Golden Galapagos Luxury Cruise Review (2023)

Cazzy Magennis
Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
Last Updated:
May 23, 2023
Planning a cruise with Golden Galapagos Cruises? Look no further! We give you an overview of our time on board the Ocean Spray by Golden Galapagos...
golden galapagos luxury cruise review

In January 2023, Bradley and I ticked something massive off our bucket list.

We got to visit the Galapagos Islands!

It was, without a doubt, one of the best things we’ve done in our entire lives!

And we sailed with Golden Galapagos cruises on board the Ocean Spray! 

We had such a fantastic time, so I wanted to take through some of the pros and cons and our itinerary.

So that if you’re looking to book a cruise with Golden Galapagos, you can see what you are in store for.

Let's get stuck straight in ...

Note: Some posts may contain affiliate links. Read more in our Privacy Policy. Learn more about how we create and update content in our Publishing Guidelines.

The rooms on board the Ocean Spray

rooms on board the ocean spray

What I loved about sailing the Galapagos Islands with Golden Galapagos was the fact that it’s a “smaller” yacht.

What I mean by this is that they only hold 18 passengers, which actually leads to a far more luxurious experience.

The yacht itself is large, but because there are fewer passengers, you get more space.

The bedrooms on board are dreamy and super spacious.

Another great perk is that ALL the rooms on board the Ocean Spray, come with an outdoor balcony, so regardless of what room you book, you will still have amazing ocean views, and the perfect seating area to animal spot whilst onboard.

We actually saw lots of animals whilst relaxing on our balcony, including manta rays, turtles, and frigate birds! 

The food on board the Ocean Spray

golden galapagos food onboard

When you book a cruise with Golden Galapagos, it includes all your food and drink (excluding alcoholic beverages).

This means breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks are available all day too!

We even had pre-dinner snacks every evening which was lovely too.

Breakfast and lunch tend to be “buffet” style and you’ll definitely get to experience an Ecuadorean BBQ up on deck with sweeping views of the islands that surround you. Dinner is a sit-down dinner, but casual.

The food comes in three courses and every evening it was something different.

The real test for us was the fact we are vegetarian.

I can’t explain how many times I’ve told a cruise, a hotel, or even an activity organizer that we are vegetarian and they always either make us one of two things, rice or pasta. I was truly dreading that would be the case on board this yacht, but thankfully I had nothing to worry about!! 

The food on board the Ocean Spray was excellent for vegetarians, and I didn’t eat pasta once!

Not only was the food delicious and beautifully presented, but a real effort also went into creating something different and unique as a vegetarian dish, so hats off to the chef! We were not left disappointed. 

Golden Galapagos will cater to any dietary needs, you just need to let them know ahead of time. 

Overall we can’t complain about any of the food on board the yacht, and drinks were reasonably priced (by USA standards).


You could get a range of cocktails, beers, and wines on board, but if you wanted coffee, tea, soft drinks, water or juice, these were all included as part of your cruise. 

The activities on board the Ocean Spray

When you’re paying money for a luxury Galapagos cruise, you want a few things.

You want great living accommodations and great food, and you want great excursions.

Well, I can tell you that you will not be disappointed by the sheer number of excursions offered on board and the quality.

All your excursions are included as part of your cruise package, so need to worry about paying any hidden extra fees! 

Activities include things like, small hikes, bird watching, panga rides, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and more! 

Let me talk you through a typical day so you can get a sense of what it’s like on board: 

  • 6am wake up (this varies, but there’s a lot to see, so you start early! 
  • 7-7.30- you head off on your first excursion, which will either be on land or by water (on a panga boat) 
  • 10 am- return from 1st excursion, grab a quick drink and change, and get ready for snorkeling! 
  • 10.30- Head out snorkeling (snorkeling is offered every day, and I suggest you do them all because they all offer something different) 
  • 12- Lunch! You’ll be ready for lunch so fuel up! 
  • 1-3pm- time on board, or transiting to another island- you can take this time to relax, read a book in the sunshine, dip in the jacuzzi, or grab a cocktail! (or nap!
  • 3pm- time for another excursion! 
  • 5pm- return and get ready for pre-dinner snacks 
  • 7pm- briefing for the next day's schedule, and dinner! 

Some days will differ, for example, if you’re on Isabela seeing the giant tortoise, then your day excursion will be around 6-7 hours.

Either way, there is always something to be doing when on board!

Another important factor when you are taking a luxury cruise around the Galapagos is the quality of your naturalist (guide).

This seriously depends on what you're paying and will affect the quality of your excursions.

The naturalists on board Golden Galapagos are of the highest quality in terms of qualifications, and our guide, named Enrique, seriously knew everything about the Galapagos islands.

guides on board the golden galapagos cruise

He was bursting with information and knowledge and there wasn’t a single question the group had that he couldn't answer. Plus he was a really nice, funny guy which made it all the more easier to get along with him! 

Some things to note

There is no WIFI on board

animals in the galapagos

I actually think some of the other Golden Galapagos yachts are changing this, but I think they shouldn’t.

As someone who works online, and is never off their laptop and phone, the ability to disconnect and immerse me in all things Galapagos truly made ALL the difference.

Not only that, we were able to make real human connections with the people we met on board, and I genuinely think we had a far better experience than we would have had we had access to emails. All of our fellow passengers felt the same too.

If there is the option of WiFi, you might tell yourself you won’t go on it, but you will, so when there is NO Wifi it allows you to have the most authentic, immersive Galapagos experience that you will never forget! 

Activities can be adapted

panga rides on ocean spray

There was a range of fitness levels and age groups on our cruise, and that meant that some people were more comfortable with walks, or water landings than others, but what is really great about Golden Galapagos is that they offer options to suit you.

So for example, if there was a short hike to a viewpoint on a particular island, they would offer the alternative of driving around the island on a smaller boat if you didn’t want to walk. 

Cons of a cruise with Golden Galapagos Cruises

Cons of a cruise with Golden Galapagos Cruises

Honestly, as I write this, I’m trying my hardest to find cons with the trip and the yacht and I can’t.

The most minor thing I can think of was that the jacuzzi was way too hot, like could burn your skin hot, but we did get this rectified.

Other than that, the service, the people, the food, the yacht itself, everything about this cruise was top-notch.

It was truly a luxury cruise, but more than that, it was truly a life-enriching experience, and I know you wouldn't regret booking your Galapagos adventure with Golden Galapagos! 

Overall Verdict: Is a Golden Galapagos Cruise worth it?

Yes. A million times yes. Golden Galapagos have a variety of boats on offer, for which you can find more details here:

But, we sailed on the Ocean Spray, and the Ocean Spray was a dream, so I can highly recommend that Yacht but even if you want to choose a different itinerary, and it’s on a different yacht by Golden Galapagos, I’m confident you’ll have the same amazing experience on whatever ship you choose from their range!

Read more:

Disclaimer: Fully research your destination prior to travel, or any products prior to purchase. We can accept no responsibility for anything you experience as a result of the information found on this website. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for some purchases, at no additional expense to you. Read more here
Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
Tinggly badge
Other posts
Country Guides
Destination Guides

Leave a comment

Let us know what you think!