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An expedition ship perfectly suited for stability, comfort and daily visits ashore.
Conceived for operations in remote areas, the Santa Cruz II is the perfect ship for stability in the ocean with a very experienced crew to manage operations in and out, catering, cabins, hospitality and view the wildlife that make the Galapagos Islands such a special place on earth.
The M/V Santa Cruz II has a maximum of 90 guests with 4 and 6 night itineraries (that can also be combined), a low guide to guest ratio and guided walks on the islands in small groups, staggered along the narrow trails at times when other vessels are not visiting, so you get a private experience.
Santa Cruz II
Cabins & Suites
Explorer CabinMore Information
There are 43 Explorer cabins: 23 on the Horizon Deck, 17 on the Expedition Deck and 3 on the Panorama Deck. All Explorer cabins are the same size with private bathroom and the same size large picture windows. The beds can convert from double to single.
There are 2 larger Explorer family cabins.
Ideal for family groups - 36% of the cabins are interconnected
Cabin amenities and features
- Air conditioning
- Picture window
- Hair dryer
- Numerous electrical sockets
- Public address system
- In-room safe
- Reading lights
43 Explorer Cabins (163 sq ft / 15 m2)
2 Explorer Family Cabins (192 sq ft / 18 m2)
2 Voyager Cabins (127 sq ft / 12 m2)
Darwin SuiteMore Information
The 3 Darwin Suites are on the Panorama Deck, each measuring 30 m2 (325 sq ft) and featuring private bathroom and double picture windows, providing superb comfort and deluxe amenities for discerning guests. Available in double or separate beds.
If more space is desired, they can be interconnected with an Explorer cabin to expand by another 15 m2 (163 sq ft).
- Inset tablet in each suite available for use throughout the duration of the trip.
- L’Occitane-en-Provence amenities in bathrooms.
- Bathrobes (available for purchase).
- Deluxe extra pillows.
- Special edition take-home coffee table book.
- Large picture windows.
- Hair dryer.
- Numerous electrical sockets.
- In-room safe.
- Reading lights.
- Free intermittent and low bandwidth internet access in ship’s hot-spots (one access code per room).
- Wetsuit usage included.
- Turn-down service.
- Expedition photos and videos on CD.
Santa Cruz II
Speak with a Specialist
Each of these cruises itineraries can be integrated into our tailor-made tours.
Get first-hand advice & inspiration from our specialist advisors.
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Go swimming and snorkelling, get up close to the varied bird-life of the Galapagos and admire its craggy coastline.
Monday to Friday
DAY 1 Baltra airport, Las Bachas
Board the vessel on the island of Baltra and enjoy a welcome lunch, before disembarking at Las Bachas. Here we visit the beautiful beaches of the area, populated by marine iguanas and watch flamingos and stilts in the shallow lagoons. You'll then have the opportunity to practice a little snorkelling
DAY 2 Buccaneer Cove, Puerto Egas
The day kicks off with the sea lions and sea birds of Buccaneer Cove on Santiago Island, as well as the dramatic steep cliffs and remarkable natural rock formations of the former pirate anchorage. The coastline around here and Puerto Egas provides a great place to snorkel and swim, often in the company of turtles. Heading in-land, we find more interesting bird life and can observe marine iguanas and fur seals.
DAY 3 Red Beach, Bartolomé
Visit the red sand beach at Rabida, frequented by sea lions, marine iguanas, finches, warblers and mockingbirds, as well as the occasional flamingos. Dolphin sightings are possible whilst travelling towards Bartolomé, a small island with a steep climb to the summit, from which magnificent views await. Further exploration around the impressive Pinnacle Rock follows, in a glass-bottom boat and then pangas, before you are invited to relax on the beach or swim in the waters, hoping to be joined by some friendly Galapagos penguins!
DAY 4 Prince Philip Steps, Darwin Bay
The next day focuses on Genovesa Island, disembarking from the panga boats to climb the steps to a flat plateau, from where we can observe Nazca and red-footed boobies, as well as frigate birds and storm petrels. Further snorkelling opportunities follow, in the company of various schools of fish, and the chance to spot fur seals on a longer panga ride (weather dependent).
We continue to Darwin Bay, starting with a swim and more snorkelling, before walking through the many species of birds that make their home here, including mockingbirds, herons, finches, gulls, frigate birds and red-footed and Nazca boobies. Later on will be the chance to walk over the lava flows to enjoy some fantastic panoramic views, relax on the beach or take a panga ride to further observe the sea life here.
DAY 5 Puerto Baquerizo Moreno , Tortoise Breeding Centre
The experience ends with a morning visit to the giant tortoise breeding programme at Cerro Colorado, offering the chance to see these majestic creatures at close quarters and understand about the ongoing efforts to boost the population. Guests are then returned back to the town and transferred to the airport for your flight back to the mainland.
Observe sea lions, iguanas, boobies, waved albatrosses and many more in the volcanic islands of the Galapagos.
Friday to Thursday - 2019 & 2020
Day 1 - Baltra Island and Mosquera
Arrive by plane at Baltra Island and transfer to the dock and embark the Santa Cruz II for a 6 night cruise on a full board basis including all excursions. After lunch and introductory briefing, Santa Cruz II sails to Mosquera Islet, a small volcanic uplift between Baltra and North Seymour. The island is a long and narrow sand bank surrounded by lava reefs. We approach the island from its western shore, a long shallow reef, the perfect rookery for young sea lions. The guides will lead you past the sea lion colonies, where you will learn more about the fragile marine and terrestrial ecosystems of Galapagos. Opportunity for snorkelling.
Day 2 - San Cristobal Island
After breakfast, disembark at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the San Cristobal island’s capital, and drive to Cerro Colorado, where we visit the breeding centre for highly endangered giant tortoises in the midst of a fantastic deciduous forest, home to dozens of bird species, including the San Cristobal mockingbird, and the San Cristobal lava lizard, both island endemics. In the afternoon, we disembark on the eastern tip of the island at Punta Pitt, an eroded tuff cone, whose trail provides spectacular views of the shoreline. This is the only site in the Galapagos where the three species of boobies can be found together. We can walk or enjoy a panga ride along the coast. Opportunity for snorkelling, swimming and kayaking.
Day 3 - Santa Fe and South Plaza Island
This morning we take the dinghy over to an idyllic sandy-white beach populated by many sea lions. The endemic land iguana, unique to Santa Fe Island, may be spotted during the morning walk amid the giant prickly pear cactus. Snorkelling, swimming or kayaking is available or if you prefer, the glass bottom boat is available for non-snorkelers. Continue to South Plaza Island, whose turquoise waters contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. Beyond, a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serve as a backdrop for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-grey land iguanas sit beneath these, waiting patiently for pears to drop. On the coast observe sea lion colonies, white frigates, swallow-tailed gulls and shearwaters glide, playing with the thermals.
Day 4 - Puerto Ayora and Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island)
In the morning, we visit the famous Charles Darwin Research Station’s giant tortoise Breeding Centre within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Following our visit, we board our transport to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem.
There are several options available for exploring Santa Cruz Island in the afternoon, which are agreed the night before with the expedition leader.
Day 5 - Española Island
Enjoy an exciting walk awaits at Punta Suarez, where we observe unique sea bird colonies, including Galapagos albatross (April-December), Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls as well as a view of the Galapagos’ famous “blow-hole”. Also, look out for red-green-black marine iguanas. Back on board for lunch. In the afternoon, the picture-postcard white coral beach of Gardner Bay and the nearby islet of Osborn provides a beautiful setting for observing sea lions, mockingbirds and finches. Time to relax with great snorkelling, swimming and kayaking in this area.
Day 6 - Eden Islet and North Seymour Island
After breakfast, a panga ride takes us to Eden Islet, a small islet located off the coast of Santa Cruz, where we can observe blue-footed boobies diving into the water, reef sharks and frigates. There’s a chance to snorkel and, if weather condition permits, ride in the glass-bottom boat and kayak. Continue to
North Seymour Island, that was lifted from the ocean floor by a volcanic event, and its origins as a seabed give the island its low, flat profile. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stands just above the landing waiting for the rains to burst into bloom. On the island we observe bird colonies of blue footed boobies, two species of frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls, as well as sea lions and marine iguanas.
Day 7 - Baltra Island
Disembark at Baltra Island and transfer to the airport for flight back to the mainland.
Enjoy intimate wildlife encounters and stunning views as you explore the western side of the archipelago.
Thursdays to Mondays - 2019 and 2020
Day 1 - Baltra Island and Cerro Dragon, Santa Cruz Island
Arrive by plane at Baltra Island and embark Santa Cruz II. Welcome introductory briefing and lunch. Set sail to the north shore of Santa Cruz Island where we explore the fascinating landscapes of Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill). The first part of our walk passes a brackish-water lagoon frequented by shorebirds, ducks and flamingos, while further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western islands of the archipelago, as well as the chance of observing land iguanas.
Day 2 – Punta Vicente (Isabela Island) and Fernandina Island
After breakfast, we explore the coast by panga boat, while our naturalist guide explains the dramatic geology of the area and a nesting place for several Galapagos highlights: flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, fur seals and boobies. Depending on weather conditions, we can snorkel along the cliffs of this area rich in marine life, seasonally-visited by green sea turtles and oceanic sun fish (Mola mola). The afternoon is dedicated to exploring the youngest island of the archipelago, Fernandina, which, having no introduced mammals, boasts a very unique environment with a very high density of marine iguanas, who share their space with sea lions, sally light-foot crabs, hawks, penguins and the flightless cormorants.
Day 3 – Charles Darwin Research Centre and Santa Cruz Island
In the morning, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station’s giant tortoise Breeding Centre within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest, home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Following our visit, we board our transport to enjoy lunch in the cooler highlands of Santa Cruz Island, a completely different ecosystem. There are several options available for exploring Santa Cruz Island further in the afternoon including beach walks, kayaks and walks along the tortoise reserve.
Day 4 – Post Office Bay and Champion Islet, Floreana Island
After breakfast, we enjoy take a panga ride along the maze of channels on Floreana’s north shore passing Baroness Cove with its breathtaking views of Floreana. We land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has served as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries and where postcards are traditionally left for guests from other vessels to hand-deliver to their destinations. Snorkelling off the beach. After lunch, we take the pangas and glass-bottom boat to explore the underwater wonders around Champion Islet, an extinct shield volcano, regarded as one of the best snorkelling spots in the archipelago. From there, it’s on to Punta Cormorant, beginning with a wet landing on the olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk that includes a brackish-water lagoon where bird species such as American flamingos, pintail ducks, common stilts, herons, sandpipers and others gather. We continue our walk over to a white-sand beach, where sea turtles emerge from the sea at night to nest (from December to May).
Day 5 - Baltra Island
Disembark at Baltra Island and transfer to the airport for your flight back to the mainland.
Santa Cruz II
The Santa Cruz II is one of the newest expedition vessels in the Galapagos Islands, built in 2015 with modern technology and style to preserve the islands' delicate ecosystem via the latest in sustainable sailing.
The ship boasts five spacious decks, with modern interiors designed by renowned ship designer Richard Nilsson, created with the ethos of stylish simplicity. With an intelligent layout, including wide hallways and broad stairwells, guests will immediately know their way around. Relax in the beautifully designed, spacious communal areas and viewing platforms, including indoor and outdoor dining options, two lounge bars, a well-stocked library, two indulgent ocean view hot tubs and a state of the art gym. Separate lecture areas allow for simultaneous presentations. There is a medical doctor on board, with a fully equipped infirmary, free of charge.
The fabulous meals are created by a cordon bleu educated gastronomy director.
WiFi is available on board for a charge, but note that it is only available in the ship's social areas or at designated computer stations. Due to the Galapagos' remote location, internet connections are intermittent and bandwidth is low.
Interconnecting cabins for family groups
Families will enjoy a cruise on Santa Cruz II. Ask our travel advisors about booking one of the 36 interconnecting cabins.
Santa Cruz II also offers the following benefits:
- Small groups - just 11 guests per naturalist guide.
- 99% of sites are not visited by other vessels.
- Glass-bottom boat, kayaks, snorkelling equipment and Panga boat for coastal exploration.
- 90% of the cabins have convertible beds, from double to twin.
- All meals
- Unlimited water, tea and coffee
- Transfers to/from the ship from Galapagos Airports
- All shore excursions led by expert naturalist guides
- Nightly lectures and entertainment programme in separate lecture rooms
- FREE use of fitness room, reading room, hot tubs, snorkelling equipment
- Glass bottom boat, Pangas (Dingies) and Kayaks
- FREE Wi-Fi
Cabins & Deck Plan
Santa Cruz II sleeps 90 guests in 50 contemporary-designed cabins across three decks. Guests can choose from luxuriously appointed single, double and triple cabins, or opt for one of the three even more exclusive Darwin Suites, an exceptional standard of accommodation on the Panorama Deck, with elevated service and carefully refined extras such as a take-home Galápagos coffee table book, a tablet loan for each cabin, complimentary drinks and VIP lounge access at the Galápagos Islands airport. 90 percent of all cabins include convertible beds, and 36 of the 50 cabins can be interconnected. No cabins are located at sea level or near engines or generators, ensuring a relaxing cabin experience.
Horizon Deck Explorer Triple
2 cabins, measuring 192 square feet, are available for triple occupancy on the Horizon Deck. Located on the same deck as the reception area, gift shop and infirmary.
Horizon Deck Explorer
23 cabins, measuring 163 square feet, on the Horizon Deck feature the option of twin or double beds. Located on the same deck as the reception area, gift shop and infirmary.
Horizon Deck Voyager Single
2 cabins, measuring 127 square feet, are available for single occupancy on the Horizon Deck. Located on the same deck as the reception area, gift shop and infirmary.
Expedition Deck Explorer
17 cabins, measuring 163 square feet, on the Expedition Deck feature the option of twin or double beds. Located between the hot tubs on the stern and the Expedition Lounge & Library on the bow.
Panorama Deck Explorer
3 cabins, measuring 163 square feet, on the Panorama Deck feature the option of twin or double beds. Located between the Panorama Bar & Lounge and the Bridge.
Panorama Deck Darwin Suite
3 suites, measuring 325 square feet, on the Panorama Deck feature the option of twin or double beds and include elevated service and carefully refined extras such as a take-home Galápagos coffee table book, a tablet loan during cruise, complimentary drinks and VIP lounge access at the Galápagos Islands airport. Located between the Panorama Bar & Lounge and the Bridge.
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