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A press release earlier this week ( indicates that our "Celebrity Cruises" brand is about to acquire a small cruise yacht to operate specialty cruises to remote areas under the "Celebrity Xpeditions" program, which will also encompass adventure-oriented shore excursions in various ports of call on regular cruises.

According to the press release:

Subject to closing of a pending acquisition, including regulatory approvals, the first in the Celebrity Xpeditions program will begin June 11, 2004, with a series of seven- to 10-night journeys in the Galapagos Islands, on a ship to be aptly named Celebrity Xpedition. The 296-foot vessel, which resembles a luxurious private yacht, accommodates 100 guests, and with 64 crew members, exceeds Celebrity's fleetwide 2-to-1 guest-to-staff ratio. Celebrity Xpedition will take guests on a series of seven- to 10-night journeys in the Galapagos.

Additional 'over-the-top' Celebrity Xpeditions in Antarctica, the Arctic, Alaska, Florida, and elsewhere will be announced later this year.


"Our goal is to ultimately offer a Celebrity Xpedition on every cruise itinerary, from our year-round seven-night Caribbean product to our long, exotic European product," said [Celebrity Cruises President Jack] Williams.

The specifications and description of the vessel in the press release match the former MV Renaissance III of defunct Renaissance Cruises, which first entered service in August 1990 and now operates on three-night and four-night itineraries in the Galapagos Islands as MV Galapagos Explorer II of Kleintours. The vessel has fifty cabins, all of which are currently listed as suites.

In any case, this vessel will present a very different experience for passengers, in many ways, than that of the line's standard vessels.

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