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4 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
My husband and I were privileged to be able to cruise both the inner and outer loops of the Galápagos Islands in January. I thought it would be great to figure out which loop was better, but I really can’t say. Weather and ... Read More
My husband and I were privileged to be able to cruise both the inner and outer loops of the Galápagos Islands in January. I thought it would be great to figure out which loop was better, but I really can’t say. Weather and time of year can greatly affect what you see and do on the islands. All tours on the islands are limited to groups of 16 with one licensed naturalist. As far as snorkeling, we didn’t do the advanced deep water, but were told by passengers who did, that Espinoza Point, Fernandina Island was amazing, swimming with sea lions and hundreds of sea turtles. (In the Galápagos it was mating and breeding season for the turtles.) The rainy season which usually starts in December hadn’t begun, so the trees were barren and the landscape looked like a desert. We were extremely lucky to see a juvenile albatross, stretching and flapping its wings in preparation to learn to fly. Usually by January this species has migrated and isn’t seen in the islands. We really enjoyed watching birds such as the Nascar booby and the frigatebird with their chicks. Although we saw several blue footed boobies on the outer loop, we were told by our naturalist that the red footed booby was only on San Cristobal Island, and unfortunately that day the ocean was quite rough, so the driver of our zodiac couldn’t get very close to shore. Only saw the red footed booby from a great distance. However we did see orcas (killer whales) jumping out of the water. If you do both inner and outer loops, Sunday and the following Saturday have the same itinerary. Sunday you will embark and the ship will sail around Baltra. Then on Saturday you will visit the Charles Darwin Center Giant Tortoise breeding Center in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island and later take a bus ride to the highlands to plant scalesia trees. Afterwards an Ecuadorian buffet lunch at the Manzanillo Ranch was quite tasty. After eating we really enjoyed native folk dancing by young locals. Then we went out on the preserve to watch giant tortoises in their native surroundings. A great day, but not something we wanted to do twice. So the second Saturday morning, I had a relaxing massage on ship. Quite interesting--the room was a little bigger than a walk in closet, and the air conditioning blew cold air right on me, but it was relaxing. Then Monica, the head naturalist, took us to the island where we drove to the highlands skipping the tree planting, and eating lunch at the ranch. I loved the folk dancers and was glad we could see them perform twice. I have lots of tips about the Galápagos cruises which are in the review I did on the inner loop. If you have already read it, you can skip the rest of what I have written in this review. 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! Read Less
2 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 ... 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
37 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, ... 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
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
After exploring options to stay on one of the islands and book all of the travel to and around the Galápagos Islands on our own, we quickly realized the challenges of arranging such an itinerary. Given our previous fantastic ... Read More
After exploring options to stay on one of the islands and book all of the travel to and around the Galápagos Islands on our own, we quickly realized the challenges of arranging such an itinerary. Given our previous fantastic experiences with Celebrity, we looked into their three ships that cruise the Galapagos and decided the 98-passenger size of the Xpedition was the best bet for us. Once we decided on the cruise, we looked into booking our own air travel. However, based on previous reviews that worried us about flight delays and missing the ship, we opted to book the airfare (Copa) and extended stay before and after in Quito through Celebrity. We're so glad we did. Celebrity is extremely organized and handles every detail from when you land in Quito to when you depart to return home. Our stay in Quito before the cruise was interesting...toured the city, old cathedrals, the equator, etc. The JW Marriott was surprisingly beautiful with very spacious rooms. Because we booked a suite (Cabin 604) on the Xpedition, we received a junior suite at the hotel as well. Although the Celebrity-chartered Avianca flight was delayed from Quito to the Galapagos, Celebrity let us know in advance so we could sleep in. Once we arrived in the Galapagos, we were amazed at the varied topography and weather of the different islands, and of course the wildlife! We still can't believe how many sea lions, tortoises, dolphins, sharks, penguins, albatross, iguanas, sea turtles, etc we saw. Absolutely breathtaking. While the Xpedition is a bit dated and will be replaced with the Flora in a year or two, the ship is clean and comfortable and met our expectations. The food was very good and the service was impeccable. The crew seemed to genuinely want to make the guests happy -- and they succeeded! Our room was cleaned three times a day, which was appreciated since we showered at least twice a day. The excursions were perfectly organized and the naturalist guides were impressively knowledgeable and all had a good sense of humor. We really appreciated that the Xpedition had a doctor on board, as both my husband and I had to consult her about minor issues. We would definitely recommend this cruise if you do not have significant mobility issues. We are in our mid 40s and were probably among the youngest couples on the ship. Although Celebrity offers long and short hikes each day (we did all long hikes) and you would still see a lot if you did the short walks each day, you do have to be able to get into and out of the zodiac/panga in some tricky places. We didn't hear of anyone falling, but it could certainly happen if you have mobility issues. The highlight for us was the snorkeling excursions - two from beaches and three in deep water from the zodiacs. We saw an incredible amount of sea creatures and are thrilled with our Go Pro videos. If you are not equipped to snorkel (at least from the beaches), you would probably feel like you were missing out. The shortie wetsuits provided by Celebrity gave a lot of buoyancy so a lot of first time snorkels were able to join in. This was the smallest cruise we've done, and we were a little worried it would be too small with only 98 passengers -- but we ended up loving it. We quickly made great friends and often met for lunch or dinner. Other reviews mention packing tips... in addition to plenty of sunscreen and dry fit clothing, etc., we would recommend the following items: a multi plug to charge your camera, phones etc; snorkel/scuba socks and gloves; water shoes; an old iPod or cd for music in your cabin; lotion (all other toiletries were provided); alarm clock; and a sporty wrist watch. Don't expect to get much if any wifi on board, so we wished we had brought books to read. If you're looking for a great way to see the amazing Galápagos Islands and are up for an adventurous vacation, please don't hesitate to book this trip! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I did this cruise several years ago and because of the adventure, the service on board the Celebrity Expedition I wanted to do it again and I loved it again. Each passenger get personal service from the crew, each day is filled with ... Read More
I did this cruise several years ago and because of the adventure, the service on board the Celebrity Expedition I wanted to do it again and I loved it again. Each passenger get personal service from the crew, each day is filled with rides to see the animals and birds and fish that are indigenous to the Galapagos islands. The food on board was a great mixture of International cuisine and local foods of Ecuador and its all inclusive! We cruised up to very small Galapagos penguins you could almost reach out and touch them. Beautiful Frigate birds wither large red "chins" flew over us is masses. My favorite of the birds is the Blue Footed Booby with its baby blu feet! And the sea lions with their pups on the rocks and the beaches were so cute. And the best of all were seeing the giant tortoises in their natural habitat from the smallest to the largest some over 100 years old. All pretty hard to not give this a 10 plus on the vacation list Put this cruise on your "Bucket List" The 10 day adventure is the best with a couple of extra days to see Quito, Equador and 7 days in the islands and did I say all inclusive ? You won't regret it! Read Less
2 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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We just came back from our trip to the Galapagos Islands on Celebrities Xpedition and I loved every minute of it. I have traveled with Celebrity many times and their crew is always polite and have a smile on their face. However on this ... Read More
We just came back from our trip to the Galapagos Islands on Celebrities Xpedition and I loved every minute of it. I have traveled with Celebrity many times and their crew is always polite and have a smile on their face. However on this ship the crew is truly a happy group, when they smile it goes right to their eyes. They are extremely helpful and really intent on making sure everything is the way you want it. Food is good and they really try to give you different options but the menu has a lot of Galapagos foods. The naturalist that were on the board with us was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. Unfortunately I started the cruise with asthma problems and the altitude in Quito made it very difficult breathing and I couldn't do the hikes but they made sure there was something for me to see and do. The main thing that I don't think you would get with another cruise line is that they really seriously care about their clients. My husband hurt his back really bad to where he couldn't move or feel his right leg. The doctor on board the ship sent him off ship to hospital in Santa Cruz. Celebrity made all arrangements to get him there, while we were there they never left us alone, after several hours and the staff had to go back to the boat they contacted a translator to be with us in the hospital the whole time. From there they made hotel arrangements and private transportation the whole time till we got on the plane home. I am so grateful for all the help they gave us during this trying time but also for the amazing time we had all week. It was a blast. I will say the weather was perfect for hiking but the water is very cold ...... but it was amazing.. Worth every penny we spent for this trip. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
A trip to the Galapagos is very expensive . We booked for September as we also went to Peru and Machu Pichu. The weather in peru was great but even though its on the equator, the Galapogos in Septemebr was no better that a decent UK ... Read More
A trip to the Galapagos is very expensive . We booked for September as we also went to Peru and Machu Pichu. The weather in peru was great but even though its on the equator, the Galapogos in Septemebr was no better that a decent UK summer and sometimes the snorkelling was chilly. We selected this ship, which is quite big ( holding 48 maximum) as in the week we were there, it fitted ion with our dates. This trip was amazing and made special by the naturalists and guides. This is more of an expedition than a cruise> the guides were superb. Their interest and enthusiasm made the trip interesting and each day a new wonder. There were only 22 of us , and room for 48 and staff of nearly 50 to look after us. Great care was taken of us at all times, especially when we all snorkeled, which was nearly every day. The equipment was excellent and when the waters were "envigorating" we could wear 2 wet suits. You would think that lions and elephants are more interesting that birds and iguanas- but not when you have simply superb guides explaining all about them and Darwins discoveries in the area. Although the food was always of excellent quality, there was a "school dinners" feel to it as you went and collected your meal which was served from large dishes. Im not saying that the food wasn't good, it was, chicken fish fresh vegetables etc ( lobster of course on the last night) however I was expecting the food to be more what i expected from a Carnival trip. It may be of course similar to other ships in the area- lack of space, perhaps. With three, sometimes four trips to walk, kayak,or snorkel every day, there is not so much time on the ship. This cruise was number one on my wish list and it was very expensive. It lived up to my expectations. I would much rather have the inspiring and wonderful guides, more that perfect silver service food, but maybe this could have been tweeked ! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
The Celebrity Cruise line did a fabulous job organizing all the events that took place from the airport in Quito, excursions around Quito, hotel arrangements at the JW Marriott, transportation to the Hotel and transportation to Baltra. ... Read More
The Celebrity Cruise line did a fabulous job organizing all the events that took place from the airport in Quito, excursions around Quito, hotel arrangements at the JW Marriott, transportation to the Hotel and transportation to Baltra. Organization was top notch and guides were well spoken and helpful. The cruise ship was kept tidy with the assistance of excellent cabin stewards that cleaned our rooms after every excursion and worked relentlessly. The ship dining room and most facilities were well maintained. Our upgraded cabin was not as well kept as I would have liked to see, given the extreme expense of having a suite. I realize the cruise line must utilize all the cabins to make money, but areas where tiles are chipped and toilet seats appear melted are not what I expect when traveling at such a "huge" expense. My sons" "standard" cabin appeared to be more up dated and refurbished. The beds are also not of the caliber I would expect at this price point. Again, I am grateful that the stewards and various other deckhands worked seamlessly to provide updated and clean conditions in the common areas of the ship. The service was stellar and the Naturalists seemed very excited about the tours they were leading and provided excellent information regarding conservation practices in the Galapagos.The Cruise Director worked to keep the cruisers engaged. The pre- cruise package/tour and cruise around the islands and excursions were all excellent, just a bit disappointed with the overall quality of our cabin accommodations for the price point. I commend the staff and the Zodiac operators for making safety a priority and that comes down from the Captain as well as Celebrity. 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 4.9
Value For Money 3.0 4.6
Rates 5.0 4.5

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