From January 2022, the Norwegian cruise and ferry company Hurtigruten (via its new brand Hurtigruten Expeditions) is due to expand its breadth of destinations and include the Galapagos Islands offering in-depth 'beyond imagination’ adventures.
Popular for its unique wildlife and nature, the isolated archipelago approx 1000 km (600 mi) off Ecuador's coast has mesmerized scientists and travelers for centuries.
Hurtigruten entered into a partnership with the most renowned travel company in the Galapagos, Ecuador-based Metropolitan Touring.
Passengers will explore the Galapagos Islands in style onboard the upgraded 90-passenger luxury yacht MV Santa Cruz II, adding to Hurtigruten’s growing fleet of small purpose-built expedition cruise ships.
Starting January 5, 2022, Hurtigruten will offer 9-day adventures, calling at some of the most spectacular sites of the archipelago aboard Santa Cruz II, as well as pre-/post-cruise packages before/after the 6-night voyage.
It is also possible to add a 4-day pre-program to Machu Picchu in Peru prior to embarking on the Galapagos trip.
As part of the partnership, Santa Cruz 2 will be fully refurbished in 2021, including all cabins and suites, dining room, bar, explorer lounge, and other public areas.
A Hurtigruten hallmark, called Science Area, will be added, where passengers and the onboard expedition team will create a deeper understanding of what they explore.
All Hurtigruten cruises to Galapagos are carbon neutral. Guests will directly contribute to the protection of northwestern Ecuador's biodiverse forests, named a UNESCO biosphere reserve back in 2018.
Cruise highlights feature exploring the Giant Tortoise breeding center, as well as getting close to land iguanas and sea lions, bird watching, snorkeling, kayaking. Daily lectures to understand the history and animal population of the islands are also offered.