Tourism & Cruises

Celebrity Cruises expands Galapagos fleet

The magnificent frigate bird displays its bright red sac during mating season.
The magnificent frigate bird displays its bright red sac during mating season.

More Celebrity Cruises guests will soon be able to snorkel with baby sea lions and see the magnificent frigate bird.

Celebrity is expanding its Galapagos sailings with the purchase of Ocean Adventures, which will add two boutique ships to its fleet.

The 48-passenger M/V Eclipse and 16-passenger catamaran M/C Athala II will join the 100-passenger Celebrity Xpedition. The two ships currently operate in the closely regulated Galapagos and are approved for itineraries different from those available on the larger Xpedition.

“We’ve wanted to to expand in the Galapagos for a very long time,” said Celebrity President Lisa Lutoff-Perlo. “We’re constantly booked out far ahead. When the opportunity came up with Ocean Adventures, it made a nice marriage for us.”

All existing Ocean Adventures bookings will be honored, she said.

The additional ships increase Celebrity’s Galapagos inventory by 64 percent without increasing the total number of visitors to the sensitive island group.

The two ships will join the Celebrity fleet this spring. Passengers aboard the Eclipse and the Athala II will receive the Ocean Adventures’ experience until the ship go into drydock in January 2017, when the ships will be realigned with Celebrity’s premium style.

With the addition of the two ships, Celebrity will offer three distinct itineraries in the region, said Bernardo Carrillo, managing director of Celebrity Vacations. Eclipse and Athala II now offer 5 and 7 night sailings; both are permitted to visit the smaller islands of Española and Santa Maria.