Galapagos Travel Tips & News by HAUGAN CRUISES


Why a Catamaran for your Galapagos Cruise?

Why a Catamaran for your Galapagos Cruise?

The advantages of seeing the Galapagos Islands on a luxury cruise ship are obvious. You’ll see more visitor sites than you would from a land-based tour, and you’ll see them in comfort and style. You’ll still have some decisions to make, however, when it comes to selecting your cruise ship. Most of the newer ships working in Galapagos are twin-hulled catamarans, because these have several advantages over traditional cruise ships.

Catamarans are More Stable The stability of catamarans is a huge advantage over the older, single-hulled cruisers working in the Galapagos Islands. Because a catamaran has two hulls, it presents a wider, shallower draft than traditional single-hulled ships. Some of the older ships are sort of rounded and roly-poly, which makes them pitch and roll a great deal when waters get rough. When the sea is high enough, even catamarans will sway, but in general you’ll get a much smoother ride. Anyone who is prone to seasickness should consider either a catamaran or one of the larger, 90-passenger cruise ships in the Galapagos.

Catamarans are More Spacious

Because of their design, catamarans typically have much more space than comparable single-hulled sips. Think about it for a minute: which would have more space, one large canoe or two small canoes supporting a platform between them. The increased space on a catamaran translates directly into a more comfortable experience for guests: the cabins are larger, the social areas more airy and the deck space for evening dinners or nighttime stargazing more ample. Catamarans also have more space to store other things that passengers may use, such as ocean kayaks.

Catamarans are More Modern

It’s a generalization, but in the last ten years or so almost all of the new luxury ships to come to Galapagos have been catamarans. None of the catamarans in the islands has been there for more than 20 years or so. This is because the advanced designs for catamarans are a recent phenomenon. To be sure, some of the newer ships are single-hulled, and many of the older ships have been renovated with all of the modern conveniences, but in general any given catamaran will be more modern than its single- hulled counterparts simply because it’s most likely newer.

The Other Factors Remain the Same

Although it’s easy to say that the catamarans are superior in terms of comfort, stability and modern- ness, it’s hard to pick out an advantage that single-hulled ships have. The Galapagos National Park sets the itineraries, and the island visits will be the same. Catamarans and single-hulled ships will both have good food and service. The free-lance naturalist guides come and go from all the ships and the only way to be sure you’re getting a good one is to book your tour with a respected operator.

Are Galapagos Catamarans More Expensive?

That’s an important question, and sort of a tricky one. The answer is sort of. The cheapest ships in Galapagos are almost all smaller, older, single-hulled vessels. Although they’re less expensive, they’re also unreliable and sometimes suffer from what can politely be called sub-par facilities. If you want a first-class or luxury ship, you’ll have a number of catamarans, large cruisers and single-hulled ships to choose from. Once you’ve chosen to stay out of the dregs of the cheapest ships, however, the catamarans aren’t necessarily more expensive than a comparable cruiser or single-hulled vessel.