Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Celebrity Xpedition to Resume Galapagos Sailings

Lobster Problem Resolved
Celebrity Xpedition
License Reinstated

After having to cancel four cruises, through June 23rd, the Galapagos authorities have reinstated Celebrity Cruises license to operate Celebrity Xpedition in the Galapagos National Park starting June 30th.

(22 photos)
As we reported in the article above, Celebrity Cruises was fined and their license was suspended due to the lines' failure to comply with recently modified rules concerning the transport of frozen lobsters in the Galapagos region. It isn't clear why the mistake occurred but the situation has now been cleared up allowing resumption of cruises.

However those guests that had planned a trip to the land where Darwin explored June 2 - 30, their plans were put on hold to another time.   

Why Go to the Galapagos

Perhaps you've never even heard of this cruise adventure before the news story broke about the suspension.  We've written a few articles in the past centered around our trip to the region.  For those that may have missed that series, we'll take another look at the trip and add details not previously reported.

Over one hundred fifty years ago, a man wrote about his quest that took him to a place where he would discover how life evolved thousands of years ago.  Travel with me as we follow in his footsteps and discover a land that is inhabited by species that can be found nowhere else on earth.

Our destination is an archipelago of volcanic islands near the equator in the Pacific Ocean.  We are met by a team of naturalists who transport us by Zodiacs to our waiting ship, Celebrity Xpedition.

Every day of this seven-day voyage, we make at least two stops to explore the various islands in the archipelago.  The terrain varies from sandy beaches to volcanic rock expanses. The staff has prepared a series of medium and high intensity activities for each location.

During our explorations we see male Frigate birds with extended red throat pouches attracting the females, courting Blue-footed Boobies, flightless cormorants, albatrosses, sea lions, fur seals, penguins, whales, several species of Marine and Land Iguanas, Green Sea Turtles, Giant Tortoises, and many other species too numerous to list here.  In all cases, we are not seeing these species in cages or man-made pools, but rather in their natural setting.  We observe them at short distances, while respecting their habitat.  The naturalists are responsible for the conservation of this environment and our enrichment at the same time.

If you have not guessed by now, the man who has gone before us is Charles Darwin who visited these Galapagos Islands and was inspired to write his work 'On the Origin of Species'.  The Galapagos Marine Reserve, one of the world's largest protected areas, has more than 2,900 reported marine species and over 18% of those live nowhere else on earth.  

You probably have many questions about a trip like this - from things like altitude illness.   Having been to the region on Celebrity Xpedition, we can provide first-hand knowledge about this amazing trip.  It is truly a once in a lifetime experience which should be on your bucket list.

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