Hurtigruten Expeditions is expanding its global reach offering unique voyages to one of the world’s most iconic destinations – the Galapagos Islands – in January next year.

Hurtigruten is also partnering with an experienced travel company, the Ecuador-based Metropolitan Touring to operate its itineraries in the Galapagos.

The partnership will see passengers explore the islands’ exotic wildlife onboard MS Santa Cruz ll which will be added to Hurtigruten fleet of expedition ships.

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The Darwin Suite

Before joining the fleet, MS Santa Cruz will undergo a major refit, with all suites, cabins, lounge, dining room, bar and public areas, to be upgraded. A Hurtigruten hallmark, a Science Area, will also be added to enhance passengers understanding of the natural wonders they explore.

From January 5 to December 21 2022, the 90-passenger MS Santa Cruz ll will take passengers on 10-day itineraries to the Galapagos, renowned for its striking natural landscape and amazing wildlife such as the giant tortoise, flamingo, penguins and Blue Footed Boobie. The remote archipelago lies 1000kms off the coast of Ecuador.

“We have seen a clear trend of travellers seeking out truly unique and meaningful travel experiences, with a sharp increase in demand for the type of small ships/big experiences we offer.

“The pandemic has dramatically pushed this development forward. There is a huge pent-up demand for travelling right now and we are responding with this breathtaking new destination,” said Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

For instance, bookings on Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express voyages for 2022 have seen a 45 per cent increase over 2020.

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Snorkelling in the Galapagos Islands

As Metropolitan Touring CEO Paulina Burbano de Lara said: “Our unmatched experience, passionate teams, dedicated service and expert naturalist guides enable us to create the perfect journeys of discovery across the Galapagos, where expedition cruise travellers can enjoy in-depth connections with the islands’ natural wonders and share truly transformative experiences.”

Hurtigruten will also offer pre-and post packages including land-based adventures to South America’s famous destinations such as Machu Picchu.