June 21, 2024


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Galapagos Islands Cruise Review Santa Cruz II

Galapagos Islands Cruise Review {Santa Cruz II}

Galapagos Islands Cruise Review Santa Cruz II

Galapagos Cruise Review Santa Cruz II

Galapagos Islands Cruise Review Santa Cruz II
Post Last Modified – December 27, 2022 ¦ gr8traveltips.com

Our Galapagos Islands Cruise With Metropolitan Touring

My wife and I had the distinct pleasure of being invited to Ecuador by Metropolitan Touring, to sail aboard one of their expedition ships in the Galapagos Islands – ⛴ The Santa Cruz II.

Along with the opportunity to stay at 3 of their luxury hotels located in Ecuador.

This article is going to review our amazing 5 day/4 night Northern Galapagos Expedition Cruise and reasons why choosing Metropolitan Touring for your travel to this beautiful part of the world, is a great choice.

Metropolitan Touring – Ecuador’s Leading Destination Management Company

Galapagos Islands Cruise

Established in the 1950’s, Metropolitan Touring is world renowned and with 70 years of experience operating tours throughout Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

This company owns 3 beautiful expedition ships and 3 of the most luxurious hotels in Ecuador. Their team of professionals will put together a worry free, tailor made vacation that’s just right for you and your family.

It can be overwhelming trying to plan and choose the right time and vacation package to this part of the world. This company’s experienced professionals will handle every detail from start to finish, putting together a perfect vacation package.

Metropolitan Touring – Expedition Cruises

Santa Cruz II Cruise Manager

On the Santa Cruz II, you have a choice of either a; 5 day Northern, 5 day Western or 7 day Eastern expedition cruise.

After lengthy discussions with our Metropolitan Touring Travel Professional, we opted for the 7 day northern cruise. The main reason for this was that my wife and I love to snorkel and this cruise offered numerous opportunities to do so.

Metropolitan Touring Northern Cruise Map

We definitely were not disappointed!

About The Santa Cruz II

Santa Cruz II Bow

This is the largest of the 3 ships in Metropolitan Touring’s fleet. This ship has a maximum of 90 guests with 50 large; single, double and triple cabins to choose from.

Santa Cruz II Ships Officers

With over 50 crew members to serve its guests, including experienced naturalist guides and an onboard Medical Officer for peace of mind.

“With some of the latest advances in sustainable sailing, the Santa Cruz II Galapagos Cruise also aims to protect the delicate and beautiful ecosystem that it explores.”

Santa Cruz II Bridge

This vessel has 5 decks and includes; a large viewing panorama lounge, reading room, dining area, gift shop, small gym and 2 outdoor hot tubs located at the stern.

Santa Cruz II Cabin

The ship has been refurbished and is beautifully appointed for guest comfort and convenience. We were amazed by the size of our cabin, compared to that of a typical cabin in a large cruise ship.

Santa Cruz II Cabin Amenities

We couldn’t have asked for anything more!

Santa Cruz II Cabin Bath


Panorama Main LoungeSanta Cruz II Panorama Lounge

This main lounge is a great place to sit back relax and enjoy the incredible views. There’s also a 24 coffee and snack bar located in this lounge.

Santa Cruz II Panorama Room


Outdoor Stern Lounge

Santa Cruz II Outdoor Lounge


Additional Stern Deck Seating

Santa Cruz II Rear Deck Seating

There’s plenty of room onboard to find a comfortable place to sit back, relax and soak in the beautiful surrounding views of the Galapagos Islands.

2 Outdoor Hot Tubs For Guests Located At The Stern Of The Ship

Santa Cruz II Hot Tub Area

Galapagos Cruise Review – 5 Day Northern Expedition Cruise

Naturalist Guide Photographer

Our Metropolitan Touring representative took care of all our travel plans to and from the Galapagos Islands, from the City of Quito.

Air travel arrangements were made, complete with airport transfers and representatives to meet and greet us at the airport. This is a very professional tailor made worry free vacation, great for those who are looking for a stress free, relaxing time away.

Your cruise vacation expedition includes:

Multiple guided small group shore excursions with experienced naturalists and onboard informative lectures;

Free transfers airport/hotel/airport for Galapagos cruise departures to major hotels in Quito and Guayaquil;

All meals and non-alcoholic drinks;

Free consultations with our Medical officer, on-call 24/7;

24/7 coffee station free coffee, tea, water, hot chocolate;

Wi-fi available fee;

Snorkeling equipment;

Wetsuit rental;

Glass bottom boat & kayaks and more!

Northern Expedition Cruise – Day 1

Welcome To Galapagos Sign

After our morning flight from Quito to Baltra Island in the Galapagos, we were immediately transferred to the dock, located just minutes from the airport to board our ship.

Galapagos Islands Cruise Review

There’s no time to be wasted once onboard!

A short welcome briefing, boat drill and lunch was served, as we set sail for the north coast of Santa Cruz Island, just a short cruise away from Baltra Island.

Samples Of Our Meals Served In The Main Dining Room

In the afternoon, we boarded our panga zodiac transfer boats and landed on – Las Bachas Beach.

Las Bachas Beach

On this beach we were able to view various birds including; royal lapwings and beautiful pink flamingos.

Pink Flamingo

Pink Flamingo

Blue Footed Boobie

blue-footed booby

Pelicans Feeding

Pelicans Feeding

Colorful Crab

Colorful Crab

It was then back on board and later enjoying a welcome cocktail, expedition plan for the next day, with dinner following in the main dining room.

Santa Cruz II Main Dining Room

Santa Cruz II Dining Room

A great way to start this expedition cruise and to meet and greet fellow passengers and crew.

Samples Of Our Meals Served In The Main Dining Room

Northern Expedition Cruise – Day 2

Sea Lions & Iguanas

It’s entirely up to you whether you choose to join in on each day’s excursions, but of course, isn’t this why you’ve come this far in the first place?

The days are long, well planned and definitely worth getting up early for!

Galapagos Naturalist Guide

Each group has a maximum of 10 to 12 passengers and are accompanied by a personal naturalist guide along the way.

Groups head off in different directions at various times, keeping things more intimate and following strict guidelines within the Galapagos Islands.

Santiago Island Ecuador

Arriving at each island, we were the only ship anchored which was amazing!

Sea Lion Galapagos Islands

After our evening sail, we arrived at Santiago Island Buccaneer Cove. Today after enjoying our buffet breakfast, we hopped on our panga and cruised the coastline and the island’s cliffs, where a variety of birds and sea lions have made their homes.

Snorkeling Buccaneer Cove

The day is filled with hiking, snorkeling and a ride in the glass bottom boat if you choose.

Iguanas Santiago Island

A full day of activities that leaves everyone content and exhausted!

Galapagos Island Bird

Before dinner, it’s time to head up to the main lounge for Happy Hour and a few snacks. Another great way to get acquainted with fellow passengers from all parts of the globe and reminisce about the days activities!

Santa Cruz II Main Cocktail Lounge

Santa Cruz II Lounge Staff


Evening Happy Hour

Afterwards, it’s time to head to the main dining room for another amazing a al carte dinner served by the ships dining room staff.

Samples Of Our Meals Served In The Main Dining Room

Northern Expedition Cruise – Day 3

Rabida Island

This is another long full day of activities, beginning after our sail overnight to Rabida Island.

Rabida Island Flamingos

Here, you can take a ride along the coastline, or choose to walk the red sand beach and spot; sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds and other species of birds.

This is the Galapagos everyone has come to see!

Bartolome Island Galapagos Ecuador

In the afternoon we arrive at Bartolome Island, with its impressive Pinnacle Rock. It’s another adventure filled afternoon complete with; hiking, snorkeling and glass bottom boat viewing.

Bartolome Island

It’s entirely up to you and your personal limitations, as to what you wish to partake in. Guests on board included all ages, both young and old.

Get ready to for some steep steps and walk along the boardwalk, to reach the top of the island and witness some breathtaking views of the archipelago!

Your guide will give you loads of time to reach the top, with resting areas along the way. It’s definitely a highlight of the cruise and should not be missed if at all possible.

Santa Cruz II Naturalist

The rugged coastline and views from this island are incredible!

Galapagos Islands

It was late afternoon when we arrived and the sun was just beginning to set, as we returned back to the beach to board our panga..

You couldn’t have asked for a more picture perfect setting and sunset with the cloud cover!

Pinnacle Rock Galapagos Islands

After returning to the ship and freshening up, it was time to enjoy the ships complimentary happy hour and snacks. The crew had set up a station located outside on the stern deck.

Santa Cruz II Staff

This was followed by receiving the daily evening lecture for the next days activities in the panorama lounge and dinner afterwards.

Exhausted by the full day of activities? You bet! 🙂

Northern Expedition Cruise – Day 4

Genovesa Island Galapagos Ecuador

Just another full morning and afternoon visiting just another very picturesque location in the Galapagos Archipelago.

It is Genovesa Island which includes; Prince Philip Steps and Darwin Bay.

Prince Philip Steps & Plateau

Genovesa Island Galapagos

Prepare yourself for a fairly steep climb up rock steps, in order to reach a nice flat plateau, along with a fabulous view that awaits you.

Definitely worth the effort!

Santa Cruz II Panga Guide

For those not so inclined, no worries! You have the option of a scenic coastal panga ride and/or weather permitting, enjoy some kayaking along the shoreline.

Genovesa Island Birds

On this island you’ll experience some incredible bird watching, as you walk along the plateau and shores edge.

Red Footed Boobie

Some of which include;

Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, great frigate birds and storm petrels to name a few.

Galapagos Islands Birds

In the afternoon, there’s time on the beach for snorkeling and/or swimming, along with an easy hike to observe a variety of birds including; frigatebirds, red-footed boobies, finches, mockingbirds, pelicans and more!

Darwin Bay

Darwin Bay Galapagos Islands

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon for everyone to enjoy the beach and wildlife, on the shores of Genovesa Island.

Sea Lion Pup

In the afternoon, after a pleasant walk along the beach viewing the marine life and birds, we decided to relax and try out the glass bottom boat just for fun!

Galapagos Islands Cruise

Santa Cruz II Glass Bottom Boat

Santa Cruz II Glass Bottom Boat

Another great day and adventure spent with your experienced naturalist guides.

Northern Expedition Cruise – Day 5

Tortoise Reserve Santa Cruz Island

Although the days are full from morning to evening, the time just flies by on this incredible expedition cruise.

Your day starts very early, as you return back to Santa Cruz Island and board a bus to the 🐢 Rancho Primicias Tortoise Reserve.

Giant Tortoise

This is a chance to see the 🐢 Giant Tortoises on a private reserve with your guide, before heading back to the airport.

Tortoise Reserve Galapagos Islands

Located in the highlands of the island, this final stop definitely puts the icing on the cake and makes this entire expedition one that will fill you with memories that will last a lifetime!

Tortoise Reserve Santa Cruz Island Galapagos

For those who have their airline reservations booked by Metropolitan Touring as part of your package as we had, you will be escorted back to the airport to meet your representative and receive your boarding passes for your flight back to mainland Ecuador.

My wife and chose to stay on for a few more days on the Island of Santa Cruz in the town of Puerto Ayora. Our first couple of days were spent at Metropolitan Touring’s very own luxurious – Finch Bay Hotel.

Final Thoughts Banner

If you love nature and want to experience unspoiled beauty, where birds, fish and animals have no fear or are threatened by humans, you will absolutely love the Galapagos Islands.

This is a place like no other on earth and if you have the opportunity to visit, do not hesitate for a moment. No matter if young or old, Metropolitan Touring has you covered.

From the moment you start planning, to completing your journey of lifetime, there professionals will put together an unforgettable vacation for you and your family.

We have never experienced such an amazing outdoor adventure and cruise as this!

Genovesa Island Galapagos Islands

Be sure to return often, to check out my reviews and photos on our superb stays at Metropolitan Touring’s 3 luxurious resorts.

First is the beautiful Finch Bay Resort Hotel located on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos, followed by the historic and luxurious Casa Gangotena Hotel in the City of Quito.

Completing our amazing stay at the world renowned, award winning Mashpi Lodge, located in the Ecuador Rainforest.

For more detailed information on this cruise and the many others to choose from, including these Metropolitan Touring owned hotels, I’ve included a link below to their official website for your convenience.

Metropolitan Touring Logo

🌺 Metropolitan Touring

😎 Safe and Healthy Travels!

signature of author and owner Robert Tellier at https://gr8traveltips.com


Although our Cruise was in collaboration with Metropolitan Touring, rest assured all content and opinions are that of the author and reflect my personal views only.

All personal 📸 photographs on this post are the property of gr8traveltips.com and are copyright protected. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. 🚫

✨  Did You Know …

“Charles Darwin only spent five weeks in the Galápagos in 1835.”
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