The importance of expedition vessels in Galapagos is often falsely undermined by the presence of the numerous and presumably “better” smaller vessels and yachts (a myth we’ve already dispelled here and here). Recent news, how ever, reveals that a brand-new new Expedition Vessel is set to enter Galapagos waters in early 2019. Note: Celebrity Cruises, the company behind the new vessel, is our direct competition; nevertheless, we can’t help but tip our hats to them as the introduction of this new vessels is a boon for the beautiful wildlife and delicate environments throughout the Galapagos. In fact, in light of this recent news, we couldn’t think of a better opportunity to talk about the importance of expedition vessels in Galapagos more than now.
The Importance of Expedition Vessels in Galapagos: A Plethora of Benefits for the Surrounding Environment
Think of it this way: As Celebrity Expedition introduces their new ship into the Galapagos two years down the road, they will have to compensate said introduction of a new vessel by taking out at least one of their older vessels. Why? Because the Galapagos National Park rules are much like the Law of Conservation of Energy, whereby energy can neither be created or destroyed. So, in a similar sense, expedition vessels cannot be introduced into the archipelago without taking another one out to maintain the balance/quota of ships that are allowed to navigate throughout the Galapagos. Another thing to remember is that park legislation has not changed, and thus the introduction of this new vessel shouldn’t cause alarm to anyone out there that believes that this is a sign of worse things to come (i.e. that there is an ever-growing number of expedition vessels in Galapagos and that pretty soon it will be overrun by them).
Just remember: New vessels must replace existing older vessels. They cannot be compounded or added to a fleet of older. The new ship must replace an older ship, the latter of which must leave the islands.
So why is the introduction of this new expedition vessel a good thing? Because it underlines the importance of expedition vessels in Galapagos.
Celebrity Expeditions, in a sense, is fostering a movement (of expedition vessels) which we hope will grow and encompass other companies as well.
We believe that expedition vessels are the way to go due to that fact that smaller vessels are notorious for creating much more stress on their islands and their designated visitor sites by a.) arriving in larger numbers (and therefore dropping multiple anchors in one visitor site) and b.) typically not having their own water containment and/or treatment plants aboard (which means they have to bring in the former from the mainland and the latter needs to be unloaded/shipped out). The importance of expedition vessels is heightened by their very nature – they are often times more energy efficient and environmentally sophisticated vessels.
What’s more is that there’s several downsides to smaller vessels in general, one of the biggest of which is that they aren’t required to have career officers aboard, mastering the vessel. Another glaring flaw is the fact that, unlike the Santa Cruz II Galapagos cruise, smaller vessels/yachts in Galapagos don’t typically have an on board Medical Officer(s) that can assist their guests in the event that they suffer a small misstep or minor injury.
The Importance of Expedition Vessels in Galapagos: In a Nutshell
Overall, the moral of the story in the Galapagos Islands, which are an unbelievably unique and special place that is worth protecting, is that it is a much better option if operations throughout the archipelago consolidate and remove their smaller fleet of yachts and come together to produce these small expedition ships that offer a better overall experience and a more environmentally-conscious excursion throughout the archipelago.
So when it comes to the introduction of a new ship as new as the Celebrity Flora, we can’t help but welcome her to the family of better-suited, expedition vessels in the archipelago. Simply put: it’s news that helps emphasize the importance of expedition vessels in Galapagos which, more often than not, are better suited for both taking into account the fragility of the archipelago and offering its guests aboard a tremendously better, overall experience.
Did we mention that expedition vessels are also multi-guided? Find out why that’s a good thing with our blog Multi-guided Expeditions in the Galapagos: Consider This Before Your Trip.