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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Our cruise on Xpedition was a celebration of my 40th birthday, and the trip truly exceeded expectations. From the exceptional staff to the fresh local food on board, we thoroughly enjoyed our vacation. Xpedition is a relatively old ship ... Read More
Our cruise on Xpedition was a celebration of my 40th birthday, and the trip truly exceeded expectations. From the exceptional staff to the fresh local food on board, we thoroughly enjoyed our vacation. Xpedition is a relatively old ship by modern cruise standards, but she has aged well and is lovingly maintained. We were surprised how much she felt like a true Celebrity ship just on a much smaller scale. With one dining room, one bar, and close quarters, you get to know the other passengers and crew much more than on a large ship. Fortunately for us, we enjoyed our fellow travelers and crew members. The Galapagos itself is a very special place, and the way the National Park is managed really limits crowds. The naturalists who lead the excursions are exceedingly patient and considerate. They are informative and knowledgeable about the environment, wildlife, and geology of the islands. Finally, make sure you know in advance what this trip is and is not. We were shocked to learn that a handful of passengers did not realize this was an adventure cruise with rugged hikes. The experience is not for everyone, so make sure you are up for an adventure when you book this trip. If you are, you’ll be rewarded with a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We have sailed with Celebrity a few times and almost all of our experiences have been excellent. This trip was no different. Although the ship is going for a complete refit this year, it was kept in good order and well organised. Our room ... Read More
We have sailed with Celebrity a few times and almost all of our experiences have been excellent. This trip was no different. Although the ship is going for a complete refit this year, it was kept in good order and well organised. Our room was well designed, so although smaller than large ship cabins, it was fine. All of the ship's staff are excellent, the service in the bar and dining room, rooms, reception staff etc. could not be faulted. The cruise director and officers were great, always accessible and always very attentive to passengers. Entertainment is low key, but the full days' activities mean that most people do not stay up late. There was a choice of different 'difficulty' levels of tours to choose from morning and afternoon. We got the tours we chose easily and there was flexibility for change if needed, All of the tours were full of beauty, interest and amazing experiences. We did the Mach Picchu and Sacred Valley extension which was also wonderful. Overall, a very full, fascinating trip. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
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
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Very disappointed. Not up to Celebrity standard we expected. The ship was old and tired. Too many people on board for common rooms. Could not get seat during briefings. Had to wait in line for everything. Dining room crowded and poor ... Read More
Very disappointed. Not up to Celebrity standard we expected. The ship was old and tired. Too many people on board for common rooms. Could not get seat during briefings. Had to wait in line for everything. Dining room crowded and poor lay out. Food was awful and service just OK. Service in our suite was lacking. Half the days we didn't get out snacks as promised. Room was dirty and never vaccumed. Tv service in room was terrible ..only two/three channels of old movies or documentaries and no information on excursions. Staff was just doing minimum. Waste of time and money. Th excursions we disappointing. Didn't like lining up for reservations and the next day for tickets and second time. Then wait for you number to be called in lounge to go on excursions. I didn't go on vacations to stand in lines. Must be a better system. Not a relaxing trip at all. Hot tub was dirty and cold so could not use. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
As you probably know this ship will be refurbished and re done and a new one is taking its place, I believe, in 2020. The ship, thus, looks a little tired, but it is very clean. The state rooms are among the smallest I've seen, even ... Read More
As you probably know this ship will be refurbished and re done and a new one is taking its place, I believe, in 2020. The ship, thus, looks a little tired, but it is very clean. The state rooms are among the smallest I've seen, even the suites, but you won't spend a long time in the room. My only criticism would be the snorkeling equipment, the fins in particular are lacking, they don't have inventory in the most common sizes and the same with the wet suits most of which show a great deal of wear and are broken in places. Fins and a wet suit are essential in this cruise and at this price the equipment should be in top shape. The bar is another thing that needs minding. There is only one bar and it's the hang out place when you are cruising or after excursions. The bar has very limited selections and the bartenders are hit and miss with the drinks. Other than that Celebrity provides a great experience from the moment you touch down in Quito. The places they take you, the food, the hotel, it's all done very organized. Staff is all terrific. The ship's food is very good, not fancy, but fresh and delicious. The meat is pre cooked before it reaches the ship so you may want to opt for the sea food items which are local and fresh, specially the langoustines which are a delicacy State side and quite expensive. Some tips. If you are not used to snorkeling in cold water, buy a hood, it's cheap and (along with the wet suit) will keep you warm. Seconds after the initial shock of cold water, I forgot all about it, and I'm used to Miami water. More than half the life in the Galapagos is under water, if you don't do the snorkeling you miss half the trip. Invest in a small water camera, I got an Olympus TG 5, while the photos were ok (most of the time the water was cloudy) the under water video was terrific. You also need a camera with a good zoom lens, I only took the water camera and it was a mistake. While some of the wildlife is close a zoom will give you amazing shots. Regarding the Galapagos in general. We are an avid wildlife loving family, traveled the Andes, Amazon, Africa, etc, and have stayed in luxury camps and candle light only shacks. The wild life and terrain in the Galapagos is unique, but not varied and the cruise experience, specially when paying for a family, lacks value. This is not a trip that touched my heart or something I want to do again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
As a retirement trip, we booked (2years ahead) the Galápagos Islands (Inner Loop) and Machu Picchu trip with the Celebrity Xpedition as our ship in the Galápagos Islands. It was every bit of what we expected and more! From our arrival ... Read More
As a retirement trip, we booked (2years ahead) the Galápagos Islands (Inner Loop) and Machu Picchu trip with the Celebrity Xpedition as our ship in the Galápagos Islands. It was every bit of what we expected and more! From our arrival in Quito, until our departure from Cusco to Miami, the Celebrity experience was awesome! Every step of the way, Celebrity had us involved with first class food, service, experiences, and entertainment. As for altitude, the staff provided 5 minutes of oxygen to John when we stopped for lunch on our first day in Cusco. It worked, and his slight headache stopped. Bugs were no problem (June 15-30,2018). Activities were provided for all abilities groups in both the water and on the land in the Galápagos. Plenty of walking and stairs (uneven) on the Machu Picchu adventure. Again, Celebrity has provided for outstanding activities in both the Galápagos Islands and Machu Picchu! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We sailed on the Celebrity Xpedition in May 2018 to the Galapagos, on the inner loop itinerary. As many others have said, the service, food, and crew were excellent. We were met at the Quito airport by Celebrity and basically were in ... Read More
We sailed on the Celebrity Xpedition in May 2018 to the Galapagos, on the inner loop itinerary. As many others have said, the service, food, and crew were excellent. We were met at the Quito airport by Celebrity and basically were in there hands until we returned to the JW Marriott in Quito a week after boarding the ship. All aspects of the trip were well done, and every one of the Celebrity folks was helpful, and easy to work with. The naturalists were knowledgeable, interesting, and really enhanced each excursion. Also as others have said, the excursions are why you sign up for this cruise. Others on this board really helped me decide what to pack and what to leave home. I strongly suggest you get a list of items to pack and follow it - especially the wide brim hats, shoes, long sleeve shirts (for sun), and sunblock (at least SPF 50). My wife and I are 66 and 67 respectively and in reasonably good shape with minimal problems getting around. That said, we were pretty tired by the end of the week. As explained in other posts, the daily itinerary follows the same pattern - a morning excursion, back to the boat by lunch, and an afternoon excursion. Almost all of the excursions have an easier and more challenging flavor. We did the more challenging on all but a couple, which involved long, climbing walks... The snorkeling also comes in two flavors - "off the beach", which is exactly as it sounds, and deep water - which is where you are taken by zodiac to the snorkeling spot and jump in off the zodiac. Water is too deep to stand, and currents can be much stronger. Water temperature was about 74 - 77, and Celebrity provides wetsuit, mask, snorkel and fins. One suggestion - bring some sort of book/app/device that will help you identify constellations. Star gazing is outstanding - no light pollution. I give the trip 5 stars because the excursions were well done and the experience on the ship was very good. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
A very good Galapagos cruise I chose this cruise and itinerary in order to see the Galápagos Islands in comfort on a celebrity cruise ship I chose the seven day cruise which meant I had time to arrange my own itinerary in Quito As ... Read More
A very good Galapagos cruise I chose this cruise and itinerary in order to see the Galápagos Islands in comfort on a celebrity cruise ship I chose the seven day cruise which meant I had time to arrange my own itinerary in Quito As well as staying for a couple of nights on the islands prior to embarkation I spent two nights in Quito at hotel Casona to La Ronde which is a lovely colonial hotel in the old quarter I undertook a day tour to see volcanoes hummingbirds and the cloud forest which was a brilliant experience I then spent two nights at hotel Solla Verde Santa Cruz Island The hotel is located in the highlands A 20 minute taxi ride into Puerto Ayora Very clean comfortable boutique hotel with lush vegetation and a pet giant tortoise Day trip to North Seymour Idlsnd which the hotel advised having looked at the itinerary for expedition Amazing wildlife including Sally Lightfoot crabs seals blue footed boobies and many other species The trip include snorkelling the highlight of which was seeing turtles Which were inquisitive swimming around us Embarkation was smooth There is no pier side check in as individual travellars we were met at the airport where there was a short wait in a reserved area with other guests on the seven day itinerary Most of The passengers who were on charter flights were delayed by some hours and we had the privilege of being taken onto Xpeditiob after a short wait At the airport The only way to embark is by zodiac so this would not suit any passengers with significant walking difficulties the same is true for all visits to the islands from Xpedition The ship seemed clean with a very friendly crew There is no elevator which is not a problem for passengers that can manage to get in and out of the zodiacs I had an suite which was a good size with a small balcony but cannot comment on the size of the routine cabins which I understand are quite small The only problem with the cabin was the wardrobe doors were difficult to shut and opened spontaneously which could not be fixed during the cruise The cabin was otherwise clean and was more than satisfactory The only slight problem was the dining which is not all celebrities fault Meat has to be partly precooked before import into the Galapagos Islands which affected the quality of the meat Fish alternative was somewhat over cooked especially the shellfish but I guess they have to do this to avoid Gastro intestinal upset Every evening the cruise director informed us in a very entertaining way about the next days activities giving everyone a choice The activities In groups of up to 16 passengers were excellent with well informed guides Prior to activities most passengers would have assemble in the lounge and there was some disorganisation as passengers vied to go into the first groups Selection by giving passengers ticket numbers as they do on the tendering process on the larger ships would’ve made for a more organised procedure that this is a minor complaint The extent of wildlife seen was amazing and overall the trip was very enjoyable and fulfiilled my expectations Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 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
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This was a wonderful cruise with wonderful wildlife. We had 2 nights in Quito beforehand with a tour on the 2nd day around Quito and to the Middle of the World Museum which was brilliant. When we got to Baltra, we were met at the ... Read More
This was a wonderful cruise with wonderful wildlife. We had 2 nights in Quito beforehand with a tour on the 2nd day around Quito and to the Middle of the World Museum which was brilliant. When we got to Baltra, we were met at the jetty by a sea lion chilling in the sun and loads of iguanas, crabs and pelicans. We then took the zodiac to the Xpedition which was a fun start to the cruise. We were then kitted out in our wetsuits (over our clothes which looked hilarious). We then chilled for the rest of the day. The ship was looking a bit tired and I understand a new one is being brought into the fleet, so I'm not sure if the Xpedition is being removed. However, this didn't detract from the holiday and the staff were all wonderful. Our room was maybe smaller than ones we've had before, but we were hardly ever in it so it didn't matter. We didn't feel the ship rocking at all. Each evening we would have a talk about what the options were for the following day. There was usually a short hike or a long hike. The long hike was actually only about 1.5 miles so wasn't arduous at all. Each day there was usually the chance to go either snorkelling from the beach or deep sea snorkelling where you had to jump in off the zodiac. The snorkelling was amazing with sea lions coming right up to your face, loads of fish and lots of white tipped sharks and hammerhead sharks. The sharks all tended to swim at the bottom of the ocean so we didn't get close to them (luckily!). The food on the ship was good and in the afternoon when you got back from your trip or snorkelling there were little sandwiches and cakes and a drink waiting for you. There were always biscuits or cakes on the bar as well. There wasn't really any activities, but there was a BBQ on the deck one evening and a Crossing the Equator party. There was karaoke a few nights and a trivia quiz one night. After disembarkation we carried on to do Machu Picchu as part of the holiday with Celebrity and this was absolutely amazing. All-in-all I would recommend the cruise to anyone over the age of 40 (there was no-one on the ship younger than this). We felt young and we were in our early 50's. Most evenings everyone would just sit around chatting, which was lovely and we met loads of people. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We took the 10 day cruise package from Celebrity which made planning much easier as they took care of everything once you land in Quito - the transfers, the hotel, the flight to the Galapagos, all documentation and passes, etc. Unlike ... Read More
We took the 10 day cruise package from Celebrity which made planning much easier as they took care of everything once you land in Quito - the transfers, the hotel, the flight to the Galapagos, all documentation and passes, etc. Unlike other reviewers, we did not experience problems with AC on deck 3 or cold water while snorkeling. The guides were all very good, and our waiter (when we got him - Juan Cepeda) was excellent. The snorkeling was our favorite part - we were in warm/cool water seeing amazing wildlife. We swam with sea lions, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, sea turtles, sting rays, sharks, and myriads of fish. We found the Friday tour to South Plaza island underwhelming and did not bother to go on the Friday afternoon tour. If they could have had a snorkeling activity on Friday, that would have made the cruise even better. We also did not bother to go to the Post Office walk and it didn't sound like we missed much based on those who did go. The other tours were excellent - walking among iguanas, sea lions, and birds. While many in our group opted for the short wet-suits provided by the ship, we were fine without them. Most of the time the water was quite pleasant. Even when we felt a cold current, it was short-lived and just felt refreshing. We never wanted to get out of the water - even after snorkeling for an hour or more. The food was very good and drinks were included. At least for us, the drinks, while free, were never very good. They all just seemed to miss the mark on being a tasty drink. While we tried several different drinks, we never found one where we wanted a second. The tours in Quito were well arranged. The tour to the equator was fun. Be warned, however, that they sell some chocolate at the equator store that cannot be taken to the Gapalagos. We were later told that bars with Chia seeds or other fruits were banned. The Celebrity guides do not tell you this until you are on the bus back to the hotel. They will hold the candy for you at the hotel for you to pick up when you get back. We just think they should have informed us before we purchased. And we are really not sure why they won't allow some of the "banned chocolate bars" such as a bar with passionfruit. We found the same bars from the same manufacturer in the Galapagos stores. The Xpedition is being replaced by a new ship with much larger cabins, the Flora in 2019. However, the price premium on this new ship is more than 50% the price for the same cruise on the Xpedition. I'd highly encourage you to take this trip on the Xpedition. While the ship is showing its age, the shore excursions will be the same on both ships. Not sure a bigger cabin on the Flora is worth the price difference. But the Galapagos is definitely a bucket list trip that everyone who is able should take. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Visiting the Galápagos Islands has always been an dream of ours and finally we were able to make the cruise, both inner and outer loops. I am an avid (but amateur) photographer and looked forward to all the wildlife, never realizing how ... Read More
Visiting the Galápagos Islands has always been an dream of ours and finally we were able to make the cruise, both inner and outer loops. I am an avid (but amateur) photographer and looked forward to all the wildlife, never realizing how close we would be to beautiful sea lions, penguins, iguanas, blue footed boobies, tortoises, and more. The cruise begins with a day in Quito which ensures you will make it if your flight is late and you miss a connection. I loved this city with an elevation of 9000 feet above sea level. We stayed at the Marriott, a luxury hotel with all the amenities. One of our fellow passengers became quite sick from the altitude and the hotel provided oxygen and called a doctor who gave him a prescription. I especially enjoyed the Equatorial Line Museum tour which was arranged by Celebrity. I have to say this cruise line was so organized in every detail. The ship is only for 100 passengers, so it is small and not luxurious. I heard that Celebrity plans on renovating the ship and then it will accommodate about 40-50 passengers. Our first cabin on the fourth deck was great, but when we started the second week, they moved us to a cabin on the same deck which was as far "fore" (toward the front of the ship) as possible. This cabin was very noisy with lowering and raising the anchor and other ship activities. I complained and they moved us to a cabin on the third deck more toward the center of the ship which was much better. I recommend speaking to the hotel director if you have any problems. My husband uses a CPAP which requires distilled water. Notify the cruise line in advance so they can provide water if you use a CPAP. Also they have long extension cords so you can have the CPAP on the nightstand by the table. The dining was average. Some dinner items were great, but the buffets weren't quite as good. In fact I was really tired of the breakfast buffet after two weeks! The dining room is extremely noisy and sometimes it was hard hearing what the person next to me was saying. Entertainment is modest and there are lectures and movies to help prepare you for your land excursions and learn about what you will be seeing. One night the crew assembled some talented musicians and we were treated to some Ecuadorian and Latin music that was great! Don't miss the end of cruise slide show. Although we don't drink, alcoholic beverages were included in the price of the cruise. The shore excursions were well organized with 16 people and a well qualified naturalist per zodiac. Each excursion had two options--one difficult and one less strenuous. The landing may be "wet" or "dry." If going on a hike, wear water shoes for a wet landing, then change into hiking shoes. (I wore Keens with socks, or running or walking shoes would work, not big heavy boots!) I recommend a water resistant backpack for shoes, hat, sunscreen, camera, phone etc. Also it would be a good idea to have a waterproof case for your phone. One of our fellow passengers ruined his phone in a rather difficult boarding of the zodiac with lots of big waves. (I swam for about twenty minutes in the Pacific Ocean with my Apple watch on my wrist and it was fine.) I would recommend an SLR camera for most photography--I had a zoom lens, but some of the other passengers carried two cameras around their neck, one with a zoom lens, and the other with a telephoto lens. For better viewing and as a back up, I brought an iPad to upload my pictures each evening. If you have an iPhone, learn how to use "Airdrop" if you don't already know how. Wonderful way to share photos with fellow passengers. Snorkeling was different from my previous experiences where a boat takes you out to a reef, drops you off, and you are right where the fish are. On the cruise excursions, sometimes the entry into the water is from the shore, which was a challenge for me because of the wave action. Then we would have to swim a ways to get to the rocks where the fish were. The advanced deep water snorkeling (recommended for experienced swimmers) was better from what I heard, easier to get in the water, and much better view of the marine life. (Celebrity provides snorkeling equipment and wetsuits. I brought my own prescription mask.) When you chose your excursions, the zodiac boat tours are the easiest. Just sit back and enjoy marine life and the views. In general, if you choose to go on all the excursions, you are going to need some stamina. I would think if you have knee problems or difficulty walking, this might not be the cruise for you. The ship has walking sticks which really helped me in hiking over rough lava and small boulders. If you forget motion sickness medication, there is a doctor on board and she/he will help. Just remember, you need to start the medication before seasickness sets in. I find ginger helps a lot for me. I recommend sun protective clothing which is an easy way to prevent sunburn without slathering on sunscreen. (I did sunscreen my face, neck, and hands.) Also a wide brimmed hat with a chin strap to protect the top of your head and face. No need to bring formal clothing on this cruise! One recommendation would be to wear neutral colored clothing when you are on the islands. We were told the paper wasps are attracted to brightly colored clothing. I really enjoyed our last day on Santa Cruz Island visiting the Darwin Center where turtles are bred, then planting Scalesia trees, Ecuadorian lunch buffet at Manzanillo Ranch, program of folk dancing by locals, and a walk through the preserve to view Giant Tortoises in their natural habitat. Great cruise! Read Less
61 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Celebrity Xpedition Cruise Outer Loop November 24 – December 4, 2017 Cabin 418 I started writing this review during the trip and am finishing it about a month after getting home. Because this was such a different cruise, my ... Read More
Celebrity Xpedition Cruise Outer Loop November 24 – December 4, 2017 Cabin 418 I started writing this review during the trip and am finishing it about a month after getting home. Because this was such a different cruise, my review will be a bit different, too. We did the outer loop option, visiting five islands. I’m going to skip describing each tour options on each island. Know you will see iguanas, sea lions, blue footed boobies, albatross, penguins, sally lightfoot crabs, eagle and golden rays, giant tortoises, and a variety of other birds. I’m going to focus on other aspects of the trip since it was so different from a typical cruise. PRE-CRUISE This is a cruise we’ve wanted to do for many years. Celebrating a milestone birthday seemed like the perfect time to do it. Traveling with our daughter, son-in-law and good friends, we knew this was going to be a special trip. We booked the pre-cruise Quito option with Celebrity, so this would be a ten-day trip. My first word of advice is that you actually read through all of the e-documents you receive from Celebrity through your travel agent (or from Celebrity if you booked direct with them). There are some different and unusually important items you’ll need to be aware of before you head to Ecuador. First, there are luggage limitations – one piece of 44 pounds of luggage per person plus one carry-on that is supposed to be limited to approximately 14 – 15 pounds. Next, there is a special Galapagos desk pre-cruise that can answer questions. If you call Celebrity reservations, advise them you are on a Galapagos sailing and ask to be transferred to the Galapagos desk so you don’t have to explain things to multiple people. We had some dietary restrictions noted in reservations but I wanted to ensure they were relayed properly to the ship. The Galapagos pre-cruise desk told me they would relay the information….but I’m not sure it would have happened had I not called, even though the restrictions were specifically documented in the cruise reservation confirmation. I say this because the restrictions were NOT communicated to the Celebrity staff in Quito that were taking care of us while we were there the day and a half prior to the cruise. It wasn’t a problem because the ground staff in Quito were outstanding. I immediately mentioned the dietary allergies, and they immediately took care of it, even though they didn’t know why Celebrity US operations didn’t inform them. IMPORTANT TIP: If you are traveling to Quito on a connecting US flight, I urge you to book flights with a several hour layover. We were going to book flights that had a two hour layover in Atlanta, however, we decided to book a four hour layover to be safe. As it turned out, our original flight to Atlanta was delayed for a mechanical problem so we were two hours late arriving in Atlanta. Having that extra cushion for a layover made for a stress less travel day to Quito. We arrived in Quite just before midnight and were met by Anna just after we exited the baggage area (note…you go through immigration, then get your luggage and then customs which was a random selection of whether they stopped for luggage screening and questions….we did not have to stop). As soon as everyone checked in with Anna, we boarded a bus for a 45-minute ride to the JW Marriott in downtown Quite. Upon arrival, we went to the Celebrity hospitality desk where we were handed our room keys and provided with the schedule for the Quito portion of our trip. Quick and easy. QUITO Our first day in Ecuador started with a very nice buffet breakfast included at the JW Marriott. Following breakfast, we gathered in the lobby for a day tour of Quito. Our first stop was to ????, a winged Virgin Mary statue visible from nearly everywhere in Quito. This site, overlooking much of the city, was the perfect spot to get a good feel for just how big the city is (approximately 2.5 million within the city of Quito). From here we ventured down into the Old Town where plenty of photo opportunities presented themselves. Everything from baroque to modern architecture could be seen with lots of churches and people. Most noticeable with the number of families out and about. Loved seeing the children feeding pigeons, skipping along the sidewalk, playing football (soccer). The two churches we visited were both baroque-style and put the churches in St. Petersburg, Russia to shame. Honestly, they were over the top. When our guide said they didn’t like to leave “any empty spaces” they took it literally. No photos permitted in either church and plenty of guards were vigilant to ensure you didn’t take photos so it’s best to honor their wishes. A very nice buffet lunch was included at Theatrum Bar and Grill where there was plenty of good food to satisfy everyone. Appetizers included a choice of three empanadas, two kinds of ceviche and two different soups. Entrees offered a chicken, pork and fish option with two kinds of rice, vegetables followed by a dessert table. When lunch concluded we headed to the Equator outdoor museum. Upon arrival, you might think this would be a bit overly touristy but we found it informative, fun and interesting. A guide from the museum spent about an hour walking us through the exhibits, telling us about the history of Ecuador as well as interesting facts about living along the equator. We’d recommend a visit if you do the day in Quito before heading to the Galapagos. Back at the JW Marriott we had about an hour before leaving for a ten minute bus ride to dinner at LaGloria Restaurant. Our evening menu consisted of a choice between two appetizers, three entrees and a trio of desserts. Coffee and soft drinks were included. Alcoholic beverages were extra. Our guide explained that they rotate restaurants from week to week but we felt this was a perfect dinner. We were back at the JW Marriott by 8:00 PM. We had been informed that there was going to be a delay in our departure for Balta due to issues with Avianca, the airline providing our transportation. Instead of leaving the hotel at 8:30 am on Sunday we would now be leaving at 11:30 am. As it turned out, it was nice not to get up early on Sunday and to ensure a leisurely breakfast before heading to the airport. When we arrived back at the hotel after dinner, we were asked to bring our checked luggage down to the guides for inspection and transfer to the airport. We were able to keep all of our toiletries in our carry-on luggage (this is a big difference from the USA rules) so dropping off checked luggage the night before wasn’t a problem. This process took about five minutes and this is when you attach your Celebrity luggage tags with your name and cabin number on them to your luggage. We were told the next time we’d see the luggage would be in our cabin on the ship. On Sunday morning, we stopped at the hospitality desk where we picked up our flight boarding passes and entrance/exit paperwork for the Galapagos. We noticed that there were flight upgrades on our flight so we asked and were told it was $112 each way to upgrade to business class on the flight to and from Baltra. Seemed pretty reasonable so this is something you might want to check on. The fee for the upgrade is added to your Celebrity onboard account. A 45-minute bus ride back to the airport was far more interesting than the ride to the hotel because it was daylight. Lots of big volcanic mountains, steep roads, cyclists trying to make it up the mountain roads, mango stands all along the highway. Upon arrival at the airport, we quickly went through security and were on our way to our gate. At 2:00 PM, we boarded our Avianca Airbus 319 plane to Baltra! We were served a nice lunch of either chicken or beef with Celebrity china service throughout the plane. Thus far, Celebrity has made this a great experience. The staff in Quito was simply outstanding and got our adventure off to a fantastic start. BALTRA ARRIVAL We arrived in the Galapagos around 3:00 PM (we gained an hour on the flight). Our flight was several hours late so our cruise departure was late, too. After being picked up at the airport, we were transferred to the zodiacs about ten minutes away for the first of many zodiac rides. A short ride found us boarding Xpedition. One of the first things you do is get fitted for wet suits if you are planning to snorkel. Luggage was delivered pretty quickly, and the muster drill was short and sweet. Our first “stop” (which really wouldn’t have been a stop since we wouldn’t have gotten off the ship) at Daphne Island was cancelled due to our late arrival. It wasn’t a big deal since we sailed past Daphne later in the trip. TYPICAL DAYS This is not like a Caribbean or Alaska cruise where you plan your days and excursions before you get to the ship. Each night there is a briefing on the next day’s activities and you sign up for one of several options for the next morning and afternoon. The sign up takes place in the Explorer’s Lounge and only takes a few minutes each evening. You do not have to worry about missing out or any excursion “filling up.” Each excursion is well defined and listed again in the Celebrity Today placed in your cabin each evening. If you are unsure about any of the activities, the staff is more than happy to answer any questions as well as allow you to switch excursions if you change your mind. Excursions ranged from short easy walks to longer, more challenging terrain. While you definitely needed to be careful on some of the tours as some were over rocky boulders or lava fields, everyone on our cruise managed very well. Walking sticks were available from the ship and many passengers brought their own. You are up early each morning as the ship’s anchor can be heard loud and clear from just about everywhere on the ship. A full breakfast, including eggs and omelets to order, is served in the dining room each morning. Juices are fresh squeezed, and pastries and breads are baked on board each day. All were outstanding. There is also a light continental breakfast with coffee and juices at the Beagle Grill outdoors at the aft of the ship. You are off the ship and headed to the morning excursions by 8:00 or 8:30 each day. You are back to the ship by 11:00 – 11:30 each day (except the last day) for lunch. Lunch was typically available in the dining room and the Beagle Grill. The selections for both changed daily. For the most part we ate lunch at the Beagle Grill and enjoyed dining on the outdoor aft deck. Lunches at the Beagle were hot dogs, hamburgers & pizza twice; a Mexican buffet (truly outstanding); and a BBQ buffet one day with an whole roasted pig. The dining room lunch changed themes each day and included Ecuadorian, Italian, Asian, etc. Following lunch there was normally a little “down” time which allowed me to download my morning photos onto my laptop. The afternoon excursions typically started between 3:00 and 4:00 PM and concluded by 5:30 – 6:00 PM. The evening briefing for the following day was each evening in the Explorers Lounge followed by dinner. The dining room food was very good and featured a wide array of fish, seafood, chicken, beef and vegetarian dishes. Like a regular Celebrity cruise, there were three appetizer, entrée and dessert options that were available every night along with the portion of the menu that changed daily. The Beef Wellington on the final night was excellent! We also dined one evening out on the aft deck where they served a different nice menu (reservations were required and this was only available three evenings so book it early if it’s something you’d like to do). It was a nice change. On the final evening, there was a “cruise in review” type event in the Explorer Lounge. A slide show of photos taken by the naturalists during our various tours on the islands was shown and then it was announced that we’d receive a flash drive with all the staff photos – at no cost. It was a very nice special touch. THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW Read your cruise e-docs closely. This is not like a typical cruise and the e-docs contain some important information that differs from your normal cruise. Luggage restrictions – on the flight from Quito to the Galapagos and return we were limited to one checked bag weighing no more than 44 pounds. One carry on was permitted (plus a purse or backpack) weighing no more than 14 pounds (however, they did not weight the carry on luggage so if you are slightly over it didn’t matter. Don’t Overpack ~ this was truly a casual cruise. I wore a rash guard and shorts for all shore excursions and slacks with a casual top for dinners. Light or Neutral Colored Clothing ~ it says this in the e-docs but I missed it. All of the rash guards I own are colorful (pink, yellow, orange, blue) and we were advised to avoid those colors on some walks where wasps and bees were attracted to those colors. Fortunately, I had a long-sleeve mostly white t-shirt that I wore for those excursions. Camera Equipment ~ nearly everyone carried camera equipment and much of it was serious equipment. Double check before leaving home to ensure you have everything you need as one guest didn’t have her battery charger and unfortunately is was a unique one that no one else had. About half way through the cruise her battery died and she used her phone the rest of the cruise. For me (an avid photographer) that would have been devastating on this cruise. I carry several batteries and triple checked to ensure my charger was packed in my carry on. Truly Remote ~ You are really “out there” on this cruise. From the time you land in Baltra to the time you reach Santa Cruz on your last day, you are remote – no stores, no restrooms on islands, nothing. So be sure to double and triple check that you have not forgotten any true necessities before getting on your flight to Baltra. YOU WILL NEED Sunscreen and lots of it. You can burn quickly if you forget to put it on. Water shoes, tevas, keens for wet landings and good hiking shoes for some of the excursions. Protective hats ~ those who didn’t bring them bought one in the small store onboard the ship. THE SHIP Xpedition only carries 98 passengers and 64 crew members. She is a world away from other “cruise ships” you might have sailed. First, every time you get on or off the ship you are on a zodiac. The crew is always there to help you on and off and it was clear that safety was extremely important. Cabins (we were in 418 on deck 4) were adequate. Smaller than your average cruise ship, there was enough storage, a small desk with chair and a small couch. The bathroom/shower were fine although not nearly as large as those on the S-class ships. The ship is small enough that no matter what cabin you select, your close to everything. The Guest Relations area is extremely small but was always staffed by smiling, friendly crew. Attached to the Guest Relations room was a small gift shop that had nice hats, shirts, etc. You would go down one deck to the dining room from here and up to a deck that had a small are for tables/chairs and the small workout room off of it. The small spa was located up there as well. ENTERTAINMENT No one does the Galapagos cruise for the entertainment but there were lots of nice “entertaining” aspects of the cruise Guitar Player There was a wonderful guitar player who frequently played on the back deck during lunch or late in the afternoon when we returned from excursions. Mostly background stuff, but very nice nonetheless. Crossing the Equator Party The night we crossed the equator, the naturalists threw a “Crossing the Equator Party.” It was a lot of fun. Music, dancing, limbo contest. Quite honestly, most people were pretty tired after long days of excursions. Minimal entertainment opportunities were fine with us. There were plenty of passengers to chat with and a wonderful crew to serve drinks all night long. THE CREW Hands down, by far, this was the best crew we’ve ever had on a cruise. Several dynamics come into play that likely contributed to the outstanding service and happy, positive attitudes of all staff members. First, 75% of the crew is required to be Ecuadorian; next the crew works three weeks on then two or three weeks off for the most part. That means the get to go home and visit with family often. Finally, being such a small ship, the passengers and crew quickly got to know one another making for a fun and friendly experience. From the naturalists to the zodiac drivers, the bar staff to the cabin attendants, from the dining staff and chefs to the officers, everyone was eager to please and did their jobs with sincere smiles. It was a truly unique experience that made this a most memorable cruise. Capt. Pacheco has been with Celebrity Xpedition since she began sailing the Galapagos in 2004. He certainly runs one fantastic ship and a crew that must make him proud. THE PASSENGERS We had a great mix of passengers from the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, and Belgium (I hope I got all the countries represented). Like the crew, you quickly got to know passengers, exchange information, zodiacs, dining tables and shore excursions. While the average age of the passengers was likely in the mid-60s, there were a few in their 30s, 40s & 50s as well as some older passengers. SPECIAL TOUCHES • Photos on Flash Drive – each couple received a flash drive with more than 600 photos taken by the crew during our cruise. A VERY nice gesture! • Email List – you could list your email if you wanted it shared with other passengers • REALLY Good Chocolates Each Night • Crew that Cared – you could tell how much the crew cared. Nothing was too much trouble and they were always helpful and smiling! BOTTOM LINE This cruise was worth the cost and we’d definitely go back and do the inner loop. Loved truly getting away from it all and spending time with warm and caring people…..and seeing so many wonderful wild creature and landscape. If you are thinking about doing this cruise….DO IT! PHOTOS Here’s a link to some of the photos taken by me during this trip. Please note that all photos are owned and copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission. https://galapagosnovdec2017.shutterfly.com/pictures/8 Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
It has taken me over a month from my return from the Galapagos on the Celebrity Xpedition to be able to think of sufficient words to describe this wonderful and unique cruise. My husband and I have done 44 cruises and this one has to rank ... Read More
It has taken me over a month from my return from the Galapagos on the Celebrity Xpedition to be able to think of sufficient words to describe this wonderful and unique cruise. My husband and I have done 44 cruises and this one has to rank up there in the top three. We spent two nights either side of our cruise in the JW Marriott hotel in Quito, and this set the standard of our high expectations from Day 1. Organisation and planning was superb, even down to Celebrity reserving the VIP lounge for us at Baltra airport on our arrival after a two-hour flight from Quito. I would not describe this trip as a 'cruise' as it was more of an expedition and adventure. There were 91 of us (the Xpedition holds 96 passengers) so everyone got to know everyone else very quickly on the week-long voyage. The ship itself is gorgeous, beautifully decorated and very comfortable. We had to embark and disembark using the inflatable Zodiac dinghies, each of which holds 16 passengers. Water shoes are needed for the 'wet' landings and stout trainers or walking shoes for the 'dry' landings, which often involved clambering over uneven rocks and ground. We were allocated cabin 416 and we had no complaints at all. There was a comfortable double bed, bedside cabinet, sofa and coffee table, flat screen TV and dressing table and stool. There was also a fridge containing complimentary soft drinks, and each day our cabin stewardess would place fresh fruit and canapés in the cabin, as well as a bottle of prosecco on ice on one occasion. All the food and drinks (including cocktails) were all-inclusive and were of a very high standard. There was no featured entertainment such as one would find on the large cruise ships, but a lot of the time we made our own entertainment and the Ecuadorian staff would put on "Latin Nights" for us and teach us to salsa and merengue, or there would be quizzes, wildlife presentations, Galapagos documentaries and plenty of other things to keep us occupied. It was also a very educational and informative experience. There are 19 islands in the archipelago, and only five of these are inhabited. It was fantastic and not a little emotional at times to be somewhere and see absolutely nothing that was man-made. The array of wildlife has to be seen to be believed; it is like nowhere else on the planet. I could spend all day trying to describe the beauty and unspoilt ruggedness and still come nowhere near being able to do it justics. We spent our days hiking, swimming, snorkelling and just feeling privileged to be in such a gorgeous place. The trip was very expensive (five figures in pounds) but worth every single penny. Simply wonderful. it was our first cruise with Celebrity and it certainly won't be the last; in fact we are booked to go on the Celebrity Constellation in January 2018. Read Less
79 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
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
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Rated this 4 out of 5 from a photographers point of view since I saw few penguins, wasn't able to get good photographs of blue footed boobies on land or diving, couldn't get good shots of flying frigates. Land and marine iguanas ... Read More
Rated this 4 out of 5 from a photographers point of view since I saw few penguins, wasn't able to get good photographs of blue footed boobies on land or diving, couldn't get good shots of flying frigates. Land and marine iguanas were extremely numerous and easy to photograph as were the land tortoises. I opted for good weather (we had rain only briefly on one day) but sacrificed a few wildlife opportunities. Cameras: In spite of what you read, the longer the zoom the better. Use burst mode for shooting birds in flight. Landings and foot-wear: Closed-toed sandals are fine for all landings and walks but wear socks for odor and blister prevention. You'll have time to dry your feet after wet landings though not always with a place to sit. I brought a small wash cloth though towels are provided for drying feet. I think it unnecessary to bring a water proof camera bag since wet landings are in very shallow water for just a couple of steps and help is always available getting in and out of zodiacs. I didn't hear of anyone getting dunked. Walks: Daily walks are divided into long and short walks though the length applies more to duration than to distance. Long walks are probably never more than a mile or so and were pretty level and easy to manage. Only one walk was tough on I think Espanola Island. This was not adequately explained and the walk was somewhat dangerous, required intense focus as it was almost entirely over irregularly shaped rocks which caused a few falls. If you have mobility problems then skip the long walk on this and take a walking stick (sticks are always available) if you choose the short version. Carry bandages. Climate: Though hot and humid it was not nearly as bad as I expected. I wore a long-sleeved all cotton white shirt that worked great. Insects are not much of a problem but take Off insect repellent individual packs. Large water containers are provided. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
The most dissapointing cruise I have ever taken.. I had asked Celebrity directly if there where top brand liquors, specifically Grey Goose or Black Label and replied yes. Not only where there no Top Brand liquors onboard but I was not able ... Read More
The most dissapointing cruise I have ever taken.. I had asked Celebrity directly if there where top brand liquors, specifically Grey Goose or Black Label and replied yes. Not only where there no Top Brand liquors onboard but I was not able to have a drink because I do not drink national brand liquor. It gives me a headache. Additionally the cruise inner loop is a geological exploration cruise not a true Galapagos experience. We only where able to see birds but no real wildlife until practically the day before last when they took us to the Giant Turtle farm. Which by the way it was a very supervised and limited activity that we could not even get close to any turtle for a photograph if unless we had a 200 zoom lens because the guide adamant about it scolded you like a child if you dared to get reasonably close. The cabin I had a Veranda on the 4th floor could not be smaller because then we could not enter at all. Bed not even a twin it was 3/4 of twin narrowing at the feet to 1/2 twin. Bathroom so small I could not wash my hair in the whole week because my elbows could not withstand the pain. No entertainment at all. Food very good and the only worth mentioning was the staff. They bended backwards to make you feel happy. Never seen a crew so eager to help and make your voyage great. A very expensive cruise for so little offering. Excursions where merely walks over rocks and lava or extreme hikes with only some panoramic views. Activities not prepared for the not so young or very physically fit. I have many friends who chose Silver Seas over Celebrity and pictures and amenities don't compare. I chose Celebrity because always liked Royal Caribbean Service and thought this cruise would be more fun and amazing with good facilities. Very disappointing for my husband and me. Not worth the money for the quality. By the way don't mislead saying there is what is not in the cruise as I would have brought my own liquor. I am very sorry my Galapagos experience was so poor and when I share with friends they are amazed at our poor cruise experience compared to theirs in other cruise lines.You need to provide more realistic information of what you offer and not mislead customers as I have lost faith in Royal Caribbean. Tried writing and contact Celebrity Expedition to express my dissatisfaction and 1/12 month later they keep telling me when I call they are to busy to respond. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We had gone on the Celebrity Xpedition for an inner loop trip a few years ago and we wanted to do the outer loop this time and then go on to Peru to visit Machu Pichu. On this trip, we went with 4 other couples. We flew into Quito, ... Read More
We had gone on the Celebrity Xpedition for an inner loop trip a few years ago and we wanted to do the outer loop this time and then go on to Peru to visit Machu Pichu. On this trip, we went with 4 other couples. We flew into Quito, Ecuador from Atlanta and were met by Celebrity guide. She was great and had our luggage collected and on the bus to Marriott hotel withing 45 minutes of arrival. The hotel was great, food really good and service wonderful. Celebrity had people available throughout our stay to make sure we had the correct paperwork, tickets, luggage, etc. The tour of Quito was very good and buses were comfortable. Transfer to the airport, flight from Quito to Baltra, and transfer to ship were fairly smooth. Two problems: First, we had to leave for the airport at 6:00 because of Quito airport runway repairs. This meant early arrival to Baltra and waiting for ship to be ready for us. Baltra did provide a waiting room with drinks and snacks, but extremely hot. Second problem was luggage. We had been told by Celebrity to pack a separate suitcase for extension to Machu Pichu and leave this suitcase at hotel in Quito. When we got to Quito, we were told we would have to take extra suitcase with us. This meant paying extra luggage fees of $45 per suitcase. The ship and cabin and staff were amazingly wonderful. Our cabin, 504, had a balcony, but we seldom used it except to dry clothes. The large outside area on deck 5 had very comfortable seating, great views and all our friends had room to join us there. Staff brought food and drinks to us frequently. Wonderful space. 2 or 3 changes of clothes were needed each day because of heat and humidity so we used the ship's laundry twice. Some did laundry in room, but this meant a cabin full of wet clothes. The food was great and plentiful. Meals were served in main dining room. Lunch was also served at grill on Deck 3 and Dinner was served, with reservations, on Deck 4. Most of our group was too tired at end of day and I have no idea about evening entertainment. There was something each evening after dinner, but I missed it all. Before dinner was a naturalist talk about the next day's activities, These were very well done and extremely useful. Advice was given as to difficulty, activity level, best clothes and shoes, insect repellent, and water. The excursions were as described and the best part of trip. These are the reasons we went on trip, and they did not disappoint us at all. I would do this again if there weren't so many other places to visit! Machu Pichu extension: Most of this trip was great, including fabulous hotel and food, excellent guides (Thank you Ronald and Aracelli), and amazing sites to visit. I climbed about 100 stone steps to top of Sun Temple, and Ronald had to help me get back down. Two problems with the extension: First, the flight from Baltra to Quito stayed on the runway for nearly an hour with no air conditioning and nothing cool to drink. Service was terrible throughout the flight. One of my traveling companions passed out from heat and dehydration and was unresponsive for several minutes. The flight attendants did nothing to help, not even getting ice or cold water. Luckily there were several doctors on board who took control and got what was needed. Other passengers provided whatever was asked. There was a 4 hour layover in Quito before our flight to Lima. We had access to the VIP lounge, so the wait was not terrible, but it did add hours to our long day of travel. Second problem was location of hotel in Lima. We had to drive over an hour to hotel in the horrible traffic of Lima. This meant we arrived at hotel after 10pm, too late for dinner. Up early the next morning for the drive in Monday rush hour traffic back to the airport for flight to Cuzco. Why not use the airport hotel and save all this time? The hotels were amazing and I would have been happy to vacation in any one of them. Just walking through the hotels was an adventure. The train ride to Machu Pichu was incredibly beautiful, dinner on the train coming back was even better. Machu Pichu was more beautiful than expected. Walking and climbing was difficult at times and a walking stick was quite helpful, as was my husband's arm. I did not like the cafeteria for lunch, it was crowded and smelled badly. I'm not sure if there were any alternatives, it may have been best place available. I did like the beer. We visited the Sun Temple on 3rd day in Peru, another difficult climb but also amazingly beautiful and worth the climb to top. I forgot climbing poles and relied on Ronald and husband to get me down. I did not care for the pottery stop, or the llama farm and shopping stops. Others of the group did like them, but I would have preferred more time at the Sun Temple. Our Cuzco tour was excellent, the hotel was a treat. This was my favorite vacation ever and I am so very lucky to have been able to do this. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Booked this while onboard another Celebrity cruise 2 years ago as one of our bucket list destinations. We booked the 2 day pre and post cruise with Celebrity in Quito. The week previous we did our own tour to Machu Picchu and arranged ... Read More
Booked this while onboard another Celebrity cruise 2 years ago as one of our bucket list destinations. We booked the 2 day pre and post cruise with Celebrity in Quito. The week previous we did our own tour to Machu Picchu and arranged our own flights. Were met on the Friday at Quito by Celebrity and transported the 45 minutes to the Marriott. Hotel was very nice, comfortable rooms but the food was slightly lacking. Breakfast the first morning was chaotic as the hotel was full and they quickly ran out if seats and cups in the restaurant. Not impressed but this was the only occasion we encountered this. The Saturday day tour by Celebrity was good. Nice lunch in Teatro restaurant and at night dinner in a local restaurant. The transfers to Galápagos were painless. Luggage taken to ship so all we had to worry about was hand luggage. Boarding passes given out in hotel, coach to airport and basically straight to plane. Flight was good with a nice snack meal. Xpedition is the smallest ship we have sailed on but was very good. Totally different to any other cruise experience. The crew were all excellent, friendly and helpful. We had a cabin on deck 4 which was adequate although we did keep the bed as a double it was a nuisance having one side of the bed against the wall. Air con worked fine. Could have done with a few more drawers for storage and a few more plug sockets. Small bathroom but glass door on shower. Kept very clean. Food was good especially the seafood, lunchtime we preferred to eat in deck at the grill. We ate twice outside in the evening. Was lovely to be outside but menu was same each night. The bridge tour was worth doing. Entertainment was basic but we were so tired at the end of each day all we wanted to do was sleep. Galápagos was amazing experience, the wildlife we saw was wonderful. The naturalists were very good and knew their stuff. We wish the cruise was over 10 days as some days we were so tired and had little time to relax. On return to Quito we had a tour to a local market, then dinner in the hotel. The dinner was disappointing and we wished we had missed this. Food average and service slow. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Our trip to the Galápagos Islands was outstanding. The ship was wonderful in every respect. With only 96 passengers there is lots of individual attention. This is not a fancy dress up cruise but one for those who love nature and the ... Read More
Our trip to the Galápagos Islands was outstanding. The ship was wonderful in every respect. With only 96 passengers there is lots of individual attention. This is not a fancy dress up cruise but one for those who love nature and the outdoors. Outstanding opportunities for nature photography! The naturalists were so friendly and well informed and we enjoyed the company of our fellow passengers. This proved to be strenuous trip, lots of tough walking over uneven terrain but well worth it. This is definitely a great way to cover lots of the islands easily. Everything was extremely efficient and well organized to maximize our experience. We definitely recommend the outdoor dining under the stars as a wonderful experience! Well done Celebrity! We enjoyed all our dining experiences including a chance to try some Ecuadoran specialties. A highlight was the barbecue lunch on deck. As for entertainment, karaoke was a lot of fun. Not really entertainment, but a highlight was the opportunity to talk in small groups with the naturalists to hear about their backgrounds and experiences. Our only bad experience was with American Airlines getting to Quito. They were absolutely a nightmare to deal with so recommend using another airline if you have options. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Celebrity runs a top notch operation in the Galapagos. From our arrival to departure we were well taken care of! The tour guides were informative on land and the naturalist offered their vast knowledge on the islands. The whole tour runs ... Read More
Celebrity runs a top notch operation in the Galapagos. From our arrival to departure we were well taken care of! The tour guides were informative on land and the naturalist offered their vast knowledge on the islands. The whole tour runs like a well oiled machine....with safety of the passengers always present. The ship is smaller than any I have ever cruised on, but perfect for this location. Lack of internet is a issue I think Celebrity needs to address in this day and time. I'm sure almost all passengers would be willing to pay for a high speed internet package. The food was typical cruise fare....good, but not highly seasoned! I found the seafood to be the best choice almost every night! The beef was not good and lacked flavor! The Dinner Under the Stars was disappointing! The menu is the same every night that Dinner Under the Stars is offered. Service was slow and sketchy! I would not book that option if I went again. The service in the dining room was also slow and spotty.....Dinner almost always taking almost two hours. The crew was great, always greeting us and taking care of our needs! The charter flight out to Baltra was good and I did upgrade to First Class. We checked off almost every creature on the Galapagos list! Snorkeling was excellent and I urge everyone to do the Deep Water Snorkeling...it was the best! The zodiac rides along the coast were an enjoyable change from the hiking. Information was given every day regarding the excursion and the clothes, shoes, rain gear, sunscreen, and bug spray needed! We had rain only one day and hardly ever felt a bug. Sunscreen was a must...Hot! Hot! Hot! On our final day in Quito we picked the Spa option and it turned out to be the Piece de Resistance to our whole trip! After the rigorous excursions....a spa day was the perfect ending! I would highly recommend! This was truly the trip of a lifetime and I checked it off my bucket list! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Quito We arrived 2 days early to acclimatize to the altitude in Quito and also to recover from a day of travel. ( we are from the Toronto area in Ontario. Our observations: 1. Quito was much warmer than we thought it would be and we ... Read More
Quito We arrived 2 days early to acclimatize to the altitude in Quito and also to recover from a day of travel. ( we are from the Toronto area in Ontario. Our observations: 1. Quito was much warmer than we thought it would be and we were able to sit by the poolin our swimsuits on those 2 days before the cruise-tour 2. My spouse forgot her swim goggles for doing length in the pool and was able to find a very modern mall to get anything you really needed (it looked like any north american mall!)It was called “mall el jardin” and was withing walking distance (20mins) and safe during daytime hours to walk 3. The JW Marriott in Quito was fantastic! The best Marriott I have ever stayed in. The staff was wonderful! 4. We got to have access to the executive lounge once we signed in for the cruise-tour. Someone had mentioned that it had to do with our cabin designation; we had a junior suite . The appetizers in the executive lounge were okay, the beer cold, the wine great and the cappuchino machine in the morning fantastic! Unfortunately it was broken our last morning 5. The breakfast was great! Lots of choices. 6. There are lots of restaurants nearby if you arrive a day early. Our favourite was “Crepe and Waffles”, a south american chain that has been around for years. We were the only anglo-saxon in the room. We went @ 6:15 and by 6:30 it was packed! We had savory and desert crepes, pointing to the menu to be understood as our waitress did not speak English. And the restaurant was just across from the JW Marriott! The Galapagos Needless to say, this was a truly amazing 7 days! What to say that has not been said before… 1. prepare to be very very hot! We were not prepared for how hot it was; someone had their phone for the temperature and it was 114F this one afternoon, plus major humidity and we were walking on black rocks! 2. The first day of excursions is the most challenging as our bodies were not adjusted to the humidity and the extre heat! We were given large water bottles to carry with us throughout the trip (well needed!) but that afternoon, on Espanola Island, we really had to ration our water to make it last! And we chose the SHORT excursion! Someone on the long excursion had heat stroke and fell, cut her knee. So, my advice, beware on the first day. That was the toughest excursion, partly because once we had this day under our belt we were prepared, and secondly because it was the most challenging walk. 3. I love to hike but I chose the short excursions as this is not regular hiking. You have to be aware of your feet at all times. I strongly urge you to use a walking stick (they have some to borrow for the excursions if you don’t have your own) 4. The meals were excellent! Lots of variety! The dinner service was not always quick but I think it is to be expected with such a large group eating all around the same time. 5. The beach snorkling was good to poor (2 out of 3 days the waves made it hard to see anything). However, the deep water snorking was terrific. I wish I would have joined my spouse for one of them. The staff told us that there was one deep water snorkling that was appropriate to people who were hesitating. If you can, just do it! I wish I had! 6. The ship rocked a lot, especially the first day/night. I am suceptible to motion sickness but had the wrist bands that put pressure on the meridian and they did the trick for me. I had brought the patch just in case but didn’t need it thankfully! If you tend to get motion sickness make sure to bring medication. It’s too amazing of a trip to have it ruined by this! 7. The wet landings can be a challenge to those that are not very flexible. We had two 83 year old ladies who had canes on our 15 day tour. The naturalists were extremely helpful in getting them in and out of the zodiaks as it was challenging for them. 8. Be prepared to be amazed! The Machu Picchu extension 1. the transfers were done like a well oiled machine. They put pompons on our checked in lugguage and they pulled it out of the carrousel for us when we landed. They would then bring it to the departures for the next flight so we really didn’t have to carry it much at all! We loved that! 2. The hotels were true 5 stars! Our favourite was the Tambo del Inca. The grounds were totally amazing! The pool was half in the building, half out. The rooms had a balcony with a sliding door so we could get fresh air. 3. All the hotels had a great breakfast buffet and an excellent dinner selection 4. The day we go from Baltra-Quito-Lima is an exhausting day. We have to be out of our cabins by 8am. By the time we take the Baltra-Quito flight and connect with the Lima flight it’s already late at night. We got to our rooms at the Westin exhausted, knowing we needed to be up early, to be on the bus by 8:15 in the morning back to the airport to travel to Cusco! It is very tiring but a necessary evil. 5. We had about 6 people that felt unwell during this part of the trip. I myself had a tiny bit of altitude sickness ( feeling like a migraine including huggin the toilet as well as feeling woozy ) on our first night @ Tambo del Inca. Thankfully a couple of advils and put back on my bands for motion sickness (they put pressure on the meridian) and I felt better and better as the day went on. One person on our group had a parasite (had the doctor over and started feeling better almost immediately with the antibiotics, but still not 100% for the Machu Picchu day). Some missed the sacred valley day due to feeling unwell. By the end all were well enough for the Machu Picchu day! I must admit that we had both been very cautious about eating salads and fruits with peels. Maybe overly cautious but it was worth it as we had no tummy upsets. 6. The Orient Express Hiram Bingham train after our Machu Picchu day was so much fun! We had a meal on board with alcohol included. The staff was amazing walking with full plates and glasses without tripping! There was entertainment on one of the wagons. We didn’t go but others who went were totally delighted 7. Every detail was covered by the staff. Our tour guide Miguel was knowledgeable and passionate about the history of the Incas. We were very fortunate to have such a great guide for our tour of Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu 8. We stayed 2 extra days at the Westin in Lima to “decompress” after such a busy trip. We went to the Inca Market in Miraflores (45 mins walk) to get alpaca blankets to bring home for souvenirs. The concierge was great in showing us the best way to get there and assured us that it was safe to walk. There was police at every interection until we got close to the Inca Market (which is in the tourist sector of Lima). We took a cab back home for 15 soles. A bargain! We then went to Ripleys, which is a huge department store a block away from the Westin and bought a duffle bag to bring the blankets back as they were heavy and did not compress well in our already full suitcases. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Was a very nice cruise. Only disappointment was the limited snorkeling available. One port was skipped because of rough seas, and three were murky waters. Here are some Pros and Cons to our trip. Pros Nicely packaged with ... Read More
Was a very nice cruise. Only disappointment was the limited snorkeling available. One port was skipped because of rough seas, and three were murky waters. Here are some Pros and Cons to our trip. Pros Nicely packaged with flights and prestay and post stay in Quito. Including their assistance with the checked luggage. They have things down to a science. Very efficient. Seeing the giant tortoises and all the sea lions and iguanas was really cool. Quito and Galapagos guides were very good. Good food. Very confident and friendly staff. Excellent room steward. Nice evening briefing before dinner on next days hiking or snorkeling choices. Cons Poor decision to do slippery rock landing on Fernandina. Four people fell on the wet boulders at the zodiac landing site and got bad cuts on their legs. One night they lost our dining under the stars reservation. No place to view the beautiful dark night sky because of all the deck lights. Unless you had a balcony cabin. Could have reserved one night after dinner for a naturalist to dim the lights on the back deck so people could see the amazing dark sky's. Lack of lectures by naturalists before or after dinner. We were never asked if we wanted coffee or tea with dessert. Two of the snorkels, one from a beach, one from a zodiac, were into completely murky waters. They should have checked it out beforehand instead of wasting our time. Extremely slow internet service, and no working woman e-mail, but we expected that it would be poor. Read Less
74 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
There are plenty of online platitudes regarding Celebrity Xpedition cruises to the Galapagos. Rather than reiterate that this is an amazing experience, I'm going to try to answer some of the questions that we either couldn't ... Read More
There are plenty of online platitudes regarding Celebrity Xpedition cruises to the Galapagos. Rather than reiterate that this is an amazing experience, I'm going to try to answer some of the questions that we either couldn't find answered or didn't know we should ask before our trip. First, let me be clear that we cruised the Outer Loop in early January of 2017. My sense was that these trips vary considerably from one week to the next. one key variable is weather. Online weather predications are useless, because Galapagos weather is highly localized. What I can say is that January is supposed to be the beginning of three months referred to as the "rainy season," and the remainder of the year should be extremely dry. We were told that even when it does rain it is sporadic, often short-lived and more likely misty than a downpour. We had a couple of hours of mist total for seven days. On the other hand it can get extremely hot (100 degrees F) on shore excursions. We were always grateful if we had cloud cover, because there is virtually no shade on the islands. Plan to perspire. Excursions in the Galapagos are tightly prescribed by the Galapagos National Park Service. Every group must be accompanied by a park-certified naturalist and no bigger than 16 people. The Xpedition had seven such naturalists not counting the tour director, who was also a certified naturalist. All of our naturalists were Ecuadorian (as was the entire crew I believe); a few grew up in the Galapagos; all had university degrees; all spoke excellent English. It appears that Celebrity attracts some of the best, as several have been with the Xpedition for over a decade and many had worked first for other companies. One interesting advantage of the Xpedition is that the Park Service restricts each landing site to no more then 100 people. Smaller boats often share a site with other small boats. Due to its size the Xpedition does not share excursion sites so the boat can coordinate how the site is used. Our excursions were so carefully dispatched that we rarely even saw folks from our own ship other than those in our group of 16. Almost every day there was one hiking excursion early in the morning and one late in the afternoon. Excursions are roughly 1.5 to 2.5 hours long, and often there is a longer version and a shorter one. The different options are carefully explained each night before, and guests are asked to choose at that time. These hikes should not be viewed as easy. Sometimes they require stepping from round boulder to round boulder, and other times they are entirely on jagged volcanic rock. In the event the rocks are wet, the hikes can become challenging. High-top hiking boots would be great, but no one used them because of the heat and landings. A really good pair of cross-trainer type shoes that has been broken in works acceptably, but plan on pretty much destroying them by the end of the trip. The crew does an amazing job of accommodating by providing walking sticks, some zodiac rides with hikes, when possible or just assisting folks to wait on shore when the hikes are too much. Every excursion site seems to have a regular shuttle service running back and forth to the ship throughout the visit. Most excursions involve either a wet landing or a dry landing. Dry means that the zodiacs are able to pull up close enough to some rock that you can hopefully step ashore without entering the ocean. The Galapagos is a natural environment, so don't expect a pier, just be happy if the rock isn't wet and slippery from a recent high tide. Wet landings are a bit more problematic because you need to swing your body over the zodiac's side and step into roughly a foot of water. Wet landings are thankfully on beaches, but we never mastered the proper footwear. Open-toed sandals are discouraged in part because of submerged rocks. Barefooting is often a bad idea because the tiny seashells can cut. Swimming shoes are not sturdy enough for the hike that follows. A sturdy water shoe with tennis shoe like soles might be okay, but mine let in too much sand. The sand just chews away at your feet. My wife had water shoes with smaller holes that took in less sand and she found that wearing socks helped to reduce the sandpaper effect. If you don't mind lugging a second pair of dry shoes and socks for the hikes, that might be a better choice. There are five or six snorkeling opportunities - about half are labeled "advance snorkeling" and require that you are an accomplished swimmer and snorkeler. The Xpedition provides all gear, including half-leg wet suits and float vests for weak swimmers. You only need to bring equipment if your goggles must be vision corrected. Raincoats also deserve mention. It is hot enough that I can't imagine wearing a raincoat, except during the rainy season. Despite manufacturer claims, raincoats don't breath. The only time we used our raincoat was to cover a camera. We dried out quickly following the mists. Admittedly, we may have been fortunate. Insect repellant is also oversold. We never used any. Apparently, there can be some mosquitos during the rainy season, but we saw only a few house flies and perhaps three horse flies during the whole week. We believe the 11-day trip, including three nights in Quito, was a much better choice than the cruise-only option. Quito (time zone: EST) has an elevation of 9400 ft., so its climate is mild. The city tour is nice, but the best reason for the extension is that Celebrity handles everything from pickup at the airport (at least a 45 minute ride) to hotel checkup, to luggage transport. The flights between Quito and Baltra are Celebrity-only charters, and Celebrity has VIP room service at the Baltra airport. Celebrity hosts escort guests everywhere, including a security person around Quito. Some reviewers have mentioned that food was not as good as other Celebrity cruises, but we can't agree. The food was excellent. Admittedly, the ship does not have specialty restaurants. One difference of note is that the Park service requires all meats be partially heated before transport to Galapagos. The only discernable difference might be if you like you steaks blood rare. However, we found beef prepared as medium rare was tender and tasty. Local fruits and seafood were exceptional. During our week, we encountered only light breezes. The currents in the islands sometimes created small swells of roughly a meter, and one day the winds produced waves about the same size. That said, the Xpedition can rock side to side, especially when anchored, even in these light seas. This movement bothered a few of the more sensitive guests, but most of us had no sea sickness. Unlike other Celebrity cruises, Xpedition offers a luxury class experience. Gratuities are all covered. All meals, including on flights, are provided. Reboarding the Xpedition is always accompanied by a cool towel and some kind of drink and snack. Sodas and alcoholic drinks are included on ship. (Alcohol is not provided free in unavailable. Don't plan on Internet access on the Xpedition. There is free WIFI and even laptops are loaned free of charge, but if more than one guest is using the Internet, it becomes unusable. The only time of day we managed to successfully connect to an email server was between 2 am and 4 am. Certainly the best entertainment are the islands, together with their special reptiles, birds and fish. But the tour director presents related nightly talks and videos. During more relaxing time, the professional crew musician - Leo - provides easy listening guitar. (During excursions, Leo did double duty as the zodiac landing crew.) The ship has a very small shop, selling primarily safari shirts, zip-off pants and wide-brimmed hats - all good ideas for excursion attire. Otherwise, shopping for Galapagos souvenirs happens on the last day at a National Park store and some local shops. Celebrity escorts guests to a market and an artisan store the evening of returning to Quito. Prices in Quito are better, but most Galapagos-specific items are not available in Quito. In the end Celebrity provides an environmentally-conscious trip that does a great job of adding welcome comforts to a sometimes challenging, but always magical, exploration. Read Less
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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