We loved our recent adventure in the Galápagos Islands with Lindblad Expeditions on their ship, the National Geographic Endeavour. As with all Family Adventure Travel trips like this, there are things to know before you go:
Some cruise lines say that the attire is casual but people still dress up for dinner. The dress code on the Endeavour is truly casual. People wore shorts and t-shirts to dinner, while others put on a dress or khakis and a nice shirt. There’s zero pretentious attitude on this ship and this is definitely reflected in the dress code.
We live in California and wear sunscreen practically every day of the year. Because of that, our family wears natural, chemical-free sunscreens. We brought this kind of sunscreen to the Galápagos, but it didn’t cut the mustard. The sun on the equator is unbelievably strong and if we didn’t slather on sunscreen with chemical and physical UVB/UVB blocking ingredients, we still got burned.
It goes without saying that hats and swim shirts for snorkeling are a must.
A big part of the Lindblad experience is education, and their partnership with National Geographic is a perk in this regard, particularly when it comes to the expert photo instruction provided on the ship and excursions. My then-11-year-old developed an interest in learning more about photography, thanks to this program.
A basic point-and-shoot didn’t have enough complexity to keep his attention for long, as he couldn’t partake in all the adjustment discussions. The tweens and teens who had more sophisticated DLSRs were much more engaged in this part of the experience.
One nice thing about the Galápagos is that the water conditions tend to be mild year-round. We had bathtub-like conditions for all but one night of our trip, our last sailing. During that evening, many people didn’t feel well and couldn’t enjoy our last dinner on the ship.
You never know when seasickness will hit, even if you are not prone to not feeling well. The ship has medicine available, but it’s good to have your own stash of bands, patches, pills … whatever works best for you and your kids.
Full disclosure, my in-laws founded a company called Simple Science that produces hand sanitizers and other disinfectants that kill germs without using harmful chemicals. Yes, I’m biased, but it’s more effective than anything else out there today and is so safe that you can even spray it in your mouth. In close environments like a ship, you are spraying yourself and kids constantly. It’s a nice change to use an effective disinfectant product that contains zero chemicals of any kind. Once you use it, you’ll never go back to alcohol-based products.
We usually use points for upgrades to business class but have no status on American, one of the main carriers that flies into Guayaquil, Ecuador, the departure city for the trip. Interestingly, we found that the business class fares going through Miami were not much more than the economy tickets, if we adjusted the flying days by one day on either end.
We also discovered that the level of the business class provided on this route had more limited amenities and mediocre food quality than other routes where it’s priced at a premium, but I still thought it was worth the additional expense for the shorter lines, additional space and service.
We get access to Priority Pass lounges through American Express and there is a nice Priority Pass lounge available in the Guayaquil airport. We had a few-hour delay in the middle of the night and found this lounge, with comfortable seating and drink service, to be a huge perk.
We were able to go to the Galápagos for a week over the Thanksgiving holiday; I love the fact that we could do something so amazing for this limited period. However, if you have the time available, it’s definitely better to do something else in either Ecuador or Peru while you are there.
> Lindblad Expeditions offers a few different ways to extend a trip. One popular extension pairs the Galápagos with Machu Picchu.
> Lindblad also offers a trip to the Amazon about the Delphin II.
> Even if you just have a few extra days, our Galápagos family vacation consultant, Kristi Marcelle, says that Quito is amazing and worth a visit.
Five reasons to visit the Galápagos now
Family Adventure Travel tips and advice
Editor’s Note: Lindblad Expeditions provided a media rate for us to experience this trip. As always, our opinions expressed here are our own. Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy.
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