The Real Deal Behind Galapagos Vessel Size (Vol. I)

There are those out there who proclaim that Galapagos vessel size can make or break a trip in the enchanted isles. We’re here to tell you otherwise. Read on to find out what myths you should look out for when it comes to choosing a Galapagos vessel based on size alone.

Galapagos Vessel Size = Level of Intimacy

Some Say: True intimacy can only be found on smaller yachts.
We Believe: Intimacy is the ability to unwind more easily – to be alone with your thoughts, to have a quiet moment with a loved one, to read a book, or just enjoy the sunset. Larger expedition vessels provide ample spaces that allow for this exact level of intimacy. In fact, more often than not, you may find that you have some of the communal areas entirely to yourselves!

Santa Cruz Ii Cruise's Solarium
After A Great Day Of Exploration, Our Solarium With A Beautiful View Awaits!

Get ready to explore the Galapagos Islands in the comfort of Santa Cruz II Cruise!

Out of Many, One

Some Say: You will feel like a passenger and not a guest on a bigger boat.
We Believe: It’s our job – and our pleasure – to make sure every guest on our vessels thoroughly enjoys their journey with us, and with a 3:2 guest-crew ratio, you know you’re going to be pampered. The word passenger, in fact, is practically non-existent in our vocabulary. We tend to every need – be it comfort, dietary, activity, or health-related – as if each individual were a guest of honor aboard. We spare no effort or expense in guaranteeing that our guests experience the best and most comfortable stay possible.

Restaurant Aboard The Santa Cruz Ii Galapagos Cruise
Santa Cruz Ii Is One Of Galapagos’ Most Luxurious Cruises.

Stranger Danger?

Some Say: You will be surrounded by strangers.
We Believe: Unless you’ve chartered an entire, smaller yacht for you and 15 of your closest friends, you will most definitely (and constantly!) be surrounded by strangers on a smaller vessel with less room to separate. Smaller ships mean less space to find your own personal space. Larger ships, however, have the added benefit of allowing guests to find plenty of space and room to themselves, should they need a break from being in the presence of other guests.

Nevertheless, it’s important to note that, regardless of ship size, it’s the experiences we share with strangers, friends, and family that bring us together and connect us in ways we never thought possible. And why should we be afraid to be surrounded by our fellow humans on a trip as extraordinary as this one, anyway? Here in the Galapagos, experiencing the new and wonderful as a group is what brings us all closer together; for there is always something to talk about, new opinions and worldviews to share, and memories to build together. On large vessels, you get to choose when you want to do and have that.

Santa Cruz's Guest Observing A Flightless Cormorant On Fernandina Island.
Our Guests Observing A Flightless Cormorant During Their Visit On Fernandina Island.

The Bigger They Are, The Less They Rock

Some Say: Large ships will still rock on rough seas.
We Say: Large ships are in fact less prone to the movement of the ocean and its currents than smaller vessels. Large vessels, or “Expedition Vessels” as they’re known in the Galapagos, are way more stable due to their sheer size. Passengers experience the motion of the waves much less on expedition vessels than on smaller vessels. The smaller the ship, the more prone and susceptible they are to being moved dramatically with each gentle push of a current or a small smack of a wave. Physics is key when it comes to dispelling this myth: The greater the size of the ship in the water, the more stable it is.

Santa Cruz Ii Galapagos Cruise Exploring The Archipelago.
Santa Cruz Ii Galapagos Cruise Exploring The Archipelago.

Some Say: Cruise Ships need to cater to many passengers, many times using pre-cooked ingredients.
We Say: It’s important to remember that we are not a cruise ship. In fact, there are zero cruise ships, in a traditional sense of the term, allowed in the Galapagos. Secondly, only the best of the best is served on this expedition vessel. Our meals are prepared daily using primarily fresh ingredients. With top-tier chefs under the direction of a Le Cordon Bleu-trained gastronomic director and quality ingredients sourced both locally and from the mainland with our own dedicated logistics operations, the food prepared aboard our ships is on par with some of the best culinary experiences that can be found over on the mainland.

Click here for Part II

Updated:May 19, 2023

Published:June 29, 2017


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A Font of information, Klaus has spent decades in the field, leading tours in the Amazon, Andes and Galapagos Islands. He hung up his guiding boots a few years back and now creates itineraries for the tour operator, Metropolitan Touring. Adrift in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from mainland South America, Galapagos is one of the most biodiverse locales on Earth.

Cruise Critic

Santa Cruz II is a replacement for the much-loved Santa Cruz, which plied the waters of the Galapagos for 36 years. It is not a new ship; it was built in 2002 and sailed as Mare Australis under the Australis cruise brand, operating expedition cruises around Cape Horn and to Antarctica. Metropolitan Touring bought the ship in 2015 and completely refurbished it, launching it as Santa Cruz II in October 2015.

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When this modern, minimalist, glass-walled jungle lodge opened in 2012, it changed the accommodation game in South America. Arquitect Alfredo Ribadeneira’s “protective cocoon” would impress in a modern city; in the depths of an Andean cloudforest, it is wild, audacious and beautiful. Though only 70 miles from Quito, Maspi Lodge sits in splendid isolation, perched on a cliff at the end of an unsealed road.

Terms and Conditions

Itinerario de 5 días / 4 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (4214 USD + impuestos por persona)
Itinerario de 7 días / 6 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (5672 USD + impuestos por persona)
No reembolsable. Aplica únicamente para residentes ecuatorianos en nuevas reservas directas realizadas, hasta el 30 de junio del 2022, con un ejecutivo de ventas del hotel. Válido para estadías hasta el 31 de agosto de 2022. No puede ser combinada con otros descuentos, promociones u ofertas. El descuento no aplica para otros servicios. El precio no incluye recargo de combustible de $20 por noche de crucero.

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