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We were supposed to sail on the new Silver Origin to the Galapagos last year, which of course was cancelled due to Covid.  Thinking about booking again.  The cruise that was cancelled started in San Cristobal and ended in Baltra. In looking at dates for the cruise we want to book, we are looking at one that starts in Baltra and ends in San Cristobal. I seem to recall that there were some differences in what you would see and which islands you would stop at.  Does anyone know what the differences are? 

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I watched a webinar with Silversea execs last week and I think I remember a passing remark that they have been working with the Galapagos authorities to restructure their two itineraries.  Therefore past practice may not be relevant to your future cruise.

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We are thinking of booking with Silversea for October going to the Galapagos.  Anyone been that time of year?  Wondering how cold the water is and if I need to pack at least a shorty wetsuit or if Silversea's has wetsuits to use if needed.  Also anyone aware of the current requirements to get into/out of Ecuador as far as COVID??  I saw somewhere that to come back into the US from Ecuador we would need a negative test within a few days prior to our return.  Where in Ecuador would we get a test done and results within 24hrs or less? Any idea's?  Really looking forward to going somewhere!! Thanks

 

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I wasn't there with Silversea but was in the Galapagos in November 2016. Definitely needed a wetsuit as the water is quite cold especially after a long snorkel. On the boat I was on wetsuits were provided but my boat was much smaller. We also borrowed flippers/fins but took our own masks and snorkels. The snorkelling trips were the best bits of the trip for me - sharks, marine iguanas, sealions, rays, turtles and even penguins - simply stunning. Most of it was in deep water and we only had one uncomfortable day with a strong swell when we all finished early. The kayaking we did was also good - wildlife reacts in a very different way to a non motorised boat.

 

All the islands have something different to offer and you see something different each day - we spent 14 days visiting nearly all the islands and didn't get bored at all even on a more basic boat.

 

I've trawled the Silversea website and it makes no mention of snorkelling gear so I'd ask. For me a trip to the Galaagos would be very disappointing without a decent amount (at least 2 trips every 3 days) of snorkelling and it's bulky to pack your own. It is a very special place though.

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Hi Deb 1024 and Carol from California re Galapagos Origin.

If you get the vaccine and things are better for air travel go for the Galapagos, a once in a life time cruise that is Expedition focused.

We did the Silver Galapagos Sep 07-14th 2019, our last cruise before covid.

The season is cool and dry, water temperature was 68 fahrenheit. Shorty wet suits, mask, fins, and snorkel provided, snorkel excursions and or kayak were daily, you sign up for what you want to do after an evening presentation the day before. We did baltra to san cristobal(A). As another post notes possible re working islands visited.

Each day a morning and afternoon excursion via zodiac to the islands. Lots of birds, sea lions, land and sea iguanas and sea life to see from zodiac, kayak and snorkelling.

Zodiac landings are dry or wet( in about a foot of water to sandy shore).

The naturalists, and all crew are outstanding as is food and beverage(all included) service.

The Origin is a new modern ship with about same capacity of 100, not sure with covid how this will be booked.

ENJOY  

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Wow! Thanks for the info! We’re super excited to go. Our cruise is for October and both of us have been vaccinated. I truly hope things continue to get better with the pandemic! Thanks again:)

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Besides the shorty wetsuits that Silversea's provides, someone suggested we get thermal swim tops and swim pants as well to wear under the shorty wetsuit.  Has anyone done that and where did you buy your thermal swim top/bottoms? I am pretty thin, so I get cold quickly but don't want to miss out on seeing everything and want to be able to stay in the water for long periods of time snorkeling. Thanks

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We were there two years ago this month on Xpedition.  I did not wear a wetsuit on any of the snorkles.  However, I may have been the only one.  I thought it was pretty comfortable.  I don't think anyone brought their own, but just used the ship's shortys.

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It's been a number of years, but I don't remember being overly cold on any of the snorkels and I'm notoriously cold in the water. I did bring my own dive skin to provide some protection from jellyfish. And of course I was the only one in our group to get stung. 

 

As is my norm, I was cold on the scuba dives that we did there, but everyone else in the group was fine. We were there in late January. 

 

 

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On 2/18/2021 at 5:05 PM, Deb1024 said:

Wow! Thanks for the info! We’re super excited to go. Our cruise is for October and both of us have been vaccinated. I truly hope things continue to get better with the pandemic! Thanks again:)

 

Appreciate ALL of the information, background, comments and follow-ups contained on this interesting thread.  We had original booked to do the Silver Origin for late January 2021.  As things "froze up" last March, we had to scrub and fortunately got all of our money back (except for $200). Now we are waiting and watching to see when, if and how things return to some form of "normal" for this scenic area of the world.  

 

My understand is that the larger (around 100 passengers) ships operated by Silversea, Celebrity and Lindblad are not operating now and do not know for certain when they will resume.  A few smaller (20-30 passengers) ships did sailings in December, February, etc.  Part of the challenge involves air flights and getting enough numbers booked to make the "economics" work overall for this part of the world with a ship of the size and staffing as Silversea uses.  

 

The Galapagos Islands are still on our priority list.  Just waiting and watching!  Plus, hoping!!  This Saturday, we get our second Moderna shots and are encouraged as the vaccines roll out.  

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise from Copenhagen, July 2010, to the top of Europe. Scenic visuals with key tips. Live/blog at 241,369 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dipping our toe back into the cruise pool after getting our Capetown to Singapore trip cancelled in January - too risky to go to South Africa and SE Asia right now.  We have been vaccinated and saw a feeler sent out by Silversea for the Origin.  We  think that because it is such small ship, new and with limited passengers and not visiting any ports except for the Islands we would give it a chance.  We booked the San Cristobal to Balta itinerary because the Siverseas folks advised me that both itineraries are very similar one is just the turnaround from the other every other week.  As they explained to me the one that starts in Baltra is closer to land and has more focus on hiking and birding while San Cristobal will allow for more time snorkeling and kayaking.  They have suspended 2021 sailings through May and suggested that if they go in June it will be a shakedown for the crew and ship so suggested we push out to July and beyond.  We opted for Mid August figuring if it gets pushed they will rebook us later in the fall.  The young lady, Amanda, who reached out to me from their Miami office has been extremely helpful and accommodating.  One tip - if you want to book your own air into Quito SS will give you a $750 reduction pp on the pkg.  Flying out of Miami AA is selling Business class for $794 R/T versus flying economy with the package.  A no brainer for us.  Good luck!

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On 3/6/2021 at 8:38 AM, Oldiesfan said:

Dipping our toe back into the cruise pool after getting our Capetown to Singapore trip cancelled in January - too risky to go to South Africa and SE Asia right now.  We have been vaccinated and saw a feeler sent out by Silversea for the Origin.  We  think that because it is such small ship, new and with limited passengers and not visiting any ports except for the Islands we would give it a chance.  We booked the San Cristobal to Balta itinerary because the Siverseas folks advised me that both itineraries are very similar one is just the turnaround from the other every other week.  As they explained to me the one that starts in Baltra is closer to land and has more focus on hiking and birding while San Cristobal will allow for more time snorkeling and kayaking.  They have suspended 2021 sailings through May and suggested that if they go in June it will be a shakedown for the crew and ship so suggested we push out to July and beyond.  We opted for Mid August figuring if it gets pushed they will rebook us later in the fall.  The young lady, Amanda, who reached out to me from their Miami office has been extremely helpful and accommodating.  One tip - if you want to book your own air into Quito SS will give you a $750 reduction pp on the pkg.  Flying out of Miami AA is selling Business class for $794 R/T versus flying economy with the package.  A no brainer for us.  Good luck!

Thinking about going business/first class and booking air on our own. We booked the Baltra to San Cristobal itinerary.  At the end of our cruise we disembark and they include a day at a hotel in Guayaquil if you have a late flight (which most of them seem to be) when checking the distance from Guayaquil to the airport in Quito, it is a very long distance. Do you know how they transfer you?  If you book  your own air will you still get the transfers? Are you just booking the flight from Miami to Quito or are you booking RT?  Do they give you $750 pp reduction on the package for one way or RT?  I'll be checking all this out with my TA tomorrow but thought you may already know the answer.  Thanks!

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1 hour ago, Carol From California said:

Thinking about going business/first class and booking air on our own. We booked the Baltra to San Cristobal itinerary.  At the end of our cruise we disembark and they include a day at a hotel in Guayaquil if you have a late flight (which most of them seem to be) when checking the distance from Guayaquil to the airport in Quito, it is a very long distance. Do you know how they transfer you?  If you book  your own air will you still get the transfers? Are you just booking the flight from Miami to Quito or are you booking RT?  Do they give you $750 pp reduction on the package for one way or RT?  I'll be checking all this out with my TA tomorrow but thought you may already know the answer.  Thanks!

Did not realize there is an International airport in Guayquil. I also confirmed on the website that they give you $750 pp if you do your own air and transfers are not included when you do. 

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Greetings, I have been twice, in April and in November.

 

Getting back to the original question on itineraries — keeping in mind they may have or will change — generally speaking, in the past, one itinerary is more birds and wildlife and the other more geography/volcanic with penguins. I took a look at the cruises later this year and they seem to be the same/similar itinerary. Keep in mind the government also regulates where the ships go and they rotate islands to ensure there is not too much human traffic.

 

Silversea provided short wetsuits and snorkeling gear. In regard to rash shirts, pants, etc., the easiest place with the widest selection was Amazon. The short wetsuit was fine in November but needed. In April, I did wear a wet suit but there were people who snorkeled without one.

 

To be blunt, book your air with Silversea. Not worth the hassle of coordinating on your own. You arrive in Quito airport which is over 45 minutes from the City—a lot of the time those flights arrive in the late evening. Those flights typically arrive late at night. When you depart the Galapagos, the flights to the US leave from Guayaquil. You depart late morning and most int’l flights are not until the evening, hence the day room at the hotel. Downtown Guayaquil is only about 20 minutes from the airport.  Our flight was after midnight so the hotel was a great place to relax and hang out. If you book on your own they typically do not include transfers. Central/South America can be challenging with flights — delays, schedule disruptions, etc. And if you miss your flight or are delayed you will miss the cruise. Silversea will book you for arriving in Quito 2 days before just to be safe.

 

The first time I booked direct with Silversea thinking I had the “inside track”. Instead, it’s really an inside salesperson who didn’t have any more experience and hadn’t ever been. What a disaster from a communications, service, knowledge and problem resolution perspective. And I booked the Machu Picchu extension. The second time I used my TA who had been and has sailed on Silversea extensively. Much better to use someone who has first hand knowledge. It’s a complex trip. I don’t understand why people DIY travel when you get the same price as going direct but you get the knowledge, skills, experience, service and an advocate for free when you use a TA. You pay the same price. No-brainer!

 

 

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4 hours ago, Herman The Cat said:

To be blunt, book your air with Silversea. Not worth the hassle of coordinating on your own. You arrive in Quito airport which is over 45 minutes from the City—a lot of the time those flights arrive in the late evening. Those flights typically arrive late at night. When you depart the Galapagos, the flights to the US leave from Guayaquil. You depart late morning and most int’l flights are not until the evening, hence the day room at the hotel. Downtown Guayaquil is only about 20 minutes from the airport.  Our flight was after midnight so the hotel was a great place to relax and hang out. If you book on your own they typically do not include transfers. Central/South America can be challenging with flights — delays, schedule disruptions, etc. And if you miss your flight or are delayed you will miss the cruise. Silversea will book you for arriving in Quito 2 days before just to be safe.

We booked our own air R/T Fort Lauderdale, since we were traveling with cousins who live there, and stayed a few days with them at each end of the cruise.  The Jet Blue flights (economy) cost less than the SS $750 credit, even with the private car transfer from Quito airport to the hotel in Quito.  We received all the other SS package inclusions:  two nights hotel in Quito with city tour, transfer to airport,  flight to Baltra, transfer to ship, transfer to day room in Guayaquil, and transfer to airport.  This was in December 2019.  Since you are looking at business/first from California, ymmv.

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12 hours ago, Emtbsam said:

We hope to book the September 10, 2022 back to back cruises.  Looking forward to it.  Does anyone know if there is a self-service on board the Origin?

Self-service laundry?  No. But of course you get your 100+ days free laundry.

 

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Sorry, I did mean self service laundry, and the answer is no.  We will get 3 pieces of free laundry daily with our suite, but I was wondering if our 100 days will give us free unlimited laundry.  I do hope so since it is a hot climate.  

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On 3/6/2021 at 8:38 AM, Oldiesfan said:

One tip - if you want to book your own air into Quito SS will give you a $750 reduction pp on the pkg.  Flying out of Miami AA is selling Business class for $794 R/T versus flying economy with the package.  A no brainer for us. 

Thanks especially for that.

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On 3/8/2021 at 3:36 AM, Herman The Cat said:

generally speaking, in the past, one itinerary is more birds and wildlife and the other more geography/volcanic with penguins.

Our SS rep advised us to do Baltra to San Cristobal because it was more land oriented.

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On 3/8/2021 at 3:36 AM, Herman The Cat said:

To be blunt, book your air with Silversea. Not worth the hassle of coordinating on your own. You arrive in Quito airport which is over 45 minutes from the City—a lot of the time those flights arrive in the late evening. Those flights typically arrive late at night. When you depart the Galapagos, the flights to the US leave from Guayaquil. You depart late morning and most int’l flights are not until the evening, hence the day room at the hotel. Downtown Guayaquil is only about 20 minutes from the airport.  Our flight was after midnight so the hotel was a great place to relax and hang out. If you book on your own they typically do not include transfers. Central/South America can be challenging with flights — delays, schedule disruptions, etc. And if you miss your flight or are delayed you will miss the cruise. Silversea will book you for arriving in Quito 2 days before just to be safe.

 

I think that's a huge advantage, both the two nights in Quito and the day room. Oh, right, and the transfers. If/when we go in the future, we'd be flying out of Houston probably and that's only a five hour flight. I just wouldn't book my own air to be in business on that "short" a flight. I've said before that I take a flight time and subtract at least an hour at each end. All the meals, drinks, etc. and for me it winds up being from a resting/sleeping standpoint more like a three hour flight.

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