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13 Celebrity Xpedition Fitness Cruise Reviews

This was a bucket list item for me and my friend. I wanted to see what Darwin saw in 1835, and he wanted to see the Galapagos tortoises, since he has two "normal size" tortoises as pets. Our wives had no interest in going, so we ... Read More
This was a bucket list item for me and my friend. I wanted to see what Darwin saw in 1835, and he wanted to see the Galapagos tortoises, since he has two "normal size" tortoises as pets. Our wives had no interest in going, so we shared a room together. We wanted to spend time in Quito, Ecuador, so opted for the time in Quito before and after the islands. We flew into Quito from our departure airport, and almost immediately I felt the altitude. I told my friend to slow down, as we walked off the plane, as I felt hot, and out of breath. This only lasted for a day, however he would react far worse than me on the return to Quito. Upon exiting Customs, were met by Anna, who corralled us all together. We then had about a 45 minute bus ride to the JW Marriott in Quito. As you will see, I cannot say anything negative at all about the hotel, as the hotel itself is impressive, the staff was responsive to our needs, and the food we ate there was quite good. The next day, we went on a city tour with Joanna, our very knowledgeable and pleasant tour guide. Lunch was at a very nice restaurant. All during the tour we were also accompanied by a security person. I was told by a policeman to mind my expensive camera, as motorcyclists were known to snatch and grab items from tourists. Our group was bused to a very nice restaurant for dinner that night, quite good. As the bus was waiting for the last few people, some kids came to the bus door and tried to sell us candy and other items. The next day, we all got up early for a breakfast buffet followed by the 45 minute bus ride back to the Quito airport for the about 2 plus hour flight to the Galapagos, about 868 air miles. We landed in at the Baltra Island Airport, and were assailed immediately by the heat and humidity. We took rigid inflatable Zodiacs to the ship, 16 people to a Zodiac, the only was on and off the ship. We would find out that there were wet landings (beach shoes), and dry ones (walking shoes). Our cabin was 316, on deck 3, third cabin from the bow. If I had it to do over, We would have gotten a cabin on decks 4 or 5. Our cabin was always warm, despite the efforts of the crew to make it cooler, plus we had to be close to the anchor locker, as every time we did anchor, it sounded like the chain was coming thru the wall. It was a small cabin, but did have plenty of storage for our clothes and gear. Each day, we went to a different island, under the knowledgeable care of a naturalist. Bettina was the Cruise Director, and her staff of naturalists (Martha, William, Diego, Manuel, David and Victoria) were quite good. They were all pleasant and answered every question thrown at them. We would have a hike in the morning and afternoon, with several days followed by snorkeling. My fitbit showed me walking anywhere from 5 to 8 miles per day. This was either on sandy beaches, rocky or volcanic trails. At the end of a day, when we returned in the Zodiacs, mostly everyone was quite tired. There were also cold drinks for everyone when we arrived back each day. Being tired did not stop us from talking amongst ourselves as to what we saw. It was quite distressing to see, even there, the amount of plastic washed up on the beaches. We also observed a sea lion with netting stuck around its body. The second day, I opted to not use a walking stick on a rocky trail, and ended up sustaining some deep cuts to mostly my left shin. Martha, our assigned naturalist, with the advice and assistance of several doctors on our hike, managed to apply a lot of gauze and bandages. I was checked out by the ships doctor upon arrival on the ship. Unfortunately, that curtailed my snorkeling. I used a walking stick after that! I have to say that all the activities were correctly characterized, as to difficult and distance by Bettina before dinner preceding each day. Pictures and maps during her talk explained the following day. We did see what we came to the Galapagos to see. There were plenty of Marine and Land Iguanas, Nazca, Blue and Red Boobies, plenty of Sea Lions and a handful of Penguins. Of course, we saw many of the two, distinctly different Galapagos Tortoises. The main difference is in the shells, to allow one sort to reach the high bushes. Those folks that snorkeled saw lots of sea turtles, and many kinds and sizes of fish. You did have to be careful, as on my cruise, I scraped my shin, a woman fell and hit her head, another landed on a cactus with her hand, and there were a number of wasp stings. I would be difficult to med-evac someone in a timely fashion if they were really sick/hurt. But, as I said above, the cruise staff took care of the guests quite well. Meals on the ship were not gourmet like on the big cruise ships, but they were good. I especially liked the lunches. They had four lunches in which they highlighted certain cultures. The four the head Chef Roger highlighted were: Chinese, Amazonian, Ecuadorian and Asian. I ate mostly fish for my dinner entree, and especially liked the red scorpion fish, native to the Galapagos waters. Towards the end of the cruise, there was a BBQ, very nice. And, as with the big ships, an exhibition of the musical talents of the crew. All of the guests were invited to a ships party on deck 6 to meet and talk with the senior staff. The Master, Captaincies Pacheco, and his hotel counterpart, Hotel Director John Flynn, were the hosts. I got to see the ships Doctor who asked me how my leg was doing. We also had a crossing-the-equator party. We also went to a private farm for a lunch after a reforestation effort by most of us. Native dances in costumes followed a good lunch. On the whole, except for my fall, it was a great trip. We had a good time on the ship, and saw what we came so far to see. I especially liked when we were leaving the ship, that the Captain and Hotel Director shook each person's hand as we left. They waved goodby as we left for our last Zodiac trip. As someone who has been on several Celebrity ships, this continued the classy aspects of the trips my wife and I have had on Celebrity. My friend also enjoyed himself on the ship. We then flew back to Quito and checked into the JW Marriott again. My friend then started having a very bad reaction to the altitude, and with a half hour of his request, there was an oxygen machine in our room. The next morning, were were supposed to go on a tour, but he was still hurting. The hotel arranged for us to go to a local pharmacy to get some medication, as well as providing for for us to eat on the excursion bus. We went to a number of location, all at lower altitudes, which helped my friend. During the excursion the concierge called our guide and arranged for us to go back in our same room upon return, to give him another 4 hors of oxygen until our ride back to the airport that night. That to me was a very nice thing to do, and shows that the Marriott staff there takes care of their guests. All in all, this was a great trip, with Celebrity and the Marriott doing an outstanding job. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My wife and I did the Western loop of the Galapagos on the Xpedition. The cruise was wonderful, meeting or exceeding all of our expectations. A detailed review follows. My wife and I generally look for values when we cruise. We try ... Read More
My wife and I did the Western loop of the Galapagos on the Xpedition. The cruise was wonderful, meeting or exceeding all of our expectations. A detailed review follows. My wife and I generally look for values when we cruise. We try to book mainline cruise trips for $100 or less per person per day. Needless to say, there is no such option in the Galapagos. The best “deal” we could find in relative comfort was on Celebrity’s 100 passenger Xpedition. In an effort to save some money, we booked the least expensive cabin we could find at the least expensive time of the year. And we avoided the expensive mainland add-ons (to Quito and elsewhere) that Celebrity sells, booking only the seven day cruise and making all of our flight arrangements to and from the Galapagos ourselves. OK, after all of that, our cruise price per person (including taxes and fees) was still about $560 per person per day, making this the most expensive cruise we have ever done. Was it worth it? Absolutely! One thing that mitigates the cost is that this cruise is truly all inclusive. For example, no tipping is expected, and all types of alcohol are included. The only additional things my wife and I paid for on board was a $30 bag of laundry and a $23 bottle of sunblock. Yeah, not a typo, bring a lot of sunblock so you don’t have to buy any on board. We arrived two nights early and stayed in the small town of Puerto Ayora. There is a $20 visa fee tourists have to pay, and a $100 national park fee at the airport. Now Celebrity pays this as part of your cruise package, but when we arrived the officials at the airport did not yet have the “list” of Celebrity passengers, so we had to pay the fee. On the day our cruise began, however, Celebrity immediately refunded our payment, so that was no problem. OK, some details about the cruise. Embarkation was a breeze. We made our way back to the airport on the morning of the cruise and met with a Celebrity rep there. After a pleasant one-hour wait in the terminal, they put us on a short bus ride to the Baltra marina, and an Xpedition zodiac met us at the marina and took us out to the Xpedition. We were then shown immediately to our cabin. Our oceanview cabin was not particularly remarkable. In terms of size and layout it was very similar to oceanview cabins we have had on larger cruise ships. The shower was a bit bigger, and nicer, than some we have had on other ships. There was plenty of hot water, good water pressure, and the in room hair dryer worked well. The water that comes out of the taps in your cabin is, of course, potable, but it also tastes of chlorine, so the ship also has drinking water dispensers on each deck that have no chlorine taste. The food served in the main dining room was also similar in quality to what we have had on other cruise ships, but was more limited in variety and, not surprisingly, heavy on fish and seafood dishes. The food was not the best we have had, but it easily met our expectations, given the difficulty of resupply that the Xpedition faces. We were told that about 50% of the food is sourced locally, but many products that we westerners are used to (like beef) have to be flown in by Celebrity or otherwise sourced over long distances. And some of the food has to be specially treated before being allowed in the Galapagos. Ok, and now the superlatives. The ratio of crew to passengers on the Xpedition is very high, with 62 crew members vs 100 passengers. And that meant a level of service we have not experienced on any cruise. For example, our room was serviced multiple times a day, seemingly every time we left it (OK, maybe not quite that often). When we were in the bar or restaurant the waiters were constantly circulating and asking if they could get you something. And when we would return from a shore excursion the staff was always right there waiting with cold beverages and snacks. One thing that surprised me, but I guess shouldn’t have, is that the crew was almost entirely Ecuadoran. In fact, 61 out of 62, including the Captain, were Ecuadoran. What a competent, energetic, and pleasant group of people. Hey, but accommodations, food, and ship board service are not really why you come to the Galapagos. It is for the wildlife! And Celebrity shines in getting you to the action. Each day of the cruise you have at least two activities, morning and afternoon. There were three basic types of activities: a walk ashore, a snorkel, or a lengthy zodiac ride (without landing or snorkeling). With regard to the walks, there was always the option of a longer or shorter walk. The snorkel trips were sometimes shore snorkels (right off the beach) or deepwater snorkels. My advice: always do the deepwater snorkels when offered because the water clarity and sea life variety is better than the shore snorkels. And Celebrity plans the deepwater snorkels very well. There was virtually no current on any of our snorkels, and what current there was was always pushing the way we wanted to go. On one snorkel we went three quarters of the way around a small island, for a total distance of 1.5 miles, and it was so easy that we virtually never used our arms, only our flippers, with the wetsuits providing plenty of buoyancy. As for signing up for what you wanted to do on a given day, you got a briefing the night before and right after that briefing chose what you wanted to do. There was no rush or pressure to be “first in line” to sign up for anything, as the Xpedition can accommodate everyone on every desired option. Group size ashore was usually 14 to 16 persons with one naturalist, which was about as many folks as one zodiac could comfortably carry. The naturalists were great -- well informed with a pretty good command of English. As for the wildlife, we saw pretty much all the biggies: Tortoises, boobies (Blue Foot and Nazca), land iguanas, marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, penguins, flamingos, crabs, rays, and sharks. We even saw three albatrosses very close up, although we were well past the season when the albatrosses have normally departed the islands. And we saw many other species of birds, including, of course, multiple species of Darwin finches. Many of these animals have incredible coloration. And since there are no large land-based predators in the Galapagos almost all of these animals are completely unafraid of humans and you could get very close to them. A true photographer’s dream. Some offbeat highlights: (1) One day we were momentarily stuck on some rough rocks in a zodiac because of an extremely low tide, and the crews of two other zodiacs worked quickly to free us. A bit much excitement that. (2) One morning a lava gull landed next to me on the ship, and I remarked what a beautiful bird it was to a naturalist sitting nearby. She then told me the lava gull was the rarest gull in the world, and there it was five feet away eyeing my croissant!! I asked if I could feed it (just joking). (3) There were an incredible number of baby sea lions. OMG, so cute. And so curious. The naturalists warned us that for the protection of the babies we should not touch them. But sometimes it was difficult, as they would come right up to you in their curiosity. (4) Probably the highlight of the trip for me was watching sea lions while snorkeling. They would swim like torpedos all around you, and then groups of them would play with each other, and then one might come up and eyeball you before swimming away. Wow. Debarkation was also a breeze. Settle up you bill, if you have one. Put your suitcases outside your room by 5:30 AM, and they are then delivered directly to the airport. Exit your room by 8:30 AM, wait in the lounge, and they call your cabin number for boarding a zodiac back to the short bus ride from dock to airport. Let me close with two more tips. When going ashore for a walk, the footing varied wildly from place to place. Sometimes the landing would be wet (meaning you had to wade a few feet up onto a beach) or dry (directly on to a dock, or jetty, or on some rocks). Then your hike could be on sand, or compact dirt, or broken rocks, or slippery rocks (algae and/or guano), or broken lava, or even some small boulder scrambling. My wife and I brought Tevas (for the wet landings) and lightweight hiking shoes, but on some hikes it would have been nice to have had actual hiking boots for more ankle support. Several times some of the older folks fell -- even on the short, so-called “easier” walks. Another clothing tip is to bring a very broad brimmed hat of some sort, and perhaps some neck covering like a scarf or other neck protector. The sun is brutal on the equator, and unexposed skin burns fast even in cloudy weather. One thing you don’t really need is your own snorkeling equipment. Celebrity provides all that, including wetsuits. As a final note, they told us that the composition of the Celebrity Galapagos fleet will change soon. Currently there are three Celebrity ships, the Xpedition (100 passengers), the Xperience (48 passengers), and the Xploration (16 passengers). The Celebrity Flora, a new, hyper-modern 100 passenger ship, joins the Galapagos fleet later in May. And sometime after that the Xpedition will be refurbished, with its capacity reduced to 64 passengers. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Bucket list cruise. Crew was great and the onshore staff too. If you don't like the cattle call feel of the big ships, this for you. Two to three excursions a day will keep you busy and teach you how to get on and off the Zodiacs. ... Read More
Bucket list cruise. Crew was great and the onshore staff too. If you don't like the cattle call feel of the big ships, this for you. Two to three excursions a day will keep you busy and teach you how to get on and off the Zodiacs. Food not as lavish as the big ships but still very good and plentiful. Cabins are not huge, but they're comfortable. I've been on 20+ cruises, at least 7 or 8 on Celebrity. This may. Have been the best. The crew has a strong percentage native Galapogonians plus mainland Ecuadorians. They seem genuinely and sincerely happy that you are there. It's a nice feeling. They offer easy and more strenuous excursions. But even the older folk could handle it. The all inclusive aspect means you're probably not going to spend any more money. I highly recommend this to the adventurous and semi fit people out there. Saw some bad reviews about fitness and recreation, the excursions take care of this. There are no big "shows", but they keep you busy and entertained. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Our bucket list has always included seeing the Galapagos Islands and as Celebrity offered a post cruise visit to Peru's Sacred Valley and MachuPiccu, the choice seemed easy. The Xpedition is the largest of Celebrity's vessels ... Read More
Our bucket list has always included seeing the Galapagos Islands and as Celebrity offered a post cruise visit to Peru's Sacred Valley and MachuPiccu, the choice seemed easy. The Xpedition is the largest of Celebrity's vessels that visit the islands though it needs to be said, this is not a large ship with a maximum capacity of 98 guests. The trip begins in Quito with a tour and overnight followed by a flight to Baltra and a Zodiac to the ship. All went as planned without a hitch. On board, cabins are on the smallish side though there are some larger suites.Each day of the cruise there are two stops. Alternative excursions are presented the night before and one signs up for their preference as to degree of effort required, e.g. hikes, snorkels, etc. This is one of the few areas where Celebrity can use some improvement. Guests appeared mostly Type A's and so the time for sign up was not pleasant. Perhaps they could have a computerized system for sign up or use the excursion process that is used on their other vessels. 16 guests to each naturalist heads out the next morning, returning to the ship for lunch and then repeating the process after lunch. Again, here, a bit of improvement is warranted: there was some jockeying for position to get on the first zodiac to shore which is disruptive. All the excursions were incredible- lots of wildlife and excellent guides to help one understand the uniqueness of the environment. The food was good but not exceptional, perhaps because of the restrictions on what can be brought to the region. The chef tried hard to vary dinner options but overall it is not what one expects on typical Celebrity cruises. A dinner highlight is dining out on the deck under the stars. Really something to see. As this is all inclusive, drinks, wine and beer are available at any time. Don't expect to see single malts on the shelf, though. There is little in the way of entertainment but after a day outdoors, an early bedtime is typical. Also, there were no kids at all; it appeared the youngest may have been 40 or so though the group is quite active all day. At the end of the cruise, the zodiac ride and a flight back to Quito occur. We went on to the Peru portion of the trip as did about 40 others and met up with a few from Celebrity's smaller Galapagos vessels. This portion of the trip had incredible highs but some lows as well especially as to all the connections required. From Quito, we board a flight to Lima. The traffic in Lima is Kafkaesque-- 90 minutes for a ~ 10 mile ride to the hotel only to be repeated in the opposite direction early the next morning for the flight to Cuzco- another 90 minute bus ride. The trip to Casa Hacienda Orihuela is long and a bit tedious but once in the Sacred Valley, amazing to see. The next day we tour Inka ruins and lunch at Wayra Ranch for an equestrian show. Then off to Machu Picchu which defies description. All tours require some climbing an at altitude so this is not trivial sight seeing! We return from Machu Picchu ( to Cuzco) and have dinner on the Train: Hiram Bingham. This day can use some work. It is an early morning train to the site, a climb through the ruins, then lunch and then scheduled "nothing and tea time followed by the train ride to Cuzco (with dinner). Thje group convenced our guide to forgo the tea and give us some time in the Pueblo Machu Picchu where we pick up the train. The original plan has far too much down time with little to fill it. As modified, it was more interesting. A day of Cuzco touring follows then a day with a half day tour of Lima and then to the hotel. Transfers are provided from the hotel to the airport at appropriate times. This post cruise portion has pluses and minuses: On the positive side, the sights are incredible and almost not to be believed. All hotels are first rate: Westins and J.W. Marriotts- what appeared to be the most upscale in the region. The Hotel Monestario a former monastery, was truly most interesting. The guides and staff most accommodating considering we were a group of 50 with at least 60 opinions. Meals were very good though not quite excellent; language is a bit of a problem. As a not very important but illustrative example, I ordered a gin martini and received a glass of ice, a bit of Vermouth and a bottle of ginger ale. On the downside, traffic in Lima and Cuzco is near the worst though not the worst I've experienced. No such thing as following traffic rules. Also, far too much time spent on fancy long lunches when the reason to be there is too see and experience the culture not to eat. This is a trip to do once! it is costly and tiring but mind opening and beautiful. One needs to be prepared for a few physical challenges and certainly challenges to one's patience. A few changes by Celebrity kcould make this a 5 star experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This is an expedition adventure not your normal cruise you are used to. We were on the inner loop. Want to also state we have done over 60 cruises in our lifetime so far including large cruise ships, riverboats and destinations such as ... Read More
This is an expedition adventure not your normal cruise you are used to. We were on the inner loop. Want to also state we have done over 60 cruises in our lifetime so far including large cruise ships, riverboats and destinations such as Antarctica, Iceland, Greenland, and Alaska. Celebrity went above and beyond from the start beginning at the airport where they met us after picking up our bags to the very last night that they brought us back to the airport to go home. We did not do the Machu Picchu extension. We flew in to Quito nonstop from Ft. Lauderdale on Jet Blue and arrived late on Friday night. A Celebrity official was there with a sign that lead us after picking up our luggage outside to the shuttle bus. The ride was about 45 minutes to the JW Marriott. A beautiful 5 star hotel. This was every bit one of the nicest looking places in all of Quito. They checked us in at a private Celebrity table. They will hand you a slip with a code for free WI FI. The next morning we had a wonderful buffet breakfast with so many choices of food and juices. After breakfast we were taken on a nice air conditioned bus to the city of Quito for a walking tour. Around noon we were taken to a restaurant for a buffet lunch. It was very nice. Just be careful about eating any salads or fruit that is not pealed. Also be careful about having the ice in your drinks. Not worth it prior to your cruise to get stomach and bowel issues. I did not see anyone getting sick on our tour or the next day. Then we toured alittle more and got back to the hotel around 4 PM. It gave you a couple hours to freshen up before having to meet again in the lobby around 6:15 to be taken on bus to a gourmet restaurant about 10 minutes away. You get a choice of three entrees with appetizer and desert. It was pretty good. Then back to the hotel for the night. You will have to bring your checked piece of luggage downstairs to a room before 10 pm since they we be taking your luggage to the airport for you. You just keep your carry on with you. You will have to change what we are all used to and pack all your liquids in your carry on instead of your checked piece of luggage for the flight to Balta, Galapagos. They will give you clear directions. Sunday morning we again had the breakfast buffet before meeting in the lobby for our boarding passes and waiting for our bus ride to the airport. They tell you 44 Lbs for your checked luggage and 17 Lbs for your carry on. They weighed the checked bag at the airport but don't worry about the weight of the carry bag because they never checked that bag. The plane is a charted AeroGal or Avianca A320. They serve a nice lunch on board even though the flight was only alittle over 2 hours. The Airport at Baltra was really nice. It was also pretty windy at the airport so they keep all the windows open with a beautiful cross breeze. Then they take us by bus for maybe a 6 minute ride down to the dock where the Pango (Zodiacs) are waiting to take us to the ship that is waiting offshore. SUNDAY afternoon into the evening you get to tour your ship and have the life boat drill like usual. You cruise by both Daphne Major and Minor. We saw frigate birds and Naszca boobies. You are also fitted for your wetsuit and fins and masks. Then got ready for our first talk in the lounge from Monica our cruise director/Naturalist. We went over the next days activities for about 15 minutes where they explain to you that you will have Option one or Option 2 everyday. You then decide which sounds better to you. Then to dinner at 7:30. Dinner was a sit down off a menu every evening. You do have the opportunity to eat under the stars with a special menu. You need reservations for this that you can do once on board. We did it once and it was nice. After dinner we went back to our cabin. We were on deck 3 in 301 the first cabin closest to the restaurant. We loved our room. We had our beds together and it made a nice Queen sized bed. The bathroom was small but we thought the shower was bigger than some large cruise ships. There was a glass door with a string across the top to hang clothes throughout the cruise. TIP: Bring magnetic hooks you can buy on Amazon they stick great on the one wall that is magnetized. We also brought those hooks that stick on the wall that you can peel off at the end without ruining the wall. We probably had 8-10 hooks on our walls to hang all the wet clothes that you will have. MONDAY- SANTIAGO ISLAND(Morning) was the Black Sand Beach hiking first thing over the lava and saw Sea lions playing in the water; lava lizards; Sally Lightfoot crabs; and Iguanas. This was a "wet landing". That always meant that you have to get off the pango in very shallow water. Usually 6 inches to foot deep. I went barefoot myself and my wife wore keens. Then once you get off you bring a towel from your room with in your backpack and you dry off your feet to put on your hiking shoes. Since this was a combination snorkeling excursion you bring the bag that is filled with your wet suit, masks and snorkels and fins, with you and you leave it on the beach until the end of the hike and change into the wet suits and go snorkeling from the beach. This first snorkel was unbelievable. The water temps were between 70-75 the whole time. I had my gopro and right away I played underwater with a sea lion. I got great video it was surreal. . MONDAY-RABIDA ISLAND(Afternoon) was a Red Sand beach and again a "wet landing" then hiked for about an hour then back to the beach where we changed again in the wet suits and snorkeled. This was not as clear and did not see much except for some fish and a small ray. This we heard later was not the best option to choose. The other option we heard was a better choice as they got to stay in the pango for a ride around the island and they saw more wild life and birds. So take the pango option ride for this one instead of the hike. This would also be a better choice for the physically unfit. TUESDAY-ISABELA ISLAND(Morning) Pango ride to the mangroves. I think everyone does this excursion. You can pick a time for this one to sleep in alittle later. This was really nice we saw Penguins , Blue footed boobies, Sea lions, Sea Turtles, Black rays, flightless cormorant and Herons. You do not get out. We also saw a giant 90ft Blue Whale not in the mangroves but out in the middle of the sea. TUESDAY-ISABELA ISLAND-(Afternoon) at 3:00Pm we did our first deep water snorkel. This means you put on your wet suit on the boat and they take you by pango out in about 20 to 30 feet of water and you jump off. We swam with and saw turtles, penguins and an octopus, This is about an hour. Usually we came back to the ship at 4 pm jumped in the shower because we were chilled from snorkeling. Then changed quickly to get ready for the hike. Then around 4:30 or 4:45 we chose an option that was a Dry landing meaning you can wear your hiking shoes and you do not get wet when you land. It was a Tricky landing they called it with 150 steps to the top. We also saw where Darwin landed In 1836 where he carved the year in the rock formation. That night there was a "crossing the Equator party". You get a certificate with your name on it. WEDNESDAY-SANTIAGO ISLAND(Morning) We skipped the Dry landing lava walk this morning which was offered and instead we had our free 30 minute massages that are offered if you are Elite or higher. The girl was very average but what do you want for free. We layed out in the Sun and relaxed near the Jacuzzi. There is no pool. This day they offered a Barbeque lunch outside that was pretty good. WEDNESAY-BARTOLOME ISLAND-(Afternoon) 3:00 PM Deep water snorkel and saw Penguins on the rocks, star fish and a shark. At 4:30 we chose a Pango Ride only and saw more penguins and sea lions. That night after dark we saw Galapagos Sharks circling the ship and then noticed that a Sea Lion jumped on board our ship in the back to stay safe from the sharks. THURSDAY-SANTA CRUZ ISLAND(Morning) This was a wet landing for an hour walk around the island and saw a Flamingo, iguanas, oyster catchers, sallie lightfoot crabs, pelicans, and frigate birds. We had brought our bag for snorkeling with our wet suits but decided not to snorkel because several people said they did not see much. We heard later that someone swam with a sea lion but we did not see that. So we went back to the boat early and they had a great Mexican buffet for lunch. THURSDAY-NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND (Afternoon) 3:00 PM Deep water snorkel that was VERY RUFF. When they warn you on this dive that it is ruff they really mean it. If you have never snorkeled before this cruise and don't feel comfortable don't do this Snorkel. It is windy and wavy. My wife swallowed some water and we had to call the Pango over to pick her up. We saw a White tip shark, Sea Cucumber and different variety of fishes. At the 4:30 or 4:45 option we had a dry landing but this landing was tricky and ruff because of the wind. This is one of the best places to hike. Don't miss this hike. (YOU ACTUALLY SEE MORE on (Seymour). It is very rocky so bring hiking sticks. The walk is over tons of rocks so be very careful. This had a ton of Blue footed boobies with there babies underneath them. It was so cute. We saw tons of frigate birds with the Red blown up pouch trying to attract a female. It takes about 45 minutes to blow up but the bigger the better. We also saw several sea lions sleeping near the end which I got a couple feet away from with my gopro. FRIDAY-SAN CRISTOBAL(Morning) This is the first place to get your souvenirs. We took option #2 the pango ride to the mainland to tour the Interpretation Center by a bus ride then back to town to shop. You will have plenty of time for shopping. We also went by the fish market where fishermen cleaned there fish catch and a sea lion stands next to him waiting for scraps. There was also an inguina there. FRIDAY-SAN CRISTOBAL(Afternoon) Took a Pango ride around cliffs filled with Nazca boobies, Red footed boobies, and blue footed boobies. Saw the Tropical bird they called it and Sea Lions swimming all around. You do not get off. BUT after this tour don't miss asking to get dropped off on the Golden beach where a huge colony of sea lions live. This was so much fun. This is a wet landing. You can walk around and you will see 20 to 30 sea lions and babies living here on the beach. I got alittle to close to one of them and he charged me and I ran. But I got it all on my Gopro. This is a great way to end your last day of a wet landing excursions. SATURDAY-SANTA CRUZ ISLAND (Darwin Research Station) This is an all day excursion if you choose option #1, You leave at 8:00AM pango ride to shore where you pick up a bus that takes parks on the side of the road where you have to put on special boots that go up to your knees so that you can plant your 2 trees if you choose to do so. You leave your shoes in a bag and come back and change out of the boots and back into your shoes. Then you go to the Darwin Research Station to see a few huge tortoises but mostly baby tortoises. Then they take you to a Ranch for a buffet lunch with music and dancing. This is all included. Then they take you around the ranch where the Giant tortoises live free in the wild where you can take some nice pictures. You are supposed to stay at least 8 ft away or the turtle will pull his head in and you will only see his shell. Some of these were over 100 years old. Then back to town with more shopping time. SUNDAY morning you get breakfast from 7 am to 9:00 am. You have to be out of your cabin by 8:00 Am. So you can just hang out after breakfast in the lounge or outside in the back of the ship. Then they will take you back to shore to get on a bus and back to the airport to fly back to Quito. Just some shout outs.........The Naturalists, William and Christina were our favorites. If you are lucky enough to have them on your trip you will be lucky. Lily worked in the bar area and then in the restaurant and did a fantastic job taking care of us. Luis the maîtred always had a smile on his face. Monica the cruise director and Naturalist did a great job explaining all the tours to us each evening. Andrea took care of our room and did a fine job. Others did above and beyond but I cant name them all. This is a cruise of a life time so just do your research and be prepared. We never had to use any bug spray during our June time frame and temps were around 68 to 70 at night and not more than 80 during the day. June was a great month to do this trip as we transitioned from the wet season to the dry and cooler season. If anyone would like to ask us any questions feel free to email me at mvideoman@aol.com Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We were not interested in the Quito add-on portion which is normally sold along with the cruise, so against the advice of a Celebrity Onboard Sales Rep, as well as several cruise critic posters, we booked the seven night only option, and ... Read More
We were not interested in the Quito add-on portion which is normally sold along with the cruise, so against the advice of a Celebrity Onboard Sales Rep, as well as several cruise critic posters, we booked the seven night only option, and we are glad we did. We enjoyed a trip of a lifetime, and like Frank, did our way. We left LAX on the Thursday before the cruise was to begin. We flew into Guayaquil (GYE) and spent the night (or half of it) at the Sheraton a half mile from the airport. We then flew to GPS Friday morning. We booked two nights at the Galapagos Suites, a lovely B&B which I highly recommend. We arranged airport pickup and were met at the airport by the taxi driver regularly used by GS. He helped us with our luggage as we boarded the bus (free) which would take us from GPS (Baltra Airport) to the canal. There we boarded the ferry which took us from Seymour Island to Santa Cruz Island (cost $1). We then were driven in a pickup (our cab) to GS ($38). We spent two nights in Puerto Ayora exploring the town, visiting the Charles Darwin Research Center, and also Tortuga Bay (home to a lovely beach and lots of marine iguanas- if you are lucky, you may see sea turtles swimming in the bay as well). As luck would have it, another couple who was sailing on the Xpedition was also staying at GS. We shared a cab (the same pickup and driver)- this time being dropped off at the canal since by this time we knew what to expect and didn't need help with our luggage ($18 total for four people). We then took the ferry back across and boarded the bus which brought us back to the airport. We got there way before anyone from Celebrity arrived, and the airport personnel directed us to the VIP Lounge where the Celebrity guests gather before leaving the airport. Finally, the rest of the passengers arrived on two different planes, including the charter. One guest fell in front of the entrance to the Lounge and had to be helped in. Two passengers arrived in wheelchairs. I didn't notice any of the passengers using wheelchairs while onboard, however, please remember before booking this cruise, this is an adventure cruise- "it is a trip- not a vacation" as a fellow passenger described it. You will be walking on lava rocks sharp enough to tear your shoes (I should know), walking on other uneven surfaces, and climbing across terrain which quite frankly I wouldn't think to walk across if a naturalist wasn't guiding me. This is definitely NOT a typical Celebrity cruise, so please, do your research on it before booking if you have mobility issues or health concerns. We left the lounge in small groups and were taken by bus to the other side of Seymour Island where we boarded Zodiacs which would take us to the Xpedition. We enjoyed a buffet lunch, a mandatory boat drill, the distribution of our snorkeling gear, and a circumnavigation of Daphne Major. Dinner was in the Darwin Restaurant and music in the Discovery Lounge (talented guitar player). Each day there was a morning excursion and an afternoon excursion. Monday on Espanola Island (one of the islands Darwin did not visit) included a beach walk and an optional beach swim or snorkel. In the afternoon, you chose either a long walk on rocks or a short walk on rocks and sand. Tuesday was spent on Floreana Island and included an easy walk and optional beach snorkeling in the morning and a visit to the Post Office Bay in the afternoon to see the old barrel. There was an optional advanced snorkeling activity to Champion Island. We did the beach snorkel and watched a sea turtle eat, so cute! Wednesday was Isabela Island with a choice between a long walk on volcanic rock or a shorter walk in the morning and either a long walk or short walk with optional beach snorkeling in the afternoon. The long walk was a fitness walk with few stops for pictures. I could do that at home, so DH and I chose the short walk which was flat and easy and allowed for photos. Thursday was spent on Fernandina and Isabela Islands with a long or short walk on lava rocks and an optional deep water snorkel recommended for experienced snorkelers only. We swam with two sea lions- so fun! In the afternoon there was an optional deep water snorkel recommended for experienced snorkelers only. We skipped that one. In the later afternoon, we took a Zodiac ride along the cliffs and coastline. Friday we returned to Santa Cruz Island visiting South Plaza Island with easy walk choices and a rockier trail to Dragon Hill, where we didn't see many animals (three flamingos and a few types of finches, but we did enjoy the peace and quiet. Very tranquil location. Saturday was spent visiting the Charles Darwin Station and planting trees in the highlands where we saw the Giant Tortoises in the wild. We also had a lovely buffet lunch at a ranch and local dancers performed for us. We asked various dinner companions who had gone on the Quito portion what we had missed. One passenger said that we did miss out, but when pressed for one thing that we missed in particular, he said "a city with three million people". Another passenger said we missed going downhill too fast on buses on narrow streets, and two passenger said we missed seeing the Equator exhibit and several churches. So, sorry Quito, but for us, it sounds like we saw more, and enjoyed more experiences in Puerto Ayora. The ship was nicer than I expected. Everyone was so nice. The dinners were tough for vegetarians, but I always found something to eat. The cabin was small, but we liked it. If you are interested in the three cheapest cabins, book well in advance as we did and save $1000 or so per couple. On Sunday morning, we were taken by Zodiac back to Seymour Island and taken by bus to the airport. We took a flight back to GYE, and stayed another night at the Sheraton, which is a very nice hotel (highly recommended). On Monday, we went from GYE back home to LAX on Copa (also recommended). Will I return? No, I don't think so. We saw so many animals, plants, birds, etc. - we really saw all we needed to. I loved this adventure. This is the only cruise I have taken which left me in tears on the last night. It affected me that much. It was a bucket list trip- a journey back in time. Truly a magical trip. If you are adventurous, don't let anyone talk you out of booking the seven night only option. With a little research and planning, you will be able to create a tailor-made experience that works best for you. We explained to another passenger how we had made our plans, and what we had experienced in town pre-cruise, and she said that she had considered the seven night only option, but had been talked out of it by posters on cruise critic. That's too bad. If you like the type of trip in which you deplane and are met at the airport by your tour company and don't have to lift a finger to do anything else the rest of your vacation, then the Quito option is a good choice, but for those of you who prefer doing things your own way, book the seven night option and party on. Just make sure you are ready physically for the experience, it would be a shame to travel all the way to the islands only to be forced to spend most of your time onboard. Unlike other ships, the Xpedition serves as your hotel, not as your source of entertainment. That can only be found by putting on a pair of comfortable and sturdy shoes (perhaps hiking boots) or beach shoes and exploring these incredibility diverse, beautiful islands. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We were encouraged to join my sister and brother-in-law of their 25th wedding anniversary trip to the Galapagos. They were considering a much smaller ship, but after I saw Celebrity offered on of the biggest ships in the region I suggested ... Read More
We were encouraged to join my sister and brother-in-law of their 25th wedding anniversary trip to the Galapagos. They were considering a much smaller ship, but after I saw Celebrity offered on of the biggest ships in the region I suggested Celebrity and we joined them. We had been on their larger ship before in the Greek Islands. 1. We were immediately whisked from the airport in Quito into a van within 2 minutes and on our way to the wonderful Marriott ( very similar to the one I had stayed at in Palm springs). The hotel had a marvellous included large scale breakfast, and also a farewell dinner in their terrific Hacienda steak house. 2. Next day Quito city tour with guide and armed guard ( must be necessary) was very good, and included lunch at a local restaurant was top quality. 3. Pre-checked luggage at our hotel before heading off to the airport for their charter flight to the Galapagos , and short wait in a private lounge at the airport made life wonderful. The food was very good on the ship, lots of variety. Alcohol included, and we soon discovered if you asked the better bottle were kept below the bar in a cabinet. Bombay Saphire gin martinis! The nature walks and snorkels were wonderful. We are in our early 50's and did the harder (longer version) of all the walks. I did the snorkels from shore and saw tons of amazing fish, sea turtle etc. Did not do the deep water snorkels since I was not that comfortable. Saw tons of sea lions, crabs, birds, iguanas etc. Didn't disappoint in the amount of creatures we saw. They entertainment was basic but we met a lot of nice people and had dinner/drinks with them every evening. One night the naturalists put on a small music show, another night music in the lounge or karaoke . The overall experience was wonderful and the staff were very accommodating and friendly. A fabulous experience . Celebrity hit the spot. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The Celebrity Xpedition Galapagos cruise was a great adventure that exceeded our expectations in so many ways. When they advertise that it’s all inclusive they really mean it. From the time we arrived in Quito 2 days prior to our flight ... Read More
The Celebrity Xpedition Galapagos cruise was a great adventure that exceeded our expectations in so many ways. When they advertise that it’s all inclusive they really mean it. From the time we arrived in Quito 2 days prior to our flight to the Galapagos to the time we departed for home following a post cruise overnight stay, we were provided with meals, lodging, drinks, transportation, tours, entertainment, and a bevy of unexpected personal touches such as cool towels following our twice daily island excursions and a DVD with photos and a personalized presentation from our week at sea. Gratuities and port charges were also included as was Celebrity’s chartered flights to and from Baltra where we met the ship. Our previous cruises had only been on small (less than 100 passenger) ships and while truly memorable in their own way, the Xpedition was nothing short of amazing from the clean and comfortable staterooms, to the friendly and helpful staff, to the exemplary dining. While most meals were served buffet style, dinner was a fine dining affair with plenty of choices and impeccable service. Besides, who needs the shows, casinos, and predictable cruise fare when each day is spent in the company of experienced naturalists dedicated to leaving guests with a profound appreciation for this unique and pristine archipelago? We live in a “connected” world today and if there is one thing they could have done better; it would have been to provide guests with a decent Internet connection. Internet was available only in the bar/lecture area but bandwidth was so limited that if there were more than just a few people online the connection slowed to a crawl if you could stay connected at all. I get that Celebrity prefers you not taint this incredible experience by bringing work from home but the ability to stay in touch with friends and family stateside as well as on the ship was sorely missed. If Internet was available throughout the ship including staterooms, Celebrity could even create their own onboard app to share information about excursions, menus, and special events as well as sending reminders and important announcements. In addition, guests would be able to download books and watch online content on the TV’s in their guest room. I would gladly have paid extra for this service. Given that most of the daily activities involved hiking, swimming, and wet landings from a zodiac, guests with disabilities who have difficulty climbing steps and walking short distances without an appliance should probably think twice about this cruise. Given there are no elevators on the ship, if steps are a problem you should at least book a stateroom on level 4 where most activities begin and end. The only public area on the lower deck (3) is the dining salon. While there are several opportunities to snorkel, experienced divers looking for more than an occasional 30-40-minute swim might be a bit disappointed. Nevertheless, the experience of swimming with playful sea lions, penguins, and marine iguana's is one this diver will never forget. The equipment and wet suits provided by the ship at no charge are better than average although for obvious reasons I suggest you bring your own snorkel which I did. For the fitness types who prefer their activity on land there are rigorous and challenging hikes as well as more moderate walks. The ship does a good job of letting you know the level of difficulty for each day’s excursion so you can plan accordingly. For those who can’t or don’t want to hike, there is usually an all-zodiac tour. Quick tip: Bring along a set of trekking poles that will fit in your suit case or duffle bag but do not try to carry on the airplane. You will lose them! While at first glance the cost of this trip may seem a bit steep compared to traditional cruises, when you figure in everything that’s included and couple that with an adventure you will never forget, it truly is a bargain. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Since I prepared myself my reading all the reviews that the people before me left I only find it fitting that I write a review to help the people after me. To start this off I am a 30 year old male that went with my wife, father in law and ... Read More
Since I prepared myself my reading all the reviews that the people before me left I only find it fitting that I write a review to help the people after me. To start this off I am a 30 year old male that went with my wife, father in law and mother in law. Flew from Arizona to Miami. Then Miami to Quito. Landed in Quito around 230pm local time, which is the same as east coast United States time. I highly recommended getting into Quito as early as possible. Which I'll explain later. At the airport customs took a little longer than expected. Luckily we sat in the front of the plane and were some of the first people at the customs line. People that sat in the back of the plane, took them almost an hour to get through custom. After you get through customs you are greeted by a celebrity representative and they take you to a private bus. From the airport to the hotel it was about an hour drive through the scenic hills of Ecuador. The celebrity representative gives you some local knowledge during this drive. But all and all the drive is very uneventful. Once arriving at the Marriott you get your room keys and are pretty much released for the day. The most important part about arriving early into Quito is once you get to the Marriott be sure to check with the celebrity representative to upgrade your seats on the flight to the Galápagos in two days. It was a first come first serve basis and you cannot do this prior to arriving in Quito. It costs about $400.00 per couple round trip to upgrade. And all upgrades were sold by 600pm as there are only 12 seatsl. Trust me it was well worth it. The rest of the day we hung out around the hotel. Went to the bar for appetizers and they were good which you would expect at a JW Marriott. For dinner we went to the steakhouse which is located next to the elevators. Very good food. Had the salad and the lamb and definitely would have it again. The only downside to the Marriott stay was that almost all the channels were in Spanish. Found 6 channels in English but it was hard to find since the guide and all the commercials on those English channels were in Spanish. But the rooms were nice and the service was great. There was a 9th floor VIP lounge that we were allowed into and it was nice. Had American beer and good snacks. On the first real day of the trip, Saturday, celebrity started it off right with a large buffet style breakfast that was amazing. Local fruit, made to order eggs, and smoothies. Was perfect since you don't stop till around 1230 for lunch. After breakfast we loaded the buses to take off to see the town of Quito. Every time your on a bus it's only about 2/3 full so you never fill cramped and cold bottle water is always available. The tour began at a local church and was a beautiful site to see. The rest of the trip takes you through 3 more churches and a quick stop at the presidential palace. Then a short bus ride to the lunch stop. Lunch was nice, nothing special, a small sampling of local Ecuadorian food. I highly recommend trying to grab one of the outside seats as people watching on the adjoining town square was quite amusing. After lunch a trip to the equator is available. We do not go but elected to head back to the Marriott with a few other people. Relaxed the rest of the day till around 600 when the buses were ready to pick up the entire group and take us to dinner. Another short drive and we arrived at a small local upscale restaurant. Everyone fit comfortably and it was a good atmosphere. For dinner you had your choice of two appetizers, 3 main courses, and for dessert they brought everyone a sampling of three dishes. I had the veal as my main meal and it was amazing. No complaints at all for the entire dinner. Just a side not for the dinner beer and wine was not included and was extra. Wine bottles were around $40.00 and beer $5.00 a bottle. So bring some cash with you if you would like to drink. After dinner you are brought back to the hotel where you need to bring your main bags down so they can check them through for you. You don't see these bags again until you get to your cabin on the boat so that was nice. We also had a small bag that we left at the Marriott until we got back from the boat. Just a side note on baggage for the trip. I highly recommend only one check bag and one either backpack or shoulder bag for your carry on per person. Then a shared bag per couple to leave at the Marriott. Makes the trip a lot easier. After you drop your bags off its back to your room to sleep. In the morning another amazing breakfast is provided for you. Then at 730 you can pick up your flight tickets and it's off to the airport at 815. Another hour bus ride and your at the airport. Security and check in was very quick and only took about 5 minutes and we were at the gate waiting. 10 minutes later they started loading the airplane and then we were off the the Galápagos Islands. The flight to the Galápagos was nice. They offered breakfast to everyone on the plane and a variety of drinks. Landed in Baltra and a decent walk from the airplane to the terminal. From the airport you take a bus down to the dock and from there a quick ride on a small boat the the xpendition. Upon arriving your sit down for a small orientation the. You are taken to your state room where champagne is awaiting. After that you do your normal boat drills followed by an official greeting from the crew and a toast with the captain. After the toast the head naturalist goes over the events for Monday and everyone then signs up. (See me note later in the cons section). After you sign up for your days trips you are released for dinner. At this time my group and some people we met went outside and had a drink so wait for the dining room to calm down. As I said before I am 30, besides my in laws and two other couples the rest of the boat was 65 plus. So a 730 dinner was late for them so we just waited till 830 and went down. There is no assigned seating during dinner and the dining room is made just for the 96 people on board. When we finally ate dinner was amazing. The have two menus. The xpendition favorites menu which stays the same the entire trip and then a daily menu with 15 new choices everyday, so there was something for everyone. Dinner on the program days till 900 but we drank and ate till a little after 10. The staff knew why we came late and was happy to serve us. Then off to bed we went because breakfast was served at 700. There was morning stretching at 630, but due to our wine intake the night before we opted out of it. After breakfast it is off to the small boats for your first trip The first trip was a walk and swim/snorkel at espanola island. The walk was very nice, witnessed a diverse amount of wildlife and the naturalist, Marvin, was very pleasant to talk to. Once your done with the walk you can swim/snorkel in the bay. The water temp was perfect but the waves a little rough for some people. Loading the boat proved to be difficult for many of the older guests. I mean almost all. ATTENTION: spend as much time snorkeling and swimming in the water as you can. This is by far the best beach and most relaxing area to swim on the trip. Please read the information on celebrity's website. This is an expedition cruise not a cattle call all you can eat kind of cruise. You need to be in decent shape to do this activities. Many of the guests couldn't load onto the small boat from the beach. It was very easy for my family and the two other couples in their 40's. The second excursion of the day was amazing. We witnessed so many animals up close on our 3 mile hike. From the start when you off load the small boat it is a very strenuous walk across uneven lava rocks. The entire way you are having to jump from rock to rock so please only go on this if you have great balance and are in good shape. The weather was upper 80's with 90% humidity so many people were struggling. But besides that we were feet away come seals,hawks, iguanas, etc.. Total the walk was about 3 hours. After the walk the normal nightly routine starts. A briefing at 715 and dinner to follow. On Monday night it is the first night that you can schedule to eat outside. The food is not as good as inside and it is served family style, but being outside under the stars was well worth it. So I recommend you do it one day. On day 3 of the cruise you have another early start followed by a long or short walk on the beach of floreana island. Both walks are easy. Take the long walk no matter what and go see the sea turtle nesting are. It's extremely easy for everyone and well worth it. I'm the afternoon you have the option to go see the post office box and zodiac ride or just a zodiac ride. Honestly the post office box was pointless but the boat ride was amazing. Got to see boobies, baby seals, birds, etc up close within 5 feet. Strongly recommend this boat ride to everyone. Day 4 of the cruise started off not so good. The morning excursion was canceled due to the beach landing area being unsafe. I applaud the staff for doing what they did and making the best out of the morning with activities. The afternoon was a "fitness" walk with snorkeling. The walk was probably the most intense of them all for the long walk. Clinton over boulders and extreme heat it was a little tough for almost everyone. And the pace was extremely quick compared to other walks. But it all paid off in the end when we ran into 3 giant tortoises and a few land iguanas. At the end of the walk, either the short or long, you get to snorkel in the bay. Visibility wasn't that great but we witnessed was amazing. Dozens of sea turtles feet from you, sea lions swimming around you, and penguins darting around. Truly one of the more memorable snorkels in my life. Then another short ride back to the ship for our evening festivities. Day 5 was probably one of my favorite days. In the morning you can go on a long or short walk which in essence they are practically the same. Rather short easy walks but you do see an abundance of wildlife. After the walk is over a deep sea snorkel was available. The conditions and visibility were not that great but I was amazed by what we saw. Sea turtles inches from you, flightless birds swimming next to you , and all the fish you could imagine. After lunch the boat moved and we had another deep sea snorkel. And this one wasn't far the best. Sea lions playing with us, penguins zipping around you, the flightless comoronent bird fishing under you, dozens of sea turtles feeding, and sting rays everywhere. This snorkel was truly one for the books. Then after that everyone had the same option of an hour long boat ride along this 2000 foot cliff. More wildlife than you could imagine. Everything from blue footed boobies to baby sea lions. Like I said by far the best day in the Galápagos. That night they had a "crossing the equator" party. A very nice party thrown by the ships crew, and if you haven't done it before you get a certificate for crossing the equator. Not many know that this is a pretty big deal especially in the navy. So take great pride in it. Day 6 brought a few more islands. The first expedition was either a long or short walk. You witnessed the exact same wildlife on both. A rather extremely hot and uneventful walk but it showed a different side of the Galápagos. The trip was highlighted by a land iguana climbing a cactus to eat it and a small tide pool with about 15 baby seals playing. Very easy landing and walk. Just bring water as it was hot. The afternoon brought lunch and repositioning of the ship for the afternoon adventures.On the afternoon adventure you had the option for a short and long walk. Take the long walk if you can. You walk through a highly vegetated and humid area to the top of a hill overlooking the island. You mostly only see land iguanas but the view was worth it. Not the most memorable walk of the trip but was well worth it. Day 7 started off horrible. You go to the Darwin Research Center. Which is horrible, there is nothing open expect a few pens with 6 or 7 giant tortoises. First off you have to walk over a mile through nothing to get there and it is extremely depressing and a waste of time. After it's over, only lasted about 30 minutes, you have to walk through town back to the pick up point which is close to 1.5 miles and through a little part of town. We ended up just getting a beer and sitting at a fish market waiting for the bus. Next you go up to the highlands to plant some trees. Yes, its for a good cause but honestly was pretty senseless. You show up run and plant a tree and are out in ten minutes. After that you are driven to a ranch to have lunch and see tortoises in the wild. This is where the day changes into something great. First off the local lunch was amazing probably some of the better food of the trip. Then after lunch the do a local dance show and you go off with a naturalist around the area to witness tortoises in the wild. Our group was out there the longest and we got to see maybe 25-30 tortoises and it was amazing. Plenty of photography opportunities with them. This was one of my favorite land expeditions on the trip. After you are done a short bus ride back to town and everyone had about 3 hours to explore town. Not sure why more people didn’t take the chance to hang out in town. Our group was the only ones that stayed in town, and we made the best of it staying to the last boat at 630. We obviously did some local shopping which wasn’t anything to write home about. But we found a nice bar overlooking the bay and had drinks for a couples hours. Well worth it and better than sitting on the ship for 3 hours. All and all it turned out to be a good day but skip the Darwin center if you can. On the last day on the ship you wake up and eat breakfast. After that everyone was in the lounge or on the patio. We ended up just have a couple more drinks and waiting for the call to go to shore. Once you arrive on shore you take a bus ride to the airport and wait around for about an hour. After that its off to Quito and back to the Marriott. That night there is a tour of the local markets and dinner at the steakhouse at the Marriott. The menu that was "included" or free was kind of depressing and we ended up ordering of the normal menu and paying. Our flight left shortly after dinner so we loaded up on a prearranged ride and were off to the airport and back home. Tips • You don’t need that much money. All meals except the first night are included. And the second night if wine/beer is desired that is all you have to pay for. From there on out I didn’t spend a dime until the last day in town. • The only other time we used money was to tip the workers that truly made the cruise great for us. No one really tipped besides our group but some workers did deserve it. No need to bring more than a $1000 US. • The currency is US Dollars • Go on every excursion/snorkel/walk you can. That’s what you are paying for so don’t miss out. Every island has a different feel and is worth every minute you can spend on it. • This is an expedition boat, not an all you can eat buffet cruise so you have to be not fit but able to walk without a cane or hurting. There were probably 40 people that stayed on the boat at all times, which is fine by me, but they are missing out on the good stuff and paying so much money to sit and do nothing Cons • Signing up for daily trips. Kind of a cattle call but I always got what I wanted to do • Loading boats for daily excursions. There are just those type of people that run to the front of line to be the first. Quite annoying. But a little tip if you do the long walks always wait for the last boat, usually only 6-9 people so it is a smaller group and more interactive • Do not have crown royal or grey goose. If you drink it bring your own • The food. Not that great at all. More of an Applebee's kind of quality. But see note on service below. • The outside dining. It is available 5 out of the seven nights but is the same meal. Thinking they should mix it up a little so you want to eat out there more. • Cooking of meat. I am a medium rare plus kind of guy. But anytime out of country I always get medium. And there medium was rare. Be sure to ask for medium well no matter what. Pros • The excursions. Truly an amazing experience everyday all day • The naturalist. There were 7 and I say 5 of them were very knowledgeable and entertaining. Became good friends with them. • Everything is included. Nice to just order drinks all day with no hassle. • Service: Everyday it was amazing. Like I said the food was not that good but the service was awesome. They would do anything for you. We asked for a private table on the 6th floor deck for our group and they did it no questions asked. Your rooms are cleaned 4 times a day and everyone is polite. • The ship size. Only 96 people. Small enough that there wasn’t too much cattle call but big enough to find a couple or two to hang out with. • The rooms: we had a suite with a balcony. Wasn’t that large but your never in it and everything was comfortable. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I loved this cruise. It was different than the many others I have taken--more nature; less commercial. No Diamonds International or commercials trying to sell something onboard. The naturalists make the trip a cut above. There was no place ... Read More
I loved this cruise. It was different than the many others I have taken--more nature; less commercial. No Diamonds International or commercials trying to sell something onboard. The naturalists make the trip a cut above. There was no place to buy anything until the last two ports. I liked that. Doing the package deal with flight/hotel is an addition we do not usually include but we did on this trip since getting to Baltra was more complicated than your average port. Good decision since the time in Quito was well-planned and the accommodations excellent at the Marriott. We had a late (almost 2am) arrival into the Marriott and this meant that some of the folks with us did not join us on the tour the next day due to fatigue. We pressed on but it was a long day. They should have offered the option to do only half a day as many of the tired people said they were ready to go by lunchtime but had no easy way to join the tour. The tour day in Quito was an enjoyable overview of the city. We felt rushed at the equator which was puzzling since we waited almost a half hour (some more) after finishing eating to leave the restaurant from lunch. It would have been better to hit the road sooner to get more time at the equator. Going to Galapagos on Sunday was just a matter of following the leader and having something to do during waiting times. We were ushered aboard the Xpedition after our first zodiac ride and welcomed in our small groups and had a toast with the Captain. It would be great to be offered a choice of non-alcoholic drinks for the toast right from the start (even though a substitute was brought after we refused the offered ones). Several from our small group noticed we did not drink and said they didn’t either but took the drink anyway. We did discover a favorite non- alcoholic drink of lemon ice mixed with sprite zero that was quite good. All the meals were delicious and there was always an acceptable choice. The steaks were very good in addition to the tasty seafood. A table-mate asked for ice cream on the next to last day and they brought her a neapolitan sundae. Then we all ordered one. That hit the spot on a hot day. I’m glad I didn’t know how good it was until we had almost finished our cruise or I would have eaten one every day. The ceviche was also something I had several times. All the excursions, loading, unloading, etc. takes a lot of cooperation from everyone so that all have a good experience. Some would dawdle at putting on life jackets so they could have the prized “last” seats. Others would make groups wait while they took extra photos. But most folks were very helpful to each other. If you have physical difficulties, listen to the naturalists, they do this every week and will know by watching you get around if you can do that particular excursion or not. Take a “hands free” bag for daily excursions because it makes getting on and off the zodiacs faster and easier. It can be small because you don’t need much with you. They will let you do barefoot landings on most of the wet landings so you don’t get your shoes wet. If you have a pair of shoes you like to hike in, wear them instead of more uncomfortable shoes that can get wet or switch them after you land. I purchased a mask and snorkel and practiced in a swimming pool before the cruise. I am glad I did. The salt water and uneven surfaces, rocks, and strong surf would have been too much if I was not already comfortable in using the snorkel. Many folks got discouraged with trying to snorkel because it was a new experience in what could be challenging environments at times. But don’t miss the pleasure of snorkeling—it is relaxing and you can see some beautiful animals. Be prepared to not be able to get good Wi-Fi connections. Fortunately, I had no need to get important data so this didn’t bother me but be prepared if you have need to check in with work or someone every day. I would have loved to have some more stargazing time. The sky at night with the birds flying with the ship and the stars was beautiful. The disembarkation was just a long day and having read previous reviews I had a book on my kindle to read. I have a hard time sitting for any length on hard surfaces so the airport seating for part of the wait was uncomfortable but I just walked around instead. The afternoon in Quito was the crafts market. It was the best place to shop of the entire trip. I bought a great leather purse and a pretty poncho for a good price. If we had stayed longer I would have had all my Christmas shopping done. The evening meal at the steak restaurant in the Marriott was one of the best of the trip. This is one of the best if not the best cruise I have ever taken. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
As an avid ‘review’ reader myself, I want to contribute my own review of the ‘Galapagos’ experience as guests of ‘Celebrity’ cruises on board the Xpedition. My wife and I (68 and 67yrs) just returned from one of the best ... Read More
As an avid ‘review’ reader myself, I want to contribute my own review of the ‘Galapagos’ experience as guests of ‘Celebrity’ cruises on board the Xpedition. My wife and I (68 and 67yrs) just returned from one of the best vacations we have ever experienced. Here are some particulars that will be important to you. The Expense: All told this cruise cost about $150/day (including air). That’s the bad news. The good news is that everything is included [Food, beverages (including wine and mixed drinks), tips, all offshore activities, even Internet in the lounge]. We paid only for clothes we bought and off shore purchases that were mainly gifts for family. The Ship: Excellent! Well maintained and clean. It is well designed and functional. The cabins (318) were not overly spacious but compare favorably with our previous experiences on similar sized ships like ‘Windstar’. The bathrooms are small but not cramped and showering is very comfortable. Storage space is more than adequate for a 7-night stay. I would bring and extra bag/suitcase and leave it in Quito with a few ‘dirties’ and then you will have extra space for gifts on the way home. The staff is the most friendly we have experienced. The naturalists outstanding. I cannot remember a single question that was not answered quickly and accurately. The food was also above my expectations. As on most ships, the food is pre-cooked. Yet, I was still able to get both medium-rare steak and lobster (which I had 5 different meals) that were not over-done. Carlos (in charge) is to be lauded as a hard worker who aims to see to everyone’s satisfaction. The Itinerary: The ship stops at a different location each morning and each afternoon. The local waters give the Xpedition a gentle rocking, but I did not hear of any significant seasickness. We did not need any medication. The transfers are safe and well organized on zodiacs with seasoned drivers. Several of the ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ landings are not suitable for those with strength or balance issues. The remaining landings are reasonable for most all except the disabled. Snorkeling is good but the water cold, and a wet suit is necessary (provided). Kayaking and diving are not available from the Xpedition. The hiking is not overly challenging but still a little exercise. The views and wildlife exceeded every expectation. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The Zodiac tours are breathtaking. Local shopping is very good for clothing, leather goods, and some unique artwork. All-In-All Don’t miss it!   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We took our two oldest grandsons ages 9 and 10 with us on a one week cruise of the Galapagos on the Celebrity Xpedition. The trip couldn't have been better! The Celebrity Xpedition was the best ship we have ever been on. Not ... Read More
We took our two oldest grandsons ages 9 and 10 with us on a one week cruise of the Galapagos on the Celebrity Xpedition. The trip couldn't have been better! The Celebrity Xpedition was the best ship we have ever been on. Not because it is big and beautiful, though it was a very nice ship, but because the staff was outstanding, the food very good, and the expeditions on the Galapagos Islands like none I had ever experienced. We were welcomed from day one, and by the third day, everyone seemed to not only know our names, but also what we liked to eat and drink. We were offered two levels of expeditions every morning and every afternoon, and for the most part we chose the more challenging one which turned out to be fine. We were never disappointed, seeing so much wildlife from marine iguanas,Blue Footed Boopies, sea lions, Sally Lightfood crabs, sea turtles, land tortoises, land iguanas, Penguins,countless birds and fish. It was just amazing. We had near perfect weather, thankfully with some cloud cover almost every day. We were given wet suits for snorkeling, but the water was so warm, we didn't need them. Our grandsons had the time of their life. There were only two other children on the ship, but that turned out to not be a problem. We were so proud of them and the way they behaved. They made so many friends among the staff and loved being treated to chocolate milkshakes every day. Even thought the Celebrity Xpedition is not a typical cruise ship with shows etc, we were fortunate to have live piano music in the evenings during cocktail hour, and considering where we were, the food was excellent. Wonderful fresh fish every night if you wanted it. There were always at least 6 entrees to choose from. Breakfast and Lunch were always buffet, with the lunches being a different country theme. Truly a trip of a lifetime, and one I would recommend to anyone who likes a bit of adventure. I can't imagine going any other way except on Celebrity Xpedition. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We booked this trip 18 months in advance after visiting a travel show. I was a little concerned because I didn't think the Galapagos cruise on Celebrity could be as good as everyone said, but I was wrong... It was better. We have ... Read More
We booked this trip 18 months in advance after visiting a travel show. I was a little concerned because I didn't think the Galapagos cruise on Celebrity could be as good as everyone said, but I was wrong... It was better. We have never sailed Celebrity before, but now I will try their other ships. The care this company takes of its clients is just incredible. We were met at baggage claim in Quito by a porter who took our bags through a scanner for us, led us to the Celebrity representative and loaded our bags in the bus. From here on out that Celebrity representatives took care of our every need until we boarded the plane to Baltra and again when we returned from the cruise. We arrived at the JW Marriott at about 9:30 pm and were greeted with juice. This hotel is beautiful, there are roses everwhere and when we came to breakfast on Saturday morning I was amazed by the view of the Andes. The tour of Quito was very well done and included a lovely buffet lunch at the Theater Restaurant. Then it was off to the equator monument ( you've got to do this just to say you have been there!!). After a couple of hours back at the hotel we were taken to Carmine restaurant which I loved as we sat outside on a very nice patio. By this time we were all beginning to make friends and this was to be a feature of the cruise; we would come to know nearly everyone and everyone was so friendly. The last thing before bed was to take our bags downstairs to be locked away for an early morning inspection and transport to the ship. You can carry liquids in hand luggage so it is not a problem to part with you suitcase. Sunday morning we filled out some forms before boarding the bus to the airport. Without our luggage it was so easy. We boarded our plane for a flight that American airline companies should emulate. The flight attendants were attentive, the plane was clean and the meal was served with real silverware and napkins. It was about 2 hours to the islands and our first glimpse of the ship. Arriving in Baltra was equally easy, just had to have our forms stamped and we were outside to meet our Celebrity naturalists. A short bus ride took us to the dock and our zodiac ride to the ship which was anchored in the bay. The ship is gorgeous, I was so glad that we had chosen it. We came to love the Beagle Grill at the back (stern) as it was the meeting place before and after excursions, when we were greeted with drinks and snacks. We tended to eat lunch here and also sit here in the late afternoon after returning from the second excursion, talking with new friends and watching the sun begin to set. We would pop to our cabin at about 6:45 to shower and change for the evening briefing in the Discovery Lounge, by Jorge our cruise director. He was so happy, friendly and informative. Every evening you sign up for the excursions you want to do the next day. Win are in our late 50s and always did the long walks with absolutely no problems. We also did not use walking sticks as we didn't find walking on rocks difficult. The walks may be longer than some people normally do, but they are generally not steep and they are very slow as people are listening to the naturalists and taking photos. I cannot speak highly enough about the naturalists... They are friendly, know their stuff, work very hard and enjoy themselves singing on some evenings. Of course we had our favorites, but that is a matter of style not of competence. They are also so helpful getting people in and out of zodiacs. There were a couple of days with largish sea swells, but no-one had a problem and we had some very old people on our trip. The naturalists just know what they are doing. Our favorite excursion was on Monday afternoon on Espanola. It is a beautiful walk to a cliff overlooking a wonderful coastline and blow hole; but the diversity of the wildlife was incredible and I was moved by the behaviors and beauty of the waved albatrosses that we saw. My second favorite was on Sunday afternoon to North Seymour as this is the first landing and everyone is awe struck by the Boobies, Frigates and Sea Lions. Third for me was Fernandina on Thursday afternoon where we watched young sea lion pups playing and loads of marine iguanas. While I loved those three excursions, I enjoyed every one.... This is a cruise where you can't wait to get off the ship and discover new delights on land. Every evening we would eat with different friends in the Darwin Restaurant. The food was fine, I mostly ate the local fish on the menu. The best thing about dinner was learning about our fellow passengers, they were so well travelled. There was generally something to do in the evening, but we just didn't tend to stay up late as it was always an early start each morning. We did love watching the stars from the bow on deck 6; we enjoyed watching sharks in the water when they turned on the lights one night, and we loved the crossing the equator party. Most of the time we were in bed by 10:30 or 11:00. We booked a suite with balcony and I am glad we did. The balcony was lovely and there was just that extra room to move around. Each afternoon we were greeted with Hors D'oeuvres in our cabin and there was always a bowl of fruit. The boat does rock on the first two nights and on Friday night, because we are underway rather than at anchor. We loved the rocking and never felt sick, but I know a couple of passengers did feel the effects. Everyone was so sad when the cruise ended and many of us were glad that we had 1 night back in Quito. We left the ship at 9:30 am on Sunday and just waiting in the airport until they called us to go through passport check to the departure lounge. Then we were on board and flying away from our ship which we could see in the bay. Back in Quito our luggage was taken care of again and we were whisked away to the hotel. We didn't go shopping, just relaxed and went to dinner at 7:00 in the hotel. This was when we said goodbye to so many of our new friends. The ship sends out an email list, so many of us will stay in touch. On Monday, a shuttle and representative took us to the airport with plenty of time. Quito airport is simple to negotiate with Celebrity's help and we were soon at our gate and on our plane back to the USA. I will never forget this vacation and I will recommend it to all friends. I don't believe anyone does the Galapagos better than Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Celebrity Xpedition Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.3
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 3.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.8
Family 1.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.9
Enrichment 4.0 4.7
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 3.0 4.5
Rates 5.0 4.5

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