We sailed for a week to Galapagos in 2005 and wanted to give my feedback since this website has been so useful to husband and I in the past when deciding on our cruise vacation.
We arrived for a precruise extension of 3 nights in Quito, Ecuador, upon arrival at the airport were met by a Celebrity Rep, who helped us with our luggage and guided us to a minibus w/ wet towels and bottled water. We had an about 20 minutes ride to the hotel (Marriott ), where we were taken among other Xpedition travelers to a private salon where we were offered a cocktail and a quick/very organize check in process. Give it a 10!
Hotel was very nice, with all the amenities to be expected from a Marriott, specially recommend taking a massage at the spa (it was under $ 40 !!!! ). The land itinerary in Quito was very comprehensive, we visited the most important colonial sites. Quito is a beautiful city, and I think it was completely worthy to take the precruise extension as it we got to know a little bit of the city and relax before going to our most expected adventure !
Cons: Quito is at a high altitude so be easy on food and alcohol as your body takes longer to digest it.
Flying into Galapagos: Celebrity shuttle took us to the Airport, where we had a short wait before getting into our plain to Galapagos, airport processed was ok, taken in consideration, this is a 3rd world country. We flew above the Andes, the view was spectacular, and later over the Pacific where you star seeing in the far this small (from the plain ) "rocks" coming out of the water in the middle of nowhere, it is an amazing scenery, at this point you start to realize what a wonderful and unique week is ahead of you!
Embarkation Process: Given that this a 100 passenger ship ( in our cruise we were about 90) embarkation was prompt and organized.
Our Cabin: We booked a balcony suite. Cabin was very comfortable, good closet space, the ship had just been refurbished (2005) so all the furniture and features were new and updated. There was a small seating area and we loved our sliding door and small balcony that accommodates a small table and 2 chairs.(If you don't want to spend a lot, keep in mind you will spend very little time in your room, a very basic cabin should do fine)
The Ship: In my opinion Xpedition was the newer and most beautiful ship sailing in Galapagos, none of the other ships I saw were close to our Xpedition.
Common Areas: Common areas are well appointed and distributed and being such a small ship it was not a problem to find a secluded place to relax or a spot where to meet and interact with other fellow cruisers. The dinning room was very elegant and it did not feel crowded at any time. We loved the open seating, you will never have trouble finding where to seat. There were always empty tables or seats available. (All tables had 4 seats or more) but it was possible at certain times to seat by yourself if you wanted to.
Food : Excellent food, breakfast were buffet style with a lot of choices, hot entries, fruits, cheeses, cereals, juices, etc, service was prompt and attentive. (I only experience breakfast in the main dinning, there is the alternative of having a simpler buffet breakfast in the outdoor cafe). Lunch was excellent, the menus and cuisine in Celebrity are great , very well planned, they use lots of local ingredients. Dinners were the best!!! gourmet menus different every night, excellent wine selection, great service, an overall 5 star dinning experience in the middle of nowhere!!!!
Day Trips : This was the best part of our trip you have a morning trip and and afternoon trip, and sometime a 3rd trip in between or at sunrise. Every time you have the option of going : easy, moderate or more active, you go in small groups (10 to 14), each group has its own guide. Galapagos is one of the most beautiful places on earth, every island is different, the wildlife is unique and so is the topography.
Passengers: Our group was great, mostly adults, 2 couples in the 30's, a few 40's, and the majority 50's, 60's, 70's. Only one child on board about 10 yrs old.
Service: Was great, prompt and very attentive. This goes from cabinattendant to naturalist.
Extras: snorkel equipment and wet suites are provided by Celebrity, very well thought as Galapagos water are cold but not to be missed.
Overall this was a great cruise, good activities, good ship, good food, great service. A very unique, one in a life time vacation. Strongly recommend it!