We just finished our cruise on TTIV (June 1-8, 2018), and can’t imagine a better itinerary than their northwest option - it was spectacular, magical, (pick your superlative).
Avianca flight from Quito, delayed 2 hrs in Guayaquil. (TTIV includes the flights from the mainland in the cruise fare). Arrived in Baltra and met by our naturalist. We waited around for someone that was supposed to be on the next flight, but actually was already on the boat. Then we waited around for a bus to come back to take us to the boat. We took a dingy to the yacht and got settled in. Everyone got their wetsuit orders in ($40/week for a shortie or $50/week for a full - to be paid in cash at end of cruise). Snorkeling gear was included with the cruise at no extra cost. We went with the full wetsuits since we tend to get cold, and did not regret the choice. The snorkeling gear was good quality and they were able to fit me (which is not always a given).
This itinerary departs directly from Baltra, so once the supplies were all loaded & safety drills completed, we headed to North Seymour. Dry landing and ~2 hr hike. Blue footed boobies, and land iguanas, and frigates (oh my!) - what a way to start off! There were blue footed booby chicks all around. A few frigates were still mating, although many had moved onto the egg-incubation stage. A land iguana was happily munching on a cactus. None of the critters gave zero flips about us, making photos a breeze.
Returning to the boat, we had the next day’s briefing from the guide, a welcome drink and introduction to the crew, and dinner. Throughout the cruise, dinners were always tasty, make your own plate, and consisted of a protein in a sauce, 1-2 starches, 1-2 veggies, and a salad. Desserts were plated and served by the barman after the table finished the mains.
There are 4 rooms on the upper deck, and 6 rooms on the lower deck. We opted for the lower deck since it doesn’t sway as much in open water. The upper rooms were configured into king beds, while the lower rooms were configured as twin beds. We were not asked our preference for configuration. (But twin beds do eliminate all discussion on who’s stealing the sheets!) There were 2 cubbies by the window, a nightstand, and a cabinet to hang clothes that also held a small safe. We felt there was plenty of room and storage. Each cabin had air conditioning and a private bath with hot water. The rooms were refreshed multiple times a day.
There is no typical bar on the yacht, but you can purchase individual beers ($5), bottles of wine ($35), or bottles of liquor ($varied). The barman keeps your tab and you pay in cash at the end of the cruise.
This was a first class cruise, and the service was top notch.
I won’t go through each day by day, but will try to attach an image of the route. We visited North Seymour, Genovesa, Santiago, the west side of Isabela, Fernandina, Floreana, and ended on Santa Cruz. The snorkeling was excellent, the hikes were interesting, the landscape varied, and the critters unique & photogenic. It was over way too soon.
We are staying in the islands another 2 weeks doing land-based activities, so can do a comparison on later on.