The Celebrity Xpedition made this trip very easy for us. We were picked up at the Quito, Ecuador airport on September 6 and transported to the Marriott Hotel where the check in was fast and the rooms were large and comfortable. A breakfast was provided in the mornings. On the 7th, the cruise passengers were taken on a city tour with a lunch and wonderful dinner provided. The next morning, September 8, the group was transported to the airport and then boarded a chartered jet to Baltra, Galapagos. Upon arrival we were then transported to the pier and taken to the Xpedition via zodiacs.
The cost of this cruise included all the transfers, the tours, the gratuities for attendants and the naturalists who accompanied small groups each day. House wines and local beers flowed freely in addition to cokes and water. The meals were adequate, not awesome, but I will not complain about that. Our major reason for this trip was to visit the islands to see the animal life, the volcanic landscape, and the flora. We were not disappointed. Each day we were given choices for times of the excursions--one in the morning and one in the afternoon. My husband and I did not snorkel, but this was an option for those who wanted to. Naturalists accompanied small groups of no more than 16 on each excursion.
When the cruise was over, Celebrity moved us back to the Baltra airport to again board the chartered jet back to Quito and to the Marriott. We again had breakfast and had transfers back to the airport for our flight home. We took an excursion to the Mindo Cloud Forest on the 16th which was arranged through the hotel. We did not fly out until the 17th.
The small group of passengers (96) made the trip friendly. There were some cliquish groups, but we were able to meet many people during the excursions and the meals. We loved this trip! Some of the excursions required a bit of dexterity and the ability to get in and out of the zodiacs. It is not designed for individuals who cannot walk well and who may have other physical problems.
The dress is very casual even for dinner. I usually wore jeans and sweaters. My husband wore jeans and golf shirts. Shorts and capris with tees and casual shirts are just fine. You can spend lots of money on special clothing and shoes, but you can also spend less on clothing and shoes from discount stores and enjoy the experiences just as well. Some days you get wet, some days you don't. You know what kind of landings you will experience by listening to the brief informative sessions that are available each day.
If you are wanting lots of entertainment then this isn't the cruise for you. The naturalists made presentations, one night was a silly skit, and the old standby karaoke night happened. There is one main lounge area where people congregated, visited, had drinks, watched films, received information, and took advantage of free Wi Fi. The rooms are small, but adequate. There are a few suites with balconies, but we were never in our room very much and to really get a better view would require being out on the decks.
Something to consider is that Quito is a city of high elevation. You might have problems with altitude sickness. Be prepared. A hat and sunscreen is very important. If you get sea sick, use the sea bands or patches. There were a few occasions were the ship seemed to rock a lot, but not generally. I use the sea bands and I was fine. I actually wore them the entire night on one occasion, but that was the only really rocky night. Remember this is a small ship.
There is always something to complain about if you look hard enough. We were very satisfied and would recommend this cruise line. A wonderful experience among the magnificent animal life that were unafraid of us. Observing all of this was such a treat! Being treated so well by Celebrity was very much appreciated.