Are the Galapagos Islands on your “must-experience” list? A very popular destination, you may not know that Celebrity Cruise Line has been leading explorers in this fascinating and unique corner of the world for over 14 years. With the choice of the new in 2019 ship Celebrity Flora and the “revolutionized” Celebrity Expedition you will be hard-pressed to find a better way to vacation in these diverse islands.
Let’s first take a look at the incredible nature you are going to be surrounded on your once in a lifetime opportunity. And this is just a sample of the beautiful creatures you may see up close and personal. The list comes from a web post by TravelAddicts.net.
Genovesa Island Darwin Bay frigate bird is a gorgeous animal with a sometimes puffed up ruby throat.
Marine Iguana is the only iguana that swims in the ocean. There are reportedly 6 sub-species.
The Blue-Footed Booby is a bird I have wanted to see up close for most of my life. Have you ever seen the dance they do during mating? These may be found in high concentration on North Seymour, but also on Espanola, Fernandina, Floreana, Isabela, Pinzon, and Santa Cruz.
The Galapagos Tortoise
The below description is taken from TravelAddicts.net.
“If you ask most visitors to the Galapagos, they would say that the animal they most want to see is the giant Galapagos tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra). These majestic giants were almost hunted to extinction. Once numbering over 250,000, their numbers declined to just under 3,000 in the 1970s. Much of that decline was due to hunting by pirates and sailors.
In 1835, Charles Darwin visited the islands of San Cristobal and Santiago and noted the differences in the Galapagos tortoise population on each island. These key differences helped him refine his theory of evolution (mutability). He ultimately left the Galapagos with over two dozen tortoises, but used them for eating, partially contributing to their declining numbers.
Through efforts at Charles Darwin Research Station and the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center on Isabela Island, the tortoises are back. While all visitors can see the tortoises at the breeding centers, we were fortunate to see several giant Galapagos tortoises on Isabela Island in their natural habitats. They were as curious about us as we were about them.”
The Galapagos Green Sea Turtle, Isabella Island, a slightly different species than those seen elsewhere in the world. This animal has an average weight of 440 pounds. It is estimated this endangered animal has about 1400 breeding females in Galapagos waters.
The Land Iguana and Pink Land Iguanas are also unique to the islands, and both are endangered, the Pink critically so with perhaps as few as 400 left in the Mt. Wolf area of Galapagos National Park. This park currently may not be visited, as it is an active volcano.
Galapagos Sea Lions, playful as pups, are found easily on Genovesa Island. There are strict regulations for interaction with all Galapagos wildlife, but these active creatures don’t really follow the rules…they may bump into you while snorkeling, presumably asking you to play with them!
The Galapagos Penguins number about 1500 and are the only penguin living north of the equator. You may find some on Isabella Island.
The Sally Lightfoot Crab is arguably the most colorful creature in the Galapagos Islands. These bright red and yellow crabs love to crawl over the black lava rocks, so you’ll get great photos. They may be found on nearly every island! They are scavengers, eating just about every organic debris they can find.
Scientists disagree whether there are 13 or 14 different species, but Darwin noticed after his return from the islands that each of these finches probably evolved from the same finch, eventually developing unique beaks for different uses.
As there are quite a few more species of animals that are unique to this ecosystem, please do your research carefully before choosing which itinerary with Celebrity Cruise Line matches your special interest. There are several to choose from, depending on the amount of time (and subsequently, money) you can give the trip.
Darwin said it well:
“I never dreamed that islands about 50 or 60 miles apart, and most of them in sight of each other, formed of precisely the same rocks, placed under a quite similar climate, rising to a nearly equal height, would have been differently tenanted; but we shall soon see that this is the case. It is the fate of most voyagers, no sooner to discover what is most interesting in any locality, than they are hurried from it; but I ought, perhaps, to be thankful that I obtained sufficient materials to establish this most remarkable fact in the distribution of organic beings.” – Charles Darwin
While you could book the “cruise only” for 7 nights from Baltra Island, consider carefully all the inclusions (see below) you will get in a 10-11 night package. Celebrity does treat you as a “star” in your own right, and I feel confident you will remember your experiences with them in Galapagos for the rest of your life.
All 10 night or longer packages With Celebrity Cruises include:
- Meet and Greet services for all transfers and tours (all included).
- Luxury hotel accommodations.
- VIP check-in and check-out at hotel.
- Multiple fully escorted exclusive tours in every location.
- Meals and beverages while on tour and at hotels.
- Luggage serve, including compliance with mandatory Galapagos agricultural inspection of all luggage at the hotel before departure and flight check-in with distribution of boarding passes at the hotel.
- All tour connecting airfare (excludes in and outbound home/originating city flights.)
- Galapagos National Park entrance fee, Galapagos Tourist Card fee, and all other entrance fees.
- 7-night Galapagos Cruise (choice of ship and itineraries.)
- Celebrity Concierge Service/tour escort.
- All gratuities.