Metropolitan Touring and Hurtigruten Expeditions announce partnership in the Galapagos Islands

Metropolitan Touring, the pioneer of travel in the Galapagos Islands, announces a partnership with Hurtigruten Expeditions, as the world leader in exploration travel expands its global offering to the archipelago


Famous for the unique nature and wildlife, the isolated archipelago 600 miles/1,000 km off the coast of Ecuador has mesmerized travelers and scientists for centuries. Starting from January 2022, Hurtigruten Expeditions will offer 7-day adventures, visiting some of the most spectacular and iconic sites of the archipelago onboard the 90-guest MS Santa Cruz II.

The recently renovated MV Santa Cruz II is ready to receive clients from all over the world!

The recently renovated MS Santa Cruz II is ready to receive clients from all over the world!

As part of the partnership, the MS Santa Cruz II — including all suites and cabins, explorer lounge, dining room, bar, and other public areas — will be fully upgraded. A Hurtigruten Expeditions hallmark, a Science Area, will also be added, where guests and the onboard expedition team will create an even deeper understanding of the wonders they explore. Metropolitan Touring has offered intimate and unique encounters with the islands’ wildlife since they pioneered expedition cruises in Galapagos almost 70 years ago. Hurtigruten Expeditions pioneered expedition cruises in 1896 and has since grown to the world’s largest expedition cruise line.

“This partnership brings together two companies that combine the best of two worlds: Hurtigruten Expeditions as a global player with an excellent reputation in expedition cruises, and our long history, deep knowledge, and amazing, experienced teams working in the Galapagos Islands. We believe the partnership will bolster the Galapagos’ reputation as a nature-based, responsible travel destination on the global stage,” Metropolitan Touring CEO Paulina Burbano de Lara says.

Paulina Burbano de Lara, Metropolitan Touring's CEO

Paulina Burbano de Lara, Metropolitan Touring’s CEO

To offer guests one-of-a-kind experiences, Hurtigruten Expeditions has entered into a long-term strategic partnership with Ecuador-based Metropolitan Touring, the most experienced and renowned travel company in the Galapagos.

Guests will explore Galapagos in style and comfort on-board the fully upgraded 90-guest MS Santa Cruz II, adding to Hurtigruten Expeditions’ growing fleet of small purpose-built expedition cruise ships.

“We are extremely excited to expand our South America offering to one of the most spectacular destinations on the planet. We have seen a clear trend of travelers 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 huge pent-up demand for traveling right now and we are responding with this breath-taking new destination,” Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam says.

“This is a significant milestone in our 125-year history of exploring. The Galapagos is one of the world’s ultimate expedition cruise destinations. It is a perfect match between two companies with proud histories, strong heritage, and passion for the well-being of our oceans and our planet,” Hurtigruten Expeditions CEO Asta Lassesen says.

Asta Lassesen, Hurtigruten Expeditions’ CEO

“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 travelers can enjoy in-depth connections with the islands’ natural wonders and share truly transformative experiences,” Burbano de Lara says.

With both companies sharing common values in investing in sustainability, all Hurtigruten Expeditions cruises to Galapagos are carbon neutral. Hurtigruten Expeditions guests will contribute directly to the protection of biodiverse forests in northwestern Ecuador, named a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 2018.

Hurtigruten Expeditions has reported record-strong booking numbers for 2022. With the addition of the Galapagos Islands, the growth is expected to further accelerate.

About Metropolitan Touring

Metropolitan Touring is regarded as the pioneer in expedition cruising in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. Founded in 1953, the company owns and operates three expedition vessels in the archipelago and one hotel (Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel) on Santa Cruz Island. On the mainland, the boutique Casa Gangotena in the heart of the capital Quito’s historic center, and Mashpi Lodge, a luxury cocoon from which to explore the forests to the northwest of Quito, form part of its portfolio. The company also operates in Colombia and Peru. In Ecuador, guests’ carbon emissions are offset through the acquisition and management of endangered and biodiverse forests.

About Hurtigruten Group

Hurtigruten Group is the world’s leading adventure travel group, offering unique small-ship and land-based adventures from pole to pole – and anywhere between. We take our guests to the most spectacular areas of the planet, offering a mix of pristine wilderness and visits to genuine local communities. Hurtigruten Group is revolutionizing the travel industry’s approach to sustainability, allowing us to offer authentic local experiences while leaving a footprint we are proud of – both in nature and with the communities we visit. Our commitment to safety is as absolute as our passion for exploration. Safeguarding our guests, colleagues, partners, wildlife, nature, and the communities we visit will always be our number one priority.

Hurtigruten Group is focused on three main business areas:

Hurtigruten Expeditions – the world’s largest and leading expedition cruise line. With sustainability and exploration at core, Hurtigruten Expeditions offers small-ship exploration of more than 250 destinations across 30+ countries.

Hurtigruten Norway Coastal Express – the original since 1893. Offering a unique combination of local travelers, goods and international tourists since the very first departure almost 130 years ago. Connecting 34 communities along Norway’s rugged coastline, Hurtigruten Norway’s 7 coastal express ships takes you closer to nature and the local communities – in what is referred to as “the most beautiful voyage in the world”.

Hurtigruten Svalbard – year-round land-based adventures next to the North Pole. Hurtigruten land-based Arctic adventures trace its roots back to the late 1800s. Today, Hurtigruten Svalbard is the largest and longest-running tour operator on the Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard.


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