Friday, March 27, 2015

We see daily commercials on TV boasting about the luxurious cruise to an exotic beautiful clean island in the sun somewhere. They make it all look so enticing and I am sure many of you go on cruises often. There is a new location that I think is a bit too exotic for me. A cruise that now will take you to waters hardly gone to near land no one really can inhabit. It all truly is the last place on earth that should belong to nature and does. In fact, a cruise to this destination can only fill me with horror. Probably the closest we would get to a real life Survivor. What if we must leave the safety and comfort of the ship?
The ship is called the Silver Galapagos and by now you guessed it. It travels to the very exotic untamed Galapagos Island. They boast that passengers come on land for twice-daily excursions that may include coming face to face with sea lions and I say God only knows what else! Is the premise to allow you to keep going on the island till you get chewed up by something? I am not sure that I am that adventurous.  Granted the islands are known for wildlife and natural beauty but must we take our chances trying to mingle with wildlife we have no control over? They advertise, “Now, Silversea lets you commune with creatures amid luxurious creature comforts” Does that mean a giant lizard will be in my   cabin?

I guess that if you are a brat and have been everywhere else in the world,   this might interest you. The destination is definitely for the adventurous and the healthy because you will be wasting your time and money unless you do indeed hike and snorkel to see all that nature provides us on this paradise on earth. Hikers say that there are Blue-footed boobies everywhere. They look like ducks but with literally blue feet. Atypical day would start with a stroll along the beach that is full of sea lions. Then go to a nearby inlet for snorkeling with giant schools of razor surgeon fish and other colorful creatures, followed by a hike down a rocky trail in search of yellow-tinged land iguanas and those blue footed birds. I would be extremely leery of those razor mouthed fish. Since there are no people living there, there is no fishing. Sea life is plentiful.

After your long day of adventure it is time to return to your boat called the Silver Galapagos. No this is not a three football field long thing with water slides and rock climbing fake walls stocked full of 5,000 passengers that go up 18 stories from the sea. This a elegant wood-lined martini waiting 100 passenger vessel.  This is being billed as the first luxury expedition ship in the region. The vessel is 4,077 tons of luxury services all included with butler service, gourmet restaurant and spa. It is a new way to rough it in the unknown especially because we all first heard of this wildlife destination from the writings of the British scientist Charles Darwin.

This is all new. The place is near the equator about 600 miles off the Ecuadorean coast. The Galapagos has never been known as a luxury retreat. The allure of the mostly uninhabited grouping of 19 islands has been the giant and healthy dinosaur like lizards. The luxury line Silversea is softening all that ruggedness with a ship as elegant as it is rugged. Unveiled in 2013, the Silver Galapagos was created through the top-to-bottom overhaul of an existing Galapagos based vessel, the Galapagos Explorer II. The makeover brought such rare for the Galapagos amenities as marble bathrooms in cabins, a fitness center and an outdoor Jacuzzi.

Still Silver sea isn’t tinkering with the basic formula of a visit to the destination, 97% of which is preserved as a national park and open only to small, guided tours. Like other Galapagos based expedition vessels, the Silver Galapagos moves from island to island , depositing passengers on land by motorized  Zodiac rafts  for twice-daily, wildlife-focused excursions led by park-licensed naturalists. I wouldn’t want to fall off that raft or miss pick up time at night.   

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