Metropolitan Touring's 40-passenger Isabella II is an expedition yacht offering year-round cruises in the Galapagos Islands. The former supply ship was built in 1979 and reconstructed for Metropolitan Touring in 1988. Like its sisters, the ship is regularly refreshed; the most recent dry-dock occurred in June 2018 when the reception area, dining room, cabins and bar lounge all enjoyed a refresh.
Here's what you can expect aboard Isabella II Galapagos cruise:
Cruise fare: what's included. The cost of the cruise includes excursions (island treks, snorkeling, kayaking, etc.), all meals and snacks, lectures and snorkeling equipment (masks, fins, snorkel). Three-millimeter "shortie" wetsuits, which are recommended during the June/July to December cool season, can be rented onboard. Wi-Fi, which is available in Isabella II's lounge and small library, and sodas/adult beverages are also extra.
Expedition essentials. Passengers cruise with one expedition leader and two naturalist guides. Other expedition accouterments found on Isabella II include sit-on-top sea kayaks, a glass-bottom boat, and three "pangas," the omnipresent water taxis that facilitate ship-to-shore transportation in the Galapagos.
A doctor is also stationed permanently onboard should passengers run into any minor issues with the equatorial sun, wasps or seasickness.
Cabins. Isabella II’s 40 guests are accommodated in 20 cabins divided across four different categories. All cabins have ocean views, and all except for the large Owner’s Suite on Main Deck open to a shared outdoor promenade deck. Cabins are snug but not uncommon for an expedition ship of this size and age. One Standard Cabin measures 128 square feet with a fixed double bed and is located on the port side of Cabin Deck. It is flanked by 16
Accomodations are cozy and nautical, with attractive wood trim and panelling accented by grey-blue wall treatments and soft furnishings. Still, it’s not a bad idea to pack only the essentials to avoid cluttering up the available storage space in these cabins. Common amenities to all cabins include hair dryers, telephones, safes, and 110-volt, U.S.-style power outlets. Wi-Fi internet is only available in the public rooms, and connection is likely to be weak owing to the ship’s remote sailing location.
Dining. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served open seating at designated times in Isabella II's dining room. Breakfast and lunch are buffet-style while dinner is served course-by-course. The occasional meal is also served alfresco on a top-ship (covered) secondary venue. Post-excursion snacks (juice and pigs 'n blankets, say) are offered daily.
Public spaces. The social hub of the yacht is the comb bar-lecture room, which is used for evening briefings, video presentations and as a destination before-and-after dinner drinks. An adjacent mini-library houses a pair of Web-ready computers and a collection of books about South America, the Galapagos and wildlife. (Wi-Fi is available in the library and bar/lecture room.) Isabella II's lobby features a small boutique selling logo hats, shirts and jackets, as well as a variety of travel essentials for forgetful passengers (sun block, aloe, sunglasses). An exercise room contains a bike, elliptical and treadmill.
The yacht's sun deck features a smattering of wicker loungers and a jacuzzi with room to comfortably accommodate six passengers.