We are not inveterate cruisers, having been on two cruises before succumbing to the blandishments of seeing a place we had always had on our list.
We flew to Quito and were quickly enveloped by the Celebrity on-site staff, transported to our hotel and checked in with no fuss. The tour the subsequent day was illuminating and well done: the guides were knowledgeable and understandable.
The flight from Quito to Baltra, the site of embarkation was easy. Be aware that if you book on he fifth floor you would expect first class seats on the plane. Transfer to the ship was uneventful, seamless.
Celebrity Xpedition is a small boat, affording the possibility of feeling at home rather than being a guest. The stateroom on the fifth floor was spacious with a smallish balcony we never used and a reasonable bathroom/shower. Amenities were perfect: L'Ocitane. The shower was roomier than expected.
The destination goes without saying: if you are going on this trip, you are going for the experience of nature. So be it. The quality of the naturalists was outstanding: One of the take-away memories I will cherish is that of one of the naturalists, Fatima, singing 'dancing on the lava' quietly to herself leading us, stumbling, across the unfamiliar rippled fields. Alexi did a dance the equal of a scoring wide receiver when he found a particularly rare animal for us to observe. They are proud of the the place and their expertise. The joy is infectious.
The staff on board was their equal. Eduardo mixed great cocktails and when he didn't have grapefruit juice at hand for a Hemingway daiquiri, Carlos made sure to supply it, with a discussion of the niceties of different rums.
Carlos Martinez, the maitre'd, was spectacular. His attention to detail throughout the day was unwavering. He would make any cruise memorable. The food was upscale, although my wife and I ate sparingly and mostly fruits for breakfast and lunch. Plenty to chose from with tasty pastas for a break from the meat dishes.
The islands are breathtaking because of the wildlife, not the scenery necessarily. But you go for the animals and the exposure to them.
The entertainment was provided by s few of the naturalists, the staff, and the passengers, especially Karaoke, the talent show, and the Equatorial Passage party. This is not a place to go for professional entertainment.
Passage to Quito on return was marred by poor communication by the Celebrity people, the only complaint we had.
We left the evening after returning to Quito and had a chance to visit the rain forest, the hummingbird sanctuary, and the orchids. Not to be missed!!!
There are other choices of ships. Be careful. Some of the landings are tricky: the Celebrity zodiacs are large and have 100 hp Yamahas, making them stable and very maneuverable. The match of ship and place is unsurpassed, in my opinion.