Celebrity Xpedition Overview
Celebrity Cruises' owner Royal Caribbean acquired Sun Bay 1, a small luxury vessel, built in 2001, and launched it in June 2004. In an innovative move, Celebrity's Xpedition sub-brand, created a new strata of up-market, premium-priced cruises and shore excursions offering travelers unusual cruise experiences in exotic destinations.
The start-up of the venture marked the arrival of the first mainstream cruise company to operate around the Galapagos Islands year-round. This option opened up Galapagos cruises, formerly the province of backpacking (or high-end) "adventure travelers." In essence, Xpedition combines the exotica of this type of adventure on a small vessel with some of the amenities and features -- high level of service and cuisine, for instance -- that Celebrity is known for.
And indeed, the joy of the Galapagos operation is that it combines Celebrity stylishness with local, "small ship" ambience. Crewmembers -- almost entirely Ecuadorian from the captain down -- are sunny, charming and tirelessly obliging. Destination-oriented features are incorporated into the onboard experience, such as a performance of Ecuadorian folklorique preceded by a highly personalized slide show featuring pictures of passengers meeting wildlife during the course of the trip (guests are presented as a complimentary CD to take home).
Better still, all drinks (except for certain premium brands) and tips are included in the price, so the atmosphere is more relaxed and sociable than that on the big Celebrity ships, where passengers are more reluctant to mingle because of potential embarrassment over who buys drinks for whom!
Celebrity Xpedition Fellow Passengers
Apart from a couple of Canadian ex-pats, we were the only Britons on the inaugural cruise and, apart from the Latino family group the vast majority of our fellow passengers were cheerful, eco-oriented, middle-class Americans.
Celebrity Xpedition Dress Code
On a ship with such an outdoors-based itinerary, casual is obviously the order of the day, but guests seemed to enjoy changing out of their daytime swimmers and shorts and dressing fairly smartly for dinner.
Celebrity Xpedition Gratuity
Celebrity Cruises is increasing its suggested gratuity by 50 cents per passenger/per day beginning on all bookings made on or after April 29 for all cruises that begin on or after the same day. The new suggested gratuity will be $12.00 per person/per day, if you're in a standard cabin; $12.50 per person/per day, if you're in a Concierge Class or AquaClass; and $15.50 per person/per day, for passengers in suites.
My husband and I took the 10-day Quito, Ecuador/Xpedition Galapagos Islands cruise in late April, itinerary 'B'. As most other reviews have said, the trip is fabulous with great hiking, warm, humid weather, amazing wildlife and fun guides. ...continue
My husband and I are in our early 40s and this was our second trip on Xpedition. We took the 10-night cruisetour in Sept. 2007 and enjoyed it so much that we wanted to return. We decided to take the 13-night Galapagos cruise B with Machu Picchu ...continue
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We just completed the "A " April 5 itinerary, and I am writing these comments in the Baltra airport. We are a very well traveled couple, mid 50's and early 60's, and we traveled with 20 friends from around the country. Our room number was 503, a ...continue