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Has anyone used Road Scholars for travel? We've been checking out their Galapagos excursion and wanted to get some feedback.
I'm in the planning stage for a trip to the islands next year. We would like to see the Galápagos Islands, Machu Picchu, and the Amazon.
lechat, I've never done a Road Scholar trip, but they're generally regarded favorably. However (there's always a "however"<g>), there's a few oddities on their "Galápagos: Natural and Cultural History" page, which maybe also appear on other pages:
1. Small Ship: Uh, does it have a name? There are many small ships and some are better (much better) than others. You need to know *what* ship they're using before you do a booking.
2. Day 3: Arrive Baltra, take combo bus/ferry/bus across the island to Puerto Ayora to board ship. Then sail back to where you arrived, to visit Mosquera Island, which is less than 3 miles from the airport. So, why go all the way to Puerto Ayora, only to return to the same area? I hope the rest of the trip is better organized, but it might be worthwhile to do some double-checking before enrolling.
We have traveled on 2 trips with Road Scholar and found both of them well organized and well run. The transfers went very smoothly and the guides they hired themselves were terrific. They probably are using the Galaxy's naturalist guide; I don't know anything about that particular boat or the quality of guides they hire. However, higher-class boats (first- and luxury-class) boats are more likely to have the really good naturalist guides because--well, wouldn't YOU want to be a guide on one of those boats if you could?
trip reports (and much more) at https://galapagos2009.wordpress.com/
Tip Top III has 2 itineraries listed on their website. Road Scholar has some trips going a week apart. I'll assume one has on itinerary and the next the alternate. Is option 1 the better itinerary?
Last I was looking at Celebrity Xperience , Northern loop. that seems to hit the islands suggested by posters on TA.
I appreciate any comments or suggestions on these cruises as well as any alternatives.
I have not done Galapagos w Road Scholar but have done four US and two European trips. There are occasional glitches but these are always quickly resolved. Quality of tour leaders and experts is high. Quality of fellow travelers is high. I have two trips scheduled with them in the next year: Paris and Pompeii.
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In between trips to Europe, we decided to go to the Galapagos, which is on our bucket list. We are thinking of taking a cruise with Road Scholar. Has anyone had any experience with them in the Galapagos? Thanks!
We just came back from the Galapagos in late May/early June. We didn't take a cruise but booked through Galapagos Alternative. We stayed on one of the main islands and then day tripped out. They booked everything for us, rooms in a b and b, daily cruises etc. The daily trips out had small groups and everything went perfectly. We loved staying on the island and getting to know the area and wander around nightly. It was much less expensive also. Good luck and enjoy a beautiful place. The natives indicated that this was a great time to come. Not too hot or crowded.
No experience with Road Scholar, but we highly recommend Galapagos. We went last November with Lindblad (National Geographic) and it was amazing. It's a place everyone should see, either on a cruise or on your own.
I went on a Road Scholar Galapagos cruise last August, and had an excellent experience. The group was small (15). we would go on the islands for several hours in the morning and late afternoons, with time for relaxing before and after lunch. There was an opportunity to snorkel almost every (with wet suits because the water is cold!) Our guide was excellent, and the crew was very helpful. Be prepared for some rough terrain, but some absolutely amazing experiences and encounters with the wildlife. Because the boat was small, the was more motion, and we did have a couple of rough nights. That being said, I would highly recommend them.
Thanks all! We can’t wait to go. Debn did you have a patch to help with seasickness? Also can you say something more about the rough terrain? I had foot surgery this past summer and am wondering how my foot will do on the trip. So you could snorkel every day? Sounds great!
You have two choices for a Galapagos tour - a smaller boat that carries fewer people so you can get on and off the islands quicker. The disadvantage of this is that they take longer to get between islands and they are bumpier rides.
Bigger boats are much smoother, but you get less time on the islands.
The other key factor is how long a visit. If you have more than just a passing interest in birds and wildlife, a 3 or 5 day trip isn't going to give you sufficient variety of habitats to see all the endemics, so a 7-10 day trip works best.
When I went, I was on the Reina Silvia, a small boat and had a 10 day trip. I am not a good sailor and despite wearing bands, eating ginger and taking seasickness pills, I was still ill. You need to be nimble to get on and off the rubber boats to get to/from the islands. Most island tracks are ok
Jennifer, thanks for your comments. We ended up signing up for the Road Scholar trip. It is a small boat and I believe they said there will be 12-14 passengers. It is an 11 day cruise and we will be visiting a number of islands, including Genovesa and Isabella/Fernadina. So hopefully we will get to see a lot of wildlife. I am concerned about the seasickness issues you raised since it is a small boat. My husband is fine when the boat is moving but when it stops, he gets seasick. I have heard very good thing about the scopolamine patch, did you try that too? Were the seasickness pills you took meclizine (Bonine)?
Barbara. I took Dramamine from the UK. I don't know if this is available in the States. Neither that or the ginger or the bands worked! I didn't try patches.
I missed most dinners, as I was sat out on deck trying to stare at the horizon, despite the food sounding awesome!
Oh, what a shame! I will let you know after the trip if the patches worked. Years ago, we sailed on a schooner in the Caribbean as a day trip, and our older daughter got quite seasick. She took Dramamine, fell asleep, and missed the whole day cruise, poor thing.
Here is a link on meclizine: https://www.drugs.com/meclizine.html
It says to take the drug one hour before your trip, but it takes 3 - 6 hours to get maximum plasma levels. One of my friends' husband takes it a day or two before his cruise to insure he has sufficient blood levels. Take it at before bed to mitigate the drowsiness. By the way, you can also get more information on Trip Adviser Galapagos. When are you going? We are signed up with Road Scholar for June, 2018.
Thanks for the link and the tips. Actually we do use meclizine for motion sickness because it makes us less drowsy than Dramamine (as long as we take one pill instead of two). We don't usually take it the day before, so will consider trying that. I'm just thinking ahead, in case meclizine doesn't work, so I'd like to bring a few other remedies. The patch also sounds helpful, and I plan to ask my travel doctor about it before we go.
I did post a question about potential itineraries on the TA Galapagos forum, and got some good feedback. Based on that advice, we were able to choose what looks like a good trip. I do not always post questions on both forums and do not find the RS and TZ forums redundant, they seem qualitatively different to me in terms of the posts you receive back. But both forums have been helpful, and on both, people have had nothing but good things to say about Road Scholar as a Galapagos trip provider.
Our trip is 2/28-3/10. I'll post a brief trip report when we return, so you'll get some feedback on the Road Scholar experience before you go.
Have a great trip!
Hi, Barbara Here's a link about the interaction between meclizine and scopolamine: https://www.drugs.com/interactions-check.php?drug_list=1540-0,2047-0
Since you have experience with meclizine, you could first start with that. However, you might consider carrying scopolamine as a back up if the meclizine does not work for you. Of course, you can discuss this with your doctor. February is a good time to go as the water is calmer. There was a couple whom we met on another Road Scholar trip that went in February. They said it was very humid. Have fun. I look forward to your trip report.
Hi Michelle, thanks for the link. That is very useful information. I wondered about whether it would be safe to take both, and I guess the answer is no. I suppose we will start with meclizine, as you suggest, and go from there. Will definitely do a trip report so you'll have some more feedback on Road Scholar. You have a great trip too.
Barbara, I have not been to the Galapagos, so I can't provide advice re: the experience. But, it is on my list of places I hope to visit.
But, since you have asked some questions about meds to prevent seasickness, I will share some info that I never knew before our recent trip (which was a National Geographic Expedition to Iceland and Greenland). I had NEVER had any problem with seasickness before (10 different ship journeys), including experiencing over 45-foot waves at the tip of New Zealand during gale-force winds and also during medium waves (10-20 feet) both ways through Drake's Passage en route to/fro Antarctica. So, you can imagine my surprise when I began I suddenly began to feel light-headed at the beginning of dinner off the coast of Greenland when there was just a bit of ocean motion, but not that much motion compared to other times when I was never bothered. I excused myself from dinner and knew to lay flat in bed (took care of the problem without any other drama).
When I mentioned how odd it was to the ship's hotel manager the next day, he asked me if I had consumed any citrus ( I had two mimosas before dinner), and he explained that citrus can make one more susceptible to seasickness symptoms. I found that VERY interesting, and I avoided citrus in the evening for the rest of the journey and had no further issues. So, you might want to mentally file that away, just in case you have issues that may cause you to choose to avoid citrus. Spicy and greasy food, I have since been told, can also contribute.
I seem do better overall without the seasickness tablets (which bother my stomach when the waves did not).
And, I've also been told that other than laying flat, it is a good idea (if you are up top side) to keep an eye on the horizon if you begin to be bothered by wave motion. If the seas are exceptionally rough at night, I keep the blinds/drapes closed and NEVER look out the cabin window, as I think that might cause anxiety for me to see rough waves knocking against the window...hearing it is enough ;o
Wishing you a very special experience and calm seas.
Maggie, that is great to know! Wonder what it is about citrus that would cause problems? Doesn't matter, though, it's easy enough to avoid. Thanks so much for sharing! Barbara
I suggest you consult your physician. Dad used scolpolamine patches for a few cruises without incident. Then it was no longer available in our area pharmacies for a year or two. When it reappeared we patched Dad up and got onboard. After a while he started to display balance problems and “crazy talk” for lack of a more technical term. When he began hallucinating we contacted the ship doctor. He quickly asked if Dad was wearing the patch, then told us...adamantly...”Remove the patch at once. Scrub his neck thoroughly...almost until it bleeds.” Scared the daylights out of us, but the symptoms abated almost immediately with no later ill effects. The ship doctor told me the patch can deliver it’s dosage inconsistently and may be especially problematic for the elderly. This was a few years ago, and only our experience. I have no medical training, but felt compelled to share our experience. Hope all goes well for you.
Denny, what a scary story! I'm glad your dad recovered quickly and fully. I will definitely discuss this with our doctor before we go. Thanks so much for the heads up. Barbara
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