Having read prior reviews, I am not going to give a "blow by blow" description of the Galapagos Experience, since other reviewers have done such a thorough job of it. Instead, I will offer some insights and opinions regarding this amazing journey. I have included my email address. If you read this and have any questions regarding the trip I would be more than happy to help. So, without further ado...
When people say this is the "trip of a lifetime" it is a total understatement, but is it for everyone? No. The Galapagos experience on Celebrity Xpedition is not your typical get on, stop at a port, get off, get back on, repeat tomorrow. It is a trip for those seeking activity. As Jason, our wonderful Cruise Director, put it you need "a sense of adventure". Without it, you will be lost and disappointed, which none of the (fantastic) crew of the Xpedition wants. Don't go for the food. Don't go for the entertainment. Don't go for the luxurious accommodations. Go for the journey. More
To begin, the journey starts in Quito. We did have altitude adjustment issues. They are not crippling but they do get some getting used to. How would I describe it? From time to time we felt short of breath and our heart raced. Talk to your doctor about visiting a high altitude destination so you know what to expect. The JW Marriott hotel is well appointed and the staff goes out of their way to make you feel welcome in Ecuador. While there I recommend to try new things (i.e. you can have orange juice at home any day, but guanabana? Go for it! It's delicious).
The day in Quito is lovely. The dinner the first evening is nice. Celebrity takes care of everything, which makes making decisions easy. As others mentioned, the transfers and flight to Baltra are simple. Before you know it you are on Xpedition and on to your first "visit" (the word used on the ship instead of excursion).
From then on, and for the next 7 days, you are transported to a world where the animals have no fear of humans and everywhere you look there is something beautiful - birds, flowers, wildlife - led by a group of the most knowledgeable and friendly Naturalist Guides one could hope for. The brochures and videos show people walking over and/or around the wildlife and a skeptical person might think "nice setup" by the marketing team. Wrong. Imagine standing 2 feet from a 3-month old sea lion pup. Imagine swimming with playful sea lions and majestic sea turtles. Imagine walking on lava flows hundreds of thousands of years old. That is what this experience is about. You can choose to see all this up close or from the side of a Zodiak, but you still must have the sense of adventure.
Service on the Xpedition is outstanding and personal. Most moving to me was on the last night when, after a toast to the passengers by the captain, all the staff of the ship walk around and individually thank you for sharing the journey with them. They thank YOU! Quite a twist. When the journey ends, and Jason, or whoever your Senior Naturalist/Cruise Director happens to be, recounts for you (in video format) all you've seen and done you wonder how it all came to pass so quickly. You wonder where the time went. Being away from civilization for 7 days truly means returning to reality.
The flight back to Quito, shopping outing (but LOTS of scarves at the "Indian" open market!) and subsequent dinner are an easement back to "reality".
We chose to stay an additional day in Quito. This gave us the chance to unwind and reflect on all we had seen and done. A lovely dinner at a local restaurant (Mare Nostrum) capped our extra day.
Again, other reviewers have given detailed information about what you do each day. However, if I can be of any help beyond providing the daily schedule, please email me at the email address provided by CC.
This journey/experience/trip has had a visceral impact on us and changed the way we view our world and we feel privileged to have seen and done all we've seen and done. Yes. It was the "trip of a lifetime". Less
Celebrity Xpedition Cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean