Hurtigruten Expeditions is to run year-round Galapagos Islands cruises from 2022.
Upgraded 90-passenger ship MS Santa Cruz II will be deployed on sailings around the archipelago from January 5.
A long-term strategic partnership has been forged with Ecuador-based Metropolitan Touring to deliver the programme of nine-day itineraries plus pre- and post-cruise options including a four-day tour to Machu Picchu in neighbouring Peru.
Hurtigruten Group chief executive Daniel Skjeldam said: “We are extremely excited to expand our South America offering to one of the most spectacular destinations on the planet.
“We have seen a clear trend of travellers seeking out truly unique and meaningful travel experiences, with a sharp increase in demand for the type of small ships/big experiences we offer.
“The pandemic has dramatically pushed this development forward. There is huge pent-up demand for travelling right now, and we are responding with this breath-taking new destination.”
Metropolitan Touring chief executive Paulina Burbano de Lara said: “This partnership brings together two companies that combine the best of two worlds – Hurtigruten Expeditions as a global player with an excellent reputation in expedition cruises, and our long history and deep knowledge of the Galapagos Islands.”
Hurtigruten Expeditions chef executive Asta Lassesen added: “This is a significant milestone in our 125-year history of exploring.
“The Galapagos is one of the world’s ultimate expedition cruise destinations. It is a perfect match between two companies with a proud history, strong heritage, and passion for the well-being of our oceans and our planet.”