Boarding our Galapagos Cruise

Boarding the Santa Cruz II for the first time

This is a fun experiment to run: spend two months living on as little as possible. Share meals with another person to cut costs, stay only in cheap hostels, and agonize over every purchase you make. Then, book a week at the nicest hotel you can find. Make sure it’s an all-inclusive – meals from a world class chef, guided tours and activities every day, and nightly entertainment. Oh, and if at all possible, the views should be spectacular from the comfy chairs in the cozy library.

This is our room, complete with a closet, desk, life jackets, and a panoramic window

We ran this experiment, and here’s what we found. First, there are things that you’ve gotten so used to not having that you assume they aren’t even an option. In our case this was things like hot running water on demand and a private shower and bathroom. When we first saw a map of the ship, we saw bathrooms on each floor and assumed these were the ones we would share with our shipmates. That’s done on a luxury-class ship, right? How else would they fit everything on except by consolidating things like bathrooms? When we got to our room on the ship, we found this:

Oh, ok. Also, unlimited hot water and real water pressure

Then come the little details that pamper you, the unnecessary niceties that you’ve long since forgotten. Five types of hot teas, cookies, and an automatic latte machine, available all the time. Snacks and plush seats in the library, with windows that allow you to gaze over the edge of your book onto the horizon. So much variety for breakfast that when you returned for thirds or fourth helpings, you were still trying new dishes. Even going back for thirds or fourths. Getting to pick what you want for dinner. And last and most, twice-daily tours and events that required no preplanning and effort on your part, designed to be both educational and engaging. 

We realize we paid a lot of money to be here, but had forgotten how much money buys

Last come the things that make you laugh and wonder what the hell is going on and how is this a thing that even happens. For us this was embodied in the fresh juice that was perfectly-chilled and waiting in tiny glasses every time we returned from a tour. This was the chocolate truffles left on our pillows every night, stamped in the shapes of Galapagos animals. This was coming back from both our morning and afternoon tour (with a nap in between) to find that someone has made your bed and turned down the sheets in your room thrice that day. While things like this sink in over time, the surrealness of it never entirely dissipates. In what world does someone get used to this?

Stay tuned to see if we manage it.

A dessert after dinner from the onboard Cordon Bleu-trained chef. We have entered a world strange to us.

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