low elevation and coastal location, it is an ideal point to fly to and from Galapagos. Options include a tour of the city and the Botanical Gardens or the new Historical Park.

Cloud Forest

Duration: 1 days

Escape to a cloud forest paradise. Bellavista is a perfect day trip to see the subtropical rainforest during your stay in Quito. Why spend a spare day in the city when you could be hiking in a forest reserve, or relaxing in a hammock admiring the hum... read more

Otavalo Market

Duration: 1 days

Otavalo market is the oldest, best-known, and most important Indian market in South America, and it takes place every Saturday.  This extension allows you to visit the market, traveling from Quito via Calderón and Cayambe, and passing by some of th... read more

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