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Celebrity buys two small ships to expand Galapagos Islands cruises

Celebrity Cruises has bought a catamaran and a small ship to expand its operations in Ecuador's eco-popular Galapagos Islands.

Celebrity announced Monday that it bought Ocean Adventures, a tour operator that brings the M/V Eclipse, which holds 48 people, and a 16-passenger catamaran called the M/C Athala II. For more than a decade, the cruise line has operated its Celebrity Xpedition, which carries 100 passengers.

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For travelers, it means more luxury choices about how you want to visit the environmentally fragile islands — on an intimate catamaran or aboard the larger Xpedition.

Celebrity plans to add new destinations and new shore excursions in the Galapagos too. And for  the first time, passengers can opt to stay overnight on the islands and meet the locals through cultural tours.

The sale will be finalized later in spring, according to a Celebrity statement. Ocean Adventures will operate the ships through January; then ships will be refreshed in drydock before sailing as part of Celebrity's fleet.

Seven-night cruises in the Galapagos start at $4,199 per person for an ocean-view room, $6,249 per person for a suite.

Booking for the new ships starts in April.

Info: Celebrity Cruises, (800) 437-3111, or contact a travel agent

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