National Geographic Islander

capacity
48 guests
year built
1995
remodeled
2005
length
164 feet
beam
30 feet
cruising speed
6 knots
flag
Ecuador

The National Geographic Islander is a versatile 164-foot twin-hulled vessel with 24 spacious cabins accommodating 48 guests. She is a sturdy expedition ship, designed for year-round discovery and active exploration of the Galapagos Islands on an up-close, personal scale. 

National Geographic Islander Review

The National Geographic Islander is the smaller of the two National Geographic ships in the Galapagos, so choose her if you are seeking a more intimate experience. Otherwise, choose her if you are seeking an active, educational and intellectual cruise with the experts from National Geographic. Though the Islander is not luxury, her guides and equipment are the best in the business, so you can expect the highest level of education and expedition experience possible.

The AdventureSmith Explorations crew has personally cruised aboard National Geographic Islander. Review the ship description below and our review. If you still have questions contact our Galapagos travel experts.

Common Areas Aboard National Geographic Islander

Contemporary and stylish, the National Geographic Islander is fully air-conditioned throughout and features the following amenities: a covered deck with hammocks, chairs and tables; laundry service (additional charge); doctor’s office available 24 hours a day free of charge; fitness center; library; photo kiosk for sorting and transferring your photos (bring your own USB or external hard drive); and global market featuring goods from local artisans from the Galapagos and Ecuador. An onboard spa offers massages, body treatments and facials. The lounge and bar are the main social hub of the ship, and where all the briefings, photography talks and guest speaker presentations take place. With sweeping windows over the stern and a skylight above, the room offers ample natural light and dramatic views. 

Internet access is available for purchase by the minute. You may access WiFi on your laptop, tablet or phone to check email, social media or surf the web, but since the Galapagos Islands are so remote you’ll most often find that the Internet connection is not powerful enough to support Skype or video chat. If you choose not to travel with a computer, there are Internet kiosks available.

Dining Aboard National Geographic Islander

Islander’s elegant dining room wraps around the stern with large windows and accommodates the entire expedition community in a single seating. You are free to dine with whom you like, and independent travelers will find a warm welcome on board. Dress is always casual and the general ambiance is relaxed and informal.

All food served aboard is fresh, sourced from local and sustainable suppliers and inflected with regional flavors. Breakfast is served buffet-style, with eggs and other dishes made to order. Enjoy freshly-baked pastries, and a bounty of fresh, tropical fruits and fresh-squeezed fruit juices. An early riser continental breakfast is also served each morning, and on warm tropical mornings, is often served on Islander’s covered outdoor deck. Lunch is most often buffet, though occasionally served family style, and there is often an option of a light lunch served on deck. Dinners are plated and served in the dining room, except for the evening when an extravagant barbecue is held on Islander’s open deck. 

A variety of beverages are available for purchase including beer, cocktails, spirits and wines by the glass or bottle. Sodas and juices are complimentary. The lounge also offers 24-hour beverage service, including coffee, a variety of teas, sodas, water, ice and cookies.

Expedition Staff Aboard National Geographic Islander

The National Geographic Islander’s captains have decades of sailing experience in the regions they explore. They know when and where to navigate so that you feel the places visited are all yours. And Ecuadorian Captain and officers welcome guests to the Bridge in accordance with Islander’s “Open Bridge” policy.

The National Geographic Islander’s expedition staff likes nothing better than to surprise and delight you by directing the ship toward alluring coves or bow-riding dolphins. There is even an onboard Undersea Specialist to expose you to the marine world through underwater cameras and video microscopes. The seasoned crew consists of expert Zodiac drivers and considerate service providers. Their energy, enthusiasm and local field expertise are sure to enhance your experience. This is what expedition travel is all about: not just seeing wilderness, but being out there, in it. 

Activities Aboard National Geographic Islander

The Islander offers an impressive range of ways to experience the wildness of Galápagos. Learn about life below the surface with the undersea cameras, poke into waterline caves aboard a kayak, glide into coves on a stand-up paddleboard and snorkel with playful, inquisitive sea lions. And, with small groups and several Zodiac landing craft, you’ll be ashore within minutes of dropping the anchor, meaning more time exploring and less time waiting. Onboard is a fitness center with cardio equipment (stationary bicycle, step machine, treadmill), hand weights and yoga mats. The wellness specialist offers morning stretches outside on the sundeck.

On the first day of your expedition you’ll be fitted with a mask, snorkel, fins, wetsuit, and, if you choose, a snorkel buoyancy vest. These are yours to use for the duration of the expedition—so there’s no need to pack and tote your own gear. The 3mm shorty wetsuits allow you to stay in the cool water of Galápagos longer, and protect your skin from the equatorial sun. Guests who own masks with prescription lenses, or prefer to use thicker, full-length wetsuits are welcome to bring their own gear.

On select Islander departures, scuba diving may be available at an added cost for experienced divers. Onboard guides will arrange for a rendezvous with a local dive outfitter that will supply both gear and dive guides.

Cabins & Deck Plan Aboard National Geographic Islander

National Geographic Islander accommodates 48 guests in 24 cabins, including two suites. All accommodations have a window, and the eight cabins at the top of the ship (Categories 4 and 5) have private, glassed-in terraces for exceptional views of the passing islands. Two spacious suites (Category 5) feature a wraparound view forward over the bow and off to the side of the ship. All cabins have two single beds that can combine to create double- or queen-sized beds. Your preference is taken at booking.

Decorated in a rich, nautical design with mahogany trim, Islander’s cabins are cozy and well-appointed. All cabins offer ample closet space, a small table and chair, individual climate control and private facilities. There is ample room under the bed for storing smaller pieces of luggage, and hair dryers are stored in every cabin. The small but well laid out bathrooms have botanically inspired hair products and shower gel. A limited number of cabins can accommodate a third person.

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.