The Galapagos Islands are located in the Pacific Ocean approximately 1,000 kilometres off the Ecuadorian coastline. Often referred to as the ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’, the Galapagos Islands were formed from immense seismic and volcanic activity creating eruptions from the sea. This seismic and volcanic activity still continues today, reflecting the process in which the islands were formed but in a less volatile state. The archipelago and the phenomenal marine reserve is a once in a lifetime experience for many travellers. On a cruise to the Galapagos Islands, you are among some of the most exclusive and privileged visitors in the world. These islands are some of the most magnificent, unspoilt and inspirational lands you could possibly imagine.
The geographical location of the islands was key to forming one of the world’s most fascinating ecosystems. The islands are situated right at the point of convergence between three oceans currents forming together. This location of extreme isolation along with the intrepid seismic activity produced processes of development, creating the formation of many unusual plant and animal species. Examples of rare animal and plant life on the islands include endemic trees, cacti, six species of giant tortoise, flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, and many diverse subspecies of mockingbirds and finches.
The Galapagos Islands were first discovered in 1535 by the Bishop of Panama. The islands were originally names Las Encantadas, which translates to “The Enchanted”. Colonisation commenced in 1832 and in 1835 Charles Darwin travelled to the islands, where he spent a total of six weeks observing and studying the processes and fauna of the Galapagos. His journey took place on the HMS Beagle, a ship that is now famed for being the transport that initiated the creation of Darwin’s observations. His studying of the islands produced the furnishings of considerable data on which he based his thesis of natural selection “Origin of Species, published in 1859.
Islands Unlike Any Other
A cruise to the Galapagos Islands offers the opportunity to come face to face with more than 1,900 animal species that you will not find anywhere else in the world. Exploring the isolated archipelago is an experience that will stay with you forever.
There are 13 larger islands to see when visiting this unique part of the world along with hundreds of smaller islands in close proximity to the equator. The diverse landscape of the islands is quite incredible. On the shorelines you will find flat lands, easy to navigate and ideal for welcoming cruise passengers. Inland you will find mountainous interiors, often culminating in high central craters, some of which rising over 5,000 feet. The diverse scenery creates some of the world’s greatest photographic opportunities but also dramatically affects the vegetation levels of the islands. Mangroves are particularly regular on the fringes of the islands and coastal areas along with cactus and mesquite where as in the highland areas; you will find the flora to be a little more exotically luxurious due to the vegetation’s regular exposure to heavy mist. There many locations considered to make up the principal islands of the archipelago. Principal islands include Baltra, Espanola, Fernandina, Isabela, Pinta, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Santiago and Santa Fe.
The unspoilt nature of the Galapagos archipelago is what makes this unique destination so appealing. Human interference has been kept to a strict minimum and therefore the untouched beauty of the lands has been maintained. Each stop along the way presents new and wonderful landscapes to explore. You’ll witness nesting Land Iguanas at Dragon Hill on the island of Santa Cruz, marvel at the flamingos and many other avian species at the hypersalinic lagoon and take in the amazing flora and fauna species of the South Plaza Island.
Celebrity Cruises Galapagos Islands Itineraries
Celebrity Cruises is the only major cruise line that sails to the Galapagos Islands. Itineraries are available year round aboard the cruise lines discovery ship, Celebrity Xpedition. Considered a mega yacht, the ship is intimate in nature allowing her to navigate the archipelago with ease and with a maximum guest occupancy of just 94 guests per cruise, you are amongst exclusive surroundings.
Celebrity Cruises have been operating in the Galapagos Islands since 2004 and are one of the leading cruise experts when it comes to exploring the archipelago. Guests have the choice between 7, 10, 11 and 13 night itineraries. 10 night plus
packages with Celebrity Cruises offer all-inclusive pre and post experiences in
Quito Ecuador. The packages also include nonstop, round trip airfare between Quito, Ecuador and Baltra, Galapagos. Your cruise package will also cover ntrance in the Galapagos National Park, The Ingala Tourist Card fee and compliance with all inspections and regulations dictated by the Park. Passengers opting for the 13 night itinerary package will experience an extended all-inclusive holiday, which will also take in Peru. Destinations include Lima, Cuzco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.
Celebrity Cruises explore the island in depth and make this possible for guests thanks to the unique range of shore excursions on offer. Passengers will leave
the luxurious comfort of Celebrity Xpedition at many ports of call to enjoy many unforgettable discoveries. All shore excursions provided by Celebrity Cruises are expertly organised. Each excursion is led by a Certified Naturalist Guide and all Naturalist Guides on board Celebrity Xpedition, offering insight into the islands, are certified by the Galapagos National Park.
Example shore excursion opportunities include the chance to travel to the tiny island of Champion to see the rare Floreana Mockingbird, not forgetting sharks, spotted eagle rays, barracuda and sea turtles. There’s also the chance to experience a scenic cruise along the islands of Isabela and Fernandina. Those preferring a more active adventure can enjoy hiking and snorkelling experiences from the Black Beach on Isla Santiago. Each team of highly qualified naturalist guides accompanying you
on your excursion will share their deep knowledge of this archipelago. Together you’ll explore each island on your itinerary, trekking over the blacklava rocks where marine iguanas sun themselves. Celebrity Cruises will introduce you to Galapagos tortoises, sea turtles, and more.
Celebrity Xpedition was designed for more than just travel. She was designed to explore. This fantastic discovery mega-yacht design is a leading expedition ship and the offers the incredible opportunities to explore one of the world’s last pristine environments, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You’ll step foot on board to be greeted by expert crew and Galapagos National Park-certified on board naturalists all there to ensure you experience the adventure of a lifetime. Celebrity Xpedition offers a better than 2-1 guest to staff ratio with 65 plus crew members meaning your every need will be tended to throughout your cruise and the naturalists all help to preserve the archipelago whilst enlightening passengers to the natural and evolutionary significance of the islands. There really is no other journey like it.
Celebrity Xpedition offers all passengers a fully all-inclusive experience in the Galapagos Islands. Included in the cruise are all gratuities, shore excursions, on board lectures, alcoholic beverages, speciality coffees, soft drinks, fruit juices and the use of all snorkelling equipment, we suits and more. The ship is the only true all-inclusive experience in the Galapagos Islands.
The on board lifestyle is open and casual amongst an intimate environment. Celebrity Xpedition is a discovery expedition ship meaning guests are invited to relax, unwind and focus on taking in the incredible scenery rather than concern themselves with formal evenings and stringent dress codes. Dining is completely open seating for all meals so just enjoy the easy-going nature of the ship and take advantage of soaking up the natural wonders that surround you.
In keeping with Celebrity’s standard, Celebrity Xpedition operations are based on the foundation of achieving environmental stewardship of the highest order. And in the Galapagos Islands, our standards go above and beyond compliance with the laws of the Galapagos National Park.
She may be a small ship but Xpedition still offers a variety of venues to relax and enjoy the atmosphere on board. The Discovery Lounge is ideal for familiarizing yourself with the wonders of the islands. Here you can enjoy naturalist led lectures each night of the cruise or simply relax over a drink with friends. The Blue Finch Bar is also a great venue to enjoy a drink, relax and reflect on the day ashore. This bar offers exceptional outdoors views so is great for cruising these incredible landscapes. Darwin Restaurant is the dining room on board offering completely flexible open seating dining. Whether you wish to dine alone, with new friends or even with the naturalist guides, the choice is yours. Here you’ll enjoy the freshest ingredients used to create mouthwatering dishes. We particularly recommend sampling the fresh fish caught by the Galapagos fishermen.
We have focused so much on the discovery side of the Galapagos Islands but it is important to highlight the ships areas for relaxation. The bars are great but if you want to take some time in between exploring the islands and unwind then the Sunrise Deck is an ideal place. Here you’ll find a hot tub, sauna and sunning area along with every amenity you could wish for from your head to your toes. Not only is this a great location on board during the day to soak up the sunshine, at night it can also be a brilliant place to come with and wrap up to enjoy the blanket of stars above.
This is a common question from our clients looking to travel to Galapagos. With Celebrity Cruises there are no strict age restrictions in place, however the cruise line do recommend that children be above the age of 8 years old in order to really enjoy the experience and the journey.
Galapagos Islands Visa Requirements
Currently there are no visa requirements for UK Citizens. All you will need is a valid passport, that like any other cruise destination, has a minimum of 6 months validity from the return date of your voyage. This is a strict requirement of the Ecuadorian government. It is also important to point out that there are no inoculations/vaccines required as long as Ecuador/Galapagos is your first point of entry. Guests that are coming from other destinations, for example the Amazon, Celebrity Cruise recommend checking with local authorities prior to entering the country but if this is the case, we will provide all our clients with the necessary information needed.
When Is The Best Time To Travel To The Galapagos Islands?
The Galapagos Islands are a year round destination with two seasons. The islands are location close to the equator and are therefore subject to oceanic currents that do influence temperatures along the archipelago. No matter what time of year you are looking to travel, you can rest assured that the weather is pleasant, hence the reason for the destination being popular throughout the year.
The two seasons are known as the ‘hot’ or ‘wet’ season and the ‘Garoa’ season. The ‘hot’ season lasts from January right through to June but during this heated spell, there can be a larger amount of rainfall, especially during the months of March and April. The ‘Garoa’ season runs through from July to December. The word “Garoa” refers to the mist that is associated with these months that often clings to the higher elevation of the islands during this season.
The All-Inclusive Experience
FREE Drinks – Bottled Water, Spirits, Beer, Wine, Coffee, Tea, Espresso, Cappuccino
FREE Shore Excursions
FREE Cooking Demonstrations and Wine tasting
FREE use of snorkeling equipment