The 90-guest ship, owned and operated by Metropolitan Touring (small cruise line), replaced the Santa Cruz I, which has been operating in the Galapagos for 36 years.
Santa Cruz II will be offering 4-, 5- and 9-night itineraries in the Northern, Eastern and Western Galapagos Islands.
Paulina Burbano de Lara, Metropolitan Touring's executive president, commented, “We are delighted to announce the launch of our new Galapagos Islands expedition boat.
Santa Cruz II started life as an expedition vessel for Australia-based tour operator, Australis, in 2000. Metropolitan Touring purchased the five-deck ship earlier this year, and completely refurbished it. It has 50 single, double and triple cabins, and three Darwin Suites.
It also has a viewing platform in front of the Bridge, indoor and outdoor dining options, two lounge bars, a library, two ocean-view hot tubs and a gym. And, in a first for the line, the new ship also features kid-friendly facilities including a children's play area.
Santa Cruz II arrived in the Galapagos on October 7 following a naming ceremony in Guaycil, Ecuador on October 5, and set sail on its first voyage last Saturday (October 10).
When a new ship launches in the Galapagos it usually immediately replaces another. However, Metropolitan Touring has arranged for the Santa Cruz I to operate three final four-night itineraries for 210 local children between the ages of nine and 18