National Geographic Islander II Galapagos luxury expedition ship, with dark blue hull, white upper decks & Ecuador flag.
aft indoor/outdoor dining area on Nat Geo Islander II Galapagos ship with airy blue & white tables for 2 & 4 guests.
Outdoor bar with 4 barstools on a small ship cruise
Sun Deck on Nat Geo Islander II ship in Galapagos with large Jacuzzi & many gray chaise loungers with colored throw pillows.
Suite aboard National Geographic Islander II Galapagos ship with double bed, large view windows & white & blue decor.
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National Geographic Islander II

48 guests
year built
crew members
280 feet
46 feet

The National Geographic Islander II combines the spirit of education and discovery with elegant and spacious living areas. At only 48 guests she matches her predecessor ship, National Geographic Islander, but this new iteration is packed with amenities not available to earlier Islander guests.

National Geographic Islander II Review

The following cruise ship review includes a detailed description of this incredible Galapagos expedition ship including the deck plan and a photo gallery. Our small ship cruise experts have been aboard nearly every first-class vessel in the Galapagos Islands, including this ship’s predecessor. Find the detailed ship description and deck plan below. Then contact our experts to compare the Nat Geo Islander II with other small cruise ships, expedition ships and mid-size cruisers offering Galapagos cruises.

Choose the National Geographic Islander II for an all-suite ship with modern and Ecuadorian decor, and amenities not typically found on a Galapagos expedition ship. This ship feels like a private yacht. She has been outfitted for adventure with areas like a Science Hub and Chart Room, yet she maintains her charm with various indoor/outdoor spaces, wraparound teak decking, crystal chandeliers and a unique top-deck pool. This ship is excellent for Galapagos family cruises, with select interconnected cabins, family-friendly activities and numerous educational opportunities for kids. She also makes our list of Galapagos luxury cruises due to her high level of educational programming. 

Design & Sustainability

The Nat Geo Islander II has been purposefully refit to offer the high level of service and education that our partner Lindblad Expeditions is known for. The aft Marina with its gear room and swim platform offer ample space for guests to get on and off the ship with ease, multiple times each day. Environmental considerations are also apparent with features including reduced outdoor lighting, special paints and a new air conditioning system that recycles water. Finally, her stabilizers ensure smooth sailing through open ocean crossings.

Onboard Facilities

This best-in-class expedition ship offers a wide range of amenities. For example, her forward Viewing Platform invites moments to catch the amazing wildlife of the Galapagos. Her open bridge encourages travelers to observe the navigation process. And two non-guest suites are reserved for invited community members, researchers, educators and storytellers involved with Galapagos. Easy access to outdoor deck space is available around the ship, including space for outdoor events such as a BBQ, chocolate and spirits pairing, stretching and meditation. Finally, her interior design features artwork created by local artisans to share in Ecuador’s finest.

Dining, Bars, Lounge & Food Sustainability

Dining options aboard the National Geographic Islander II are exclusively offered on the uppermost decks, with seating for all and amazing sight lines. The indoor/outdoor Patio Cafe creates a calm dining experience in a protected area at the back of the ship, with floor-to-ceiling windows to bring the outside in. The sophisticated Yacht Club Restaurant features fine dining in a central location, with The Cove lounge area a perfect after-dinner hangout or pre-dinner presentation area. The open-air Observation Deck provides a generous amount of sunny seating and casual fare from the bar and grill. An outdoor BBQ are offers al fresco dining with fun options such as pizzas. And a 24-hour coffee and tea station is always available, featuring 100% Ecuadorian and Galapaguenian coffee beans. Additionally, the “Zero Proof” program means delicious cocktails with no alcohol are available at the bar; the bar also offers Galapagos-produced craft beer.

Food on board is fresh, local, organic and sustainable. Chefs regularly work with local producers to harvest and select ingredients, ensuring quality as well as working toward updated techniques such as hydroponics. On board the ship, ingredients are kept out of the waste stream and flavors are preserved by pickling, curing and canning. Meals are pre-ordered and plated as often as possible, and excess ingredients are turned into crew meals, further reducing food waste. The menu on board Nat Geo Islander II features certified fish, vegan and vegetarian options (including items like in-house-made vegan cheeses), and a seasonal or annual refresh. Some dishes are even designed to represent the environment in which National Geographic Islander II operates.

Science Hub, Library & Chart Room

Discovery is at the forefront of every departure aboard Nat Geo Islander II, with a science hub, library and chart room—each space encouraging educational pursuits. These areas play host to the Global Explorers program for kids and teens with various guided activities. The science hub features equipment including microscopes, lab benches, digital photo editing tools and an interactive video display of the ship’s underwater cameras.

Pool, Spa, Sauna & Gym

A top-deck plunge pool offers a cool respite on hot equatorial days, complete with outdoor showers adjacent to a cedar-lined sauna, topnotch fitness studio and outdoor theater. The gym features Technogym equipment, yoga space and incredible views. The spa keeps travelers pampered with options such as massage atop a quartz table. And the onboard doctor’s office ensures safety.

Activities & Expeditions

Restful onboard moments are balanced by active off-ship explorations. Guests are regularly treated to opportunities to swim, kayak, stand-up paddle, hike, practice photography and seek unique flora and fauna on Zodiac cruises. National Geographic Islander II carries a fleet of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, a custom-built glass-bottom Zodiac, various Zodiac Mark V boats, and snorkel gear for travelers of all ages.

Crew & Guides

Guests are treated to a 1:1 guest-to-crew ratio for the feeling of a private yacht. And the ship carries a wellness specialist and 5 guides, including an undersea specialist, photo instructor, video chronicler and field educators. All guides and crew members aboard National Geographic Islander II are Ecuadorian, furthering the sense of authenticity and connection to country.

Cabins & Nat Geo Islander II Deck Plan

Common to all 26 suites aboard this Galapagos ship are: panoramic windows, twin/king convertible beds, a seating area with sofa, ample closet space, private marble double-sink bathrooms with a walk-in shower, WiFi, a flat-screen TV and a stocked mini bar. Triple options are available with the third guest sleeping on a sofa bed. And families may opt to connect the Santa Cruz Suite (#303) with Suite #301 to create a family suite.

Suite with twin beds aboard National Geographic Islander II
Category SU

Main Deck #203, 205-208, 210-212, 215 & 220. Bridge Deck #301-302, 306, 308, 310-312 & 316. The 280-sq-ft Suites feature two twins or one king bed.

Suite aboard National Geographic Islander II Galapagos ship with double bed, large view windows & white & blue decor.
Category IS

Main Deck #209 & 218. Bridge Deck #303 & 309. The 515-sq-ft Islander Suites feature two twins or one king bed, walk-in closet, four windows, separate living area with a sofa bed, and larger bathroom with rain shower & tub. Included suite exclusives: welcome gift, priority booking for 1 spa treatment, in-room espresso maker & complimentary laundry.

Suite aboard National Geographic Islander II Galapagos ship with double bed, large view windows & white & blue decor.
Category SO

Main Deck #217 & 222. Bridge Deck #315 & 318. The 280-sq-ft Solo Suites feature two twins or one king bed.

National Geographic Islander II Galapagos luxury ship deck plan with 5 guest levels, 2 with cabins in 3 categories.
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