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.
Room 500 was very quiet. As a newly added room, it is separated by thick bulkheads from the other suites forward as well as from the Deck 5 grill immediately aft of the room. The door is heavy too. We requested a fan to keep the air moving and were comfortable all day and all night. Keeping the curtains closed in the heat of the day made a big difference. As noted in other posts the motion of the ship is dramatic but the doors and drawers stayed closed.
The room is probably a third larger than any of the other 5th floor suites I peeked in the final morning. Howver, the balcony in 500 is much smaller than other XSuites, about 6.5 feet by 3 feet. We faced the chairs and put the desk chair between us to prop our feet on. It was enough for our needs and great for drying clothes. We also watched a lot of wildlife from there, as well as the cruises by Daphne and Kicker Rock.
I peeked in the deck 3 rooms as well. We would have been comfortable in any of those rooms, though a tad more crowded. The balcony is great but do not hesitate to take a 3rd floor room.
As has been noted in other posts, the room is not the primary focus of the outstanding adventure that is the Galapagos.