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Welcome to the Victoria Cruises online journal. For your convenience, we will be notify you byemail as new journal entries are posted. We hope you enjoy the journey.

Visiting the Galápagos Islands

The Galápagos Islands, located roughly 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, remained a closely-guarded natural secret for millions of years. Over that time, the archipelago evolved into a home for an all-star cast of plants and animals. Sometime in the 1800s, some swashbuckling pirates and intrepid explorers started arriving in the Galápagos Islands. The most famous early visitor was Charles Darwin, a young naturalist who spent 19 days studying the islands' flora and fauna in 1835. In 1859, Darwin published On the Origin of Species, which introduced his theory of evolution — and the Galápagos Islands — to the world.

Since then, word of these islands and their magnificent beauty has steadily grown. In 1959, the Galápagos became Ecuador's first national park, and in 1978, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, more than 275,000 people visit the Galápagos every year to see those incredible animals and landscapes for themselves.

As amazing as you think the Galápagos Islands will be, they routinely exceed expectations. It's a place where lizards swim, birds walk, and humans — for once — don't take center stage.

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1. The Galapagos Islands are far out in the Ocean

While the Galápagos Islands belong to the tiny Andean country of Ecuador, they are in fact very far from the rest

of the country – 560 miles (901 kilometers), to be exact. The islands are far out in the Pacific Ocean, and it takes just under two hours to fly there from Guayaquil, the closest airport on the mainland, and 2 hours 15 minutes from Quito, Ecuador’s capital. It is not easy to visit the Galapagos Islands – from North America, you’ll have to fly to Quito or Guayaquil, and then take another flight out to the islands. For many people, that means three different flights, since most cities in the U.S. do not have a direct connection to Ecuador.

2. How Many Islands are There?

The archipelago consists of 13 major islands, five of which are inhabited, and six smaller islands. Several of the smaller islets are not inhabited by humans at all, only by wildlife. There are over 100 small islets or rocks in addition to the bigger islands.

The islands sit right on the equator and are home to over 25,000 people. About half of them live in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, which makes it by far the biggest settlement of the archipelago.

All of the islands are volcanic, and were formed 4 million years ago by lava oozing upward from the floor of the ocean. Some of the volcanoes are active to this day.

Most people who visit the Galapagos Islands only get to set foot on one or two of the islands, and cruise around some of the others without actually docking there.

3. Unique Species in the Galapagos Islands

One thing the Galápagos Islands are famous for is their variety of wildlife. This includes a number of species endemic to the islands, i.e. you will see animals that you won’t see anywhere else in the world, such as the Galápagos fur seal, the Galápagos land iguana, the Galápagos sea lion, the Galápagos land tortoise, and the marine iguana (the only lizard that can swim). The Galápagos Islands are also the only place in the entire world where penguins live along the equator.

In addition to the species that are unique to the Galápagos Islands, there are dozens of other species, none of which seem to care about the presence of visitors. Sightings of blue-footed boobies, great frigate birds, marine iguanas, giant tortoises, hammerhead sharks, manta rays and flamingos are pretty much guaranteed.

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4.. Many Species on the Galapagos Islands are Endangered

Sadly, many of the species that are unique to the Galápagos, such as the Giant Tortoise, have been endangered for centuries, starting from when Spanish explorers in the 17th century killed them for their meat, and later pirates hunted them for their shells. 16 of 20 song bird species only found in the Galápagos are threatened, and some species are entirely extinct.

It is sad to see so many of these unique species endangered, but the good news is that the Ecuadorian government is putting a lot of effort into protecting this unique eco-system and its inhabitants.
You’ll notice these protective measures even before you board your plane for the islands – it is prohibited to bring in any agricultural goods (like fruits) because non-native plants and animals pose one of the biggest challenges to the conservation of the Galápagos Islands. This is why each and every bag is thoroughly checked for fresh produce before you check in.

The National Park tax of $100 that every visitor pays upon arrival at the airport also goes towards the protection of the natural habitat of the islands.

5. Not all of the Galapagos Islands Don’t Feel Remote

The Galapagos Islands are often portrayed as this desolate group of islands out in the middle of the ocean – but several islands are inhabited and these don’t have the ‘undiscovered island’ feel which you might have experienced on a visit to the Galápagos pre-1969, when the only way to get there was by boat – daily flight connections didn’t exist.

Over 25,000 people call the Galápagos Islands home, with nearly half of them living on Santa Cruz Island. San Cristobal Island is home to 6,000 people, Isabela has 1,800 inhabitants, and a mere 100 people are living on Floreana Island.

Wellcome our new colleague

Dwi Agustinus Krisna Wibawa Food and Beverage manager

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A new colleague has joined the VCL team.
Agustinus came to the VCL from Bali, Indonesia.

Denis Sirotnjak Chief Engineer 

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A new coleague has joined the VCL team.

Denis from Croatia joins VCL team.

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Destination-Port list

By clicking on the buttons below you can see the list of ports, when and where the boats are calling during the trip. You will be able to get accurate information on the dates of the ports of call 45-60 days in advance, and you will also see the exact dates of the ports of call in the OBS system.

Port list Victoria MajesticPort list Victoria Amazig

VCL Sales Partner Program

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We are looking for sales partners!

Luxury lifestyle residential development, slowly cruising the world from the comfort of home. Cruise ship residences are making a huge impact on the real estate, retirement, luxury travel industries.

Ideal for those who are willing to introduce their clients to a luxurious lifestyle at sea. Our Sales Experts will handle the sales process.

If you are interested in our partner program, please contact us at the email below for further information.

[email protected]

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Best Regards,
Victoria Cruises Line

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