One of Celebrity’s new Galapagos excursions allows guests to have a meal on a family farm in the Santa Cruz highlands. // © 2014 Thinkstock
Over the course of 10 years sailing in the Galapagos, Celebrity Cruises has established fishing and agricultural cooperatives, provided a regional medical clinic and formed a partnership with the Galapagos Conservancy that includes a matching program that doubles the value of guests’ donations.
Now the company is giving Celebrity Xpedition passengers expanded opportunities for contribution and interaction. These include close contact with the protected islands in a national park reforestation project and dining on authentic local cuisine prepared by residents. The new programs offer Celebrity guests closer contact with the local human population of the Galapagos, too
Since cruises in the destination tend to attract travelers who are seeking authentic experiences, travel agents have shown enthusiasm for Celebrity’s initiatives in the Galapagos.
“Anything with cultural experience is a good thing in my estimation,” commented Tom Baker, partner and president of Cruise Center in Houston and a Conde Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist.
Celebrity is also supporting local growers and farmers through its onboard menu offerings, which include dishes such as Ecuadorian ceviche and moist tres leches cake and serving guests locally caught, sustainable fish and seafood. Vegetables and fruits served onboard are fresh, organic and sourced from Galapagos farmers and fishermen.
One new program, Authentic Dining in the Highlands, directly connects travelers with residents of the local community for a meal at a family farm in the highlands of Santa Cruz.
Also, in collaboration with the Galapagos National Park in Santa Cruz, guests can participate in the Scalesia Reforestation Project under the guidance of Celebrity’s naturalists. The goal is to plant 5,000 Scalesia trees, a regional species that has dwindled in number, adversely impacting wildlife in the national park.