The ship's main Darwin Dining Room on Deck 3 is long and fairly narrow with large six-to-eight-seat tables, semi-couchette seating and crisp cream and navy decor. Buffets are offered at breakfast (when eggs and omelettes can be cooked to order), offering everything from muesli for the health conscious to light-as-air croissants for the hedonistic. Lunchtime fare includes a range of salads, freshly baked bread, roast chicken and excellent grilled fish.
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In the evening, traditional Celebrity five-course dinners are served, though on the inaugural cruise, problems with supplies and the quality of available meat made standards variable. As a result, tasty cream soups, crisp salads and delicious asparagus risottos made some mealtimes a treat; others were marred by tough, inferior cuts of beef from local suppliers -- prompting Celebrity to arrange shipments of meat products from the U.S. on future sailings.
On this style of cruise, though, formal dining is something of an irrelevance; with two tours offered a day and so much to do and see ashore a simpler, shorter evening meal, or an alternative deck barbecue, may prove to be a better option.
The last-night barbecue served on Decks 4 and 5 was beautifully served and proved very popular; tables were prettily set with snowy tablecloths and fine china; there was a good selection of salads, baked potatoes and barbecued ribs, chops, fish and chicken pieces; the wine service was prompt and attentive and -- best of all -- we got to dine beneath the starry Galapagos sky.
The Beagle Grill, an alternative eatery, is open daily for burger and hot dog lunches, with freshly cooked pizza and crisp salads; a decent spread of puddings is available at the Darwin buffet one deck down.
In the early evening, fresh fruit and cold juices are served to guests returning from afternoon trips ashore, and savory nibbles are provided in the Discovery Lounge and the outdoor bar on Deck 5, but some guests -- ravenous after snorkeling excursions -- remarked that they'd like to see more substantial snacks available at this time.
Room service is prompt and reliable. In theory you can have dishes from the main restaurant delivered to your cabin in the evenings, but we found a simple toasted sandwich with a side order of crisp fresh fries fit the bill perfectly well and freed up the evening for relaxation.
And staff were very obliging about bringing a staggered order of fresh-baked cookies and ice cream with coffee half an hour after the main course!
Celebrity Xpedition Ship Stats
- Crew: 64
- Launched: 2001
- Decks: 6
- Passengers: 98
- Registry: Ecuador