Celebrity Xperience In The Galapagos- Part I - Travels Blogs

Celebrity Xperience In The Galapagos- Part I

Thursday I depart, on very short notice, to join the new Celebrity Xperience in the Galapagos to experience its 7 day Northern Route itinerary plus time in Quito, Ecuador.
Celebrity XperienceWith my first love being biology, even doing a stint as a biological aid for NOAA?s National Marine Fisheries Service, I have always found adaptive radiation and evolution (a/k/a misnamed ?survival of the fittest?) fascinating.  I am, however, going to do my best to compartmentalize the Xploration of my Xperience into two areas of investigation:  The Ship and The Xpedition.
In a way, I look at my Celebrity Xperience as being similar to observing ?Darwin?s finches? ? the same species making dramatic changes to exploit the environment they live in (such as changing beak shape to better eat the seeds and other foods on the island they are located on).  Does the same thing happen with these special cruise ships and the experiences they provide to a similar, but different, set of guest requirements"

There are approximately 225,000 tourist visitors to the Galapagos Islands every year; about 150,000 of which are foreigners (26% of which are Americans, the largest nationality by far, followed by British, Canadian and Australians at 4-6% each).  While the number of tourists has pretty much skyrocketed from 40,000 in 1990 and 149,000 in 2009, the fact is there are quite a number of Galapagos cruises vying for a very small, but lucrative, market.  (Note:  The Celebrity Galapagos site incorrectly states there are 60,000 visitors a year.) Complicating this situation is the fact that both ships and crew must be Ecuadoran and, further, there are some unique regulations (not worth getting into now) that makes operating a high quality cruise ship in the Galapagos a challenge.
That said, Celebrity Cruises has a long history in the Galapagos, having successfully operated the 100 guest Celebrity Xpedition for over 12 years.  
Celebrity XpeditionWith this success?and the increasing market? Celebrity recently decided to expand its operations with the acquisition and significant refurbishment of two already existing Ecuadoran-approved ships:  the 48 guest Celebrity Xperience (formerly MV Eclipse) and the 16 guest catamaran Celebrity Xploration (formerly Athala II).  
Celebrity XplorationThese new entrants into the Celebrity experience are essentially brand new to the fleet with their first sailings just this past March/April.
Obviously with three different ships, with three significantly different passenger loads (and possible requirements), and knowing that Celebrity is fanatical about delivering a consistent product across its ships, my initial query is whether there is a difference.  That said, across all three ships there is an open bar policy, no gratuities, complimentary wi-fi, stocked refrigerators in your accommodations, room service for all meals, and more.  Dress is resort casual with pants (...
Source: Goldring Travel
URL: http://goldringtravel.blogspot.com

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