We have just returned from a 7 night cruise on the Celebrity Xpedition to the Galapagos Islands and LOVED IT! We booked the 10 day tour through Thomas Cook in the UK and this included flights, transfers, accommodation in Quito for three nights (2 pre and 1 post cruise) and 7 nights on the Xpedition in a suite. It was expensive, but worth every penny as the cruise was so personal, friendly and adventurous.
There were 93 on our cruise mainly made up of American and Canadian guests with a few from Europe and a couple from Australia. The average age was around 55 and there were no children on our trip - personally, I don't think this holiday would be suitable for children due to the average age of the passengers, the itinerary and excursions (which are all animal based) and the entertainment in the evening. Others may disagree with this comment, I do not have children, but I'm certain that there would not be enough to keep them amused during the week.
I am not going to detail the itinerary as so many other reviews do this and I'm certain that an hour by hour description does not make interesting reading. Just to say that this is an active holiday - there are at least two trips every day and there is a choice between a long walk and a short walk for each location. They say that you don't miss out on the short walk, but there are some sights you would not see if you opted for the short walk every time (the blow hole is one example where the long walk is necessary) The number of animals you see each walk is tremendous - they are not exaggerating when they say that the animals are not afraid of you and you can approach quite close without scaring any away. Bird life is abundant, although it was difficult to identify every bird you saw as many are similar in colour and size, but the naturalists who accompany you are full of details and information.
We sailed between 13th February to 20th February and were very lucky with the weather as it did not rain at all during our excursions. Be prepared though, it is hot and humid and the long walks can be tiring as you are on your feet for over two hours without shade or seat.
The food on the ship was good. There was a breakfast buffet, with eggs and waffles cooked to order; either a buffet for lunch, which was quite often themed, or burgers, hot dogs, chicken or fish served at the Beagle Grill on deck 4; dinner consisted of a good choice, 4 course menu which included steak, lobster, and local fish. Quality of the food was very good and there was plenty of choice to satisfy any faddy eater. Drinks of course are included in the price and there was plenty on offer - good choice of wines, spirits and bottled beers, which were welcomed when you return to the ship after the excursions in the afternoon.
There is plenty of opportunity to snorkel and all equipment is provided. For experienced snorkelers/divers there is only the one option for a more advanced excursion, although I did not take this option (I'm one of those non-snorkelers) I understand that this was very good with lots of sightings of turtles, seals and sharks.
Our suite was very comfortable - a lot smaller than suites on the big cruise ships, but we expected this. Towels are changed three times a day and our balcony was a pleasant retreat in the evening after sunset as it was very pleasant temperature at night before retiring. There is some entertainment arranged in the evening after dinner - talent show, crossing the equator party, star gazing, cheese & wine, karaoke etc - but to be honest, I think most of us were so tired after the days activities, that most people retired after dinner. But the party people had plenty to keep them up later into the night.
Our fellow travellers were all of similar minds - there to enjoy the nature, take photographs and have a good time. Many have cruised a number of times and discussions regarding cruise lines, destinations and problems is high on the agenda. There were only 2 couples from England on the cruise, which did surprise us. I hope that this review may put other residents of the UK at rest if they think that Celebrity Xpedition is more for Americans than us Brits. Yes, there were a lot of American and Canadians on the cruise, they were great company and on such a small ship, you get to know lots of people who will become friends after a week. There is enough space for you to enjoy your own company but it is so much nicer to be with a group that are on holiday to enjoy themselves.
I was concerned that a big sh
There is a lot of choice of small ships doing this cruise around the Galapagos Islands, but the Xpedition is a great choice as you get that big cruise service as well as plenty of options for excursions. I'm sure that the small ships that cater for only 16/20 people cannot give you more than one option per stop.
I suffer from seasickness and have been quite ill on other cruises. The ship can be affected by the waves and currents and at times it was quite rocky, especially at night when moored. I took a couple of tablets on two occasions when I thought I might be affected, but I was not ill at all. I was also concerned about the zodiacs which are used to transfer you from ship to land on every occasion. I never felt ill at all on these as they were fast and not at all "rocky".
To end - the Xpedition is a great choice for cruising the Galapagos with great service, wonderful crew and enough adventure to satisfy any one's desires.