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16 Galapagos Expedition Cruise Reviews

My trip highlight was swimming side by side with a Penguin. The adrenalin was rushing as I found myself swimming competitively to keep up with a feeding penguin. It was a bonus to add a pre-trip to Mashpi with the Galapagos trip. It ... Read More
My trip highlight was swimming side by side with a Penguin. The adrenalin was rushing as I found myself swimming competitively to keep up with a feeding penguin. It was a bonus to add a pre-trip to Mashpi with the Galapagos trip. It completed our Ecuadorian adventure from cloud forest to islands. The onboard dining experience was excellent. They walked me personally thru every meal to assure me what I could choose as gluten free. The daily onboard and offboard activities were planned to perfection and the guides / photo instructors added value with their knowledge to point out things that would have been easily missed. The local guides added value and expertise to the experience. It was also a plus to have Sven Lindblad and his mother on the trip and to know that they genuinely care about their customer's experience and supporting populations in the areas where they offer expeditions. Their interest in helping maintain and restore the local culture and ecology is outstanding and speaks well for the company. To see and hear them in person confirmed to us that we picked the right company to tour with. Look for us on future expeditions. We're already looking ahead and making plans. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
If you're looking at the Galapagos then you understand you are paying for access to one of the most remote and extraordinary places in the world. The Xpedition is NOT a high-end luxury cruise ship - it is an EXPEDITION class ship, so ... Read More
If you're looking at the Galapagos then you understand you are paying for access to one of the most remote and extraordinary places in the world. The Xpedition is NOT a high-end luxury cruise ship - it is an EXPEDITION class ship, so understand the difference and manage your expectations. It is however all-inclusive, extremely comfortable and has a crew that is phenomenal. Having just returned from this trip I can honestly say I'm extremely glad I did tons of research before booking--my family believe we chose the best trip for us. Be sure you understand the level of physical activity required---its really HOT, and humid, and you need good balance and mobility to deal with many stairs, getting on/off moving zodiacs, and hikes on various types of terrain including large, uneven lava rocks and sand. We were especially glad we chose one of the largest ships cruising the Galapagos--my husband and I got motion sickness as did many other passengers - I didn't believe it would be a problem on such a large ship, supposedly in the calmest season--WRONG. Consider getting a patch before you leave and head off any problems. Dr. Mary, the onboard physician, was great in visiting my room and providing fast-acting medication and advice: avoid alcohol, and drink lots of juice, water and soft drinks. PACK LIGHT! Our family of four each took only rollaboards and were able to keep our luggage with us instead of turning it in the night before departure in Quito and upon return on Sunday. The Laundry charges on the Xpedition are incredibly reasonable---$1 for a pair of socks and $2-3 for a shirt ,pants or shorts. Back the next day or same day with a surcharge. Total charge for all four of us for the week, less than $100--totally worth it! I'd recommend three pairs of lightweight pants with zip-off legs, t-shirts and lightweight long-sleeve shirts with UV protection. STAY AWAY FROM RED/PINK AND ORANGE clothing for excursions---some wasps are attracted to these colors! Some people changed to nicer clothes for dinner (khaki pants/polo shirts for men and capris or sundresses for women) We did not and did not feel out of place. Teva or Keen closed-toe water sandals are perfect, but if you're more comfortable with traditional hiking boots for difficult/uneven terrain, then wear water sandals for wet landings and change once onshore. The Xpedition supplies large brown towels in your cabin for snorkeling and beach activities. Do consider packing one-way snorkels if you plan on enjoying the opportunity - choppy water can quickly make you sick if you swallow too much saltwater. Recommend 2 bathing suits as putting on a wet one is difficult - Celebrity provides regular snorkels, fins, masks, wetsuits and float vests if you desire. Yes the ocean feels cold but once you're in the water the wetsuits provide excellent buoyancy and warmth--I'm very cold-blooded and I was fine. Deep water snorkeling requires good swimming skills and the crew frowns on float vests in these instances. Know your limits! The sun on the equator is unbelievably intense---take a wide-brim hat with a chin-strap you can tighten (its windy!), 2 pairs of polarized sunglasses (in case you lose or break one), water-resistant high SPF sunblock and apply it regularly, ditto sunblock for your lips. SPF 60 sunblock at the Quito Marriott was $26, and SPF 80 sunblock was $20 at the Quito airport--pick some up before your flight to Baltra. The Xpedition has a VERY limited shop onboard, mostly hats, sunblock and clothing---pack carefully since you might not visit a town until the end of your tour. Biodegradable shampoo/conditioner/body wash and bars of soap are supplied in all cabins of the Xpedition, as are cotton balls/cotton swabs, sewing kit and bath/hand towels and wash cloths. One nice terry robe and two pairs of terry slippers in our clothes closet Also necessities: Bug spray with DEET, lightweight rain poncho, and I'd recommend a small, lightweight headlamp for watching the numerous animals which are active at night around the boat (sharks, sea lions, turtles, fish, birds, etc) A Monocular (as opposed to binoculars---the ones in each room aren't that great and its much easier to focus one eye on a moving ship or zodiac than two) underwater video/still shot camera for snorkeling, small backpack for taking stuff on daily walks/excursions. At least one pair of socks to wear with boots provided for tree-planting and tortoise ranch. Can't say enough about the Xpedition's crew: their level of customer service is simply outstanding--its essentially 'whatever you want, whenever you want' There were at least 8 choices (each) of appetizer/starters, mains/entrees and desserts each night for dinner---most were very good with a few misses. Red and white wine offered with dinner but the wait staff would bring you a cocktail , champagne, soft drink/iced tea or whatever you desired. Its important to keep in mind that you are 800 MILES from the coast where much of the ship's supplies are coming from--remember this if you feel something isn't quite 5 star quality. Make a reservation to tour the bridge (interesting) and to dine under the stars at least one night for dinner, and don't miss the daily briefing before dinner where you will learn about the next days' activities and excursions and sign up for your choice. TV in the rooms offered 4 movie channels (not on-demand) and several Galapagos documentaries on a loop - the latter were excellent and added to our experience. Board games were also available in the lounge - WiFi is dreadfully slow and you should just expect to be without it for the duration while at sea/out of port. My husband got me a one-hour massage for my birthday which was fantastic - and a bargain at $90 (plus discretionary tip) Work-out room is very small, but hot tub on top deck is good size and popular! We liked our Junior Suite Cabin - which offered a full-size (NOT Queen) bed and twin-size sofa bed which was also very comfortable - nice linens and the air con sufficiently cooled the room. We LOVED our private balcony which allowed us to sit outside in the morning with coffee or at night under the endless stars on display. Would've been nice to have a coffee maker in the room but it was available from 6 am on each morning on the aft deck, just a few steps away from our room. Nice small mini-fridge which was stocked with various soft drinks and water. A small plate of sliced fresh fruits showed up in our room after the morning excursions, and a few small amuse-bouche-size appetizers appeared in the afternoon. A bottle of champagne the day of arrival and another bottle of cabernet sauvignon later in the week. Wonderful Ecuadorian chocolates on our pillows every night with turn-down service. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We were not interested in the Quito add-on portion which is normally sold along with the cruise, so against the advice of a Celebrity Onboard Sales Rep, as well as several cruise critic posters, we booked the seven night only option, and ... Read More
We were not interested in the Quito add-on portion which is normally sold along with the cruise, so against the advice of a Celebrity Onboard Sales Rep, as well as several cruise critic posters, we booked the seven night only option, and we are glad we did. We enjoyed a trip of a lifetime, and like Frank, did our way. We left LAX on the Thursday before the cruise was to begin. We flew into Guayaquil (GYE) and spent the night (or half of it) at the Sheraton a half mile from the airport. We then flew to GPS Friday morning. We booked two nights at the Galapagos Suites, a lovely B&B which I highly recommend. We arranged airport pickup and were met at the airport by the taxi driver regularly used by GS. He helped us with our luggage as we boarded the bus (free) which would take us from GPS (Baltra Airport) to the canal. There we boarded the ferry which took us from Seymour Island to Santa Cruz Island (cost $1). We then were driven in a pickup (our cab) to GS ($38). We spent two nights in Puerto Ayora exploring the town, visiting the Charles Darwin Research Center, and also Tortuga Bay (home to a lovely beach and lots of marine iguanas- if you are lucky, you may see sea turtles swimming in the bay as well). As luck would have it, another couple who was sailing on the Xpedition was also staying at GS. We shared a cab (the same pickup and driver)- this time being dropped off at the canal since by this time we knew what to expect and didn't need help with our luggage ($18 total for four people). We then took the ferry back across and boarded the bus which brought us back to the airport. We got there way before anyone from Celebrity arrived, and the airport personnel directed us to the VIP Lounge where the Celebrity guests gather before leaving the airport. Finally, the rest of the passengers arrived on two different planes, including the charter. One guest fell in front of the entrance to the Lounge and had to be helped in. Two passengers arrived in wheelchairs. I didn't notice any of the passengers using wheelchairs while onboard, however, please remember before booking this cruise, this is an adventure cruise- "it is a trip- not a vacation" as a fellow passenger described it. You will be walking on lava rocks sharp enough to tear your shoes (I should know), walking on other uneven surfaces, and climbing across terrain which quite frankly I wouldn't think to walk across if a naturalist wasn't guiding me. This is definitely NOT a typical Celebrity cruise, so please, do your research on it before booking if you have mobility issues or health concerns. We left the lounge in small groups and were taken by bus to the other side of Seymour Island where we boarded Zodiacs which would take us to the Xpedition. We enjoyed a buffet lunch, a mandatory boat drill, the distribution of our snorkeling gear, and a circumnavigation of Daphne Major. Dinner was in the Darwin Restaurant and music in the Discovery Lounge (talented guitar player). Each day there was a morning excursion and an afternoon excursion. Monday on Espanola Island (one of the islands Darwin did not visit) included a beach walk and an optional beach swim or snorkel. In the afternoon, you chose either a long walk on rocks or a short walk on rocks and sand. Tuesday was spent on Floreana Island and included an easy walk and optional beach snorkeling in the morning and a visit to the Post Office Bay in the afternoon to see the old barrel. There was an optional advanced snorkeling activity to Champion Island. We did the beach snorkel and watched a sea turtle eat, so cute! Wednesday was Isabela Island with a choice between a long walk on volcanic rock or a shorter walk in the morning and either a long walk or short walk with optional beach snorkeling in the afternoon. The long walk was a fitness walk with few stops for pictures. I could do that at home, so DH and I chose the short walk which was flat and easy and allowed for photos. Thursday was spent on Fernandina and Isabela Islands with a long or short walk on lava rocks and an optional deep water snorkel recommended for experienced snorkelers only. We swam with two sea lions- so fun! In the afternoon there was an optional deep water snorkel recommended for experienced snorkelers only. We skipped that one. In the later afternoon, we took a Zodiac ride along the cliffs and coastline. Friday we returned to Santa Cruz Island visiting South Plaza Island with easy walk choices and a rockier trail to Dragon Hill, where we didn't see many animals (three flamingos and a few types of finches, but we did enjoy the peace and quiet. Very tranquil location. Saturday was spent visiting the Charles Darwin Station and planting trees in the highlands where we saw the Giant Tortoises in the wild. We also had a lovely buffet lunch at a ranch and local dancers performed for us. We asked various dinner companions who had gone on the Quito portion what we had missed. One passenger said that we did miss out, but when pressed for one thing that we missed in particular, he said "a city with three million people". Another passenger said we missed going downhill too fast on buses on narrow streets, and two passenger said we missed seeing the Equator exhibit and several churches. So, sorry Quito, but for us, it sounds like we saw more, and enjoyed more experiences in Puerto Ayora. The ship was nicer than I expected. Everyone was so nice. The dinners were tough for vegetarians, but I always found something to eat. The cabin was small, but we liked it. If you are interested in the three cheapest cabins, book well in advance as we did and save $1000 or so per couple. On Sunday morning, we were taken by Zodiac back to Seymour Island and taken by bus to the airport. We took a flight back to GYE, and stayed another night at the Sheraton, which is a very nice hotel (highly recommended). On Monday, we went from GYE back home to LAX on Copa (also recommended). Will I return? No, I don't think so. We saw so many animals, plants, birds, etc. - we really saw all we needed to. I loved this adventure. This is the only cruise I have taken which left me in tears on the last night. It affected me that much. It was a bucket list trip- a journey back in time. Truly a magical trip. If you are adventurous, don't let anyone talk you out of booking the seven night only option. With a little research and planning, you will be able to create a tailor-made experience that works best for you. We explained to another passenger how we had made our plans, and what we had experienced in town pre-cruise, and she said that she had considered the seven night only option, but had been talked out of it by posters on cruise critic. That's too bad. If you like the type of trip in which you deplane and are met at the airport by your tour company and don't have to lift a finger to do anything else the rest of your vacation, then the Quito option is a good choice, but for those of you who prefer doing things your own way, book the seven night option and party on. Just make sure you are ready physically for the experience, it would be a shame to travel all the way to the islands only to be forced to spend most of your time onboard. Unlike other ships, the Xpedition serves as your hotel, not as your source of entertainment. That can only be found by putting on a pair of comfortable and sturdy shoes (perhaps hiking boots) or beach shoes and exploring these incredibility diverse, beautiful islands. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We booked the 11 day trip with Celebrity. A day to fly in, a day to explore Quito, 7 days onboard the Xpedition, a day back to Quito, a day to explore Quito on our own until we flew out the day after. Flights in and out of Quito were ... Read More
We booked the 11 day trip with Celebrity. A day to fly in, a day to explore Quito, 7 days onboard the Xpedition, a day back to Quito, a day to explore Quito on our own until we flew out the day after. Flights in and out of Quito were with Delta then American. Nothing special to report. Celebrity was waiting for us and quickly got us on a bus to the hotel (about an hour from the airport). Day Tour of Quito: Visited the Basilica del Voto Nacional (ticket to get inside); the Church and Convent of St. Francis (San Francisco); Compania de Jesus (Jesuit Church); and Independence Square/Plaza Grande. In that square, you can see Carondelet Palace (seat of government), the Cathedral of Quito, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Municipal Palace, and the Monument to Heros statue in the middle of the square. After an excellent lunch at Sucre’s Theatrum restaurant, it was off to visit the Equatorial Line Monument ad Museum. We found this tour to be very informative as well. Later that evening Celebrity transported us to the La Gloria restaurant for another excellent dinner. In the morning, you go back to the airport and board a plane chartered by Celebrity to fly to Baltra. The experience on this plane was top notch. Certainly better than our flights to and from the United States. The week at sea was the inner loop itinerary. During this time, we visited Gardner Bay, Suarez Point, Cormorant Point, Champion Island, Bahia Post Office, Moreno Point, Urbina Bay, Espinoza Point, Vicente Roca Point, South Plaza, Dragon Hill, and Puerto Ayora (Darwin Research Center, local fish market, and the forest restoration project in the Highlands). The schedule is set pretty much the same each day….breakfast, morning excursion, lunch, afternoon excursion, themed party, discussion of the next day, dinner. Not much entertainment on board but the Discovery Lounge usually had something going on….and of course that’s where the bar is. I think every night though you sleep well after a hiking/snorkeling day especially the day on Floreana Island. That day consisted of a long hike, 2 open water snorkels, a short walk, and a Zodiac ride. Usually, each excursion came in a long and short version. You can do the long or the short hike and still participate in all snorkeling. Zodiac landings come in two versions. Wet and dry. Dry means a very basic cement structure or rocks. Wet meant stepping into the ocean but no more than 12 inches of water. After each excursion, you were greeted with a snack, drinks, and a wash cloth. You need to heed the warnings about this cruise and be prepared for various weather conditions and be in good physical health. If you are in good shape, this isn’t difficult even if you do the long hikes and the snorkel trips.....but the terrain can be tricky. A few people fell down and needed some first aid (a cleaning and a band aid). I used Merrell hiking shoes and Keen closed toed waterproof sandals. While each island was unique in terms of terrain and vegetation, amazingly a lot of the same animals, birds, and reptiles were surviving everywhere. One of the open water snorkels we got good video of tons of turtles and playful sea lions. I would have done video of the white tipped shark but I was so surprised to see him that I only have a couple of pictures. The day in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, I would recommend you sign up for the restoration project in the highlands of Santa Cruz. The day starts off with a visit to the Darwin Research Center with an opportunity to do some shopping in the downtown area. Don’t forget to watch the sea lions & pelicans beg for the fish guts at the local fish market. Next a bus will take you to the highlands where you don boots and given 2 trees and a spade. You’ll need that spade to work hard to break up that volcanic soil. After you plant your trees, you’ll go to the Rancho El Manzanillo for a very good buffet lunch with beer & wine. Then you will be treated to local entertainment followed by walking the property to see dozens and dozens of land tortoises. You’ll get back in plenty of time to stop at the bar, eat dinner, and then head to the final night’s slide show of the trip. On the day you get off the ship and fly back to Quito, you’ll have a chance to do some shopping at the La Mariscal Craft Market. Don’t miss it. Probably the best prices of the trip for souvenirs. That night, dinner was at the La Hacienda restaurant in the hotel. It is an excellent meal with excellent local entertainment. Choose the baby beef! Our last day in Quito was “on our own” though there are additional Celebrity excursions you can pay for. In our case, we booked a horseback ride with the Green Horse Ranch (not through Celebrity). We had a blast. We were picked up in front of the Magic Bean coffee shop (about 10 minutes from the hotel) and transported to the Pululahua volcano natural reserve. Then we went down and down into the bottom of the volcano to get to the ranch. The ride down is on a dirt and winding road. The views are spectacular. Stop for a picture or 5. Once on the ranch we were greeted by Astrid Muller, the owner. We were provided gloves, books, helmets, etc. I road Sam and the Mrs. rode Mithril. Along with 2 other people, we headed off along the trail for about 2 hours before stopping for lunch with the volcano crater in front of us and the lava dome in back of us. The views are breathtaking. Then it was back in the saddle for another 2 hours continuing on new trail and not just going back along the same trail we came on. We passed haciendas with gardens, cows, dogs, pigs, horses, chickens….but only in the valley. The horses were sure footed though we were often on narrow, rocky paths with overhanging trees and bushes. The horses looked as happy as we were with our time in the saddle. Carlos (Celebrity employee in the hotel lobby) recommended “Hasta la Vuelta, Senor” for supper. Happy hour was from 6-8 pm (2 for 1 cocktails). Corn nuts and spicy sauce came as soon as we sat down. We had the sweet plantains with cheese as a starter and then ordered the sea bass and the grilled shrimp dinners. There was no room for dessert. This place was about 2 blocks from the JW Marriott. Easy to get to! Loved it. Celebrity’s hotel of choice was the JW Marriott in the business area of Quito. It was very nice. Great wifi, wonderful breakfast, gorgeous flowers everywhere, spacious rooms, and service was always provided with “my pleasure”. The hotel’s restaurant’s (La Hacienda) dinner the night after getting off of the Xpedition was superior. Celebrity did a great job selecting this hotel. The Ship: We liked everything about the ship. Our cabin (405) was convenient to everything….a few steps to the Discovery Lounge and the ship’s office. The excursions (all done by Zodiacs) were great; the food excellent with lots of seafood and bakery; the staff very friendly & helpful; the information well explained; and the protocols for every evolution was done like clockwork (e.g. handling of snorkel trips with wet suits). Only minor complaint would be that the WIFI connection is poor at best but I suspect that it isn’t the ship’s issue since my cell phone carrier (T-Mobile with MoviStar) only worked inside the Quito airport and nowhere else. There was a small newspaper every day in the ship’s office for those who needed the news, sports, and a crossword puzzle. Surprising to me was that the Xpedition was a single screw (variable pitch), single rudder ship. It does have stabilizers but only in use above 6 knots. While she carried spare blades for the prop, they can’t be changed out without getting to an appropriate facility for repairs. Basically, the Xpedition spends 2 years at sea or at anchor. She only ties up in a port when she is scheduled for maintenance (for about a month in Panama). Ship’s Crew: Everyone was courteous and very attentive. Ana was great behind the bar lounge. Freddy was great as our waiter each night in the dining room. Virginia kept our room impeccably clean. Fernando Caicedo was impressive as I saw him a lot helping out his staff….in the lounge, in the dining room, on deck by the grill, and behind the bar. There were so many excellent employees on board (e.g. Luis, Leo, Xaiver). The guides and the Zodiac coxswains were all terrific! Celebrity employees that were ashore (hotel, tours, transportation) were also wonderful (e.g. Carlos Sarango at the Celebrity desk inside the Marriott). Everything ran like clockwork….transports, instructions, paperwork, day excursions. Everything….that people needed bottled water, Galapagos fees, luggage tags, etc. all handled behind the scenes. Weather/Time of the Season: All the weather sites predicted rain but actually the weather was terrific. Not too hot. Maybe once we got some drizzle. Because of the location among the volcanoes and the equator, I think the weather predictors just always say “rain” just to be on the safe side. Sea state was slight but the Xpedition does roll around a bit but I didn’t hear anyone say that they got seasick. We saw every type of wildlife that we hoped to….in multiple locations. The guides said everything is here (in varying quantities) all year long. Our trip in late OCT, early NOV, though was excellent for seeing many your sea lion pups because it is berthing season. Temperatures were low 80s/high 70s each day which made hiking very comfortable compared to other times of the year. I never wore a jacket though once I wore a long sleeve shirt. Another good reason for this time of the year is there were few bugs…mostly some flies in heavy concentrations of sea lions and some mosquitoes near a swampy area inhabited by flamingos. In any case, we never needed our DEET product. The open water snorkeling was chilly. Even with the “shorty” wet suits, most people wanted to get back on the Zodiacs after 30-45 minutes. Sea temps varied but were 61-63 degrees most of the time. Best tip is to head to the hot tub after you get back on board the ship! All in all, this trip was a well coordinated effort by Celebrity! Flights, hotel, transportation, cruise, and back again went off without a hitch. Want to see the Gallapagos? Celebrity is the way to go but demand is high. Most people on board booked 2 years out. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We choose this ship for it size and itinerary. Before we booked our cruiser, we read reviews on the Cruise Critics web side and we were not despondent! We strongly advise to take "CRUISE PACKAGE" which includes 2 days in Quito ... Read More
We choose this ship for it size and itinerary. Before we booked our cruiser, we read reviews on the Cruise Critics web side and we were not despondent! We strongly advise to take "CRUISE PACKAGE" which includes 2 days in Quito before cruise and 1 day after, including flight from Quito to Baltra and back. The whole crew including environmentalist (land excursions guides) were very friendly, professional and accommodating. The cruise Director Ms. Britinia Espinoza (PhD) provided us with priceless information each evenings about next day excursions. Base on this information we could make decision which one we should take cording to our physical abilities. Each evening we were provided with newsletter about next day activities on the ship as well on the land. Celebrity is using Xpedition ship to provide these cruises for more than 10 years. We are retired couple and ease of traveling and site seeing is very imported to us and this cruise met our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We booked this cruise two years ago and it turned out to be our 51st cruise. We read extensively about the Galapagos Islands and determined that the Celebrity Xpedition was the right answer for us. We told some of our friends and ended ... Read More
We booked this cruise two years ago and it turned out to be our 51st cruise. We read extensively about the Galapagos Islands and determined that the Celebrity Xpedition was the right answer for us. We told some of our friends and ended up with a group of 13 people on the cruise that sailed on September 25, 2016. What a great adventure! We arrived in Quito several days early and took a cab to the J W Marriott. I know some of the older posts talked about taking great care in selecting a cab, but I found that all the yellow cabs at the airport appeared to be licensed. I asked the driver for the cost and we were quoted $25 for the 45 minute ride to the hotel, regardless of the number of passengers. Because of luggage, my wife and I took one cab by ourselves. The Marriott is a world class high end hotel and was a pleasant surprise. The beds were comfortable, the air conditioner could cool the room at night. The covers were quite heavy and that interrupted my sleep, but that is not unusual . . . my wife slept just fine. The room had plenty of 110 volt outlets for USA plug-ins. They also had some 220 volt European outlets. We ate in the Hotel Restaurant, The Hacienda, a steakhouse, and it was very good. Breakfast was included and it was served on the floor just below Registration. It was very well done and you could choose from a wide variety, including a juice bar. We ate at some restaurants suggested by the Marriott travel office and had two very different, but outstanding meals. When we flew to Baltra, the trip took about 1 1/2 hours and we were served a meal on the plane that was better than expected. We checked in thru Customs and waited for the Zodiacs. Before long, we had our first of many Zodiac rides to the Xpedition, our home for the next 7 days. Then life becomes a blur. Talks explaining the next day activities, breakfast in the morning, choosing long walks or short walks, snorkeling adventures, back for lunch, either naturalist seminars or a nap, out for the afternoon long or short walk, a possible deep water snorkeling adventure, back to clean up, a few cocktails, listen to the description of tomorrows activities, sign up for the activities you want to do, off to dinner, maybe some conversation after dinner, then to bed. That is a typical day. Every morning and every afternoon, you had a different area to discover. For the rest of this review, I will just mention items as they come to mind. We all tried to minimize the amount of things we brought with us to this cruise. The reviews all cautioned that your baggage allowance on the plane was 44 pounds for checked luggage and only 15 pounds for carry on. We got close to this but were over for sure on the carry one. As it turns out, Celebrity charters this flight, so we do have a lot more leniency. If you keep you weight under 50 pounds for checked luggage, no one will say anything. Nobody even weighed the carry on luggage . . . we were at about 22 pounds each. You can upgrade to a business class seat on the plane to and from Baltra. They just upgraded the aircraft they use and now they have 12 seats available. It costs about $100 per person each way. It is on a "first come, first serve" basis and must be done once you get the the Marriott Hotel. Those that arrived early to the Marriott already had the seats taken by the time the later folks arrived, so if that is something you want to do, check with the Celebrity desk immediately, once you get to the hotel. The excursions were fantastic. But none of us in our group were prepared for the reality that there are no restrooms on the islands you are going to visit ( except two towns that you visit). As they say ' the only thing you should leave behind is your footprints". As such we learned to plan our intake knowing that it would be 2 to 4 hours before we were back on the ship, depending on the long or short walk. They could make extra zodiac trips back for emergencies. From my perspective, everyone seemed to adapt just fine and there did not appear to be any issues. We had packed some foil wrapped snacks (nuts, candy, crackers) that we thought we could put in our pack and bring with us on the excursions. We were told "NO", no food of any kind goes on the excursions. If you have a medical condition that requires some food, it would be given to your Naturalist Guide and they would distribute it to you. Once you visit the Islands you notice, there is no foil or paper of other scraps littering the area. They have a very good rule and should adhere to it. We did eat some of these things while on the ship, but in retrospect, I would leave that at home next time. We were there in the cool part of the year and it was not the rainy season. Just some quick stuff. Rooms had plenty of 110 volt outlets and they provided an power strip, no need to bring that. They provide binoculars in the rooms. Not high quality, but we seldom used them. The sun intensity is real, bring plenty of sun screen. We brought lots of bug spray ( pump, not aerosol) and never used it . . . . and never got any insect bites . . . but I would bring some if I came back. Many people wore long pants that zip off to make shorts and long sleeve light weight safari shirts. I brought water shoes. got them wet twice. Last time we had a wet landing, I did like the Naturalists . . . rolled up my pants and went barefoot. All the water landings were sand beaches and the maximum water depth was 16 inches. Take your hiking shoes in your pack and put them on once you land. I carried a very light pair of water shoes that I wore back on the Zodiac since you must have shoes on to get back on the ship. Some of the excursions on the lava field, up the mountain slopes and to the hill high point did require some walking. I was very glad I packed my walking boots with ankle support due to past sports injuries to my ankles. We had a very light rain just once for about 10 minutes. A light poncho is all that we needed. Everyone seemed to wear the wide brim hats or Panama hats . . . that were originally made in Ecuador and exported to Panama . . . . the locals story and they are sticking to it. Celebrity will supply you with snorkel, mask, fins, and a wetsuit. They also have walking sticks for those that want them on shore excursions. Sorry, this has gotten way too wordy. In the final analysis, this was one of the very best experiences we have ever had on a cruise. Celebrity did a fantastic job, the crew, officers, Naturalists, room stewards, chef, bartenders, etc were second to none. We were fortunate to share this adventure with a group of passengers from all over the world that were truly fun travelers. We appreciated everyone of them. We would rate it in our top five cruises taken out of 51. I hope some of this helps you along the way. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Wow well what a trip of a lifetime. We booked this trip 2 years ago and it was definitely worth waiting for. The trip to the equator was amazing did not expect the experiments etc. From the flight to the islands with wonderful food and ... Read More
Wow well what a trip of a lifetime. We booked this trip 2 years ago and it was definitely worth waiting for. The trip to the equator was amazing did not expect the experiments etc. From the flight to the islands with wonderful food and champagne to embarkation everything went very smoothly. Cabin was a bit on the small side but was to expected because of the size of the ship. Food and drink was very plentiful and very very tasty, all the staff were second to none and could not do enough for you Shore excursions were excellent /had a nightly briefing on what to expect the next day. Naturalists were all very good, Christina was our favourite, but probably only because we had her most times. It truly is a magical place to visit, even saw a feral cat chasing a land iguana!!!! getting on and off the zodiacs was great fun especially some of the wet landings. We had a great laugh during some of those. Even a visit to the bridge was very informative. A lovely gesture was that every one was given a CD of our trip with group photos and the animals and birds that we actually saw. From penguins, diving blue boobies and the posing sea lions to name a few of our favourites....the list of wildlife and birds was endless. The only fly in the ointment was a very badly behaved young boy who quite frankly was an embarrassment to most of his family......not really a holiday for children, but saying that all the other children on board were very well behaved. All in all well worth every penny and cant believe its all over :( Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We were encouraged to join my sister and brother-in-law of their 25th wedding anniversary trip to the Galapagos. They were considering a much smaller ship, but after I saw Celebrity offered on of the biggest ships in the region I suggested ... Read More
We were encouraged to join my sister and brother-in-law of their 25th wedding anniversary trip to the Galapagos. They were considering a much smaller ship, but after I saw Celebrity offered on of the biggest ships in the region I suggested Celebrity and we joined them. We had been on their larger ship before in the Greek Islands. 1. We were immediately whisked from the airport in Quito into a van within 2 minutes and on our way to the wonderful Marriott ( very similar to the one I had stayed at in Palm springs). The hotel had a marvellous included large scale breakfast, and also a farewell dinner in their terrific Hacienda steak house. 2. Next day Quito city tour with guide and armed guard ( must be necessary) was very good, and included lunch at a local restaurant was top quality. 3. Pre-checked luggage at our hotel before heading off to the airport for their charter flight to the Galapagos , and short wait in a private lounge at the airport made life wonderful. The food was very good on the ship, lots of variety. Alcohol included, and we soon discovered if you asked the better bottle were kept below the bar in a cabinet. Bombay Saphire gin martinis! The nature walks and snorkels were wonderful. We are in our early 50's and did the harder (longer version) of all the walks. I did the snorkels from shore and saw tons of amazing fish, sea turtle etc. Did not do the deep water snorkels since I was not that comfortable. Saw tons of sea lions, crabs, birds, iguanas etc. Didn't disappoint in the amount of creatures we saw. They entertainment was basic but we met a lot of nice people and had dinner/drinks with them every evening. One night the naturalists put on a small music show, another night music in the lounge or karaoke . The overall experience was wonderful and the staff were very accommodating and friendly. A fabulous experience . Celebrity hit the spot. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I came back to Quito with my 8-year-old daughter, plus a bus-full of new friends yesterday afternoon, with our new Galapagos skin (red, tanned, and slightly peeled) and our Galapagos heart (purified, fulfilled, and hopeful). Now, sitting ... Read More
I came back to Quito with my 8-year-old daughter, plus a bus-full of new friends yesterday afternoon, with our new Galapagos skin (red, tanned, and slightly peeled) and our Galapagos heart (purified, fulfilled, and hopeful). Now, sitting in my room in JW Marriott, we are already missing "the Galapagos Grip", which we've enjoyed and trusted in the past 7 days of our voyage. The Galapagos is truly a wonderland. It's not that green, not that rich, not that convenient, but it's a place that makes you forget almost everything else, but to embrace the amazing beauty of nature, and the company of each other. We didn't get one single 8-hour sleep in the whole trip thanks to all the activities (shore excursion 2-3 times a day, daily briefing at 7:15pm, dinner at 7:30pm, then party at 9pm), but even my 8-year-old never complained, she always got off her bed as soon as I woke her up, because she knew that there were so much to see, and so much to enjoy. I'm sure other friends will chime in very soon, so I will just list some highlights from kids perspective: 1. Each island is unique in its own way, so you see all kinds of different landscapes in very short period of time, colorful sandy beaches (gold, white, red, green), volcanic surfaces, rocky terrain... 2. So many animals to encounter during shore hikes, zodiac rides, and snorkeling. Sea lions, birds, turtles,tropical fishes, giant tortoises, sharks, etc. It's like watching Animal Planet, no, it's like you are in Animal Planet. 3. Well-organized shore excursion activities, always with 2-3 options. My daughter signed up all our activities herself, she almost always choose option 1 (the more challenging ones), and she didn't miss one snorkeling (including deep-water snorkeling), and didn't miss one science talk and after dinner party. I didn't expect her to be this adventurous but she was fully motivated to absorb everything she can. 4. Super friendly crew members and super knowledgable and trust-worthy naturalists. Seems like everyone remembered our names and room number starting day one, so we really felt at home. The naturalists not only served as our guides, but also our protectors during the zodiac rides. I remember one afternoon we had free time in town for shopping, my daughter got a little bit nervous, but once we returned to the pier and met our naturalist, she relaxed right away. 5. High quality food, more than enough healthy options for both kids and adults. My daughter decided to spoil herself with Piña colada and potato chips every day, but that was after relatively healthy meals, and she is the Galapagos, so I controlled myself and didn't say anything. 6. Great friends. This probably can't be planned ahead, but we were lucky enough that 2 other families with wonderful kids were on board this time, and all the kids (8-14) were glued together after a short warm-up. They cartwheeled on the beach, spent hours on solving the puzzle together, and talked and giggled all the time. Quite often, I felt abandoned by my daughter, just kidding. :) Of course, I enjoyed mingling with adults too. Now that we have to pack again and spend another 12 hours to go home, before I wrap up I just want to say, it's all worth it. Galapagos and Celebrity will always have a special place in our hearts, and even though we don't know when yet, we surely will be back. Hopefully we will see some familiar faces then. P.S: The rating below (all 5-stars) and the "AMAZING [so much fun]" part were given by my daughter, who just woke up from a 10-hour long sleep. :) Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I believe other reviewers miss the point in comparing their experience on Silver Galapagos with other cruises. The Galapagos is a closed, tightly regulated market; only ships exclusively dedicated to the Galapagos can operate there. So ... Read More
I believe other reviewers miss the point in comparing their experience on Silver Galapagos with other cruises. The Galapagos is a closed, tightly regulated market; only ships exclusively dedicated to the Galapagos can operate there. So the question is not how Silver Galapagos compares to Silversea or other cruises outside the Galapagos; the question is what is the best way to visit the Galapagos. Unless you want to be on a small boat with a group of 16, the answer is almost certainly Silver Galapagos. You come to the Galapagos to see the animals, plants and landscapes of these unique islands, not to eat, drink and party on a boat. So job one for any company operating there is to get permission to sail the best possible itineraries, and then to attract and retain the best possible expedition leaders and guides. This Silverseas has done. Everything else is secondary. Silver Galapagos carries 100 passengers, the maximum permitted. The ship is the largest and best equipped operating in the islands. The all-Ecuadorian staff (required) makes up in enthusiasm and warmth what they may lack in polish. In terms of true hospitality, they could teach a thing or two to their Silverseas colleagues operating in international waters. The room for improvement lies not with the crew, but with Silversea. They erred in investing too heavily in cosmetic improvements, and insufficiently in the infrastructure of the vessel. In the choppy waters of the Pacific, the stabilizers were "undergoing maintenance," and apparently had been for months. The nicest suite, recently gussied up, was plagued with mechanical problems such as broken doors and non-functing electronics. If Silversea wants to continue to associate its brand with this ship, it needs to invest in the vessel, and also invest in the crew. If they want to retain the best people, Silverseas should strive to be regarded as the best employer in the Galapagos. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Extensive travel can foster skepticism about promotional information. In this instance the Galapagos aboard Xpedition is everything, and more, than the publicity promotes. I regretted that skepticism kept us from booking a b2b of both ... Read More
Extensive travel can foster skepticism about promotional information. In this instance the Galapagos aboard Xpedition is everything, and more, than the publicity promotes. I regretted that skepticism kept us from booking a b2b of both loops. My sweetheart of 32 years was satisfied with the one week but I gladly would have stayed the second week. We tend to avoid the herd and travel independently. However we are glad we took the 11 day package round trip from Quito (UIO) airport and back. The Galapagos Islands have so many restrictions and fees that we were glad we allowed Celebrity to handle all of those contingencies. The trip began with the only disappointing part of the entire 11 days. About 15 of us arrived at 11:00 pm and were told we would be waiting about 15 minutes for two other flights. We waited 90 minutes for one person. The airport was hot, crowded, had limited seating and evidently was unsafe since we were told repeatedly to watch our suitcases and wallets. We finally arrived by air conditioned tour bus to our room at the Marriott at 2 a.m. We would have paid the $25 for a cab if we had known the wait would be that long. The Marriott Quito is an excellent facility. There is a separate registration desk for X guests. Xpedition suite guests are upgraded to the executive club floors at the hotel, including free wifi and access to the executive club. We did not have time to actually visit the club. The room was comfortable, quiet, great wifi, included bottled water and great shower. The food also was excellent. Again, we are experienced and discerning travelers. The Saturday morning tour of Quito began at 9:30 (tour busses began loading at 9:15). We had 24 people per bus which were then subdivided to two groups for the walking tour. The morning tour of Cathedrals and Plazas gave a good overview of old town. The lunch Buffet was extensive and quite good. It even included traditional dance and wifi. Having read of previous tummy issues we ate cautiously. For us the afternoon at Mitad del Munda on the Equator was very enjoyable. We were there for only an hour so visiting the numerous shops was very limited. (Celebriity, pls reduce time at the restaurant and increase time at the equator). Prices were better there than on the Islands and nearly as good as the indigenous market. Be sure to bargain. Dinner that evening was delicious at a very nice near-by restaurant. Our doctor prescribed altitude medicine which we began taking two days before the trip. We have encountered altitude issues in the past but had none on this trip. He also gave us some Cipro to anticipate digestive issues due to water or food. It is a good precaution. Sunday morning began with an excellent, early breakfast at the Marriott, seemless transfer by tour bus to the Quito airport and comfortable flight on the Celebrity Avianca charter. The flight is not full so check your seats. We were on a row with three people while the row in front of us was empty. Alas the blue-footed booby napkins are no more. Baltra airport is small but Celebrity preparations meant easy clearance through security. We spent a few minutes in a VIP room with drinks and snacks then boarded local busses to the dock for our first Zodiac (panga) ride to the Xpedition. Each day's excursions were excellent. We saw over 50 different reptiles, mammals, birds and fish. The Naturalists were excellent in knowledge and professionalism. The evening briefing of the following day's excursions was usually 15 minutes and informative. Usually only one of us attended and enrolled in the following day's excursions of interest. We enjoyed the walks and panga rides. We had read some complaints about the food on X but everything we had was delicious. We tried different things that were not to our liking but that was more personal taste preferences than problems in preparation or quality. We are more Southern in our preferences for desserts than many of the options offered too. The chocolate souffle is declicious and world class. We chose to eat evening meals in our suite. We were tired from the busy days of excursions and excellent room service allowed us to eat more rapidly and rest. Wifi is free but practically useless. Please do not expect to do anything other than download email. Some sucked up the entire bandwidth by trying to update pictures or get on Skype. They were unsuccessful and no one could even get email while they tried. Xpedition provides all of the snorkel gear but we took prescription dive masks and dry top snorkels. In November the water was cool but neither of us needed the wetsuits, even though my spouse is cool-natured. The weather would have permitted shorts and short sleeves on each excursion but we opted for long sleeves and pants on most excursions for the sun and bug protection. Take your sunscreen and bug wipes. Practice photo etiquette, when you have taken your picture, move so others can get a picture too. We always travel only with carry-ons so adapting to the 44 pound limit and one suitcase/one carry-on were no problem. We took binoculars since the ship binocs are the same cheap ones on all Celebrity cruises. I chose to wear water shoes for the wet landings and change into hiking boots. There was plenty of time to do so. Many wore keens sandels so they did not have to change but seemed to have trouble with rocks and sand in their shoes as we hiked. We needed our light rain jackets several times. The laundry service on board was relatively inexpensive compared to most hotels and cruises. The laundry was returned same day even if you did not check the same day surcharge. We chose to hand wash items each evening since they dried easily on the balcony or in front of the fan. We had read of numerous tummy issues from those eating in the highlands on the last excursion day. We also had individuals report problems who ate there so were glad we had chosen to return to the ship for lunch. Disembrakation is long and cumbersome. Two hours in the Discovery lounge between leaving the room and leaving the ship. I know they are busy preparing the ship but it would seem to be a good time for a Galapagos movie, or showing more pictures. Then two hours at the Baltra airport before boarding the Celebrity Avianca charter. Transfers to and through the airport again were seemless thanks to Celebrity logistics. The indigenous market in Quito was MUCH cheaper than the two shopping options on the Islands. Shopkeepers on the Islands have the added expense of shipping everything to them. If you see a Galapagos branded item you love on the Islands, get it. If you want some generic Galapagos branded items, get them in the Quito market. All of your generic clothing, jewelry, blankets etc, are cheaper in Quito. It is not cliche in this instance to define Galapagos on board Xpedition as the trip of a lifetime. Do not hesitate to book it. And do so while you are young and healthy enough to enjoy the strenuous but exhilerating daily options. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
For those looking for a standard cruise this would not be your thing although Celebrity does its best to bring a lot of its standard cruise feature to this ship. For those looking for an amazing adventure with an up close and personal ... Read More
For those looking for a standard cruise this would not be your thing although Celebrity does its best to bring a lot of its standard cruise feature to this ship. For those looking for an amazing adventure with an up close and personal look of an amazing place this is an adventure one will love. Here are some of the basics: Excursions: Are great and lead by amazing naturalists who know so much about what you are seeing. They are great guides and amazing sources of information. Each day there are two excursions. There is a long and a short excursion neither require tons of stamina but many require good agility as you walk on rocks or lava. However I was with my mom who has very little agility and she loved the cruise because they would have a last zodiac super short excursion so that those who wanted to see and didn't have the physical resources got at least a good taste of the site but seeing at least the area around the landing and the zodiac. Tip: While with the longer excursions which I took many clamored for the first zodiac I usually waited for the last and was rewarded with a smaller group [max is 16 so its never big] and some extra time seeing the wildlife in the sea from the zodiac. If you are into seeing the Galapagos and the wildlife this is why you are on this adventure and you won't be disappointed. Dining: I new we weren't getting full cruise service in eating but in reality we got pretty close. The Dinner menu looked like a typical MDR menu on a Celebrity Cruise but imo was better because it included local Ecuadorian dishes every night. There are no snacks outside of little stuff when you get back from an excursion and a cookie jar so skipping meals isn't recommended unless you know you won't want later. Entertainment: This isn't a cruise for entertainment. In fact while I saw a review where someone groaned of the go,go,go I actually found the opposite. On days where there isn't an extra snorkeling activity, there is very little going on between the time you get back from your morning excursion at around 10:30 and you start the afternoon one at 3:30. The lounge area is great and the bar staff is supreme. The bar staff also makes lots of great coffee drinks. Not being a big alcohol drinker I enjoyed them making the coffee drinks. Also as someone who doesn't like Martini's discovered one I do like Chocolate Martini Rooms: Nicer then I expected but would say pretty standard for a normal cruise. Was on the 4th level which I would recommend. Ideal location but more importantly there is air conditioning problems on the 3rd level. These seem to be handled by noisy ice fans that act as defacto air conditioners but I would avoid the 3rd level if you can. You do get noise from the anchor sometimes late at night as other mentioned but you just go with it imo. In our room the nice size window was kind of worthless as it was very dirty with a dark streak on the middle. I am sure this is in large part because unlike other cruise ships this ship never docs so clearly the windows weren't cleaned on the outside very often. Not once on our trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Galapagos was on our bucket list. We booked this trip 19 months prior. This was trip B. We did the 10 day, which included 2 nights in Quito pre cruise and one night post cruise. Quito was OK but not anything to look forward to. Yes, we ... Read More
Galapagos was on our bucket list. We booked this trip 19 months prior. This was trip B. We did the 10 day, which included 2 nights in Quito pre cruise and one night post cruise. Quito was OK but not anything to look forward to. Yes, we straddled the equator. The good thing about staying at the JW Marriott in Quito pre cruise was the chance the meet many of the other passengers. The hotel was very nice but it is an hour away from the airport. We are Celebrity Elite members and they did not disappoint. From the airport greeter to the time we were on our way home, the service was top notch. It was great not having to worry about luggage. It would show up in our hotel room and in our stateroom on the ship. No problem. Our boarding passes for our flights to and from Baltra were taken care of. Even the flights, Avianca to Baltra and Air Gal from Baltra were good. Really good food with tableclothes and real utensils. As far as the cruise, Xpedition did not disappoint. We had a deluxe stateroom on deck 3 and it was fine. Yes, it's smaller than the big ships. We had the beds separated so we could have the nightstand between the beds. There is plenty of storage with his and her closets. The bathrooms had vanity space with a shelf underneath. The shower was good with a glass door. The room was quiet. The bed was small but comfortable. The only bad thing were the pillows. They were very thin so we requested more. No problem. When we walked into our cabin, there was a bottle of champagne and a note giving us a free massage (for each of us) as an Elite perk. We were also invited to a Captain's cocktail party a few days later. The massages were good and the party was a good chance to meet the officers. We became very friendly with 4 other couples so 10 of us usually signed up for the same excursions. We also ate dinner together. We had the same table every night almost like it was reserved for us. The food and drink on Xpedition were good, not outstanding, but certainly acceptable. If you wanted something different, all you had to do was ask. The excursions are why we (and everyone else) booked this trip. All I can say is "Wow!" We did most of the "strenuous" excursions and had no problem, although the walk up 380 steps was a little tough, especially that middle part. Oh, we are 66 and 70 years old. The walk on the lava fields was incredible. On the other islands, being up close and personal with the sea lions, penguins, frigates, and boobies took our breath away. We also did the deep water snorkeling. First one was easy. The second one, the sea was very choppy but still saw plenty of fish, penguins. The wet suit kept us warm. The Interpretation Center could have been missed. The Darwin Center was OK because we saw the tortoises. We did the tree planting. Walked in mud (they give you boots) to plant 2 trees. We figured, why not! Then buffet lunch (and show) where all the giant tortoises are. We walked around with the naturalists and saw a lot of them. We were able to take many pictures standing about 8 feet back. Oh, the Zodiac rides were fun. Sometimes you got wet, depending on where you were sitting. Everyone laughed. It was a great group. The bad part was leaving. We had to leave our staterooms at 8am. We had breakfast and went to the Discovery Lounge. At 9:30, we were given our boarding passes for the flight to Quito. At 10am, disembarkation began. By 10:45 we were in the Baltra airport. The flight was supposed to leave at noon but didn't leave until 12:50 (1:50 Quito time), so that's a long time to wait. They did have some food and juice. Two hour flight, then a bus trip back to the JW Marriott. Then a 6pm shopping trip which lasted for 45 minutes. Then our group had dinner at La Hacienda, one of the hotel restaurants. Fixed menu for Celebrity guests. It was pretty good. The next morning, after breakfast, bus ride back to the airport for our flight home. The benefit of a small ship was getting to know most of the other passengers. There were some kids on board, maybe 10 of them, but very well behaved. Everyone smiled and said Hello. After this, it will be very hard traveling on the bigger ships. This was so special! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
In the interest of full disclosure, my wife and I are not big cruisers. We travel extensively, but have only done a few cruises. Generally, we find them underwhelming. Celebrity's Xpedition in the Galapagos is an exception and ... Read More
In the interest of full disclosure, my wife and I are not big cruisers. We travel extensively, but have only done a few cruises. Generally, we find them underwhelming. Celebrity's Xpedition in the Galapagos is an exception and we would do this trip again in a heartbeat. In a word it was fantastic and crushed all of our other cruise experiences. You will not find a better way to see the flora and fauna of this unique part of the world. The staff, Zodiac drivers, and naturalists see to that. I knew we would get up close and personal with animals, but never in our wildest dreams did we think it would be this close. How many times do you have to zoom OUT to get pictures of animals? Never, but in the Galapagos - yeah, you do. This is, of course, your reason to go and you must go. If this isn't on your bucket list, add the Galapagos today and I don't see how anybody could handle making that check mark any better than the Xpedition. If you've read my TA reviews, you know I will always highlight any negatives - but for this trip there just isn't much to say. However, here a couple of things that are worth noting. First, this is an older small (by cruise standards) ship. You will feel rough seas - even at anchor. Speaking of which, our cabin was all the way forward and the anchor chain makes quite a racket going in and out. There is no casino, no formal night and no "show time." The Xpedition is not your typical cruise ship - she is 100% geared to exploration of the islands. As she should be! Now, much of that exploration requires physical activity - snorkeling and hiking especially. But anyone of reasonable physical condition should have no problems, just plan in advance: dress appropriately (the naturalists give great advice), stay hydrated, and watch your alcohol intake. Which brings me to another point, this trip is true "all-inclusive" - alcohol too. It was great for us, but the non-drinkers do wind up subsidizing folks like me. If I was Celebrity, I might consider alcohol, pay as you go. Cabins are small, but adequate. We had an upgrade, but not a balcony. Some said their balcony was worth it - others said they spent so little time on board it was a waste. Also keep in mind with less than 100 passengers, you will get to know most everybody. For us this was a big plus. Food was very good by cruise standards, but don't expect round the clock buffets. Thank goodness! Three big meals each day are plenty. You are there to experience what cannot be seen anywhere else on earth. Celebrity has provided an outstanding way to make that happen. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
The Xpedition Sales Team is grossly uninformed and a number of Xpedition Passengers concurred that the information provided prior to departure from U.S. is very sparse and this team is not incentivized to provide helpful information to the ... Read More
The Xpedition Sales Team is grossly uninformed and a number of Xpedition Passengers concurred that the information provided prior to departure from U.S. is very sparse and this team is not incentivized to provide helpful information to the booked Passengers (or even prior to booking). Two nights in Quito prior to embarking aboard the Celebrity Xpedition was a waste of time and money. The J.W. Marriott in Quito is an hour's drive from the Quito Airport and has management and maintenance problems. They seem to live off the guaranteed rooms from Celebrity each weekend and have no concern for their guests. Then you have the hour's drive back to the Quito Airport for the charter flight to Baltra. The charter flight from Quito to Baltra is nice and embarkation process is reasonable. From the Baltra Airport you board a bus to the zodiac "station" and ride to the Xpedition. Once aboard a staff member escorts you to your cabin. Ours had not been serviced properly but improved after it was reported. The Chief Purser and Head of Food Operations were especially helpful and friendly and anxious to please. Expect to hear the anchor going out and coming up from all over the ship once or twice daily - since it is such a small ship. Also because it is so small the Xpedition rocks side to side when anchored. In order to be allowed to sail in the Galapagos the Xpedition (as do National Geographic and Silver Sea) must employ all Ecuadorian staff as well as use Ecuadorian food. Do not expect meals being available throughout the day as on other cruises. The main purpose of this cruise is to see the Galapagos Islands - not to eat or have any "free/rest time". There is a short window of time for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No extra places to get snacks, etc. as on other cruise ships. if you do not drink alcohol you will find this cruise over-priced because you are subsidizing the "unlimited" alcohol for everyone else. It would be nice if Celebrity would have a price option for passengers who do not drink alcohol. There are two excursions daily (none on Embarkation Day nor on Disembarkation Day). There is a morning excursion and another in the afternoon. Each evening prior to dinner there is a "lecture" to provide information to allow you to choose your excursion choices for the next day. The sales pitch by the Cruise Director to pressure Passengers to make $$ contributions to the Galapagos Fund - as well as pressure to plant trees is inappropriate and insulting in my opinion. A Naturalist accompanies each group on each excursion and they are the best asset Celebrity has for this cruise. Observing the mating rituals of Albatross, juvenile Sea Lions, Marine Iguanas, Land Iguanas, Penguins, Giant Land Tortoises- as well as the snorkeling are fantastic. The animal encounters are the absolute best part. The Machu Picchu extension (after the cruise) was "OK". First of all, Celebrity chooses flights which make you arrive into Lima late on Disembarkation Day and then you have about an hour's drive to your Hotel. Then after arriving late at the Country Club Hotel in Lima, you must get up very early for an early departure right back to the Lima Airport to fly to Cusco the following morning. Once in Cusco, the 11,500 foot altitude is very apparent so you must take things slowly to avoid altitude sickness. Several people in our group required oxygen and most had headaches from the altitude. Drink lots of water which helps. The unfortunate thing is that Celebrity subs to an Agency in Lima to handle the Passengers - and they do not require the hotels to have our rooms ready upon arrival. The disorganization of the Lima Agency was apparent throughout the Machu Picchu excursion. Flights were changed to earlier than planned so you have little sleep. The restaurant for Dinner in Cusco was a big disappointment - service was awful and food similar. The Hotel Monasterio in Cusco is a 5 Star and the lunch and dinner there were good. However, the housekeeping is no where near what a 5 Star should be. The Hiram Bingham Train from Cusco to Machu Picchu was very nice - one of the highlights of the entire trip. Take in all the scenery on the morning trip to Machu Picchu because it will be dark almost all the way of the return. Machu Picchu did not disappoint. Be prepared for a lot of climbing - no bathrooms once you leave the train station. Only go on this if you want constant exercise and no "free time" and if you REALLY want to see the animals and Machu Picchu. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
From the moment we arrived it was like clock work, everything was in order and very organized, ship shape . The Grace is everything you would imagine, its beauty and charm made each day after a long hiking or swim a pleasurable sanctuary ... Read More
From the moment we arrived it was like clock work, everything was in order and very organized, ship shape . The Grace is everything you would imagine, its beauty and charm made each day after a long hiking or swim a pleasurable sanctuary to return too. Our Cruise Director Debra was so amazing and was always looking after everyone on the ship. The food was very good, and many choices to be had. Our stateroom was small but efficient the bathrooms were very nice and roomy. Each day there were many excursions usually two after breakfast and one late afternoon before dinner. There were two naturalist guides , Alex and Gilda, both extremely knowledgeable . I preferred Gilda because she was very sweet and kind to me . I tended to stay away from Alex , for some reason he was always reprimanding me and making me feel bad, so in order to not ruin the already wonderful trip i stayed away from him. Other then that, i did enjoy the trip and hope to someday come back and do the other half on the galapagos and maybe try the Evolution to compare. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015

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