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Trailfinders 10 day cruises

Chelmsford, United...
posts: 2
reviews: 28
Trailfinders 10 day cruises

Has anyone any experience of cruises with Trailfinders? The boats appear nice and small and come in 4 grades but are unamed so I can't look for reviews. I am not looking for luxury but do suffer with claustrophobia so tiny windows could be a problem.I would prefer a small boat to a large, seasickness is not a problem.Any feedback or alternative suggestions would be very welcome.

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 7,221
reviews: 93
1. Re: Trailfinders 10 day cruises

Often prices for a privately arranged cruise are comparable to an arrangement from a large tour company. For Galapagos, the guide is very important, and I would want to pick my own boat, given your concerns. There are many good Ecuadorean agents who can help you. One that is a Galapagos Islands specialist will be able to recommend a ship with the physical layout you would feel better with. Often there is a room on an upper floor that would have more windows. It may cost a few hundred dollars more, but worth your comfort.

What is it about Trailfinders that has you considering them? For 10 days, what is the itinerary?

Chelmsford, United...
posts: 2
reviews: 28
2. Re: Trailfinders 10 day cruises

We are trying to put together several tours over about 6-7 weeks; Galapgos, touring Ecuador and Peru but without the travelling being too intensive. As we also have to fly from the UK we thought it might be simpler and more secure to do the whole thing with one company. We have flown with Trailfinders several times and have been happy with their organisation but we have also gone more independantly as well.

The precise itinerary is not too important, as long as we cover the essentials of Galapagos there is no specific "must see", I am sure we will enjoy ourseves whatever we see but would rather not pay too much over the top!

Thanks for your advice, any other thoughts would be welcome.

Lakewood, CO
posts: 1,399
reviews: 23
3. Re: Trailfinders 10 day cruises

Any of the Galapagos specialists will be able to make great suggestions and arrange for pre- and post-trip extensions to continental Ecuador and Peru. Those are common packages for travelers, and the specialists will have had much experience in those arrangements. Three that consistently good reviews on this forum are Happy Gringo, CNH Tours, and Columbus Travel, although I know others are mentioned on this forum as well.

The issues around getting the best travel arrangements in the archipelago are complex and can be quite fluid. For our first trip, we went with Elderhostel and lucked into having a decent enough trip. But knowing what I know now (thanks in large part to this forum!), I decided immediately to use a Galapagos specialist (CNH Tours) for our return trip and I've not regretted it for a second!

Tina

trip report at http://galapagos2009.wordpress.com/

Tucson, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Quito, Ecuador
posts: 7,152
reviews: 74
4. Re: Trailfinders 10 day cruises

I also used CNH for my own second trip to Galapagos and can recommend them. For Peru, I was fortunate to find good thngs written about PeruTrek4Good on the Peru forum. They customized an independent trip for me that was just right-- I appreciatedt hat Yure, the owner, really paid attention to what I wanted to see and do.

Lancashire, UK
Destination Expert
for Flic En Flac, Mauritius
posts: 7,392
reviews: 128
5. Re: Trailfinders 10 day cruises

Our forthcoming trip/tour to South America and the Galapagos cruise in around 6 weeks time is booked through Trailfinders. Like you Mandy we've used them before and found their organisation to be excellent.

We're taking only four weeks, flying from UK to Rio for a couple of days, then in a nutshell - on to Iguassu, viewing from both Brazil and Argentinian sides, Cusco via Lima, Pisac and Ollantaytambo, then to Machu Picchu. Followed by Puno....boat trip to Uros and Taquile Islands, then catamaran trip on Lake Titicaca and finally Guayaquil via La Paz. The final week of our holiday is our cruise (Celebrity Xpedition) of the Galapagos. If you can be away for 6 or 7 weeks you can see far more than us. All the very best with your planning.

London, UK
posts: 1,410
reviews: 57
6. Re: Trailfinders 10 day cruises

I have used Trailfinders a lot, in fact for many years they were the only agency I would use. They are very professional and I never had a problem with a thing. I could only sing their praises to anyone who would listen.

However... I would also have travelled with them to the Galapagos but when I asked them to quote 10 months in advance they were unable to give me prices and the agent I talked to seemed more interested in her own upcoming holiday than in helping me. Other agencies were much more forthcoming so I jumped ship.

That's unfortunate and not representative how Trailfinders usually work. I was rather disappointed by it to be honest. I will almost certainly go back to them for another holiday but equally I have no qualms about booking with another agency now so who knows.

To the best of my knowledge Trailfinders use Metropolitan Touring in Ecuador as a local agent as do the agency I eventually booked with. I won’t mention them just yet as we haven’t actually taken this holiday yet and so I can’t give you the lowdown on how it all went. Suffice to say I am extremely happy with them thus far.

The thing about booking with a local operator in Ecuador for UK travellers is that by doing so they surrender all statutory protection that booking through a UK operator gives you. If you book a holiday package in the UK and there’s an airline collapse (Mexicana got me a few years ago), airline strike (Iberia may bite me this time), the hotel goes bottom up or any number of unforeseen circumstances then the UK operator bears the responsibility of making it good. If you book with a local operator and book a flight separately and can’t get there then good luck trying to get your money back.

People say "it’s best to book with a local operator because then your money goes to the local economy", well yes that’s true but that’s of scant comfort when you lose the cost of your holiday. Travel to the Galapagos is not cheap, and it costs significantly more when you add in a long haul flight from Europe. It’s difficult to get away with much less than $4-5K per person if you want to do it properly. Our trip has been planned and saved for over a number of years and it is costing way more than that. I simply could not take the chance, fortuitously as it happens (Iberia anyone?)

If you don’t like the choices on offer Trailfinders will happily book another boat for you, just ask them. They are usually very accommodating but if you don’t like the answer take your business elsewhere.

Edited: 9:27 am, February 05, 2013
7. Re: Trailfinders 10 day cruises

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