Hurtigruten Expeditions will expand into the Galapagos Islands in 2022, via a partnership with Ecuador-based Metropolitan Touring.
Starting in January, Hurtigruten will offer nine-day Galapagos trips on the 90-passenger Santa Cruz II, a Metropolitan ship that Hurtigruten will upgrade. The ship will have a Hurtigruten Expeditions livery while remaining in Metropolitan’s fleet. It will be used exclusively for Hurtigruten’s year-round sailings.
Hurtigruten said Metropolitan Touring was a perfect match given both companies’ long sailing history. Metropolitan has been in business for 70 years.
“This is a significant milestone in our 125-year history of exploring,” said Hurtigruten Expeditions CEO Asta Lassesen. “The Galapagos is one of the world’s ultimate expedition cruise destinations. It is a perfect match between two companies with a proud history, strong heritage, and passion for the well-being of our oceans and our planet.”
Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam said demand has sharply risen, and that 2022 booking levels are almost 50% higher than pre-pandemic.
“The pandemic has dramatically pushed this development forward,” he said. “There is huge pent-up demand for traveling right now, and we are responding with this breathtaking new destination.”
The Santa Cruz II is currently undergoing an upgrade in Ecuador. All cabins and public spaces will be refurbished and the ship will get Hurtigruten Expeditions hallmarks such as a science area, where guests gather with the onboard expedition team to learn about the region they’re visiting.
The itineraries will include two nights in Quito, a six-day cruise, and a full-day visit to the Cotopaxi National Park, home to Cotopaxi, the most active volcano in South America.
Hurtigruten will also offer an optional four-day trip to Machu Picchu before the cruise.
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