Tuesday 28 July 2009

A Legendary Yacht Arrives In The Galapagos

On the 50th Anniversary of the Galapagos National Park & Darwin’s Bicentennial

Yacht’s History Includes WW II Action, Onassis Ownership & Grace Kelly’s Honeymoon

JULY, 2009 (QUITO, ECUADOR) Quasar Expeditions today announced that the official launch of its much anticipated vintage luxury yacht, M/Y Grace, will takes place this month, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Galapagos National Park. Not since HMS Beagle sailed into the Galapagos Islands carrying young Charles Darwin in 1835 has a vessel of such historic significance entered the archipelago. Like the Beagle, M/Y Grace was built in Britain, and served in the Royal Navy. But you won’t find hardtack being served aboard Grace. The yacht is selling well despite hard economic times, indicating continued demand for high end value in 16 passenger yachts in the Galapagos National Park, which limits daily visitors by vessel to fewer than 2,000.

The Grace was originally commissioned one year before the Wall Street Crash of 1929, during the Great Gatsby era, and built by Camper & Nicholson in Southampton, England. Monica, as she was originally named, features a stellar past. After serving as the personal yacht of high powered industrialists, including Sir George Tilley, chairman of the Prudential Insurance Co., she was conscripted into the British Navy during WWII. Commissioned as Rion, she took part in Dunkirk, captured a German torpedo E-boat and had an unconfirmed sinking of a U-boat to her credit. Winston Churchill is purported to have cruised the Mediterranean aboard her after the war. In 1951 she was acquired by a company owned by Aristotle Onassis, who renamed her Arion. Onassis gave the yacht as a wedding gift to Prince Rainier III of Monaco and his bride, Hollywood film legend Grace Kelly, who rechristened her Deo Juvante II in time to honeymoon aboard her. Quasar has renamed the yacht Grace to recapture this magical time when she delivered the royal couple to Monaco and took them on their honeymoon, which is documented in a newsreel available on Youtube™.

When Quasar pioneered its small group cruises 23 years ago, the typical visitor simply wanted to have an up-close, in-depth and personal experience of the unique, exotic and friendly Galapagos creatures in their natural habitat. Thankfully that has not changed but the importance of choosing the right yacht to compliment the cruise has, as travelers have sought a better boat with more amenities. While other yachts like Quasar’s Alta and Evolution have made a name for themselves in the Galapagos, Grace is the first vessel to arrive with such impressive credentials. Grace raises the bar higher with its notoriety, spaciousness and service levels. The company plans to promote the yacht through its wholesalers, and direct to the public at www.quasarexpeditions.com and via a new URL www.gracegalapagos.com.

The official launch of the yacht in the Galapagos this month coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Galapagos National Park. 2009 also marks the bicentennial of Charles Darwin, whose field work in the islands led to his writing of On the Origin of Species and his theory of evolution.

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