M/V Santa Cruz II
per person for 7 nights on board plus 2 nights in Quito, includes all meals, activities and transfers.
At a Glance
Stability and a larger range of facilities and choice of food than the smaller vessels, the Santa Cruz can accommodate 90 passengers
A number of interconnecting room options and rooms with an extra sofa bed making this a good option for families
A good option for anyone who may suffer from sea sickness as a larger vessel
There are 52 crew members with an impressive seven naturalist guides who are child friendly
A glass bottomed boat offering an alternative to snorkelling
Communal facilities include a large saloon, dining room, bar, gift shop and small library. On deck there is a large, partially-covered sun deck with Jacuzzi and al fresco bar
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
There's never a bad time to visit the Galapagos. The peak season lasts from mid-June through early September and from mid-December through mid-January. The national park limits the number of visitors to each island and coordinates each ship's itinerary, so the Galapagos will never feel like Disney World. But if you visit in the summer, you are less likely to feel a sense of solitude and isolation.
From December through to May the water and the air are warmer, but this is the rainy season. It drizzles almost daily for a short period of time. Ironically, this is also the sunniest time of year.
June through November, the Humboldt Current makes it way up to the Galapagos from the southern end of South America. The current brings cold water and cold weather, but it also brings water rich in nutrients and plankton, which attracts fish and birds. During this season there always seem to be clouds in the air, but it rarely rains. It's also quite windy, and the seas tend to be rougher.
To start planning your holiday to M/V Santa Cruz II
A good option for guests who prefer to cruise the Galapagos Islands on a larger ship offering more space, stability and a larger range of facilities than a smaller vessel, the imposing M/V Santa Cruz II can accommodate 90 passengers in 50 cabins.
The M/V Santa Cruz II replaced its predecessor in October 2015 to provide first class accommodation for its passengers, and has a very professional and dedicated crew providing a personal service and the highest of standards. The Travel Team consists of six naturalist guides who will delight guests with diverse natural history explanations, superb on-deck talks, and eye-catching lectures. The guides lead daily shore visits to the islands where you will have the chance to walk amongst hundreds of iguanas, see brightly Sally Lightfoot Crabs scuttling across the rocks and watch families of sea lions basking in the sun.
There is a wide choice of comfortable cabins on board the M/V Santa Cruz II, all with porthole or window with views out to the sea and a private bathroom with shower. The Junior and Master Suites both have an additional sofa bed, which can be used for a child, and the latter have their own balcony, for that extra little bit of luxury.
The ship's spacious Sun Deck features a bar and Jacuzzi, along with an observation area for dolphin and whale watching. The dining room, lounge and bar are elegantly appointed, as is the well-stocked library/reading room. As an alternative to snorkelling, the glass-bottom boat offers another opportunity to observe the fascinating and very diverse marine life.
The M/V Santa Cruz is a particularly good option for families wishing to visit the islands, with its variety of accommodation, special children's activities and selected family departures during the summer.
The Boat Deck on the M/V Santa Cruz has two Master Suites with double beds (plus an extra sofa bed for a child) and a private balcony, two Junior Suites with twin beds (plus a sofa bed for a child) and six Superior-Plus cabins with twin or double beds. There are also 33 standard cabins with twin double or triple beds, located over the Boat Deck, the Main Deck and the Upper Deck. The comfortably furnished cabins are all air conditioned and outward facing, with picture windows or porthole style windows.
A trip to the Galapagos is a great experience for children, combining both learning and adventure. Children aged 6 years and above are welcome on board the M/V Santa Cruz and the 'Young Pirates' program, for 6-12 year olds, makes sure children have a fun time whilst allowing adults some free time. There are special children's menus, earlier meal times and children's activities including handicrafts, Galapagos movies, puzzles and stargazing.
The M/V Santa Cruz's fantastic Sun Deck has an open-air Jacuzzi, bar and relaxation area with table and chairs and an observation area with sun loungers, perfect for dolphin and whale watching. On the Upper Deck ones finds further facilities including a boutique, natural history library, bar and lounge area and a dining room. The ship also counts with a glass bottom boat, wet suits for use during the cooler season (Jun-Dec) and snorkel equipment.
The M/V Santa Cruz has a highly experienced crew of 52 plus a Travel Team made up of a chief naturalists and five naturalists. The bilingual naturalists are highly qualified and extremely knowledgeable about the Galapagos environment and its wildlife. They will share their passion for the islands with you, leading on-shore excursions and giving lectures and presentations on board.
Cruises on board the Santa Cruz are carefully designed to include interesting and varied daily visits to the islands, lead by the ship's expert bilingual naturalist guides. There is also plenty of opportunity for guests to enjoy swimming and snorkelling with the wildlife, glass bottom boat trips, kayaking and stargazing. Natural history talks and presentations are given by the guides and are a chance to learn more about the fascinating flora and fauna of the islands.
Since the length of cruise varies and the visits to the islands are strictly regulated to ensure minimal impact on the wildlife, it is important for us to know if there are any particularly animals that you would like to see because they are not on all of the islands.
Scarlett Richard (Staff)
On board, the cabins are spread across three decks and offer a comfortable amount of space, as well as large picture windows to enjoy ocean views. Whats unique is that none of the cabins are located on the bottom deck so you can be free of engine noise. Those on the horizon deck can be subject to a little generator noise and the sound of the anchor drop in the morning, however throughout the night it remains relatively quiet. Most of the day is spent out exploring but there is some time to relax before and after lunch and dinner where you can soak up the sun and search for marine life on the sky deck, read a book in the library, have a drink in the panorama bar or relax in the hot tub. There is also a small gym for those keen to avoid putting on the holiday lbs. The Santa Cruz is excellent for its facilities on board and really offers a comfortable and relaxing way to experience the Galapagos. At each meal, food is plentiful, fresh and with a good selection to choose from. The only downfall is that there is no alfresco dining on board so all meals are restricted to the restaurant. That said on each cruise they will offer an evening of alfresco happy hour where you can enjoy a cocktail, some BBQ snacks out on the panorama deck and watch the sun go down.
This is my favourite of the large, luxury cruise ships working the Galapagos. The entire ship was refitted and updated in 1998. Almost every cabin has an ocean view - many with large picture windows, and a couple with balconies. The common areas are inviting, and the 90-passenger maximum is just small enough that it's easy to interact with other guests and not feel overwhelmed by the masses. Well-done buffet meals are served for breakfast and lunch, while dinners are more formal, with a limited selection of nightly a la carte items. The guides are all well-trained and very pleasant. The main deck area features a large, open-air bar and a popular, well-heated Jacuzzi. There's even free Internet access from a common computer in the small library, which has a good selection of natural history and fiction.
Location & directions
The Galapagos archipelago consists of 19 volcanic islands and 40 islets, 600miles off the coast of Ecuador.
How to get there
13-hour International flight to Quito via Madrid, from there its a further 3-hour domestic flight to the Galapagos Islands.
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