We booked the 10 day Quito - Galapagos cruise package as for a few extra hundred dollars, three nights accommodation in Quito, return air to Baltra, transfers and some tours were included, making this very cost effective. Being part of a tour group, however, has its drawbacks and we would probably not take part in one again. Meals on the land component were adequate, being rather mass produced, with limited choice of dishes, expected I supposed when catering to a large group. The JW Marriott in Quito is a first class hotel with comfortable rooms, expensive laundry and a very average Executive Club. Breakfasts in the bistro included the usual fare and egg station.
Flights and transfers to the ship were generally efficiently handled, though we found that the Celebrity host at the hotel did not provide very good customer service at all.
The ship had recently undergone a refit but unfortunately this has not been completed by the time of our cruise with the result that there was no gym or spa as well as construction continuing throughout the cruise. As well the Blue Finch Bar was not operating.
The staff as is usually the case, provided excellent service and the naturalists were knowledgeable and enthusiastic about such a special place. The zodiac drivers were skillful at manoeuvring the zodiacs between rocks or through the swells.
The ship suffers from considerable movement as a result of its design and on occasion the rolling was so severe as to knock bottles from the side tables in our cabin.
What we were all there for, was of course the experience of the wildlife on the Galapagos and we were not disappointed. There were many and varied sightings including the waved albatross with fledgling chicks, blue boobies, turtles, sea lions, other birds, tortoises and iguanas galore. Shore excursions were well organised, though the last day's visit to the Darwin Breeding Centre seemed more an excuse to have passengers off the ship so that staff could prepare for the next group of passengers.
Overall we had a fantastic experience but felt that there were a few issues that Celebrity should have addressed.