Wavy albatrosses on Espanola Island

* Even if your ship is classified a luxury vessel, it will be much smaller than it appears in the brochure. You can book a cabin away from the engine room, but it then will be next to the anchor. Either one cures narcolepsy.

* Mornings and afternoons you will visit the various islands. You get there by panga, or dinghy, from your ship. Some landings are wet and some are dry. Dry is a relative term. You will stay dry as long as you don’t fall in the water when exiting the dinghy.

* Some hikes are pretty rugged. You will traverse lava fields and jagged boulders. Genovesa is an easy hike–after you climb the side of a 30-foot cliff to get to the trail.

* You can’t touch the sea lions or penguins or any other creature. They, however, get to touch you all they want. It’s a really neat feeling when a penguin swims between your legs.

* Forget about souvenirs. The islands are largely uninhabited, so there is nothing to buy. If your itinerary includes Puerto Ayora, a small resort town on Santa Cruz, spend your time at the tortoise nursery rather than t-shirt shops. Give your grandchildren $10 bills instead.