Unleashing the Wild Side: The Adventure of a Hurtigruten Cruise to the Galápagos Islands
Discover the wildlife and ecosystem of this untamed paradise.
A Marine Iguana welcomes visitors on Española Island.
Adventurers viewing the sunset over Bartolomé Island.
Encountering Giant Tortoises at Charles Darwin Research Station in Santa Cruz.
Continuing education at the Science Corner on board Santa Cruz II.
Viewing the underwater wonders of the Galápagos Islands through a glass bottom boat.
Snorkeling with a herd of sea lions.
A unique and distinctive cruise company, Hurtigruten is long famous for offering expedition cruising to some of the world's most remote and bucket-list worthy destinations like Greenland, Norway, West Africa and Antarctica. In 2022, Hurtigruten added cruise itineraries to the almost-mythical Galápagos Islands, combining the exploration of history, science and wildlife with the premium experience that the cruise line is known for.
Walking in Darwin’s Footsteps
Located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands—a collection of 19 islands and hundreds of islets—were introduced to the world by Charles Darwin in his famous On the Origin of Species. Due to its isolation, the Galápagos Islands is home to an array of plant and animal species found nowhere else on Earth, its ecosystem a fragile living laboratory for the study of evolution and ecology.
Hurtigruten's Galápagos cruises are designed to limit their impact on the islands and reflect their commitment to preserving the delicate balance of that ecosystem while also providing passengers with an immersive and educational experience.
Since 97 percent of the Galápagos Islands is protected as a national park, tourists aren’t allowed to set foot on the islands or take to the surrounding waters without a national park guide, at a ratio of one guide to 12 guests.
Hurtigruten works in partnership with Ecuadorian company Metropolitan Touring, utilizing their local expertise and knowledge to offer their guests benefits other cruise companies can’t, like exclusive access to some of the best landing sites on the islands.
Galápagos Exploration Meets Education
A unique feature of a Hurtigruten cruise is the onboard Expedition Team. Consisting of hand-picked scientists, naturalists and skilled destination specialists, the Expedition Team serves as their guests’ guides throughout their Galápagos Islands journey.
They deliver fascinating lectures and share spellbinding stories, as well as lead excursions such as snorkeling, kayaking through mangrove forests, hiking to volcanic craters and lava fields, and observing unique bird species like the blue-footed booby and the Galápagos penguin.
To further guests’ study of the wildlife, flora and fauna they are interacting with, the Science Corner offers an interactive and educational experience. With a focus on environmental sustainability and scientific inquiry, it is an essential component of the Hurtigruten experience, enriching the understanding and appreciation of the natural world. Hurtigruten also offers a variety of activities and amenities tailored to children, making the expedition cruises a fun and engaging experience for families.
Hurtigruten—Cruising Without the Crowds
A Hurtigruten expedition cruise isn’t your typical cruise experience. You won’t find waterslides, casinos or dress codes. What you will find are like-minded, active adventurers of all ages who value personal growth, exploration and education, seeking a different way to immerse themselves in a destination. Guests tend to prefer traveling by Zodiac boat to search for a sea lion colony or snorkeling on an ancient deep-sea coral reef instead of riding an onboard mini rollercoaster.
Some may assume expedition cruising means going without the luxuries of a cruise liner. Quite the opposite. Hurtigruten’s newly renovated MS Santa Cruz II is the adventurers’ home away from home for the length of their trip. Boasting spacious and elegantly appointed cabins, a fitness center, spa and outdoor hot tub, the ship offers a boutique hotel feel where guests can relax and unwind between activities in comfort and style. And with a guest capacity of just 90, the ship offers the perfect opportunity for an intimate cruise experience. In fact, the Hurtigruten motto “Arrive as guests, leave as friends” is very true on a small ship like this.
Hurtigruten's Commitment to Sustainability
For years, a priority of the Hurtigruten Group (the parent company of Hurtigruten cruises) has been ensuring sustainability and advancing responsible tourism. Hurtigruten has been an industry leader in finding ways to reduce its environmental impact, such as using low-emission engines, utilizing advance wastewater treatment systems and banning single-use plastics. In fact, every cruise to the Galápagos Islands is carbon neutral.
Hurtigruten's commitment to sustainability extends beyond its operations and includes actively working with local communities to support their economies and preserve cultural heritage. In addition, the company aims to inspire its passengers to become environmental ambassadors themselves by offering educational opportunities and encouraging sustainable behaviors. Hurtigruten's efforts are helping to preserve not just the Galápagos Islands, but some of the world’s most beautiful and pristine regions for future generations.
AAA Member Benefit
Take advantage of a valuable benefit* when you book with AAA Travel.
90 Euro onboard spending credit on select sailings, to use towards onboard bookable excursions, the Wellness Center, gift shop & more.