exterior of the santa cruz II ship

MS Santa Cruz II: Practical information and life on board

From passport information to onboard Wi-Fi - here's everything you need to know before your expedition cruise with MS Santa Cruz II

Life on Board

Guests who wish to bring bottles of wine and/or spirits aboard Santa Cruz II, will be charged a corkage fee of US $27+taxes. 

All cabins have the same size window and private facilities.  

The tap water in your cabin is desalinized, but not potable. For your convenience, chilled drinking water dispensers are available in the Horizon, Expedition, and Sun decks. 

You may experience some noise and vibration in some of the cabins. This varies depending on the location of your cabin. Also, noise affects people differently and what may be a problem for one guest may not be a problem for others.

Santa Cruz II will not provide keys to your cabins, nor a cruise card. Cabins may be locked from the interior. Each cabin has a safety box, and corridors are monitored by closed-circuit cameras.  

Upon check-in, a shipboard account (SA) will be opened for you. You may register your credit card at this time to facilitate and speed up check-out procedures on your last day. Credit Cards accepted in Ecuador include: Diners Club, Visa, American Express and Master Card. Our staff will request you to sign a receipt to acknowledge your consumption before charging it to your shipboard account.  

The local currency in Ecuador is the US DOLLAR, and ATMs are available at the mainland airports, as well as in Baltra airport and in the towns of Puerto Ayora and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.  

No gratuities are expected onboard. Suggested gratuities for services on land will be shared in your travel documents.

Each evening the expedition leader and his/her team of guides holds a briefing regarding the next day´s activities. Then the programme will be displayed in programme screen in various visible areas of the vessel, and in the main bulletin board.  

Drones are not allowed in Galapagos. Flash photography is not allowed on wildlife. Professional photography of filming requires a special permit of the National Park Directorate.

Electricity on board is 220V- 110V, 60hz. Plugs are Type B (conventional US).

MS Santa Cruz II's equipment includes sit-on-top kayaks, paddle boards, a glass-bottom boat, 2mm shorty wetsuits (from sizes XXS to XXL) and snorkelling gear (meshbags, masks, fins, tubes and buoyancy vests). The use of all this equipment is free of charge. These activities are regulated by the National Park and must always be under the supervision of a licensed naturalist guide.  

Guests must attend a short safety briefing before these activities are held. Safety briefings and release documents are mandatory for participation in these activities. 

All gear provided by the ship is cleaned and disinfected under the medical officer´s supervision. A brand-new mouthpiece is given to each snorkeler when using the ship´s gear.

All meals are designed by our Le Cordon Bleu-certified Gastronomic Director. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are buffet-style in the Beagle Restaurant on the Ocean deck. No reservations are required and the attire is always casual. We only ask our guests not to enter the dining area in bathing suit or barefoot. 

Please provide information regarding special requests for seating arrangements and dietary requirements to Hurtigruten Expeditions or your travel agent before your cruise.  

House beer, wine, and soft drinks are available at lunch and dinner. Coffee, tea, and potable water that has been purified on board is included throughout the day. Complimentary still and sparkling water is provided for all meals. Other beverages, including cocktails, and an upgraded beverage package is also available for purchase.

The Hurtigruten APP is your digital guide onboard, it is recommended to download it before you come onboard, To be able to follow the activities on board, make restaurant reservation, book excursions and find A-Z info here from the minute you step onboard. The App will only work while you are on board as it is connected to the ship’s Wi-Fi.  

Wi-Fi is available onboard for free. However, due to the Galapagos’ remote location, please be aware the internet connection is intermittent and low-bandwidth. 

Internet is only available in public areas. 

All phones must be on airplane mode for all trails within the National Park.  

Mobile coverage is patchy, very low and restricted to the vicinity of populated Islands (Santa Cruz and San Cristobal islands).

Santa Cruz II sails under Ecuadorian flag; the working language on board is Spanish. Announcements for guests are given in English, and may also be given in German, French, Spanish or Italian depending on guests travelling. Lectures are held in different languages in different rooms.  

Laundry service is not available on board Santa Cruz II. Two domestic-type washer/dryers are available 24hours on the entrance to the Expedition Deck for free, together with instructions, baskets and biodegradable detergent. 

Our Natural History Library is located on the Expedition Lounge in the Expedition Deck. Please check with the naturalists for books to read during the voyage. After reading, guests are kindly requested to please return the books to the library. A selection of general subject books and natural history books are found, but for anything related to Natural History of Galápagos, please ask the Expedition Leader for advice. 

Santa Cruz II complies with GALAPAGOS BIOCONTROL AGENCY (ABG) AND ISPS (International Ship and Port Security System) regulations, where all luggage is subject to X-ray/metal and organic/biosecurity inspection prior to boarding the aircraft in mainland Ecuador. These inspections include carry-on screening before and after the Ecuador-Galapagos flight. 

Santa Cruz complies with international safety requirements and is a modern vessel suitable for sailing in Galapagos. 

The first day´s programme includes a short but complete mandatory safety briefing about safety on board and during landing operations. This briefing is followed by the compulsory boat drill exercise. 

A separate safety briefing is held prior to the first snorkelling, kayaking or paddle boarding opportunity. 

During the sailing, special safety regulations will apply on landings with the Expedition boats. Please follow the instructions given by the Expedition Leader and crew/staff. Special life jackets for use during landings will be provided to all passengers

Mailboxes and stamps are available at the Baltra Airport, and in Puerto Ayora. Be aware that the delivery may take a long time.

If you are prone to seasickness, it is recommended that you bring pills that you are familiar with. A local brand of motion sickness pills is always available free of charge at the reception in the Horizon Deck. 

Hurtigruten complies with the ISPS-regulations (International Ship and Port Security System) where all luggage is subject to X-ray/metal detector inspection upon arrival at the port facility or ship. The ISPS regulations also include hand baggage scans in all ports of call throughout the course of the cruise.

Prohibited Items List:

  1. Illegal drugs, narcotics and illegal substances
  2. All firearms including replicas imitations, non-firing weapons, starting pistols and their components (including but not limited to the following items: Guns, operational or replicas, ammunition of all types, BB Guns, Compressed Air Guns, including Paint Ball Guns, Flare Guns, Gun Lighters, Gun / Firearms Parts, Pellet Guns, Spear Guns, Starter Pistols, Realistic Replicas of Firearms)
  3. All Explosives and replicas (including, but are not limited to, the following items: Blasting Caps, Dynamite, Fireworks, Pyrotechnics, Hand Grenades, Plastic Explosives, Bomb Making Components, Gun Powder)
  4. Pointed weapons and sharp objects (including, but not limited to, the following items: throwing stars, flick- or gravity knifes, daggers, knifes or scissors with blade longer than 7 cm (including folding pocket knives), open razors, Spears or Spears gun, archery equipment, crossbows, crossbow bolts and long bow arrows, sabers, swords, Skean Dhus or Kirpans, axes)
  5. Blunt weapons (including, but not limited to the following items: knuckle dusters, brass knuckles, clubs, coshes, batons, flails or nunchaku and other items adapted or intended for use as an offensive weapon)
  6. Restraining Devices (including, but not limited to the following items: handcuffs, leg or head restraining straps)
  7. High voltage stun devices and items containing incapacitating substances (including, but not limited to the following items: tasers, gas guns, tear gas spray, mace, phosphorus, acid and other dangerous chemicals that could be used to maim or disable, poison)
  8. Flammable  substances unless carried in limited quantities (including, but not limited to the following items: petrol, methylated spirits, lighter fuel, paints, thinners, large batteries etc.)
  9. Candles or incense
  10. Compressed gas tanks, bottles, cylinders (including, but not limited to the following items: dive tanks, propane tanks, large aerosol cans)
  11. Items containing heating elements (including, but not limited to the following items: Immersion Heaters, Heating blankets, infrared heaters, flat irons, water heaters, coffee machines, etc.)
  12. Remote-controlled or independent flying devices (including, but not limited to the following items: drones, toys, kites of any kind)
  13. Self-balancing hover boards, air wheels, scooters, Segway’s
  14. Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB), ham radios, satellite phones,  transformers, laser and laser pointers, signaling jamming devices

The above list is not exhaustive. The SSO/Captain are authorised to make a professional judgment as to the legality of any item declared, detected or discovered on board.

Visit our small onboard boutique and find items ranging from handicrafts to everyday necessities. Find the perfect gift for your friends and family, and purchase most of the items suggested in our packing list.

We offer every day, in addition to the core activity (generally, a hike), a variety of activity options approved by the national park:  

  • Snorkeling 
  • Kayaking 
  • Paddleboarding 
  • Coastal explorations (aboard our inflatable dinghies, otherwise known as pangas) 
  • Glass-bottom boat rides 
  • Biking (on Santa Cruz island only) 

These activities will be explained in advance by the Expedition Leader and guides. A sign-up sheet is placed in the expedition room, Expedition deck. These activities cannot be booked in advance and are all free of charge. Please note the number of the participants per activity is limited. 

Guests are respectfully reminded that our expedition boats enable both water-based exploration and safe landings in Galapagos. Should the ocean conditions be rough, our Expedition leader and the Officer on duty may do a scouting of the landing site to determine the safety of the programme. In the very rare event of a change in programme, the Expedition leader will announce the best alternative to all guests via PA system.  

You will need to be fairly agile to board the Expedition boats, but there is otherwise no need to worry about travelling in them. The crew will show you what to do and, as long as you follow their instructions, after a few times it will become second nature. 

For our glass-bottom boat outings, guests will transfer from the Expedition boats (pangas). Please follow the instructions of the expedition team to ensure everyone´s safety. 

In some sites, snorkelling is done from the expedition boats (pangas) into the sea. To come back, a ladder is placed over the boat´s pontoon. Follow the instructions of the expedition team, as for all activities.  

Visits to Galapagos may have one of these 3 possible landings:  

  1. NO LANDING: There is no trail on shore. Visitors are restricted to the expedition boats (pangas). You may wear water shoes, sandals or go barefoot. 
  2. WET LANDINGS:  This type of disembarking process is commonly made right on the edge of the beach, with the panga operator moving the small craft up against the sandy shores to have guests slide off the pontoons near the stern of the zodiac. Consequently, guests will almost always get their feet wet in the process. Some guests prefer to wear water shoes for this type of landing, dry their feet at the beach with the special beach towels we provide (free of charge) and put on the sturdier footwear for the trail. Upon return the process is reversed. 
  3. DRY LANDINGS: There is a dock or solid surface available for our guests to step off the dinghy without getting their feet wet. you’ll always count on the helping hands of the naturalist guides and/or the dinghy operator to safely disembark at the visitor site. You can wear your sturdy footwear right out of your cabin. 

Due to the fragility of the archipelago, guides will request all guests to knock-off any dirt attached to the soles of your footwear or dip them in the water before boarding the zodiac. Upon boarding Santa Cruz, this will be enhanced with the fresh water hoses available at the stern platform.

On board, smoking is only permitted in designated areas on outside decks, where ashtrays are available. Smoking is not permitted in cabins. Throwing cigarette butts overboard is strictly prohibited.

If you have special requests (e.g. dietary or medical), please inform us as soon as possible, and no later than 8 weeks prior to your cruise departure. We will do our best to meet such requests but cannot guarantee to do so, and under no circumstance will any such request be accepted by us so as to form part of a contractual agreement. 

Welcome greeting 

On embarkation day, all guests will receive a complimentary Galapagos wildlife book and a reusable water bottle. Suite guests will receive an additional welcome gift in their cabin. 

Turn-down service 

Suite guests will receive a daily turn-down service, including fresh towels and chocolate or similar on the pillow.  

We kindly remind you to take care when walking on board the ship while at sea, especially when venturing out on deck, observing the signs for warnings of wet and slippery decks.

Practical Information

The information and descriptions have been checked by our staff and/or local agents to ensure they are correct. However, changes may occur after the date of publication, and there may be occasions when Hurtigruten or local suppliers may withdraw some facilities or additional measurements made by the ship management to comply with covid restrictions. Should we become aware of any significant change, which may be considered to have an effect on the enjoyment of your holiday, we will do our best to advise you. Many areas we visit are very remote and affected by prolonged cold weather or difficult terrain. The facilities on offer will be subject to local conditions. 

Changes in National Park policies, seasonal fluctuations, safety reasons and weather conditions may occasionally require schedule changes in itineraries without prior notice. These decisions are taken with guest safety in mind and in the interest of the islands' conservation.

Children below the age of 6 cannot take part in cruises with MS Santa Cruz. For children under the age of 12 that board MS Santa Cruz a release of responsibility will need to be signed by the parents or guardian of the minor upon arrival to the vessel since cruise facilities are not adapted for children and there are no child-care facilities nor child-minders on board.

Travel to Machu Picchu and Galapagos Islands is not suitable for wheelchair users. Santa Cruz II has no wheelchair friendly ramps, cabins or elevators.

Long-haul scheduled flights 

The airfares offered are special package tour fares, which cannot be altered or cancelled without charge. All flight package prices are based on specific booking classes. If the relevant booking class is not available, a supplement may apply. On most intercontinental flights and some continental flights, drinks, meals, and snacks are included in economy class. If not included, drinks and snacks will be available for purchase. We can offer upgrades to business class on some routes. Depending on the airline, this may also include seats with more legroom. Upgrades are not available on all flights. Luggage allowance varies between airlines and charges may apply if you exceed this limit, or carriage may be refused. As a general rule, each guest can carry a piece of hand luggage weighing approx. 6-8 kg (dimensions and weight depend on the respective airline) on board. Your baggage allowance in Economy Class is set to 1PC (23 kg) but may vary depending on the flight connection; please check with your airline. Further transport guidelines can be found in the respective terms and conditions of our flight partners.  

If you are planning to take a wheelchair or need assistance at the airport, please advise us at the time of booking.  

Flights may be scheduled early in the morning or late in the evening, as they are adapted to our travel arrangements and cruises. Please note that some flights may require transfers or stopovers. Time and/or route changes, as well as a change of aircraft type, are reserved. Our common flight partners are Lufthansa, British Airways, KLM/Air France, LATAM and Iberia. Please note that rebooking or reimbursement of an already issued ticket before departure is only possible for a fee. A transfer or refund of a ticket after departure is not possible.  

Any flight times advised at the time of booking are provisional and subject to change; please check before you travel. 


Peru, Ecuador & Galapagos Islands 

Flights in Peru and Ecuador are operated by LATAM. 

LATAM´s economy class is available on flight stretches from/to Quito or Guayaquil to Galapagos Islands that we offer in combination with your ship voyage, and flight stretches to/from Lima-Cusco (Peru) in combination with the tour programme Machu Picchu. No upgrades in higher booking classes are possible.  

You can travel with checked luggage at a maximum weight of 23 kg, and bring one carry-on bag on board with a maximum of 8 kg. 

Please note that this luggage allowance can differ from the airline you use for your long-haul flight to/from Lima (for Machu Picchu programme) and Quito/Guayaquil (for Galapagos Islands). 

We kindly ask you to check your flight baggage conditions, and confirm you are within all luggage allowances. Additional luggage can only be booked as a paid service at the check-in counter. 

Any flight times advised at the time of booking are provisional and subject to change; please check before you travel. 

The standard of the hotels we use is equivalent to 4-5 stars, centrally located or if more convenient for your booked arrangement, close to the airport. All rooms have private facilities. Single rooms may be smaller and less conveniently situated and may be double rooms for sole occupancy or purpose-built single rooms. Hotels may charge for some facilities, e.g. saunas. The price for the overnight stay includes breakfast, unless otherwise stated on your confirmation.

An English-speaking physician and nurse are on board always. The ship has a small medical facility with essential equipment and medication to handle small emergencies. In the event of a serious emergency, the nearest hospital will be contacted. Medical consultations are free of charge while some medicines will be charged to the passenger. All guests must have personal travel/health insurance.  

If you depend on medication, remember to bring sufficient supplies to last through any unforeseen delays. We also recommend that you keep your medication in your hand luggage, properly labelled, and with clear instructions for its use. If you depend on vital medication, please inform the ship’s doctor upon arrival. 

Hurtigruten offers an optional Pre-Programme to experience Machu Picchu that can be added to your Hurtigruten journey starting from Quito. Please note programmes are subject to change, and a minimum number of participants applies. For guests who are not fully mobile, Pre- and Post-Programmes are on request. 

Passport and Visa 

Please take a few minutes to familiarise yourself with the required travel documents you will be asked to provide prior to boarding the ship. It is the sole responsibility of the guest to identify and obtain all required travel documents and have them available when necessary. A passport is the only valid identification. For Ecuador and Peru, your passport must be valid for more than six months after you return to your home country. It is the responsibility of each guest to ensure they comply with any visa travel document requirements at the time of travel.  


No vaccines are currently required to enter Ecuador and Peru. 

Please visit our website for additional information and/or latest updates on entry requirements. 

Transfers are included as shown in your booked arrangement (please see your booking confirmation). Hurtigruten offers bus transfers from the airport to the pier and some hotels. The transfer times are set according to the ship’s arrival and departure times, and your arrival and departure times. Delays at the airport are possible. The duration of the airport transfer can vary depending on the destination, but it takes usually between 45-60 minutes (depending on traffic). Exceptions are possible where a longer transfer time is needed, due to a greater distance between airport and port. With your travel documents you will receive further information on your transfer. 

Weather in Galapagos is good year-round. January to April, showers can be expected, so make sure you have a light rain jacket or poncho with you. Such showers do not usually last long and may be followed by strong sun and high humidity. It is best to wear light, cotton clothing in layers. June to October is dryer but cooler. A light windbreaker comes in handy as well as the rule of cotton clothing in layers. Months not mentioned here are transitional, showing a blend of the two conditions described above and vary from year to year. 

The climate in Quito is characterized by a constant temperature year-round. Most rainfall (rainy season) occurs in April, while the warmest month is September with a maximum average temperature of 22°C (72°F). The coldest month is September with a maximum average temperature of 21°C (69°F). July is the driest month, while August is the sunniest month. 

The climate in Cusco (starting point for Machu Picchu) is marked by two seasons: Rainy (from November to April) and dry (from May to October). During the rainy season the temperature is higher (between 7° and 21° C) and lower during the dry season (between 0° and 20° C).  

Year-round good walking shoes are recommended (tennis or trainers) for the hikes. Trails vary in difficulty, but most are of volcanic nature. In some trails, and for wet landings, some guests appreciate aquashoes. 

Lightweight, breathable cotton trousers, convertible to shorts have proven to be useful for all seasons. Make sure you bring one or two bathing suits. When travelling in high altitudes (Quito and Cusco) bring a warm sweater, gloves, scarf and rain jacket. 

Hat with a broad rim and a strap are advisable year-round. 

For the cooler months, wetsuits (2mm shorties) are available for free.