On the first day of your journey, you’ll be greeted at the airport by a Celebrity Cruises representative and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy free time to relax and settle in.
During a guided tour of the capital of Ecuador, situated at an altitude of 9,350 feet, you’ll stand on the equatorial line at the Middle of the World Park, and marvel at the monasteries of San Francisco and Santo Domingo. Your tour director will escort you throughout your Quito stay and serve as your personal concierge. Enjoy lunch with a spectacular view of the city and a welcome dinner at a local gourmet restaurant.
During World War II, Baltra served as a U.S. military base protecting the Panama Canal from enemy attack. Now the cactus-strewn landscapes of Baltra are home to the region’s main airport and where you will meet the ship. After just a short bus and Zodiac ride, you will be aboard. Your luggage will be delivered to your stateroom, giving you the opportunity to explore the Celebrity Xpedition, a 296-foot mega-yacht and your home for the next week.
Daphne is a satellite volcanic cone located north of Santa Cruz Island. The crater floor is an important breeding site for the blue-footed boobies. This island is famous for the scientific investigation led by Peter and Rosemary Grant on the finches’ population, one of the most important field studies in support of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
With its sandy beach and black rock/blue-water grottoes, this stop offers a taste of Galápagos geology, some great snorkeling, and an opportunity to see shorebirds and Galápagos fur seals. Excursion options include a long walk along the shore to the grottoes to see fur seals, followed by optional swimming and snorkeling, or a shorter coastal walk with optional swimming and snorkeling.
A small island south of Santiago, Rabida is best known for its red sand and eroded volcanic landscape. A nesting colony of pelicans makes its home here, along with sea lions and some seabirds. Excursion options include a Zodiac ride and short walk, swimming and snorkeling from the beach, and a deepwater snorkel for experienced snorkelers.
Elizabeth Bay is formed by the union of two volcanoes, Sierra Negra and Alcedo, the second largest and most active volcano in the world. Located on the east coast of Isabela Island, Elizabeth Bay has a very high and colorful mangrove forest, which contrasts beautifully with the lava. Here you will be able to observe sea lions and turtles, and around the islets of the bay you’ll see flightless cormorants, penguins, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, masked boobies, and gulls.
Historically an anchorage for pirates and whalers, this site offers a breathtaking view of Isabela, its volcanos, and a saltwater lagoon. Along the shore, seabirds, penguins, sea lions, sea turtles, and nesting flightless cormorants can often be found. Excursion options include a scenic Zodiac ride for wildlife viewing, a long, faster-paced walk, and snorkeling.
During a volcanic eruption in the early 1900s, this area of Santiago was covered with flowing lava. Today, the hardened fields of black rock create a geologic wonderland. We will take advantage of the cool of the early morning for a walk at this amazing site.
Bartolomé Island hosts one of the region’s most-photographed views and a spectacular geologic setting. Its barren moon-like volcanic landscapes, spatter cones, and Pinnacle Rock make for a unique stop. It is also home to the endemic Galápagos penguin and provides an excellent opportunity for snorkeling. Excursion options include a hike up 360 stairs to the top of the volcano, a Zodiac ride, and an optional beach swim or snorkel.
This is one of the most beautiful white-sand beaches in all of the Galápagos, and behind it are two small ponds that often have flamingos feeding in the shallows. It is also one of the largest nesting areas for the Pacific green sea turtle. Excursion options include a short beach walk to look for flamingos, followed by an optional opportunity to swim, snorkel, or just relax on the shore. It is also possible to simply go to the beach to swim, snorkel, and relax.
North Seymour is a small island just north of Baltra. It is home to the largest colony of frigate birds in the Galápagos. While keeping an eye out for male frigates trying to impress potential mates with an inflated red neck pouch, you may also see blue-footed boobies dancing in a timeless courtship ritual. Sea lions and large land iguanas also roam about this rocky terrain. Excursion options include a guided, long, rocky walk, a Zodiac ride and short, easy walk and a scenic Zodiac tour along the coast to view wildlife and the geology of the area. Experienced snorkelers will also have an option to do a deepwater snorkel at this site.
Here we have the opportunity to visit the small waterfront town of Puerto Baquerizo, the administrative capital of the islands. Excursion options include a tour of a local interpretation center and time for shopping or a fast-paced, long walk to view scenic vistas, followed by a visit to the interpretation center.
White sand juxtaposed with black volcanic rocks makes this beach another of the Galápagos’s most spectacular. Along the shore are seabirds and sea lions. Excursion options include a Zodiac ride and beach walk with optional swimming. Afterward, just in time for a sunset cocktail, the ship will navigate the steep, richly colored walls of Kicker Rock, the spectacular remains of a satellite volcanic cone.
This is the main population center of the islands and home to the National Park Service tortoise-breeding center and the Charles Darwin Research Station. After visiting both locations, you will also have the opportunity to take a bus ride to the highlands to observe giant tortoises in the wild and walk through a lava tunnel. There will also be free time available for shopping.
You will return to Baltra to say farewell to the enchanted islands. A Celebrity Cruises representative will greet you at the airport for your flight to your post-cruise Quito experience. Your luggage will be transferred from the ship directly to the plane. Your flight departs the Galápagos giving you one last glimpse of the world’s most treasured archipelago.
Upon your arrival in Quito, a Celebrity Cruise representative will escort you to your hotel. Enjoy an afternoon excursion to the local craft market, time permitting. Dinner is served at the hotel.
On Monday, after a continental breakfast, your Celebrity Cruises representative will once again escort you to the airport for your return flight home.