I have been diving on various liveaboards around the for over 15 years. My liveaboard diving holiday destinations include the Red Sea, Maldives, Djibouti, Sudan, Cayman Islands and Australia. I have been on over 20 different boats with varying levels of comfort.
The Galapagos Master is a large steel hull ship. It is stable in the water and has plenty of space to accommodate the 16 guests and 11 crew.
All of the diving is done by Zodiac. They are in good condition and are more spacious then others I have been on. They also have a ladder so you don’t need to do a seal like entry after each dive.
The crew are friendly and attentive. They are happy to help out whether it is putting your fins back in your box or handing you a cold bottle of water. After each dive they give you a heated towel and hot chocolate while the rest of your crew take your kit back to your allotted space.
The guides are knowledgeable and the lead guide Maccron has been doing this for over 16 years, you genuinely feel like he is the most qualified guide in these waters. They have a great eye for shark spotting and know the best way to dive each site. They probably gave the most thorough boat briefing I’ve ever had and take safety very seriously. They have a good sense of humour and their English is also very good.
Cabins – are fairly spacious and the beds are comfy. There is good storage room and the bathrooms have a good shower and a flushing toilet.
On the sun deck are good quality sun loungers and a soft AstroTurf floor making it easy to walk around.
For photographers there is plenty of charging points next to the dive deck, non-slip matting and on the dive deck itself is a large rinse tank purely for camera gear. There is a couple of compressed air guns which allow you to dry your cameras quickly enabling you to download your photos and recharge your batteries in between dives.
On the back of the middle deck are plenty of comfy chairs, beanbags and tables to rest your drinks or play cards.
Food – is healthy, fresh, varied and tasty. Breakfast includes a choice of cereals, yogurt, freshly blended smoothies, fresh fruit, hot dog style sausages, eggs how you like them and French toast. Other meals included some delicious stir fried prawns with rice, salad and vegetables, grilled chicken and fresh fish. They were morse than happy to cater for the fussier eaters (Russell who only eats potatoes) and people with gluten intolerance.
The beer on the boat is a local Pilsner and is more than acceptable and reasonably priced at $3 for a 330ml bottle. Wine and cocktails are a bit dearer $25a bottle but you can bring duty free.
Unless you are used to ultimate luxury then Galapagos Master is a great choice for the normal person. Compared to other liveaboards in the Galapagos we looked at for our group it wasn’t the cheapest but in my opinion offered the best value for money. There are a couple of more expensive boats out there but from people I’ve spoken to have used them then unless you are under no budget constraints aren’t worth the additional money.
The biggest negative we could find with the boat that it was suggested several times that we leave a 10% tip. This is fine in a restaurant where you are spending £30, but in our opinion not when you’ve spent £5,000 on the trip. Having said that the crew and guides couldn’t have taken better care of us and a “reasonable” tip was well deserved.