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How does the MV Santa Cruz work with 90 passenger?

New York City, New...
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19 posts
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How does the MV Santa Cruz work with 90 passenger?
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I am considering the MV Santa Cruz for a last minute 5 day trip. How do they handle all 90 passengers when there are landings? Do they limit the number of people that can go on land? Will that cut short my time to hike/walk around?

Thanks,

DJ

Tucson, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Quito, Ecuador
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109 reviews
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1. Re: How does the MV Santa Cruz work with 90 passenger?
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When I was researching boats, I read that loading/unloading/reloading passengers from the larger boats takes up a great deal of time. Everyone gets to go, but they are shuttled on small pangas for landings. With such a short trip as five days, it might not be worth it unless you were getting a really good deal.

Quito, Ecuador
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2. Re: How does the MV Santa Cruz work with 90 passenger?
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The Santa Cruz has several pangas that shuttle the passengers off and on as quickly as they can, and I believe they seperate departure times by groups in an effort to avoid bottlenecking. Each guide can take a maximum of 16 passengers at once on land, and everyone will get a chance to visit each site if they want. However, the smaller the vessels and less passengers there are, the less waiting time there is! (Unless on one of the economic level boats, where there may only be one panga for everyone, and has to make 2 trips.) If you can manage a few more days in the islands, it is definitely worth it to tack on some extra days and do a week long cruise. Good luck and enjoy!

New York City, New...
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3. Re: How does the MV Santa Cruz work with 90 passenger?
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Thanks for the replies so far. I got a decent rate since they are waiving the single supplement on upcoming sailings. I am thinking about adding a day or two on land before or after the trip. My timing is pretty tight so I can't do a longer trip this year.

Suffolk, United...
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4. Re: How does the MV Santa Cruz work with 90 passenger?
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Just returned from another large boat, but there were only 45 passengers on the trip only takes a few minutes to get the passengers off . There were three Pangas worth of us and as we all knew what we were doing no dalays were experianced.

Texas
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5. Re: How does the MV Santa Cruz work with 90 passenger?
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Really the delay is not a problem if there are enough pangas, that is, 1 panga for each 16 people. In fact, it seems better because as you know some people are always late. So the first 16 get in a panga and go to the shore. Loading takes about 3 minutes if everyone is in good physical condtion. Then by the time those people leave, the next group has assembled and gets into the next panga.

It may be more stressful if there is only 1 panga and everyone has to "be there" before leaving for shore.

I was on the Evolution with maximum 32 passengers and it was no waiting at any time to disembark.

I feel that our panga drivers were the best. They were friendly, helpful, knowledgable about the wildlife, expert boatsmen and perfect in everyway. We used the pangas 4 to 6 times per day so it is important to trust these panga drivers. They are also instrumental in watching the wildlife along the shore and beneath the water.

Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Galapagos Islands
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4,325 posts
18 reviews
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6. Re: How does the MV Santa Cruz work with 90 passenger?
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Dear SPN2200,

I would say the main issue is the impact on the "intimacy" of the experience once you're on the island. You may have concluded from the comments above that generally, the process of getting people on and off big ships can be pretty efficient. But once a group of 40 or 100 is on the island, there is a bit of a scheduling pressure placed on them. Though they may be divided into 2, 3, 4 or more groups of 16, because you don't want the groups bumping into each other on the trails, guides have to keep pace and respect timing to a certain extent. It's a bit like playing golf, when you have people playing ahead of you, and some behind - you have to just keep the pace.

I suspect that for most people, this is not an issue, but for some, it can be.

Warmest regards,

Heather Blenkiron

New York City, New...
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7. Re: How does the MV Santa Cruz work with 90 passenger?
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I believe the Santa Cruz has 5 pangas, so I imagine the process will be fairly efficient. I am used to the process myself, after visiting Antarctica on a 120 person ship. Overall, the number of people doesn't sound like much of an issue, other than keeping pace on land.

New York City, New...
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19 posts
8 reviews
19 helpful votes
8. Re: How does the MV Santa Cruz work with 90 passenger?
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I'm booked on the Santa Cruz so will let you all know how it works out!

Kent
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2 posts
3 reviews
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9. Re: How does the MV Santa Cruz work with 90 passenger?
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We were on the Santa Cruz in June last year. We did the five day trip and so wish we could have taken the longer cruise. When you arrive you are arranged into groups of around 16 and the groups are named. You stay in the same group and have the same naturalist for your stay, they then rotate the order in which the groups leave for the islands so that you are not always first last or wherever to leave. It's all very efficiently managed and as they have plenty of panga's there is not too much waiting around. Once on the island.....I guess there is less time to just hang at one spot as the next group is coming along, but it was handled well and didn't feel like a route march, the naturalists were great and took time to answer questions and gave huge amounts of information with genuine enthusiasm.

Have a great time

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
19 posts
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10. Re: How does the MV Santa Cruz work with 90 passenger?
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Just finished my five day cruise and can confirm the comments above. The whole process was managed efficiently and the large number of passengers was not an issue. My sailing had about 60 people but imagine the process would be the same with a full load. My naturalist was great and very knowledgable as she was an actual geologist. Five days is a good amount of time but if you can swing it, seven days would be nice too.

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