2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and I just finished the Footsteps in Time itinerary on the Evolution, and we could not be happier. The ship is lovely; it's modern and super clean, but it has a very classic look which sets it apart a bit from most of the ... Read More
My husband and I just finished the Footsteps in Time itinerary on the Evolution, and we could not be happier. The ship is lovely; it's modern and super clean, but it has a very classic look which sets it apart a bit from most of the others we saw. The crew was very friendly and helpful, the service was fantastic, and the food was amazing; we're not really 'cruise people' so maybe we should've expected all of this? But we were thinking it was going to be a much more casual thing, which is what we generally expect from ecotours. We were very pleasantly surprised by everything. Our guides, Rafael and Samuel, were very knowledgeable and dedicated to showing us all of the animals (after one snorkel trip failed to turn up the hoped-for hammerhead sharks, they scheduled an extra one for the following morning, which did have them.) They were patient and gave everyone plenty of time and opportunity for photos, including those they took themselves and sent to us at the end of the trip. Our cabin was at the front end of D-deck, just behind the anchors; although we did wake every time they were raised or lowered, the process didn't take long, and the trade-off was that we were the furthest from any engine noise. Earplugs were provided, and being low in the boat kept the rolling from being too noticeable. The cabin and bathroom were cleaned every time we were out of the room (something like 4 times a day) so everything was always spotless. I would not hesitate to recommend this trip. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
This was the most amazing trip - the adventure of a lifetime that I was dreaming of since childhood! The guides were so generous, taking us on explorations that catered to everyone's fitness level, and immersing us in fascinating ... Read More
This was the most amazing trip - the adventure of a lifetime that I was dreaming of since childhood! The guides were so generous, taking us on explorations that catered to everyone's fitness level, and immersing us in fascinating lectures of history and science of the Galapagos Islands which made us a part of the evolution of the Universe as well as a part of Darwin's journey through the islands in search for answers to our roots. In addition the crew also organized several fun evenings with shows that surprised us in the most amazing ways!... They were so dedicated to our well being, fed us extremely well and healthy YUMMY food and treated us like family. I cannot imagine a more amazing adventure - where snorkeling meets hiking and sailing meets panga water slams - all with unimaginable nature encounters - and a schedule that accommodated it all so seamlessly, leaving us room to rest in between the intense explorations. To come so close to nature while feeling you are on board with Darwin, was truly the feat that no other tour or ship can offer! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Quasar Expedition’s Evolution is a 16 cabin luxury yacht. We had the opportunity to spend 7 nights on this boat cruising the eastern Galápagos Islands. Every day brought new and different experiences, while hiking and snorkeling, ... Read More
Quasar Expedition’s Evolution is a 16 cabin luxury yacht. We had the opportunity to spend 7 nights on this boat cruising the eastern Galápagos Islands. Every day brought new and different experiences, while hiking and snorkeling, which were explained by superb naturalists expert on the history, conditions and intricacies of the different islands in the Galápagos Archipiélago. The yacht was just the right size for this sort of cruise with plenty of common space for lounging but cozy enough to enable one to get to know every passenger and crew member on a first name basis. I would not hesitate to strongly recommend this yacht and cruise line to anyone interested in seeing this remote and fascinating part of our world. From the moment we made the decision to book to now several weeks post cruise, there is not a single thing I can recommend be improved. They have their act together in every aspect of their cruise adventure!!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I choose this cruise mainly for being able to put 3 people in one cabin. Myself, my son, and my 19 year old grandson. And we did fit...mostly. The staff was great. Our guides were Samuel and Alex. Both were extremely knowledgeable ... Read More
I choose this cruise mainly for being able to put 3 people in one cabin. Myself, my son, and my 19 year old grandson. And we did fit...mostly. The staff was great. Our guides were Samuel and Alex. Both were extremely knowledgeable and had a love of their topics, Steve was our tour director and wore many, many hats. He was a very funny and friendly young man, YES I would I go again and I highly requirement the cruise, "Trip of a lifetime". WE had both wet and dry landings. The crew were very helpful getting us older folks off and on the pangas which rocked some in the open ocean. No one got seasick, which was good. The doctor on board was one of our snorkeling mates. We saw hammerhead sharks and white tip sharks along with tons of sea lions, birds, and iguanas. Luckily no one had to see him on a professional basis. GO if you get the change, Do not wait. The food was outstanding. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
My wife and I spent a wonderful week in the Galapagos on the M/V Evolution in May 2018. We chose it because it looked like a stately boat with nice finishes. The price was in line with the Nat'l Geo ship (maybe cheaper) but smaller ... Read More
My wife and I spent a wonderful week in the Galapagos on the M/V Evolution in May 2018. We chose it because it looked like a stately boat with nice finishes. The price was in line with the Nat'l Geo ship (maybe cheaper) but smaller and looked nicer to us. The ship had been recently renovated and it looked great. The room was beautiful and spacious. The bathroom was good sized as well. The common spaces (particularly the upstairs bar/lounge area) were big and very comfortable. There was plenty of space for all 32 passengers. The tub was fantastic after snorkeling for an hour. The food was delicious and the staff took great pains to accommodate everyone's needs. The drinks were reasonable priced. Speaking of the staff they were superb. Great personalities and very attentive. The guides were extremely knowledgeable. The itinerary was fantastic, in particular the snorkeling. We'd definitely recommend Quasar and the Evolution! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose Quasar M/V Evolution because of their reputation and the size of the ship. Our cruise was everything we could have imagined and more. If you are looking for an activity centric vacation with a focus on nature and wildlife combined ... Read More
We chose Quasar M/V Evolution because of their reputation and the size of the ship. Our cruise was everything we could have imagined and more. If you are looking for an activity centric vacation with a focus on nature and wildlife combined with an attentive crew, I would highly recommend Quasar. The ship itself was luxurious without being overdone. Our cabin was spacious, updated and quiet. The public areas were comfortable and nicely appointed, perfect for large or small group gatherings as well as quiet time to read a book or journal. The food was amazing, fresh and healthy. The crew could not have been more attentive, making sure we were comfortable and safe while on the ship and our excursions. Our National Park Service guides were informative, sharing their knowledge and love of the Galapagos every step fo the way. Every day we were treated with new natural wonders and closeup encounters with the wildlife. Being on a ship that size with like-minded travelers was a treat in itself. We got to know everyone and made friendships that extended beyond the trip. We hope to go back sometime and will definitely look to Quasar for another great adventure. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
From the moment we arrived in Ecuador, the team at Quasar had us covered like it was a state visit. Every detail was coordinated for us, and we found ourselves in the magical Galapagos Islands in no time. Stepping onto the Evolution was ... Read More
From the moment we arrived in Ecuador, the team at Quasar had us covered like it was a state visit. Every detail was coordinated for us, and we found ourselves in the magical Galapagos Islands in no time. Stepping onto the Evolution was everything we hoped for as it was in excellent condition, clean and frankly looked like a 5-star floating boutique hotel (including a modern 'front desk'). The crew worked diligently 7x24 both in front and behind the scenes to provide us with an experience that can only be described as beyond perfect. The information was provided in good detail and in a timely fashion so that we could prepare for every day's adventures. The rooms were large and modern with modern lighting, great bathroom and great climate control. To keep the surprises coming, the meals and dining room kept delivering great cuisine every day. Our two guides were deeply experienced and knowledgable about the areas we went to and I think we saw every possible feature of this wonderland. While the islands themselves provide a great canvas to work with, the 'artists' at Quasar and the crew of the Evolution helped create a true vacation masterpiece for us. If I travel back to Galapagos (or any other place serviced by Quasar), they will be my first choice to host our family again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Richard Dawkins the evolutionary biologist was the fly paper that had me turn up on this my first ever cruise. Fantastic to be in the company of Richard and those interested in the same while spending a week visiting the Galapagos on ... Read More
Richard Dawkins the evolutionary biologist was the fly paper that had me turn up on this my first ever cruise. Fantastic to be in the company of Richard and those interested in the same while spending a week visiting the Galapagos on the Evolution a ship owned and run by Quasar Expeditions. The trip exceeded all my expectations. The ship was a perfect size for the group number and never felt crowded or cramped. The Panga's (dingy's used for ferrying) were well run and we all felt safe on the may boarding and landings we did over the 7 day trip. I loved the guides enthusiasm, knowledge and ability to show and explain any aspect of the flora, fauna, geology and history of the islands in response to the may questions asked by our group. The food, service and attention to detail was outstanding, The snorkeling was as you see on the wildlife programs as was the shore excursions to see the flora and fauna. When researching this trip I saw only outstanding reviews and I have now added one. Highly recommended. Thanks Quasar. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I'd always wanted to go to the Galapagos, and when life took a twist and the opportunity arose at the last minute, Diane was extremely helpful in booking the cruise and making sure I had everything I needed to be on my way. Not ... Read More
I'd always wanted to go to the Galapagos, and when life took a twist and the opportunity arose at the last minute, Diane was extremely helpful in booking the cruise and making sure I had everything I needed to be on my way. Not going to lie, it was long trip to get there but it was so worth it. I wasn't exactly sure what was going to happen after getting off the plane at Balta, so I just followed the crowd and sure enough, the crew was there to greet us. That was the last time that week that I had to put any thought into scheduling or where to be as everything after was smoothly and efficiently handled by the friendly and courteous crew. Mornings were one of my favorite times as every day we woke up in paradise. There were several of us that would get up early to enjoy the quiet before the day started, scanning the water and the land for the animals and enjoying a cup of coffee over books. Once the wake up call occurred (always delivered in a smooth and comforting voice), the day was on... breakfast, hiking, snorkeling, kayaking. There were wet landings and dry landings and some very adventurous landings, and throughout it all the Guides and the crew made sure everyone was safe and could participate according to their capabilities and desires. We saw so many things from the panga (ah, the beloved panga!), the boat, and on land. Orcas, flying flamingoes, birds nesting on eggs or with their babies, turtles, iguanas, penguins, crabs,sea lions with their babies and untold varieties of birds. We swam with so many different types of fish, sharks, turtles, and sea lions. The scenery, the atmosphere- it really is even more amazing in person than I could have imagined. I loved my cabin. I'm a solo traveler and it was the perfect size for me, although it could have easily accommodated another person, too. The bed was comfortable, lots of pillows, and cleaned several times a day. The staff made me smile with the different surprises they'd leave on the bed, too. My cabin seemed to be in the perfect spot- I was rocked to sleep each night and, while I could hear the engine and the anchor, neither was loud enough to interrupt my sleep. As a solo female traveler, I'm always a bit on guard when in a new place and around new people. I quickly lost any apprehension as the crew was so friendly and courteous. I thoroughly enjoyed that I could share the experience with a great group of people, but also that there was time to enjoy the ambience of the islands on my own. It was one of the most relaxing vacations I've ever been on and a lot of that was due to the amiability and competency of the entire crew. The only time I was uncomfortable was in the air conditioning in the public areas. Each night was a bit too cold for me during the evening activities and dinner. Next time, I'd take some warmer clothes for the evenings and would suggest that to anybody planning on going as well. A beautiful ship, wonderful and adventurous excursions, meticulous execution of planning, the atmosphere governed by the crew, and other fun surprises throughout the cruise made this trip a highlight of my life. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
Best vacation ever!!!! This trip to the Galapagos islands was an amazing adventure. First we flew from NY to Quito Ecuador for a few days before our cruise to the Galapagos Islands. Once we flew into the Galapagos Islands, our tour ... Read More
Best vacation ever!!!! This trip to the Galapagos islands was an amazing adventure. First we flew from NY to Quito Ecuador for a few days before our cruise to the Galapagos Islands. Once we flew into the Galapagos Islands, our tour guides greeted us at the airport to take us to our yacht, The Evolution. The embarkation went very smooth. Once we were on the yacht, we were greeted by the friendly staff and crew. The ship was recently renovated and absolutely beautiful. The cabins were a decent size and were kept extremely clean during our stay. As for the food...I don't have one negative thing to say. The chef was absolutely talented and not one bad meal came out of the kitchen. They catered to any allergies and preferences we had. After every excursion we were greeted with snacks and drinks to hold us over till our next meal. There was a lot of shore excursions through out the trip. Usually there were 2 hikes and 2 water activities per day. Our naturalist guides were very good at explaining everything about the wildlife and ecosystems of the islands. They became our friends by the end of the trip. We traveled with quite a few children, the youngest was 2 and the oldest was 13. My children were 4 and 6. I thought there wouldn't be much for them to do but they were included in everything and enjoyed every part of the trip. My kids often ask when we can go back. We would definitely recommend Quasar to anyone looking to travel to Galapagos and would love to visit again in the future. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We are a family of five (3 adult children) that was looking for an active, adventurous and educational vacation with time to relax. The cruise aboard the Evolution in and around the Galapagos Islands fulfilled our needs perfectly. The ... Read More
We are a family of five (3 adult children) that was looking for an active, adventurous and educational vacation with time to relax. The cruise aboard the Evolution in and around the Galapagos Islands fulfilled our needs perfectly. The ship's cabins were excellent, food and crew top notch, and the two onboard naturalists were smart, funny and engaging. The total number of passengers at 32 makes for an intimate, personal approach on-board and allows for land excursions that are small in size when split with the two naturalists. The public spaces on the ship are sufficient to allow for small groups to form and get to know each other - especially in the 10 person hot tub and the back deck bar area! I could not have hoped for a better trip and would highly recommend Quasar, and the Evolution in particular. Swim with sharks and seals, see finches and tortoises - do this cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
My partner and I recently sailed the Western Galapagos Islands on Quasar Expedition's M/V Evolution and we were simply blown away by the whole experience - from booking to cruising! Like most people, we were somewhat nervous about ... Read More
My partner and I recently sailed the Western Galapagos Islands on Quasar Expedition's M/V Evolution and we were simply blown away by the whole experience - from booking to cruising! Like most people, we were somewhat nervous about plunking down a significant sum of money without really knowing what to expect. Outstanding reviews about the company and the boat certainly helped but having an opportunity to actually speak to Diane and Paul, the company's US based managers, and clarify our many questions about everything from flights to daily itinerary was a huge factor in our choosing the company. Any company that works with potential clients, like Paul and Diane did, had to be great, right? Not necessarily, you may be thinking. But, Quasar Ex really is exceptional and the proof of that really was our onboard experience. We had an amazing time on the Evolution. The guides that led our group - Roberto and Hernan - were outstanding and easily lived up to our rather high standards (both my partner and I are scientists). We thoroughly enjoyed our days, jam-packed as they were with snorkelling, swimming, and hiking. My partner refers to the cruise as one amazing science field trip. Cruise connotes lounging by the pool. This ain't that kind of a cruise! Sure, individuals were welcome to skip any of the activities and relax/nap out the comfy couches in the open, breezy lounge on the top deck or in the hot tub - and yes, we did all that too but we made it a point to be in on all the activities. Who would have wanted to miss an opportunity to swim with the incredibly curious sea lion pups, penguins, octopi, turtles and giant rays, or watch blue-footed boobies catch their prey underwater, or be blown away by the unearthly landscape of Sullivan Bay lava field? The crew of M/V Evolution - from the captain to the cruise director to the onboard doctor to the panga drivers were all focused on one goal...to make this the trip of a lifetime for us. And this extended beyond the activities to include the onboard food and general cleanliness of the passenger quarters and the boat as a whole. I have to admit that I was particularly concerned about these two. I worried pointlessly. Our rooms were cleaned several times a day and the food onboard was excellent. Yes, expect a fair amount of seafood but if you have special requests (like my partner did), the crew/company will go out of its way to meet them. They actually anticipate the passengers' needs and had juices and snacks ready at precisely the right times. And what was even more impressive is that Steve, our cruise director, actually had memorized each persons needs (dietary or otherwise) and would alert/direct the passengers even before anyone needed to asked. I learnt that once when they had a person onboard with nut allergies, the whole boat was scrubbed down and there was not a nut to be found the entire week. We were very fortunate to have a remarkable group of people sailing with us. And we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to make their acquaintances. As good as the trip was, having outstanding company to share the experiences with just makes it all the more special. After reading the above, I can imagine many of you saying, "yeah, sure...but nothing can be perfect. There must have been something that wasn't quite spot on." And indeed there was. Bring a sweater or some cover-up to breakfast, lunch and dinner. With the air conditioners blasting cold air, we were chilled. In our own rooms, we had the option of turning the heat up but in the dining room, it took a bit of cajoling to do the same. Actually, many of us would have preferred to eat most of our meals (instead of just a couple) in the outdoor dining area - it was lovely out there in early March (2017) when we sailed. And, be prepared to be disconnected from your internet umbilical cord. The boat has no internet service. This, we thought was a great idea. But on the two days that the boat sailed close to the inhabited islands and it was possible to pick up cell signal, we would all have appreciated a couple of hours of wifi to be able to send quick messages to loved ones to let them know just how much we were enjoying ourselves, and confirm that they too were okay. Sure, the above complaints may seem petty and trivial but that just goes to show how wonderful a time we had onboard that we have dig deep down to find faults. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
The ship was well appointed and comfortable. The crew and staff were friendly and very helpful and kind. Both the naturalists were experts at all things Galapagos. Roberto shared some family adventures which was fun to listen to. The ... Read More
The ship was well appointed and comfortable. The crew and staff were friendly and very helpful and kind. Both the naturalists were experts at all things Galapagos. Roberto shared some family adventures which was fun to listen to. The doctor was attentive and took care of various boo boos. The food was excellent especially the ceviche. Must admit there was a lot of fish and chicken but it was well prepared and side dished were quite nice. The fruit and vegetable sculptures were very cute as well as the towel art. All the public areas were nice as was the cabin. We had picked a lower deck cabin as I was nervous about sea sickness. There were steep stairs down to it which made me extremely nervous but I managed. I could have done C deck and wished I had as sea sickness was not a problem. I did take one Dramamine a day. There were some people with patches and one or two had sea sickness problems. The hikes were challenging. They say 'boulder strewn paths' and they weren't kidding. The rocks also would shift as you stepped on them. I fell twice and hurt shoulder once and got a gash on my shin. I was determined to do the hikes so did not let it stop me. It was HOT. I enjoyed the afternoon rest as it gave me time to get ready for the next hike. Snorkeling was great except for one spot where the current kept shifting. The pangas are a little hard to get up into. There is a ladder but at times the panga is moving so you have to be careful. The guide and driver always helped. We did see hammerhead sharks and rays at two locations. The water can be a little murky but other areas it is clear. There was only one child on this trip and most of us wished he wasn't. He was rude and his parents did not manage him. HInt, don't bring your children if you aren't going to take care of them. There are trips that are more for children. Everything about the ship was great. There was someone to help at the airport in Guayaquil and in Baltra. Know where you are going and what is going on and you will have a super trip. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
FEMALE TRAVELING ALONE? Hopiing for a grope? Book on this boat... I do not recommend traveling on a Quasar boat if you are a woman traveling alone. I was sexually harassed by a staff member who tended bar and waited tables. Horrific! He ... Read More
FEMALE TRAVELING ALONE? Hopiing for a grope? Book on this boat... I do not recommend traveling on a Quasar boat if you are a woman traveling alone. I was sexually harassed by a staff member who tended bar and waited tables. Horrific! He entered my room without knocking, asked if he could give me a massage, told me I was "looking good", and basically ruined my trip. Upon informing a Quasar manager, her response was "Well you know Latin men, this is their way..." Really? I paid a HUGE 50% additional single fee for this trip. In addition, he said things, and interacted with me in a way he NEVER would have, had my husband been with me. Additionally--Eight people on this cruise (including myself) fell ill with Norovirus. I observed a staff member collecting the cabin toilet paper bags without using disposable gloves, going from cabin to cabin, WALKING THROUGH THE DINING ROOM with the bags of Norovirus waste, AND doing our dishes later in the day. Disgusting. The same manager saw nothing wrong with this, either--stating--"we have to hire the staff from the Galapagos, and sometimes they don't understand." On the positive--guides were awesome and food was mostly local and quite good. Excursions were very good. Never again would I book with Quasar, nor would I recommend Quasar for females traveling alone, or travelers who are concerned about hygiene and Norovirus. All of this could have been avoided. Quasar needs to OWN-UP to their lack of vetting and training staff members. NO employee EVER has the right to walk into a guests' cabin without knocking. This is an EGREGIOUS act--ESPECIALLY FOR A MALE TO WALK INTO A FEMALE'S CABIN. FEMALE TRAVELERS BEWARE! This is a shame. And another warning: online pictures tout cabins as being a warm two-toned color, and bathrooms with nice amenities. Actual cabin was a depressing monochromatic grey, there were no bathroom amenities other than soap dispensers. Additionally, my shower failed to drain properly because the drain is not lower than the floor. This was a nightmare when I was incapacitated with Noro, and had feces floating in the bottom of the shower. And during my illness, my toilet paper receptical was not emptied for over 24 hours. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We traveled the Western Galápagos Islands with 26 other highly educated and well traveled guests. Most people were pretty fit seniors with one 12 year old and five under 35. The two Ecuadorian-naturalists, Gustavo and Alex, and doctor, ... Read More
We traveled the Western Galápagos Islands with 26 other highly educated and well traveled guests. Most people were pretty fit seniors with one 12 year old and five under 35. The two Ecuadorian-naturalists, Gustavo and Alex, and doctor, Isaac, on board were outstanding. The 15 other staff members lead by Cruise Director, Steve, did equally well at their multiple tasks. The cruise had a nice balance of nature hikes, snorkeling, educational talks, and rest/relaxation periods. The meals and pre-dinner appetizers were exceptional. We always had a choice of fish or beef at dinner for the entree. We had a cooking demonstration one afternoon. In general, the waters were very smooth throughout our trip. Bring double the amount of sunscreen, backup batteries and memory for your camera,and a broad-brimmed hat and light clothing for the hot hikes. Dress on board was always casual. Each evening, we received a very detailed explanation of what to expect the next day. The early morning wakeup music and call to rise are memorable. There is no TV and no Wi-Fi...get away from it all! The good sized cabins are being refurnished in August (2017). The snorkeling equipment and wetsuits (needed) were fine. 95% of the Galápagos Islands is a national park and the people are very protective of their beautiful resource. Purified water is readily available on the boat. I'd recommend keeping tab of your alcoholic drinks as there are no receipts issued but a bill at the end of the cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Quasar Expeditions is the only way to see the Galapagos Islands! The Evolution is a lovely and luxurious yacht--and just the right size. Not too big, not too small. I always felt safe and well cared for. The staff and crew are second ... Read More
Quasar Expeditions is the only way to see the Galapagos Islands! The Evolution is a lovely and luxurious yacht--and just the right size. Not too big, not too small. I always felt safe and well cared for. The staff and crew are second to none. The food was excellent and plentiful! I didn't know whether I'd enjoy a cruise, but wanted to see as much of the Galapagos as possible. The upper deck of the ship is a perfect place to relax with a cup of coffee in the early morning or a cocktail in the evening. I woke up early each morning to enjoy the peaceful ocean views and panoramic views while on our way to our daily destination. The cabins are very comfortable, clean, stylish and well-maintained. Beds were made each morning and turned-down every night. Quasar's guides deserve special mention because of their high level of knowledge of all things Galapagos. They were both highly competent and very friendly. The crew was also fantastic and very friendly. I felt they were genuinely committed to creating a wonderful experience for everyone. The captain even slowed down for a pod of dolphins so we could observe them! I know this review only goes up to 5 stars. If I could I'd give them 10! I will definitely book another trip with Quasar! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
RESEARCHED ALL VENUES - DID NOT WANT LARGE SHIP OR ONE WITH 20 OR LESS WE HAD 27 PAX 18 CREW - SHIP IS A TREASURE - OLD WORLD AMBIANCE Guides and crew beyond excellent - have traveled most of the world on many small ships, (my ... Read More
RESEARCHED ALL VENUES - DID NOT WANT LARGE SHIP OR ONE WITH 20 OR LESS WE HAD 27 PAX 18 CREW - SHIP IS A TREASURE - OLD WORLD AMBIANCE Guides and crew beyond excellent - have traveled most of the world on many small ships, (my preference) and this one outshone all the others - food was outstanding participated in most of the activities, am 90 years of age - there was no problem since most treks were divided into two groups super athletic and not as agile. had lots of help over the difficult terrain and really did not miss anything. the daily 2 panga trips were mostly wet landing and no problem there. would strongly recommend this trip because of its versatility. quasars drivers and personnel were all on time and willing to do the extra step - i.e. Streets in quito cordoned off because of humanity conference. driver cheerfully lugged our luggage down 4 cobblestone blocks to hotel and we had a more difficult departure from casona de la ronda - again driver hauled luggage for a great distance. it was a trip of a lifetime quasar does an outstanding job of keeping all aspects absolutely reliable. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We cruise several times a year and we also travel with friends on a private yacht. The Evolution had the luxury of cruise ship with elegant bed linens, amazing service and crew, but the intimacy and flexibility of a private yacht...at a ... Read More
We cruise several times a year and we also travel with friends on a private yacht. The Evolution had the luxury of cruise ship with elegant bed linens, amazing service and crew, but the intimacy and flexibility of a private yacht...at a very affordable price! First I would caution anyone planning this once-in-a-lifetime trip to not be land-based. Day trips require many hours back and forth in small boats and only the ability to get to the most frequented islands. Also, it is a waste of your travel dollar to only spend 2-4 days on the boat or to cut the trip short for Machu Picchu or other add-ons. Plan 2 weeks if you want to go to the Peru, Amazon, or explore Ecuador. The latter is very reasonable and quite amazing in itself. Our group of 32 family, friends, and associates was not an easy one to organize or to please. Most are discerning travelers and many are budget-minded. We had diverse abilities, needs, and expectations—and everyone ended up with nothing but praise and also awe at this one-of-a-kind interaction with nature, science, and culture with very intense encounters with nature while feeling pampered and respected. (You can, of course, just book a single cabin or bring a family along.) One member of our group had a limited ability to walk due to recent knee surgeries and other problems. He fully expected to lounge on the boat while others enjoyed the creatures up close. Your crew determined that he would see and do almost as much as the others and created a exceptional plan where the ship’s captain and doctor went on every excursion with him to assist his walking and insure his safety. You arranged special panga rides to the prime spots so he could avoid walking too far or make difficult landings. This was so far above and beyond an expectation that not only did this gentleman have a fantastic time, we all reveled in his enjoyment—and noticed that his physical abilities improved with what turned out to be therapeutic! Our group included serious mountain climbers, expert divers, professional photographers, a marine biologist, experienced yachtsmen, many doctors, lawyers, PhDs in various fields, a writer, filmmaker, judge, editor, and policymakers—a very tough crowd! We also had two people with medically challenging diets. There was not a single complaint about the cabins, delicious meals, or even the demanding schedule. Not only was every need met—the crew intuited some before the request was made. (One guest prefers to drink iced tea and she brought her own mix. When the bartenders saw what she was doing, he brewed some fresh and served it to her as a surprise. Many of us started ordering it as well.) Of course we could rave about the amazing sightings of many varieties of whales, rare birds, undersea encounters in crystalline water, but another group might have a different—but surely as interesting—experience. However, the value of these was not just a list of species but the depth of the information and context that our naturalists conveyed. Also, it was because of their expertise in knowing where to go, the exact time of day, how to avoid other groups in the same location, which was food for the mind and soul as well as the immediacy of the uniqueness of the moment. First and foremost, though, I must praise the safety on this vessel. Getting off an on pangas in various sea conditions can be tricky and their system of three people assisting helped those in their 30s to late 70s to be confident. Plus they always had staff to lend a hand at sea, while snorkeling, or on land in difficult terrain to help many—including me—to have a “personal best” in terms of meeting physical challenges. Their system for handling various levels of snorkelers in open water was the best I’ve ever seen. I cannot praise the crew highly enough for their smarts, professionalism, and personal kindness. Plus, there were certain touches of comfort and luxury made the voyage extra special for me including icy towels after a hot excursion, those delicious and healthful tropical fruit smoothies, the always-fresh and interesting Ecuadorian cuisine, the warm Jacuzzi and cool beverages after a snorkel, the generous beach and spa towels, the wet suit assistance, the luxury linens, tasty snacks, yummy soups, and so much more! I cannot praise Quasar highly enough for its preparation, attention to detail, educational aspects, humor and fun, professionalism, and personal kindness from everyone we encountered. Highly recommended as not only the premier ship in the Galapagos, but one of the most reasonable! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
We had an incredible trip to the Galapagos on Quasar's MV Evolution. We received great service during all the pre-trip questions which helped me select the Evolution over other boat options that we considered. During the trip service ... Read More
We had an incredible trip to the Galapagos on Quasar's MV Evolution. We received great service during all the pre-trip questions which helped me select the Evolution over other boat options that we considered. During the trip service was great from the guides and all the crew. The guides really added to the trip experience and we particularly loved going with Boli. We had an exceptional group of fellow travelers that added to the experience. Spending time with them in between excursions up in the bar lounge area filled the trip with many memories. Although the boat holds 32 passengers, it was not filled this trip with only 18 people. We enjoyed the extra room but really there was enough space for 32 passengers. Overall the ship felt very roomy. The boat had recently undergone some renovations which were nice. All the common furniture looked very nice and were comfortable. They were putting on some finishing touches on the trip staining some areas up on the deck and rails. Everything went like clock work. Next days schedules were discussed in the nightly lectures and briefings and posted throughout the ship. We are early risers but they did play a morning wake up call music promptly per schedule. The day started with a hearty breakfast with a choice of eggs, omelets, various meat options, breads options, cheese plate, yogurt, granola, various fruits and hot drinks. After breakfast we would do our first landing of the day. Our boat was frequently the only one at the landing site and it was nice that they split the group into two with one going one direction and the other direction. It made the experience feel like you were with a really small group. After the morning landing, we came back to cool towels and a snack before changing clothes to go on a snorkeling trip. There were many certified divers among the group but all enjoyed the variety of marine life that we saw on these trips. Visibility is not as good as Caribbean waters but we were able to see a number of hammerheads, manta rays, reef sharks, turtles, sea lions, eagle rays, sting rays, and a wide variety of reef fish. When we returned from snorkeling, another cool towel and snack and then to the hot tub. Snorkeling equipment and wet suit were provided but we opted to bring our own snorkeling equipment. I would suggest you bring your own especially if you already have a mask that fits well. The routine was then to get out of swimsuits, shower, and change clothes to get ready for lunch. Lunch included soup,salads, cheeses, breads, usually fish and another protein such as chicken. There were always fruit and fresh vegetables and some starch as sides. Desserts were good and varied. At this time Steve would ask what we wanted for dinner with a choice between two entrees. We usually went for mixto which was a little of both entrees. Often during lunch, the boat was repositioned for a different location for the late afternoon hike. All this seamlessly happened. There was a quiet time where we would spend time talking about the morning experience or some people went to their cabins to nap. There were a couple of afternoons that we had the option to kayak. That was really fun and the equipment was good. In the evening, there was a lecture on various topics related to the Galapagos followed by a quick preview of tomorrows activities and schedules. Dinner was served around 7:30 and most of the time was a soup followed by a pre-plated entrée ordered earlier. Some of the dinners included filet mignon, shrimp, large prawns, salmon, tuna, pork, various chicken dishes, ribs, etc. Vegetables were fresh. You would never go hungry. Desserts were varied in sometime included home made ice cream that was really good. After dinner, we frequently congregated on the bar lounge area but some evenings when the sky was clear we went up front to star gaze. The crew did an excellent job throughout the trip. From the panga drivers, to the people who helped everyone off and on the ship, the chef and servers, the hotel director, the cleaning staff and doctor. It was nice having a Doctor on board. We were fortunate not to need her service but people who did need her rave about her. I know there were a number of crew who we never saw because they were responsible for running the ship. Everything worked and the trip seemed very smooth from our perspective. We had cabin D3 which I selected for its location. I was worried about being sea sick so I wanted to be in a low part of the boat near the middle. I was happy with how little the room moved about even when people were complaining on upper decks about how things fell off tables when we hit rougher water. You couldn't hear much engine noise and normally I slept through the anchor going up but you could hear the anchor going down. Overall the weather was warm, in the 80s. A couple of the evening walks were pretty hot. Although there was an El Nino, we only had rain one day and unfortunately it was the day to visit the tortoise preserve in the Highlands of Santa Cruz. I would have liked to spend more time walking around but it was pouring rain. El Nino had not impacted the wildlife too much yet. However on one walk the guide mentioned the absence of a large population of marine iguanas and that ones that were there were very skinny. This trip had so many wonderful memories. Besides all the special moments seeing the wildlife up so close, there were a few things that also stood out. This trip was my birthday present. I was surprised with a beautiful and delicious birthday cake brought to me by the captain with the crew singing. A few of us were early risers and one morning we were in very calm waters and one of the group asked the first mate if we could swim around the boat for exercise. He said yes so we ran and switched into swim suites. I grabbed my mask and snorkel so I could see better and then started swimming laps around the boat. It was a fun experience and I will always regret not grabbing my Gopro. As I was swimming I saw a sea lion swimming around below. Later the sea lion popped up within 6 feet with a big fish in its mouth. Wish I had that on film. One of our guides Boli put together a souvenir video for us about our trip if you want to see more about what it is like to be on the MV Evolution. https://youtu.be/0QINMJFLAE4 Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
I can't say enough about our Galapagos cruise onboard M/V EVOLUTION. We went on a 7 night, 8 day cruise in January 2016. My husband and I are younger (early 30's) and we were definitely on the younger end of the crowd, but ... Read More
I can't say enough about our Galapagos cruise onboard M/V EVOLUTION. We went on a 7 night, 8 day cruise in January 2016. My husband and I are younger (early 30's) and we were definitely on the younger end of the crowd, but everyone was incredibly interesting and they were all active. Mostly American, with one Norwegian couple, and a British/Romanian couple. Bottom line, we loved the type of people that M/V EVOLUTION seems to appeal to. The ship is beautiful! Recently restored and perfect for the Galapagos. It's intimate without feeling crowded, and there are plenty of spaces to be outdoors, but also in the shade. The dining areas (both indoor and outdoor) were roomy, and the Jacuzzi/sun area was a really nice addition to the ship. Our cabin, D3, on the bottom level, was everything we needed. Big bed, plenty of storage, and the bathroom was nice. Water pressure was good and it was hot. The crew did an excellent job at making everyone feel at home and attending to their needs. The one thing I was really impressed by was how crew members would pitch in if they saw something that needed to be done, even if it wasn't in their job description. One day, the Captain was the one who washed off our feet as we returned from land. He also gave my husband and I, both in the US Navy, a personal tour of the bridge, which was really appreciated. The food/bar was wonderful. Food was fresh, lots of variety, and they served homemade dessert at every meal. Bar prices were reasonable and there was a happy hour period every evening before that night's briefing and dinner. Our naturalist guides made the trip. Their level of knowledge was unprecedented. I was so impressed by their technical command of the English language, as well as their knowledge of the Galapagos. This is definitely one of the most important things to consider when picking a Galapagos cruise. Everything on the ship ran like clockwork thanks to the guides, the crew, and the Cruise Director. It was the perfect amount of activity versus downtime. The scheduled activities were varied enough that you never got bored and the Northwestern itinerary was perfect. We got to see a good overview of the islands. Overall, I can't recommend M/V EVOLUTION/Quasar Expeditions more. They provide a tremendous experience at a reasonable cost (compared to other ships). You won't regret it! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
Wonderful trip. Great information, food was Equadorean and wonderful. The different exposures to the islands ( snorkeling with penguins ,sea lions, Rays, reef sharks, and of course, fish) hiking up peaks, across lava fields, seeing ... Read More
Wonderful trip. Great information, food was Equadorean and wonderful. The different exposures to the islands ( snorkeling with penguins ,sea lions, Rays, reef sharks, and of course, fish) hiking up peaks, across lava fields, seeing incredible flora and fauna, panga( raft) rides to see albatross, blue footed boobies, noddy terns, et. The naturalists were knowledgable, fun and helpful. Even the captain and the doctor could be anywhere, helping load pangas, bar tendering, you name it. It was a trip of a lifetime. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
We took the M/V Evolution in January 2015 to the Galapagos Islands. The cruise was better than I expected. I knew that this was considered a luxury yacht, but was extremely please with the large & well laid out cabin, the crew, the ... Read More
We took the M/V Evolution in January 2015 to the Galapagos Islands. The cruise was better than I expected. I knew that this was considered a luxury yacht, but was extremely please with the large & well laid out cabin, the crew, the excursions, and the ship itself. The staff was outstanding. All of them were very professional, caring & friendly. Debora Carrera, our "hotel" manager was excellent at her job & very kind. She got ot know each of the passengers very quickly & learned what we liked. Our ship doctor, Isaac Jimenez, pitched in on all the excursions, including taking wonderful pictures, in addition to caring for our medical needs. My husband had picked up a gastrointestinal disturbance prior to our trip & it got much worse while we were onboard. After Isaac gave him medication, it went away in a day. Isaac also helped guide me while we were snorkeling. Our guides - Jhosellyn Aguas Flores & Alex Cox - were wonderful - they taught us a lot, were very enthusiastic & caring. Each of them seemed to go above & beyond what I expected. The food was good - well varied, fresh, plentiful. Considering the meals were buffet, they were quite good. The activities were wonderful, as reported elsewhere. I really enjoyed all the island excursions & snorkeling. The housekeeping staff kept everything very clean, which was challenging since we showered throughout the day. The only negatives I have were 1) I had motion sickness even though I was taking meclizine; 2) related to #1, our cabin C1, was in the front of the ship & I think the location made the motion worse. The noise of the anchor being taken up would wake us. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
We just returned from a 7 night cruise in the Galapagos Islands aboard the Evolution. Although this cruise was completely different from most of the reviews I've read on the Cruise Critic website, it's certainly worth praise and ... Read More
We just returned from a 7 night cruise in the Galapagos Islands aboard the Evolution. Although this cruise was completely different from most of the reviews I've read on the Cruise Critic website, it's certainly worth praise and an exceptional review. Quasar Expeditions hosted the trip aboard our 32 passenger yacht and nothing could have been better! Each day was filled with a friendly wake up call to a delicious and hardy breakfast before boarding the panga (zodiac) for an early morning hike. We repositioned before lunch, or had another panga ride to our snorkel spot for the day, were greeted by the amazing staff of the Evolution with snacks in the jacuzzi after our underwater adventure, shared another amazing meal at lunch (including desert every day) then off to another exciting little island for our late afternoon hike. Early evening began with our Naturalist's briefing and review of our day's adventures including a recap of the wildlife and geological formations we visited during the day. The guides reinforced our knowledge and experiences of the day with a slide show, answered all our questions, and reviewed our itinerary for the following day. Dinner and wine (and another great desert) rounded out the day, or we finished up in the lounge with an after-dinner drink and discussion. This is a cruise for those who are active, interested in nature, and ready to immerse themselves in the Galapagos. The open air design of the Evolution is perfect to explore the islands, and the small size of the yacht makes each landing and snorkel experience feel as though you are the only people in the world. The islands are so isolated and special, I can't imagine sharing them with a huge group of people. The appointments aboard the Evolution are those of a first-class hotel, so while spending your days on lava fields and swimming with the sea turtles or sharks, you return to luxury and pampering by the staff. It was absolutely amazing! A note about our guides. Rafael Pesantes and Samuel Quiroz, both Level III Naturalist Guides, were fantastic! Rafa's love of the islands and the wildlife was contagious as he described the flight or breeding patterns of the blue footed boobies, or explained the evolutionary adaptations of the marine iguana. Sam guided up step by step through the volcanic creation and growth of the islands. They patiently answered all our questions in brief or in detail (not easy to do with a group of geneticists on board). More importantly, we had such fun learning and exploring and each day was filled with more wonders than the day before. Quasar has done it again by providing an incredible yacht, coupled with outstanding staff, and the best Naturalist guides in the islands!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
I traveled on the M/V Evolution on a 7 day adventure cruise in the Galapagos Islands. I traveled with my spouse as part of a medium group. Our group was all people associated in some way with NIH. Most of us lived in the greater Washington ... Read More
I traveled on the M/V Evolution on a 7 day adventure cruise in the Galapagos Islands. I traveled with my spouse as part of a medium group. Our group was all people associated in some way with NIH. Most of us lived in the greater Washington DC metro area and had a least a few things in common, and nearly half of us were working scientists, but we did not go to the Galapagos as researchers, we went as eco-tourists. The flights to Galapagos are relatively short and painless, but because of the scheduling of flights from mainland Ecuador to Baltra Island, it took two days of travel to get there. My group left washington DC Friday morning, had a layover in Miami, and arrived in Guayaquil Friday night. We stayed at the Hotel Oro Verde (fantastic) overnight and flew to Baltra the next morning. The airport in Baltra is very small, and although they process literally hundreds of visitors a week, patience is required getting through the "customs" counter. Because all of the Galapagos is a nature reserve, the government of Ecuador tightly controls the number of visitors and where they go. That means that each person must be individually identified and checked off a list of approved visitors, and must pay for a permit to visit. Once my group got through the gauntlet, we were met by our naturalist guides, Samuel and Rafael, as well as two other crew members from the Evolution. All of the crew members were friendly, asked our names, and helped us with our luggage. We had a very short (less than 10 minutes) bus ride to the pier, where we all board small rubber rafts (pangas) and were ferried to the ship. From our first step on the ship, it was a delight. We were greeted by the cruise director/hotel manager, Michelle. We were given fresh fruit juice and directed to the lounge, where we were oriented to the ship, introduced to key staff members by name, and given an overview of the evening's activities. Michelle had the list of passengers and cabins, and we all trundled off to our cabins to put away our carry-on items (our checked luggage was delivered a bit later) and settle in. In general, each day on the Evolution followed a similar pattern: Wake up call at about 6, breakfast at 6:15, and depart for the morning hike at 7:15 (we needed to get out there before it got too hot). We would hike or stroll on a gorgeous island for and hour or two, then come back to the ship between 10 and 10:30. Change into swim gear, then snorkel until lunchtime. Have a fantstic lunch prepared by the ship's chef, then rest or nap while the ship repositioned, until early afternoon. Assemble to go to ashore for a hike on a different island around 3 pm. Come back to the ship at about 5, have fresh juice, cocktails, and appetizers. at 6:30, there was a briefing explaining what would happen the next day in detail, including what time to get up, what kind of shoes would be necessary, and how far we would walk. They crew was extremely organized and although we crammed a lot of sightseeing into 7 days, I never felt rushed. The cruise was the absolute best vacation I have ever had. The service on the boat was above and beyond anything I have ever experienced. I am sure that it helped that there were only 30 passengers on the boat, but it was amazing. All of the crew members knew our names, and all of the crew seemed genuinely happy to be on the ship, and to know us. Each meal was prepared fresh, often before our eyes, and the food was customized to each person's dietary needs. Every single time we boarded the ship, which was 3 times each day, we were greeted with damp washcloths for our hands and faces and fresh fruit juices. A different juice each time, all delicious. By coincidence, My wedding anniversary occurred while we were on the ship. I had thought "wouldn't it be neat to have the captain renew our vows?" but had hesitated to ask for such a personal favor. So, at lunchtime of my anniversary, I mentioned to Michelle, the cruise director, that I would really love it if the captain could come down and say a few words and "marry" us again. Michelle was immediately excited, and ran off to talk to the captain at once. By the time we had returned from our afternoon hike, Michelle had arranged for our cabin to be decorated with balloons and towel swans (surprise!), had the chef make us a heart-shaped cake, and prepared a wedding ceremony, complete with the captain and first mate in full uniform and a certificate of marriage (and all the other passengers as our guests). She also got another passenger to write us a wedding poem that the captain read at the conclusion of the ceremony. It was very touching, and she got it all together without any guidance from us, on 4 hours' notice. Incredible. The hikes and snorkeling sites were fantastic. We saw sea lions, a vast array of huge tropical fish, rays, sharks, penguins, flightless cormorants, blue-footed boobies, nasca boobies, herons, flamingos, finches, gulls, Galapagos hawks, land iguanas, marine iguanas, lava lizards, bright red lightfoot crabs, and frigate birds. All up close. the animals were completely unafraid of humans and you could literally get within a few feet of them without them even moving. We also walked on lava flows, went into a giant lava tunnel underground, and saw tortoises that were alive during the civil war. I cannot overstate how truly wonderful the wildlife was. If you are interested in nature and conservation, this is a vacation for you. Read Less
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