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Celebrity Xploration

Former name: MC Athala II

Celebrity Xploration Review and Specifications

Specifications of Celebrity Xploration

Year built2007  /  Age : 13
Flag state Ecuador
BuilderBotto Astilleros y Marina (Guayaquil, Ecuador)
ClassGalapagos Islands expedition ship (motor catamaran)
OwnerRoyal Caribbean Cruises Ltd
OperatorCelebrity Cruises Galapagos
Speed10 kn / 19 kph / 12 mph
Length (LOA)30 m / 98 ft
Beam (width)11 m / 36 ft
Gross Tonnage319 gt
Passengers16 - 19
Passengers-to-space ratio17
Decks with cabins2
Last Refurbishment2017
Former namesMC Athala II

Review of Celebrity Xploration

Celebrity Xploration cruise ship entered Celebrity Cruises Galapagos fleet in January 2017. The boat features indoor and outdoor dining areas, bar lounge, sun deck with Jacuzzi. The vessel belongs to company's small-sized "expedition fleet" - with fleet mates Celebrity Xpedition, Celebrity Xperience, and Celebrity Flora.

History - construction and ownership

Celebrity Cruises line was founded in 1988 as the Greece-based Chandris Line (cruise shipping operations between 1974-1996). In 1997, Royal Caribbean International (RCI) merged with "Celebrity Cruises Ltd" to become "Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd" (RCCL). The "Χ" on ship funnels is the Greek letter chi (standing for "Chandris"). Common features of Celebrity Cruises ships include aft located glass-walled dining rooms, signature alternate dining venues, bars and lounges, spacious Atrium lobby areas, a large number of balcony staterooms, large sundecks with swimming pools, The Retreat (adults-only sundeck with full-size swimming pool, Jacuzzi, cabanas, poolside full bar service). Rooftop Terrace (top-deck outdoor lounge-restaurant-cinema), large Spa (with Thermal Suites), premium retail shops selling top-brand merchandise.

Celebrity Xploration cruise ship (Galapagos)

The 319-ton, 16-passenger Galapagos cruise ship Celebrity Xploration is a luxury catamaran-class designed specifically for exploration of Galapagos Islands. Outfitted with a wealth of luxuries that cater to her 16 guests, just as her environmentally sound design helps preserve this immaculate archipelago. In spring 2016, following the acquisition of the local tour operator Ocean Adventures and its two ships - the 48-passenger yacht Xperience (formerly Eclipse) and the 16-passenger catamaran Xploration (formerly Athala II), Celebrity Cruises increased Galapagos Islands passenger capacity by 65%. Both vessels continued to sail on Ocean Adventures itineraries up until January 2017 dry-dock. The Xploration ship is an adventurous alternative to line’s larger vessels and offers personal attention which is afforded by the smaller size. Ship’s capacity of just 16 passengers and active itineraries attract younger and better educated demographic.

Cruise itinerary program

Celebrity Xploration itinerary program is based on 5- and 7-night year-round, round-trip luxury cruises throughout the Galapagos region. In addition, Celebrity also offers new Xperiential Galapagos packages, interactions with locals, multi-night hotel stays, and expanded list of destinations, including Darwin Bay, Puerto Villamil, Black Turtle Cove, Wall of Tears and Chinese Hat Islet.

Next map of Galapagos Islands cruise ship itineraries shows the park's two main routes (inner loop and outer loop) and the archipelago's all-island stops (ports/landing sites).

Galapagos Islands cruise itinerary map


Celebrity Xploration has 8 spacious, all oceanview, fully air-conditioned staterooms (with a size of at least 17 m²) and 4 decks. There are 4 cabins on the Upper Deck, which feature interconnecting doors, and 4 cabins on the Main Deck that boast private balconies. All amenities offer an intimate atmosphere and all the gear you will need, such as wetsuits, snorkeling equipment, and binoculars, included to help guests fully experience the most amazing archipelago in the world.

Shipboard dining options - Food and Drinks

Celebrity Xploration cruise ship offers excellent service and food, intimate setting for exotic voyages, together with many of the larger ships’ amenities. Celebrity Xploration cruise fares include beer, liquor, soft drinks, house wine, and all gratuities and shore excursions. The dining options feature a main dining room with an elegant yet casual ambiance. Guests can also enjoy an Early Riser continental breakfast and lunch under the open air shade canopy including specialty drinks and music, or on special nights, Dinner Under the Stars. 

Celebrity Xploration cruise ship (Galapagos)

Shipboard entertainment options - Fun and Sport

The relaxing indoor atmosphere of the lounge is perfect for watching a documentary, reading, or having a cocktail. This is also the area where Naturalist briefings take place. One of the most popular areas on Celebrity Xploration, the Sun Deck is best for stargazing, whale watching, or relaxing in the hot tub. This intimate ship is ideal for family get-togethers, small groups who wish to explore together and getaways with friends.

Celebrity Xploration - user reviews and comments

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Celebrity Xploration Wiki

One of the top-luxury Galapagos ships, Celebrity Xploration is the ever-smallest vessel in Celebrity's fleet. The boat officially joined Celebrity's Galapagos fleet in January 2017, following a major drydock refurbishment.

In March 2016, Celebrity Cruises acquired the Galapagos travel company "Ocean Adventures" and its two vessels - the 48-passenger yacht Celebrity Xperience (formerly Eclipse) and the 16-passenger catamaran Celebrity Xploration (formerly Athala II), With the acquisition, Celebrity Cruises' Galapagos passenger capacity was increased by 65%, after both ships started operations in February 2017 - joining the 96-passenger ship Celebrity Xpedition. Both newly added vessels continued to operate on their pre-scheduled Ocean Adventures itineraries until their 2017 dry-docks.

In August 2017, Celebrity Cruises announced that the female Captain Nathaly Albán will be the chief commanding officer on Celebrity Xploration.  This was Galapagos cruising industry's first time when a woman serves as Captain on a Galapagos Islands-based passenger vessel. Captain Nathaly Albán (of Ecuadorian origin) has served 12 years on various vessels in the Galapagos region. She joined the Celebrity cruise company on Celebrity Xpedition.

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