Expanding its unrivaled experience of personalized wildlife interaction and expert nature interpretation in the Galapagos, Natural Habitat Adventures has added the 16-passenger M/C Ocean Spray to its fleet of privately chartered ships in the islands. Designed for elegance and comfort, the Ocean Spray offers a stylish, intimate immersion for guests traveling from island to island in a live-aboard experience.
As the newest privately chartered expedition yacht in Natural Habitat Adventures’ Classic Galapagos portfolio, this sleek 113-foot motorized catamaran is a high-performance vessel designed for stability and maneuverability—key components for access to landing sites that are inaccessible to larger ships. The Ocean Spray expands Nat Hab’s realm of style and sophistication at sea, including an out-of-the-ordinary itinerary through this volcanic archipelago that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador.
With a pair of top naturalist guides on board, Ocean Spray guests enjoy the lowest guide-to-guest ratio in the islands. The yacht offers an unusual itinerary designed for up-close, private encounters with sea lions, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas and more in some of the Galapagos’ most remote and lesser-known areas. The ship is equipped with ample kayaks, snorkel gear and wetsuits for exploration—and guests can ply the Galapagos’ clear waters alongside elegant sea turtles, playful penguins and colorful fish without ever needing to worry about crowds that surround larger ships.
Each Ocean Spray 10-day Classic Galapagos itinerary begins with a trip to the Andean highlands, where guests sleep at a 1691 colonial hacienda, indulge in a locavore Ecuadorian feast and watch for wildlife including Andean condors and spectacled bears. Guests also enjoy an exclusive opportunity to spend a night at Nat Hab’s Tortoise Camp in the Santa Cruz highlands, where wild tortoises roam free as guests slumber in newly renovated raised canvas tents and treehouses.
The itinerary includes a visit to Espanola to swim, kayak, snorkel and explore by panga the prolific wildlife, hidden caves and white sand beaches. On the southern reaches of Isabela, guests visit a sprinkling of islets, a lagoon frequented by sea turtles and the beautiful and twisted lava flows that are home to species that exist nowhere else. And on Fernandina, where birdlife flourishes on black lava rock and sea lions bask in the sun, guests can snorkel in the turquoise sea surrounding the youngest Galapagos island while watching for submerged marine iguanas feed on algae.
“We take great care and pride in selecting only the best small ships for our Galapagos adventures,” explains Ben Bressler, Founder and President of Natural Habitat Adventures. “With a range of styles and price-points, from ultra-luxurious to classic and comfortable, our hand-picked fleet offers our guests a gracious and intimate experience on every vessel.”
The Ocean Spray provides eight spacious staterooms and one smaller single cabin, each with a private balcony and en suite bathroom. The ship’s crisp blue and white interiors are accented by gleaming woodwork and stunning Galapagos wildlife photography, while a sprawling third-floor sundeck provides 360-degree views with ample lounge chairs, Jacuzzi and outdoor bar. Additional main deck patio space invites socializing and wildlife watching, while a lounge with panoramic views and plush seating promotes camaraderie and relaxation. Fine meals are served in the air-conditioned main floor dining room or al fresco under a shaded outdoor patio on the upper deck.
Traveling with two expert Nat Hab Expedition Leaders and a crew of Galapagos residents, guests immerse in the islands with expert interpretation and local perspective. This small-group journey sails the Galapagos with acute social and environmental consciousness, leaving the lightest possible footprint.
Contributing members are responsible for the accuracy of content contributed to the Member News section of AdventureTravelNews.