Celebrity Cruises has apparently temporarily lost its ability to operate in the Galapagos with the Celebrity Xpedition.
Celebrity’s permit has been revoked for some 45 days and the cruise line has been handed a financial fine following having “out-of-season lobster tails” onboard the ship during a routine inspection.
A Celebrity statement reads as follows:
The Galapagos National Park has cited Celebrity Xpedition for transportation and storage of 12 kilograms of frozen lobster tails in the Galapagos while out of season. Because of this, Celebrity Xpedition’s license that is necessary to enter the Galapagos National Park has been temporarily suspended by the local authority. Unfortunately, it is necessary to cancel the June 2 sailing of Celebrity Xpedition.
We will provide all guests with a full refund of the monies paid for their June 2 sailing of Celebrity Xpedition. We will also provide them with a 50% future cruise credit for another Celebrity Xpedition cruise. The credit is based on the amount they paid for your June 2 cruise and may be used for a future cruise on Celebrity Xpedition within the next two years. Future cruise certificates will be mailed to guest’s home address or travel agent within two to three weeks.
Additionally, if a guest purchased air transportation through Celebrity Cruises we will provide them with a full refund. For those guests who did not purchase air transportation through Celebrity Cruises, we will reimburse them for their airline change fee.
Celebrity Cruises is truly sorry for this unexpected impact on our guests’ vacation. We understand their excitement and anticipation for exploring the Galapagos onboard Celebrity Xpedition. Celebrity Cruises is committed to complying with the rules and regulations of the Galapagos, which are put in place to protect and safeguard this unique and pristine environment.
While we anticipate that our license to sail in the Galapagos will be restored shortly, the situation is still fluid. We will be contacting guests booked on the June 9 to provide them with the most updated information.
The Miami-based cruise line has cancelled the June 2 sailing on the small vessel and is in the process of appealing the penalty.
The Galapagos National Park Service said in a statement that the owners of the Xpedition ship had violated Articles 68 and 71 of the Special Regime Law for the Conservation and Development Sustainable Galapagos Province (LOREG), "after finding in their holds shells, pulp and lobster tails, which is under a ban within the Galapagos Marine Reserve."
The ruling suspends the ships operations for the next 45 days, and the ship is said to have to remain anchored at Puerto Ayora