Celebrity Xpedition and Galapagos Islands
Our adventure began with 4 flights, glasgow/London/Miami/Quito/Baltra and two over nights. Miami overnight was in the Hilton at the airport. Okay hotel but we did not see much. The hotel in Quito was a traditional Ecuadorian hotel. We were not that interested in going into the City of Quito so stayed here. We very traditional and family owned and I will post photos. We did all the flights ourselves rather than through Celebrity or our Travel agent. Saved about £1000. We knew it was a risk if any flights were delayed but figured the money we saved we would have been able to get to the cruise.
We arrived at Baltra where the Celebrity folks were waiting for us. All our luggage was taken from us then and did not see it until on the ship. You get on and off the Ship via Zodiacs(large dinghy’s) and this is how you get on at the dock at Baltra. The ship is small with only 100 passengers and about 66 crew. As usual with Celebrity all the usual drink when you get on board. We had the usual drill before sailaway and then on the to matter in hand….The Galapagos islands.
Each evening we had a talk from the Cruise Director about what adventures lay ahead and how long each one would take. They told us what wildlife we would see on each part of the island. We then had to sign up for which trip we wanted to do. We both did the same ones except a time that Ian snorkeled(I don’t). Each island is different in many ways. My favourite was Gardner Bay. The sand was the most beautiful I have ever seen and the sealions and iguanas were just sunbathing on the beach with not a care in the world. The most interesting was Punta Morena which was just LAVA that we walked on but every now and then you would find wildlife and also the odd mangrove of trees growing in the hard rock lava. One of the pictures I will put on is a small flower just growing randomly on its own. Nature is amazing.
This cruise was different in lots of ways. The food was fantastic as usual, but not 24 hour(good thing) Everything was included, drinks, food, trips and internet, so the only bill we had was for a couple of hats we bought in the shop, however we did win a couple of hats in the crossword competition, so although the initial cost is high we did not pay for anything else but our gifts. Most lunch times we ate out the back of the ship(we spent a lot of time there). The had a grill there with burgers etc, we did not eat in the dining room for lunch at all(we needed the sunshine). One day they had a proper BBQ with local fish and lobster(taste different on a BBQ) After dinner they did some events going on but as it is a very intense day(hikes for 2 hours twice a day makes you tired) so most folks were in bed reasonably early. But I did go to a couple of the night events, mainly the crossing of the Equator, which they gave us a certificate to say we had crossed the equator on Celebrity Xpedition and also I sang badly at the Karaoke night, but hey I wont see these folks again. The majority of them were from USA and the majority of them were from a group from Chicago(49) We met some great people.
The Crew on the ship were mainly Ecaudorian as this is part of the rules that Celebrity need to adhere to as it is a national park. The Naturalists who guided all the tours were all born in the Galapagos as was the cruise director. They are so passionate and knowledgeable about their jobs and the part they play in promoting the islands. One on the the little trips we had in the zodiacs there were only 4 of us and the guide and zodiac driver(just as passionate) and we seen baby sealion pups. The girls we had was just as excited to see them as we were and it was the first thing she told the crew when we got back to the ship. All in all it was the most amazing trip ever and I don’t think we will ever have a trip like it again. If you ever get the opportunity to do this it will be worth every penny and effort to get to the most amazing place on earth.
The cabin was medium size, but to be honest we were only sleeping here. There were lots of different plug points which for us was great as we had lots of chargers for cameras etc. Kept clean and tidy by the housekeeping staff