We chose this ship as it was relatively small. 48 maximum.
We flew to Baltra from Quito and landed at 9 am. We were met from the plane and put in a private waiting area where we were given soft drinks and snacks. We then realised there ... Read More
We chose this ship as it was relatively small. 48 maximum.
We flew to Baltra from Quito and landed at 9 am. We were met from the plane and put in a private waiting area where we were given soft drinks and snacks. We then realised there were only a handful of us waiting. We were told after two hours the main plane load had been delayed and wouldn’t arrive till late afternoon. We were in effect trapped in an airport lounge.
We understood the ship was anchored there. Eventually, at about 11.30 we all begged to at least go and wait on the ship. We were then taken to the ship for lunch and a delightful zodiac trip.
The ship was very ‘tired’ in appearance due to it very shortly being due to be decommissioned . There was a lovely al fresco dining area on the fourth floor and an indoor dining room on the third floor. A communal seating area and a functional lounge.
Wifi doesn’t exist except when you are near Santa Cruz. The crew can tell you when you are likely to pick up a signal.
We have an elite stateroom . This was a slightly largely cabin, with windows and away from engine noise and heat. It was acceptable but again tired. The blinds hung off the window, the television didn’t work, the towels were like sand paper ! But we slept well and had a view which the lower cabins didn’t have.
The food was good. A varied selection. It was nice that everyone moved around and sat with different people each meal time. Water was available all the time. Any drinks could be asked for at anytime. Tea and coffee were always available in the reception.
Days were busy and active for us. At some point in the evening we were told the options for the next day. Usually a long or short walk, a snorkel swim or canoe trip or a zodiac ride. Back for lunch and then similar routine for the afternoon. It was essential to book your options as you left the lounge.
An electronic screen showed in the reception area and on the TV in your bedroom to remind you of times, suitable footwear etc. Whether this was a wet or dry landing etc.
We always did the long walk and snorkels so can’t comment on other activities.
The equipment was in excellent order. You selected mask and snorkel, flippers, wet suit and a bag and kept this all week on a numbered peg outside on the deck. Towels were provided clean each day.
These activities were wonderful. The knowledge of the guides was exceptional. They led the groups with confidence. Groups never bigger than 8.
We felt the activities tailed off on Thursday so the equipment could be washed for the new arrivals on Friday.
We would have liked another snorkel expedition on Friday instead of a giant tortoise farm which we didn’t enjoy.
The naturalists were exceptional.very knowledgable, patient and kind. Read Less
The Galapagos has been top of our wish list for some time and it is the only trip which would persuade me to take to the water! However, I must say that the cruise experience was very enjoyable - albeit the ship was small and by no means a ... Read More
The Galapagos has been top of our wish list for some time and it is the only trip which would persuade me to take to the water! However, I must say that the cruise experience was very enjoyable - albeit the ship was small and by no means a luxury liner.
My only criticism is that information about the cruise was lacking beforehand. Celebrity Cruises are clearly all about luxury cruises and much of the information we received by email didn’t apply to our trip and only served to confuse us non-cruising people! Our agent was as helpful as she could be, but didn’t seem to have access to specifics - not her fault I think. We were definitely told that the flight from Quito to Galapagos was non stop and chartered - it wasn’t. The flight home from Quito to Amsterdam wasn’t either. The instruction booklet which arrived shortly before we set out did not really allow enough time for us to equip as we would have liked - we live a long way from joined-up shops!
Enough of that - this was the trip of a lifetime.
The city guide in Quito (Diana P) was extremely well prepared and was good company. The volcanic landscape is dramatic and Quito was fun, with a great vibe as we walked through the streets. The hotel (Marriott) was pleasant and comfortable.
The number on our expedition was just about right - 40 people and one naturalist per ten guests. The company was good. We were the only Brits among our Canadian and US friends but we really enjoyed the diversity of conversation and experiences.
The planning of the wildlife cruise was second to none. Every day we saw different species in peaceful locations. It was like stepping into another world. Each night, the briefing would say ‘if we are lucky, we will see a, b, and c’. We were very lucky! The only omission was a volcanic eruption and I do understand those things are hard to plan.
If, like us, you only have one go at the Galapagos, this is definitely the cruise to choose. Read Less
My family and I just returned from our seven day cruise in the Galapagos. It was honestly one of the best cruises we have ever done. The staff was spectacular learning everyone’s name by the end of the second day and some of the ... Read More
My family and I just returned from our seven day cruise in the Galapagos. It was honestly one of the best cruises we have ever done. The staff was spectacular learning everyone’s name by the end of the second day and some of the friendliest hardest working people I have ever met. The naturalists were outstanding. They knew everything from what type of bird that was or when that animal arrived to what we were going to see that day and why. The drivers of the zodiacs made transpiration easy and uneventful. The shore excursions were beautiful. We saw dozens of species of birds countless numbers of sea lions and iguanas and even got to see about three to four dozen land tortoises (the most iconic animal in the Galapagos). My family and I chose to do all of the snorkeling excursions (which I would recommend to do in order to see the most wildlife) and saw countless fish, turtles, sea lions, and even swam with sharks and penguins. Two of our naturalists Angel and Alex cake on every snorkeling trip and helped us see the most wildlife. The food was to die for (especially the chocolate cake) with so many options. For almost every meal there was a choice for vegetarians and also fish, chicken, and beef. There was always fresh fruit and vegetables, which was remarkeable since we were at sea for seven days. The common areas were very nice and clean and making friends with people in our free time was great because we all played cards together and laughed and told stories. The sun deck was great ezpecilaly with the hot tub. There’s a nice close line which allowed us to dry our clothing without having to use the laundry service. Another great thing was that before or after dinner each night there wasn’t a briefing for the next days activities. Everyday we were given two options on what we would like to do in the morning and two options on what we were going to do in the afternoon. After the options were explained to us and the wildlife that was expected to be seen on each option was given we then went to the naturalists and they checked our names off on the list for what option we chose. The choices for two options was nice since on our cruise we had older people who did not want to do long hikes everyday. Since they didn’t want to do long hikes there was always an option for a short hike or a zodiac ride so that everyone had an option which fit them best. Although my family did all of the longer options (which I would strongly recommend) the people that went on the shorter options always talked about how much they saw and how amazing it truly was. Overall this trip will was definitely one of the most memorable trips I have ever been on. Read Less
We sailed the Northern itinerary May 19-26 on Xperience. Definitely recommend a trip to the Galapagos - incredible wildlife and scenery. If I went again, I would look elsewhere than Celebrity. I had counted on Celebrity providing luxury ... Read More
We sailed the Northern itinerary May 19-26 on Xperience. Definitely recommend a trip to the Galapagos - incredible wildlife and scenery. If I went again, I would look elsewhere than Celebrity. I had counted on Celebrity providing luxury and everything top-notch, but didn't find this to be the case. It also was difficult to contact Celebrity by phone before the trip and get correct answers. Communication was lacking about what the ship truly had available or not available for guests.
Activities were primarily hiking or snorkelling. Celebrity promised to provide mask, snorkel, fins, wetsuit to guests. This equipment was of poor quality and there was not enough for everybody. This is inexcusable for a trip of a lifetime to see penguins, sea lions, etc in the water, and there was not enough masks, snorkel, fins for everyone to participate. At least 4 guests brought their own masks, so Xperience was way short on equipment. Masks and snorkels do break sometimes, so there should have been spares also. Snorkels were very poor; okay for pool, but not for deep water ocean. You were lucky if you got an appropriately-sized wetsuit; some guests were too small or way too big. They did provide snorkel vests, too (if they had enough!) I would definitely bring my own mask and snorkel. Many people ended up with sinus issues, so I'm not sure about the cleaning of snorkel equipment between guests.
Ladders on the zodiac boats were inadequate. 3 steps is not enough to easily get out of the water. I am a 5.5 woman, so it was next to impossible without some help from others in the water; even then, I have a mass of deep bruises on my legs from wrestling with that ladder. Many guys (who obviously are taller) still complained about the short ladder and difficulty in getting out of the water. Having inadequate ladders that are too short to use comfortably does not make things easy or stress-free for guests who are supposed to be enjoying their vacation. There is one zodiac that has 4 steps, but they don't tell you about that; I found out by accident after my legs are all bruised.
Binoculars are available, but they are small and cheap; bring your own. Hiking sticks are available, too.
Celebrity promises internet access on the ship. Internet connectivity happens pretty rarely if you happen to be trying to get on at exactly the right time. Celebrity should be honest about this and let people know that there is no guarantee and it's very sporadic. You should also let people know that the best way to contact family is through Messenger or What's App (which I did not have on my phone and could not download onboard).
The ship was nice; room was adequate with quite a bit of storage for its small size. We had Room 208 which was probably the worst room on the ship - very noisy with engine below us and some diesel smell; also ladder to zodiacs was right outside our window. The first night I got a splitting headache from the diesel smell; I mentioned this to the hotel manager, and he talked to the engineer. After that it was okay, but it would have been nice if they had offered to move us to another room as I believe there were only 42 on board.
Staff were great - all the naturalists were very informative; captain, managers, waitstaff were all friendly and helpful. Meals were mostly buffet style, but very well prepared and a nice variety offered. The bar on the back deck was scarcely staffed; if after 9 pm, you had to go into the kitchen to find somebody to make your drink; not exactly the all inclusive drink service that I expected.
This ship seemed tired and old; it was pretty rusted on the outside with a makeshift Xperience sign. The top deck was not cleaned up; there were always glasses and cups left there. Room attendant Salome was superb at keeping our room clean and tidy.
Hint: there is a nice booklet/trip log and a map that is kept in a drawer in the reception area (just below the TV that shows the schedule); just help yourself - they are nice to have. I have no idea why staff did not offer these, or even have them available in each stateroom.
There is a doctor on board which I don't believe Celebrity tells you about. She is accessible 24/7 for free, with free medications. Many on our sailing experienced diarrhea; she will give you some pills and Oralyte to drink. My advice is to get a prescription for traveler's diarrhea from your own doc to take with you.
We did the 10 night itinerary with 2 nights in Quito at the JW Marriott Hotel which is a gorgeous hotel; the rooms were huge and well appointed, beds and pillos very comfy; free breakfast buffet. Final night of trip spent there, too, and they offer you late check-out for a minimal fee if you have a late flight out. The city tour of Quito was excellent, except for the Equator visit; I expected to go to "mitad del mundo", but they took us to a quaint tourist trap place where they demonstrated the effect of the equator on water and such.
Overall, disappointed with Celebrity, but not disappointed with the Galapagos - these islands and their wildlife are incredible! Read Less
Brilliant and well organised activities every day.
Getting on and off the zodiacs was a lot of fun but after a few days it was really easy.
The Naturalists were fantastic,full of entertainment and fun as well as facts and ... Read More
Brilliant and well organised activities every day.
Getting on and off the zodiacs was a lot of fun but after a few days it was really easy.
The Naturalists were fantastic,full of entertainment and fun as well as facts and information.
The ship was good and with only 42 other guests we managed to talk to everyone else on board.
Cabin was spacious enough and had everything we needed.
It was well serviced each day and we never had to ask for anything at all.
Food was first rate.Lots of choices and always fresh and excellent quality.We were vegetarians and we were accommodated and well looked after.
The staff were truly great.They could not do enough for you.They managed to get to know your name quickly and anticipated your requirements too.
All ship staff were pleasant and happy to help with any requirement.
We walked.we swam,we hiked,we snorkelled and we took lots and lots of photographs each day.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this cruise to any nature lover.
Special word of praise for Dora ,the group leader,she made everything sing. Read Less
We escorted a group aboard Celebrity XPerience on the 10 day itinerary. The journey started with 2 days at the JW Marriott in Quito. Great hotel, with great service. It's about a 45 minute drive from the airport to the hotel. We ... Read More
We escorted a group aboard Celebrity XPerience on the 10 day itinerary. The journey started with 2 days at the JW Marriott in Quito. Great hotel, with great service. It's about a 45 minute drive from the airport to the hotel. We stayed there again on our last night and thought it may have been more convenient to stay at the Wyndham near the airport. I'm sure it's not of the same quality, but between the drive and check in for our 8:30am flight, we had to leave the hotel at 5am. Surprisingly the JW Marriott didn’t have turn down service. But everybody was very helpful. We were given roses on several occasions and they were beautiful with an amazing fragrance. The water is not drinkable so we were given bottled complementary water with every meal. We ate at The Hacienda, a very nice Steak Restaurant.
Celebrity has a staffed desk in the hotel, as does Silversea. The Celebrity staff provided us with BPA free plastic bottles to refill with water, to reduce plastic waste. Since we were there during Holy Week, we were told that our tour on (Good) Friday would be changed. Instead of going to the Colonial Quarter, we would go to the Botanical Gardens. The Colonial Quarter was closed for Easter processions. So we went on our own, the day we arrived, to explore the area. On Friday we took the tour with the Celebrity guides, visiting the volcanoes, Botanical garden, the “Winged Virgin Mary”, protector of the city, the Equator and other sites.
On Saturday it was finally time to go to the Galapagos. We flew on Avianca to Guayaquil and had a short stop over there. The flight was uneventful, but the flight attendants were among the nastiest we have ever experienced. Can’t say I would fly them again. The return flight was not much better.
Finally it was time to board the 48 passenger Celebrity XPerience. To be honest, all of us were disappointed in the condition of the ship. It is pretty “tired”. When I planned the cruise, I went by the assumption that Celebrity had refurbished the ship. If they did, I couldn’t tell. The pictures on the website are definitely “enhanced”. The staff, however, is amazing and did their ultimate to please everybody. The cabins are very clean and “functional”. For ecological reasons we were asked not to flush toilet paper. The shower curtain, was an irritant to us. Although the food was very good, all meals are served buffet style, which was another disappointment. We had 2 Vegetarians and one person on a Gluten Free diet and they were very happy with their choice of meals.
Every night we were presented with the next day's itinerary n the Lounge. It was then posted on the TV. After dinner they showed movies about the Galapagos. Since most of us were tired then, I suggested maybe showing the movies in loop. I don't know if they will.
While talking to some of the staff I found out that this ship will be “retired” soon. That was not a big surprise. Once the new ship, Flora, comes on line accommodating 98 guests, the now 98 passenger XPedition will be totally redone to accommodate 48 passengers on a double occupancy basis, or 64 maximum. It should be very spacious. At that time XPerience and XPloration will be retired.
Overall, we had a fabulous time. Everybody enjoyed the cruise and exploring the Galápagos Islands . It is a very active vacation, so be ready for that. As I said before, the staff, including the Naturalists made the cruise totally enjoyable and a big success. Read Less
We chose this cruise because it was recommended by Butterfield and Robinson. We have traveled three times before on private, Bespoke family trips with them. And previously have stayed in luxurious and unique accommodations. We definitely ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was recommended by Butterfield and Robinson. We have traveled three times before on private, Bespoke family trips with them. And previously have stayed in luxurious and unique accommodations. We definitely were unprepared for the Xperience. As we approached the ship we saw the rusted anchor and hand painted Xperience sign on the boat.
Celebrity lists the ship as being remodeled I think in 2017. The dining room looks pretty good, the reception area about a grade B. The staterooms are another story. New bed coverings and pillows, the rest I don't think had been touched. This ship used to be the M/V Eclipse which came to be in the 80's. The bathroom is like something from summer camp. We were in room 400, Elite ocean view. The most expensive category on the ship. Our adult children were premium ocean view, the second most expensive category. Our cabin attendant George was amazing,efficient and always smiling- a true asset to this aging ship!
But even George can't make up for no wi-fi ( had to ask the hotel manager what the password was and he finally gave it to us written on a post it note)- think we were finally able to connect probably twice in the reception area) a TV that doesn't work( only get channels 21,22,30 and only play old DVD's- most of the time you get only 2 of those channels- sometime none- and never lets you watch a whole movie without cutting out- by the way Celebrity lists this as satellite TV. Celebrity also says you can pick a firmness for your mattress and pillow type- never was asked about that. And the bathroom- hope I can post a picture .
The food was always served buffet style. Plenty of variety, the quality was pretty much like summer camp- dorm food . The wait staff is attentive and amazing. We just loved them. I got severe diarrhea on the second day,that's six full days on the ship, a long plane ride home and it's still with me as I post today. We had six people in our party and 1/2 got it. I talked to several other guests and they had the same problem. One night I looked around at dinner and one full table of 8 was gone, with two other tables missing guests. In a ship that holds 48 guests, really doesn't advertise any kind of room service, and has no fast food or alternate dining choices available I think that is very telling.
Thank goodness they had a ships doctor onboard.
Had we been warned that the ship was, as the wonderful guide Karina stated "more like a summer camp" we would have prepared ourselves and possibly booked another ship- possibly the Silver Seas. The Galapagos is a magical very remote place-but for those who want a luxury experience- this truly isn't it. This trip was probably the most expensive trip our family has booked to date. If you look at Butterfield and Robinsons trips for 2018 they seem to have chosen another vessel for their trips Read Less
We decide to travel to the Galapagos Islands last March. Our agent gave us the Celebrity brochure, and the photos and description convinced us to go. We had to choose between the small, medium or large ship. We ended up choosing the ... Read More
We decide to travel to the Galapagos Islands last March. Our agent gave us the Celebrity brochure, and the photos and description convinced us to go. We had to choose between the small, medium or large ship. We ended up choosing the Xperience because we liked the balance of a smaller ship with fewer passengers, but not so small we would be stuck with only 14 other passengers. It seemed like a happy medium, and we were not disappointed. The size of the ship was just perfect. We met all the other passengers, but liked sitting with different folks at meals and on excursions.
The ship is very attractive and well maintained. Our cabin was in the front of the second level. We originally picked a cabin in the middle of the second level, but it was very loud with engine & generator noise, so we asked to be moved. The more forward cabin was still a bit loud at night (when the ship was going full speed) but not most nights. I recommend getting a room on the 2nd level if you are sensitive to movement, because some folks on the fourth level talked about the ship rocking a good amount, to where they had to grab onto the furniture and walls at night to go the bathroom.
My favorite thing about the ship was dining "al fresco" in the back of the ship. Many afternoons we had lunch outside, and several dinners were outside during the sunset. There was always a cocktail hour outside, and the bartender was fun and entertaining and made great mojitos and other drinks. Meals were pretty good to excellent. My only complaint was the amount of cilantro which accompanied many of the dishes. The seafood extravaganza with lobster and shrimp on the last night was a highlight for my husband, as well as the nightly ceviche. The desserts were delicately sized and delicious. Overall, there was a good deal of diversity and plenty of salads, fish and vegetarian dishes, in addition to meat.
The highlight of the week were the daily excursions. Sometimes there were as many as 4 different excursions in a day! Typically, there would be a hike and snorkel in the morning, followed by lunch, followed by a short rest period. Then, a zodiac ride or kayak in the afternoon, followed by either snorkeling or a short hike. That evening, the next day's adventures would be described in detail by the naturalists. The naturalists on our ship included 3 seasoned veterans and 2 trainees. Two of the guides, Karina and Gustavo, are Galapagos natives. They care deeply about the ecology and wildlife on the island. They treated us to daily excursions in which the geology and species were found, and their nature was explained in detail. We felt the guides made the vacation more than a fun trip ~ it was educational and fascinating at the same time. Every species we encountered was a gift, and I checked off more than 35 mammals, birds and reptiles.
The staff on the ship were more than friendly. They treated us like family, and you could hardly pass a crew member in the hall without getting a friendly "hello" and a smile. They really seemed to enjoy their jobs, and they bent over backwards to make the trip fun and comfortable for all. Everything ran on time, like clockwork. I was very pleased with the ship on every level, and even though it wasn't perfect, I felt the crew really cared about the passengers and the success of our voyage.
I really liked that everything was included on the trip. We enjoyed having a drink or two at cocktail hour, and wine with dinner. The wetsuit and snorkeling equipment were included. All transfers and excursions were included. I was glad they didn't try to sell us anything extra ~ even the video of our cruise was given to us as a gift by the Naturalist. I feel I got every penny's worth with this trip, and my memories and 1200+ photos and videos will take some time sorting through.
We chose the 10 night/11 day package, which included 2 days in Quito before the cruise, and 2 days after. I felt the package was worth the extra expense. All the transfers went flawlessly, and the Quito staff were very efficient and communicative with each of us. We enjoyed the Quito city tour, and the optional Cloud Forest tour on the day we departed. The JW Marriott in Quito is extremely comfortable and classy, and featured a nice breakfast buffet each morning.
I'm keeping my review relatively short, though I could go on for many more paragraphs about the many fun islands, scenery, wildlife and experiences. If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I'll respond. I was surprised there are not any other reviews of the Xperience ~ it is definitely a wonderful ship worth considering if you're visiting Galapagos. Read Less