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Old 08-29-2011, 03:16 AM   #31
familygoboston
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New Itinerary & more ?s for TufBuf

Well, it appears the new Ecuador /Galapagos itinerary will alternate with the ABD 7day cruise itineray. Changes I've heard about: 1 less day at Hacienda Cusin, and it appears there is a rose farm tour now; possibly less time with the flute maker ( a performance was mentioned but not making flutes) Parque Condor and Peguche Falls were still included as well as the market ( though I'm not sure if it is the same market as previously visited)and equator line visit. Because of the regulations the 4 day cruise is described as visiting different islands- no Bartoleme but Genovesa has been added. A friend who just went to Genovesa said the bird life there was incredible. Those are the only details I was told.

None of the dates worked well for us in June; so I've asked my TA to book us in August. I still have some questions for you TufBuf- if you can stand more!
1) did ABD provide the booklet with details about where you are going each day and what to wear/pack for the day? This would be helpful for my DF who has short term memory issues and would easily forget the dinner briefings!
2) I think you mentioned you did not go into Old Town; but those who did; did they use a guide or tour? Any ideas about who?
3) did you bring your own mask and wet suits? We are thinking of doing this.
Thanks for any info!
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:41 AM   #32
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No problem!! ABD and the Explorer cruise naturalists always brief you the night before what to wear the following day. Make sure you bring good hiking shoes and beach sandals, shorts and a pair of pants. You are also given a piece of paper like the Navigator on the cruise line with all the time and activities the next day. It includes a description of the area and expected wildlife to see.

We visited the Old Town and I booked the tour through Viator. Some just got a cab to take them there. Some cab drivers would offer you to take you here and there for an agreed price if you wish to do things on your own. The cab fare from the JW Marriott to the shopping center is $2!

We brought our own masks. Bringing your own wetsuit would be too bulky. If you don't mind then go ahead. I had trouble getting the right size fins and had to try 3 pairs. ABD get to do things earlier than the rest of the people on the ship so we did the change right before disembarking.

Any more questions, feel free to ask.

Our guide Eduardo arranged for a rose farm tour. There are a couple of them right next to Hacienda Cusin. Really nice!!! Made my roses in my garden look like scraggly mutts!

Well, I just checked the price for the cruise alone and for the 3 of us it's a whopping 17K!!! That costs as much as the Egypt trip! Talk about steep!
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Last edited by tufbuf; 08-29-2011 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:27 AM   #33
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Make sure also you have a pair of socks for the highlands to see the giant tortoises. If you go during the rainy season, you will change into boots since it is really muddy and wet up there. You can also bring your raincoat if ponchos aren't your thing.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:58 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tufbuf View Post
Make sure also you have a pair of socks for the highlands to see the giant tortoises. If you go during the rainy season, you will change into boots since it is really muddy and wet up there. You can also bring your raincoat if ponchos aren't your thing.
Thanks for the advice! In CR we had a little booklet that described each day. It was helpful and a great souvenier! I always bring a packable raincoat anywear I go, but I willbe sure to bring my mask!
Can you stand another ?
What deck/ cabin catagory did you have for the cruise? Were all the ABD people on one deck or spread around?
Thanks for helping!
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:06 PM   #35
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The families were distributed in decks 2 & 3. We were in Dec 2, Magellan. At first I thought it will be a cramped room but surprise, surprise! The cabin was spacious! If you have been on a DCL cruise, you will be quite pleased. Oh and we had walk-in closets. Don't worry about the weight limit and luggage size, they are not particular about it. Ask away if there is anything else!
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Old 09-01-2011, 06:51 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tufbuf View Post
The families were distributed in decks 2 & 3. We were in Dec 2, Magellan. At first I thought it will be a cramped room but surprise, surprise! The cabin was spacious! If you have been on a DCL cruise, you will be quite pleased. Oh and we had walk-in closets. Don't worry about the weight limit and luggage size, they are not particular about it. Ask away if there is anything else!
Thanks Tuf Buf- I thought that's where we'd be...those are the photos I showed my family, and they were pleased with the accomodations. The wood looks very nautical and at over 200 sq feet; they are far bigger than the cabins on the mass market cruises we've done. I usually love a balcony on a Caribbean cruise, but from what I hear we will only being using the room to change and sleep!
If you really don't mind more questions:
Did you find that they offered an alternative activity for those who don't want to snorkel? My dad wears hearing aids and Im not sure he will want to go, he gets nervous w/o them that he can't hear instructions. he loves the water and boating, so I am hoping they offer a panaga tour or something. He'd probably enjoy just sitting on deck.
We have taken malaria prevent on some trips, but I don't think we'll need this in the highlands or the Galapagos- I would imagine only if we were going to the Amazon. What was your experience?
Just let me know when you get sick of my ??s
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Old 09-01-2011, 10:13 AM   #37
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There were no alternative activity for non-snorkelers. Are you doing just the cruise or the combo? They changed the itineraries a bit - the first Sta. Cruz stop and Bachas Beach. We didn't go there but it looks like most of the snorkeling activities are after hikes. Your dad can either hang out on the beach or go back to the ship. There are zodiacs waiting nearby all the time. If it is a deep snorkel and he does not want to join, he can just stay on the ship. On North Seymour, after the hike, we went back to the ship to suit up and did the deep snorkel after. Deep snorkel means you get on and off the zodiac rather than the shore. We were a small group and only 7 of us went to do it. The other 10 remained on the boat.

The activities are all the same each day for all the people on the ship so there is no alternative activity. People just do things on their own if they decide to stay behind. Also, no one can go to the islands unless accompanied by a Galapagos naturalist guide. I am impressed how much effort they put in trying to maintain the islands in the most pristine condition. The only dirt/mess you will see on the island is animal excrement (especially where the birds thrive!).

Nope, no bug bites for me. The only nuisance we encountered were introduced wasps. You will find out during the tour that native Galapagos animals are non-aggressive. You will see carpenter bees hovering and they are huge and black but no stinger. One guy in the group got stung twice once on each hand in two separate occasions and he said he felt the pain radiating all the way up his shoulder that evening. Those wasps look nasty and big. When we laid our snorkel bags on the shore, it attracted a bunch of them because of the bright
yellow colored bags. They have flies but no mosquitoes.

Looks like you have done your research! The room size really surprised me. Oh and regarding bringing your own wetsuits, they don't dry up completely in your room and they recommend keeping it in your cabin so no one else will get it. The rest of the ship hang them on the deck where they lend the gear and I guess it dries up better there. The day before disembarkation, you can leave your bags by 6 am, I think and it won't be pleasant to pack something wet in a bag. Just a thought.

I don't mind your questions. glad to help!
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Old 09-01-2011, 11:38 AM   #38
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Thanks! He will enjoy being on the beach...checking things out with his binoculars if he decides not to snorkel...we summer on the ocean in Maine and dad often comes when I take the kids to the beach and we just watch the birds and boats go by. (now that the kids are big enough i don't have to watch them constantly!) Should be no shortage of birds in the Galapagos!
I read about the wasps in another review, it's amazing how damaging invasives can be...Im looking out my back window and the whole pond is covered in loosestrife! pretty but a terrible monoculture! Im so glad to hear that GE2 is responsible; I feel that is the key to preserving these amazing places.
Thanks for your advice!
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:11 PM   #39
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It is truly sad how invasive species damage the native flora and fauna. Some of the Galapagos species disappeared because of them.

Anyway, fyi we encountered the wasps on Santiago Island. This was the snorkeling spot where we swam with sea lions so it's a must-do!!! Also, most of the instructions are given on land before snorkelling. Your dad can still snorkel if he wishes and he can just raise his arm if he needed the zodiac to pick him up wherever he is in the water. Just a thought.

You will surely have fun in this adventure!!! It is just specatcular! And like I said in my other post, we look forward to doing the 7-night one some time in the future.
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Old 09-01-2011, 11:12 PM   #40
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we did the abd equador/galapagos trip this year w/ our 13 and 18-yr-old children.
2 quick suggestions:
1. do the land tour as-well-as galapagos. u can't imagine how much u will miss if u don't do equador. it would be a real loss.
2. make sure your children are old enough to snorkle. u wouldn't want them to miss under water galapagos.
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Old 09-02-2011, 01:34 AM   #41
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2. make sure your children are old enough to snorkle. u wouldn't want them to miss under water galapagos.
What is the minimum age for snorkeling? Our daughter will be almost 8 when we go, but she's a strong swimmer and we will let her practice with the snorkel before we leave.
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Old 09-02-2011, 09:28 AM   #42
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The minimum age for the trip is 7. If you look at the GE2 website, there is a notation that kids younger than 7 will not be permitted aboard the ship.
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Old 09-02-2011, 05:26 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmschuch View Post
we did the abd equador/galapagos trip this year w/ our 13 and 18-yr-old children.
2 quick suggestions:
1. do the land tour as-well-as galapagos. u can't imagine how much u will miss if u don't do equador. it would be a real loss.
2. make sure your children are old enough to snorkle. u wouldn't want them to miss under water galapagos.
Definately agree about the cultural part! We completely changed our dates to make sure we could do the land/cruise trip. We went on safari in Africa and added several days of cultural activities and they turned out to be some if our highlights!!
I'm glad your kids enjoyed the trip; mine are about the same age(15, &17) so I think they will too! We will practice our snorkeling in Mexico this winter as we don't snorkel much in Maine- too cold!!
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Old 09-02-2011, 10:57 PM   #44
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Hello. I just want to share a few photos from our recent trip.

This is the Middle of the World, lat 0 deg 0'0".


Peguche Falls


A rescued Andean condor. There are other raptors in Parque Condor but this guy is the biggest!


Beautiful long-stemmed roses in Vegaflor


Roses ready for export


My little girl flying her kite! She managed to do it on her own , it was quite a struggle since the wind was coming and going.
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Old 09-02-2011, 11:07 PM   #45
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And here are some photos from the Galapagos part of the trip.

This is in Cerro Dragon in Sta. Cruz Island, our first stop/hike.


A land iguana on Sta. Cruz island


The kids playing by the beach waiting for the zodiac to pick us up.


Bartolomew Island with the famous Pinnacle Rock. That was where we snorkeled the next day. We saw sharks and penguins swimming in the area and lots of fish!


Next hike was in Santiago Island. And here are some marine iguanas.


Baby sea lions sleeping. The iguana overlooking them looks almost like their babysitter.


A pup nursing, you can hear the loud suckling of milk!
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