Celebrity Cruises is a world-recognized brand with a long legacy of excellence in cruising. Its Galapagos Islands cruise options are also some of the most luxurious and sought-after vacations. Why? Because there really is no place on earth like the Galapagos Islands and Celebrity Cruises knows exactly how to explore this bucket list destination. With three different vessels to choose from, from the Celebrity Flora, an all-suite mega-yacht, to the iconic Celebrity Xpedition to the intimate 16-guest catamaran the Celebrity Xploration, vacationers will have a one-of-a-kind experience no matter which cruise they book.
To learn more about luxury cruises and the Galapagos Islands, we chatted with Susana Romero, Director of Galapagos Sales and Communications at Celebrity Cruises. Here’s what she had to say about these oh-so luxe cruise excursions.
Why should vacationers consider traveling to the Galapagos Islands?
“For millions of years, this remarkable archipelago has been home to a very unique ecosystem with plants and animals that have adapted to its environment. The islands are magnificent, and they allow us the opportunity to get up close and personal with its inhabitants. The animals in the Galapagos don’t fear humans, it actually feels like they like us!”
Can you tell me a bit about Celebrity Cruises’ brand?
“We know our guests want more than just observation, they want to immerse and discover, and they want to do so with a brand that can provide the highest level of service and comfort while delivering a truly genuine experience. Luxury is more than a category, it is a way of life, and Celebrity delivers it every step of the journey.”
What makes Celebrity Cruises a luxurious experience?
“Our experiences in the Galapagos are fully curated and exclusive to our guests, and that includes the pre-and post-experiences we offer in Quito, Ecuador as well as our post-cruise option continuing to Peru and including Lima, The Sacred Valley, Cusco and Machu Picchu. We partner with only the best hotels, carefully pick the restaurants and dining experiences we offer, and find the best local guides to truly deliver immersive experiences.”
What sets Celebrity Cruises apart from other cruise lines?
“We offer more choices for our guests’ Galapagos adventures and all of our packages are all-inclusive, in fact, we are the only true all-inclusive option in the Galapagos. With three ships to choose from, six different itineraries, and multiple pre- and post-cruise package options, we are the best in the destination.”
What type of vacationer is best suited for the Celebrity Flora?
“Celebrity Flora carries 100 guests and is the ultimate in luxury. She is an all-suite mega-yacht, featuring verandas in all of them. The first vessel of its kind to be designed for the destination, she complements the destination and merges seamlessly with the surroundings allowing our guests to feel a stronger connection with the ocean and the breathtaking islands. She is one of the most eco-friendly and environmentally safe ships sailing the planet! Celebrity Flora guests are world travelers who see the ultimate in ultra-luxury and prefer exclusive experiences.”
What type of vacationer is best suited for the Celebrity Xpedition?
“Celebrity Xpedition is responsible for our success in the Galapagos, as she started it all 16 years ago! When she was introduced in the Galapagos, she brought with her a level of comfort and luxury now only rivaled by Celebrity Flora. Originally launched as a 100 guests ship, she now carries only 48 guests. She is truly iconic, award-winning and, without a doubt, spacious! And she is also perfect for multi-gen families seeking a mid-sized vessel, in full comfort.”
What type of vacationer is best suited for the Celebrity Xploration?
“She is our unique 16-guest catamaran offering amazing accommodations. She is intimate, exclusive and can be chartered for private events and gatherings. This catamaran is meant for the “sailors at heart” looking to spend time in very small groups.”
What type of experiences do these cruise ships offer?
“Trust me, you will never be bored! All of our excursions are delivered by our Galapagos National Park Naturalists and are fully regulated by the park. Our guest to Naturalist ratio is one of the lowest in the destination allowing for up-close and personal exploration for each area. Onboard our vessels, Celebrity offers daily briefings and lectures, and a la carte dining experiences both indoors and under the stars. Depending on the ship, we also offer nightly activities including “Silent Disco!” On Celebrity Flora, there is even a glamping experience where guests get to spend the night outdoors in a cabana on the top deck. It includes a sunset dinner, sunrise breakfast, and even a private star-gazing session with a Naturalist.”
Can you tell us about the ships’ amenities?
“Our ships are fully equipped with the latest in comfort and, of course, appropriate to this pristine environment. While the amenities may vary a bit by ship, we offer locally sourced and organic bath products. In addition, snorkeling equipment, wet-suits, binoculars and walking sticks are also provided. We have in-stateroom TV’s, direct dial phones and air conditioning. There are well stocked libraries, hot tubs, sunning areas, relaxation areas, a gym and massage services to mention a few more.”
Can vacationers work remotely aboard the different vessels?
“While we do have wi-fi onboard all our vessels, and it is included, who wants to work while in the Galapagos? Keep in mind, this is a very active vacation. Guests are off the ship at least twice a day—in the morning and in the afternoon—exploring in small groups, 8 to 10 guests with each Galapagos National Park certified naturalist guide. Joking aside, there is connectivity for all our guests should they need to check-in with work and for social media sharing.”
What about the different food and menu offerings aboard the vessels?
“Celebrity is known for its culinary offerings, with fresh and authentic menu offerings crafted by our Michelin-starred chef. We are perfect for “foodies!” And our Galapagos food offering is no different, albeit appropriate to the destination and in full compliance with the Galapagos National Park provisioning regulations.”
When is the best time to travel to the Galapagos Islands?
“Anytime is a great time to travel to the Galapagos. While there are two seasons in Galapagos, the main difference is the water temperatures. During our North America winter, the waters in the Galapagos are warmer and clearer and while it’s considered the rainy season, most of the rain happens in the mountain highlands and not at sea level. During the North America summer, Galapagos waters are cooler and the air is temperate. I find this time of year perfect for the walks and longer hikes! Keep in mind it is always warm in Galapagos during the day, with a nice cool breeze at night.”
How does Celebrity Cruises give back to the Galapagos Islands?
“Giving back is in our DNA. We are passionately focused on preserving the environment and are proud of our partnerships and initiatives in the Galapagos. And it is not only us, we are in great company, to date, with our guests who have contributed over $1.5 million dollars to the Galapagos Fund, a fund created to directly benefit the Galapagos Islands and its communities. The initiatives funded, have a direct and lasting impact on the preservation of the rare and species-rich marine, wildlife and plant ecosystem of the islands. In addition, Celebrity has funded numerous community programs including projects that directly impact the daily life of the Galapagos community such as soccer fields and art centers for children with special needs. We have constructed greenhouses and provided support for local farmers’ associations through organic agriculture initiatives.”
Can you tell me a bit about Celebrity Cruises’ eco-friendly amenities/features?
“In addition to our community programs, we are leaders in environmental practices and low impact travel. To name a few, Celebrity Flora features:
- Dynamic positioning – allowing us to stay in position without the need to drop anchors
- Reverse Osmosis system – we produce all of our water for onboard use
- Fuel efficiency engines – reduces fuel consumption
- State-of-the-art recycling system – less waste
- Recycle a/c condensation – allows us to re-use condensation water for laundry
- Zero single-use plastics – we provide in suite water filtration systems for all guests
- Solar panels – supplement energy
Our entire Galapagos experience practices the highest levels of environmental stewardship.”
What are the best places for an Insta-worthy photo?
“There will be hundreds of opportunities for one-of-a-kind pictures! All worth sharing. From sea lions, blue-footed boobies, red- footed boobies, to Frigate Birds, and even Galapagos Giant Tortoises! And you will learn from the experts, too, as the Naturalists bring to life what makes the animals and their environment so rich and special.”
What are the top attractions or sites to see?
“Every landing is truly distinct and unique. Every location delivers an abundant amount of wildlife and plant life. The main town in Santa Cruz, Puerto Ayora, is a highlight for our guests as they get to visit the Charles Darwin Station as well as a private ranch where they get to enjoy seeing numerous giant tortoises in the wild. No matter which itinerary you are on, the experience will be equally enriching and fulfilling.”
What should vacationers consider before booking one of these cruise excursions?
“Consider booking early and make sure you can devote time to this vacation and keep in mind this is an active experience! Our most popular, all-inclusive, 10-night package hits the sweet spot and allows time to discover Quito, the capital city of Ecuador and a World Heritage Site, and get an in-depth experience in the Galapagos. And if time is on your side, pick the 16-night…which after Quito and the Galapagos takes you all the way to Machu Picchu! It will be our privilege to help your readers learn more about our vacations in the Galapagos. They can certainly reach out to us, visit our website, or contact their favorite Travel Advisor for more information.”
To learn more about Celebrity Cruises and their offerings, check out their website here or call 1-888-749-6787.