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Celebrity's expanded Galápagos fleet affords on-island stays, charters

Celebrity's expanded Galápagos fleet affords on-island stays, charters
Celebrity Cruises' newly acquired Galápagos yachts, Celebrity Xploration and Celebrity Xperience, expand the offerings including, starting today, a program that adds a land stay—and will each undergo multimillion-dollar refreshes before March 2017.

Together with the 100-passenger Celebrity Xpedition, the three vessels will offer six itineraries to 15 islands and more than 30 ports. Packages of seven to 15 nights feature northern and southern loop itineraries.

Celebrity acquired the yachts from Ocean Adventures, an Ecuadorean tour operator.

Celebrity Xploration is a catamaran with eight luxurious staterooms, each with a window or veranda. The larger Celebrity Xperience offers 24 staterooms. Both ships will get upgraded premium mattresses and pillows, and luxurious bedding. Rooms will gain LCD televisions, and high-speed Internet will be available ship-wide.

Dining will feature fresh regional seafood and fish, regional coffee, chocolate and other delights, along with premium spirits and a curated wine list.

Celebrity Xperience will offer seven-, 10- and 13-night all-inclusive trips with new ports like Mosquera Islet, Black Turtle Cove, Cerro Brujo, Santa Fe, Darwin Bay and El Barranco, famous for its Prince Philip steps leading to vast seabird colonies of Nazca and red-footed boobies.

Launching today is a new 'Xperiential Travel' 13-night itinerary that enables passengers to meet people who live in the islands. After spending two nights exploring Quito, Ecuador, and sailing for seven nights, participants will disembark for three nights in a seaside hotel at Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island.

They'll visit a farm or greenhouse to gather provisions to prepare an exclusive dinner with a professional chef at a local restaurant. They'll also spend time with a fisherman, learn about responsible tourism and have the chance to snorkel and swim from a private beach.

For the ultimate Galápagos experience, travelers can charter the smaller Celebrity Xploration for a seven-night, all-inclusive trip with varied choices of pre- and post-cruise experiences. New ports include El Barranco, Darwin Bay, Espumilla Beach, Mosquera Islet, Chinese Hat, Kicker Rock, Cerro Brujo, Walls of Tears and Puerto Villamil, the small town that's home to the Galápagos Giant Tortoise Center.

Meanwhile, Celebrity Xpedition offers seven-, 10-, 11- and 15-night all-inclusive vacations. Experiences range from dining on authentic cuisine prepared by local residents to contributing to the protected islands through the Scalesia Reforestation Project in partnership with the Galápagos National Park.

All the sailings can be combined with pre- and post-cruise land programs.