With daughter, Jeanne (Dgtr - Luv2Trvl) we are just back from the June 11th trip. Pictures will be coming later, but want to give some thoughts that might help someone contemplating a trip. Dgtr and I did Galapagos first followed by Machu Picchu. Someone on this board felt the ship week was more of a "camp" rather than a cruise. I heartily agree, as we were up early for the first Zodiac ride, back for lunch, a couple of hours for changing clothes, reading, etc., out for the second excursion and then back to change clothes, go to the next day's briefing and dinner.
We feel Celebrity Xpedition was a class act, as we were cared for every step of the way, any special needs were met. In the airports, we were met by a Guide holding a white sign with a blue 'X'!! Our luggage was taken care of, both incoming and outgoing. During the two weeks, the only time we were on our own was at the Lima Airport when returning to Miami. Machu Picchu will be covered in a separate page.
Dgtr had an excellent Olympus Stylus 770, that took land stills and movies, together with terrific underwater pics (camera goes to 33 feet). She also had the silicone covering that made holding underwater easier. My Sony Cybershot H9 took excellent, true pics also - not underwater. I'm glad someone on this board suggested the Xpedition waist pack for holding cameras and other equipment that made getting in and out of the Zodiacs easier. Dgtr bought a great backpack at Target - lightweight with lots of pockets - and cheap.
Dinner took a very long time. The Maitre D' was very good and pitched in to help. When we knew our decisions about the next day's excursions, Dgtr and I went to the 6:30 pm dinner. Service was quick and a couple of times we were through eating and able to catch a good bit of the briefing.
Meds: We started Diamox and Pepto a day prior to our leaving Boston. I gave them up in a couple of days, but I think Dgtr continued for another day. After a few days, some people including Dgtr had stomach cramps and were just not feeling well. At that point, my bottle of Ginger Capsules made a few rounds. Dgtr did become ill and had to stay home from the two Darwin excursions. Dr. gave her bottle of Pedialyte, 2 Immodium tablets and another med that helped considerably. Also ordered some light meals. So glad to see Sharon up and about from her illness. When someone became ill in Machu Picchu, our guide told her to not drink OJ - perhaps the acidity.
Good sunscreen and bug repellant.
Clothes: Some people complained about shoes with side openings, because of sand. I had Merrell's that were closed on the sides, but mesh on top. Had Teva sandals for wet landings and a pair of slides for the plane and dinner. My personal experience with shoes was to have a good sole to deal with large and small lava rocks that are sometimes slippery. I took 2 pairs of slacks and 3 tops for dinner, 2 bathing suits, 3 pairs of shorts, 1 lightweight zip sweater with hood, 1 very lightweight rain jacket, Xpedition hat (available ship store), 3 cutoffs, 4 T-shirts. We took a little more than others, due to our extended trip.
Misc.: Snorkel and goggles - take your own, if you have them. Some of the ship equipment was defective and made snorkeling not easy. Several people used ship wet suits that were fine. Water was fine after the first dip. Toilet paper - necessary in Ecuador and Peru. Dgtr found small rolls that were easy to carry; small packs of Kleenex a good substitute. Sample bottles of dry soap. $$$: Ecuador uses USA money.
Hair dryer in the desk drawer I used for drying shoes and clothes. Take enough batteries, as I gave some extra AA's to a traveler. The ship only had AAA's. Internet was available but slow.
Dgtr's and my small knowledge of Spanish helped. One of our travelers spoke fluent Spanish. You may want to learn or brush up on this language. It did help, especially on land.
Penthouse: One traveler said it was not worth the extra $$; however, in our case it was perfect. The rooms gave us special time together, but afforded us our own space also. We moved the 2 sofas in front of the sliding doors. Re: beds: One room had twin beds that were put together to make a very comfortable dble. Twin beds in the connecting room could not be put together, due to a slight wall separation. Verandas were separate, but that was no problem.
Naturalists/Zodiac: The Naturalists were excellent and extremely knowledgeable. I do have a balance problem and shortness of breath and they willingly helped me. Even other travelers including Sharon's husband gave a helping hand or shoulder. Carlos took a walking stick for me, even though I did not ask for it. The Zodiac drivers knew their business in helping to get us in and out of the ship and at the excursion points. One or two days of rough seas proved their abilities.
Intensity excursions: One of the Naturalists told me that often times one can see more varied nature on the Low Intensity rides than offered on land at the same time.
Guests: From reading past input, I was surprised that the ages went from 7 or 8 (just a guess) to a woman, who was 87. The younger children seemed well behaved and enjoyed themselves.
Weather: We were very fortunate to have good weather - only a few drops at Darwin Station. A couple of days of rough seas that made ship walking unsteady.