Metropolitan Touring and Hurtigruten Expeditions Announce Partnership in the Galapagos Islands

5 July 2021

Metropolitan Touring, 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 on board the 90-guest MS Santa Cruz II.

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.

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 heritages and passion for the well-being of our oceans and our planet,” Hurtigruten Expeditions CEO Asta Lassesen says.

“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.

Metropolitan Touring CEO Paulina Burbano de Lara (left) and Hurtigruten Expeditions CEO Asta Lassesen (right).

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 Galapagos Islands, the growth is expected to further accelerate.