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34 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We booked this cruise two years ago and it turned out to be our 51st cruise. We read extensively about the Galapagos Islands and determined that the Celebrity Xpedition was the right answer for us. We told some of our friends and ended ... Read More
We booked this cruise two years ago and it turned out to be our 51st cruise. We read extensively about the Galapagos Islands and determined that the Celebrity Xpedition was the right answer for us. We told some of our friends and ended up with a group of 13 people on the cruise that sailed on September 25, 2016. What a great adventure! We arrived in Quito several days early and took a cab to the J W Marriott. I know some of the older posts talked about taking great care in selecting a cab, but I found that all the yellow cabs at the airport appeared to be licensed. I asked the driver for the cost and we were quoted $25 for the 45 minute ride to the hotel, regardless of the number of passengers. Because of luggage, my wife and I took one cab by ourselves. The Marriott is a world class high end hotel and was a pleasant surprise. The beds were comfortable, the air conditioner could cool the room at night. The covers were quite heavy and that interrupted my sleep, but that is not unusual . . . my wife slept just fine. The room had plenty of 110 volt outlets for USA plug-ins. They also had some 220 volt European outlets. We ate in the Hotel Restaurant, The Hacienda, a steakhouse, and it was very good. Breakfast was included and it was served on the floor just below Registration. It was very well done and you could choose from a wide variety, including a juice bar. We ate at some restaurants suggested by the Marriott travel office and had two very different, but outstanding meals. When we flew to Baltra, the trip took about 1 1/2 hours and we were served a meal on the plane that was better than expected. We checked in thru Customs and waited for the Zodiacs. Before long, we had our first of many Zodiac rides to the Xpedition, our home for the next 7 days. Then life becomes a blur. Talks explaining the next day activities, breakfast in the morning, choosing long walks or short walks, snorkeling adventures, back for lunch, either naturalist seminars or a nap, out for the afternoon long or short walk, a possible deep water snorkeling adventure, back to clean up, a few cocktails, listen to the description of tomorrows activities, sign up for the activities you want to do, off to dinner, maybe some conversation after dinner, then to bed. That is a typical day. Every morning and every afternoon, you had a different area to discover. For the rest of this review, I will just mention items as they come to mind. We all tried to minimize the amount of things we brought with us to this cruise. The reviews all cautioned that your baggage allowance on the plane was 44 pounds for checked luggage and only 15 pounds for carry on. We got close to this but were over for sure on the carry one. As it turns out, Celebrity charters this flight, so we do have a lot more leniency. If you keep you weight under 50 pounds for checked luggage, no one will say anything. Nobody even weighed the carry on luggage . . . we were at about 22 pounds each. You can upgrade to a business class seat on the plane to and from Baltra. They just upgraded the aircraft they use and now they have 12 seats available. It costs about $100 per person each way. It is on a "first come, first serve" basis and must be done once you get the the Marriott Hotel. Those that arrived early to the Marriott already had the seats taken by the time the later folks arrived, so if that is something you want to do, check with the Celebrity desk immediately, once you get to the hotel. The excursions were fantastic. But none of us in our group were prepared for the reality that there are no restrooms on the islands you are going to visit ( except two towns that you visit). As they say ' the only thing you should leave behind is your footprints". As such we learned to plan our intake knowing that it would be 2 to 4 hours before we were back on the ship, depending on the long or short walk. They could make extra zodiac trips back for emergencies. From my perspective, everyone seemed to adapt just fine and there did not appear to be any issues. We had packed some foil wrapped snacks (nuts, candy, crackers) that we thought we could put in our pack and bring with us on the excursions. We were told "NO", no food of any kind goes on the excursions. If you have a medical condition that requires some food, it would be given to your Naturalist Guide and they would distribute it to you. Once you visit the Islands you notice, there is no foil or paper of other scraps littering the area. They have a very good rule and should adhere to it. We did eat some of these things while on the ship, but in retrospect, I would leave that at home next time. We were there in the cool part of the year and it was not the rainy season. Just some quick stuff. Rooms had plenty of 110 volt outlets and they provided an power strip, no need to bring that. They provide binoculars in the rooms. Not high quality, but we seldom used them. The sun intensity is real, bring plenty of sun screen. We brought lots of bug spray ( pump, not aerosol) and never used it . . . . and never got any insect bites . . . but I would bring some if I came back. Many people wore long pants that zip off to make shorts and long sleeve light weight safari shirts. I brought water shoes. got them wet twice. Last time we had a wet landing, I did like the Naturalists . . . rolled up my pants and went barefoot. All the water landings were sand beaches and the maximum water depth was 16 inches. Take your hiking shoes in your pack and put them on once you land. I carried a very light pair of water shoes that I wore back on the Zodiac since you must have shoes on to get back on the ship. Some of the excursions on the lava field, up the mountain slopes and to the hill high point did require some walking. I was very glad I packed my walking boots with ankle support due to past sports injuries to my ankles. We had a very light rain just once for about 10 minutes. A light poncho is all that we needed. Everyone seemed to wear the wide brim hats or Panama hats . . . that were originally made in Ecuador and exported to Panama . . . . the locals story and they are sticking to it. Celebrity will supply you with snorkel, mask, fins, and a wetsuit. They also have walking sticks for those that want them on shore excursions. Sorry, this has gotten way too wordy. In the final analysis, this was one of the very best experiences we have ever had on a cruise. Celebrity did a fantastic job, the crew, officers, Naturalists, room stewards, chef, bartenders, etc were second to none. We were fortunate to share this adventure with a group of passengers from all over the world that were truly fun travelers. We appreciated everyone of them. We would rate it in our top five cruises taken out of 51. I hope some of this helps you along the way. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
This is a review of an inner loop trip with the Quito add-on. The cruise itself could not be better. The islands are fantastic, the naturalists are knowledgeable and helpful and engaged and enthusiastic, the staff are uniformly ... Read More
This is a review of an inner loop trip with the Quito add-on. The cruise itself could not be better. The islands are fantastic, the naturalists are knowledgeable and helpful and engaged and enthusiastic, the staff are uniformly friendly and bend over backwards to help you, and the ship is very nice. Food is more than plentiful, and while not great, is certainly good to very good. Celebrity's handling of all the travel details (buses, chartered plane, luggage, etc.) was flawless. There were friendly, capable representatives with us always, making sure everything went smoothly. The ship may rock significantly if, e.g., it's anchored in an area with a swell. We wore scopalamine patches and had no problem. The last day is a bit of a waste, as you need to be out of your cabin by 8am and then you don't make it back to the Quito hotel until 4pm. I don't think there's much Celebrity can do about that, they need to clean the ship after all, but just be forewarned that it's an empty day. One negative: the shipboard wifi was so slow as to be useless. So slow as in, I was unable to read any email. Now for the more negative part: we found the Quito add-on to be a waste of time. The tour is very limited and controlled: get on a bus, get dropped off at a building along with a bodyguard, tour the building, get back on the bus. There was no opportunity to stroll around the city at all. Now, I can understand why Celebrity takes such security precautions, especially since some guests insisted on wearing ridiculous amounts of jewelry. But the result is that I felt I didn't really get to see Quito at all. The tour of the Intinan equator museum is an embarrassment. The museum is hokey to the extreme, and presents carnival demonstrations (like pretending the coriolis effect can be observed stepping just two feet away from the equator "line") as science. In fact, the equator is a good 400ft away from the supposed "line", out in the middle of the street. Really disappointing. The hotel (JW Marriott) is very nice, with an extensive breakfast buffet, but it's not near anything within walking distance. Again, more isolation from the actual city. I felt like we were in a bubble. On the return trip there was an option to go shopping at an artisan market, but we didn't feel like shopping and there was no other option provided. So, I heartily recommend this cruise, but the Quito portion added nothing to our otherwise fantastic trip. Of course, part of the advantage of the Quito add-on is getting Celebrity's free chartered flight to the islands and baggage handling. So therein lies a dilemma. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We have always wanted to visit the Galápagos Islands and this trip seemed the perfect choice. We booked it over two years before the trip, so had plenty of time to read up about the trip of a lifetime. We had two days before in Quito and ... Read More
We have always wanted to visit the Galápagos Islands and this trip seemed the perfect choice. We booked it over two years before the trip, so had plenty of time to read up about the trip of a lifetime. We had two days before in Quito and visited the City and the Equator Museum, which was very enjoyable. We had a short flight to Baltra where we embarked on the Xpedition with our first experience of the Zodiac boats, which were easier than expected, but caused some hilarity at times! The ship was very comfortable and small. We were very well looked after by a wonderful crew of mostly Ecuadorians, who were very friendly and helpful. The food was excellent with a very good choice and the cruise was all inclusive of drinks, tips etc. The other passengers were very friendly and we all shared a common interest in this amazing environment. The highlight of this cruise was our twice daily visits to different islands, all with such different landscapes and birds and animals. The expertise and knowledge of the Galápagos wildlife guides who accompanied the cruise was really amazing and once again they were a friendly and helpful team. The incredible variety of birds and wildlife left us speechless at times. They were not intimidated by the humans and it was a memorable experience, which we shall never forget. At night we were able to see a wonderful starlit sky with no light pollution, including the Southern Cross. It would have been good to have more information on the night sky. We would definitely recommend this as one of the best cruises we have done. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
This is not your usual 'holiday', so if you want lazy days, taking it easy or even quiet solitude, do not book this cruise. However if you want to feel like an explorer, dont mind being up and off early in the morning, love ... Read More
This is not your usual 'holiday', so if you want lazy days, taking it easy or even quiet solitude, do not book this cruise. However if you want to feel like an explorer, dont mind being up and off early in the morning, love wildlife and remote places, this is the experience for you. Everything is meticulously well organised, and works like clockwork with great success but you are not organised or bound up, so its up to you what you take part in. We were up for everything and wow! what an experience! This is a small ship so dont expect shows and grand entertainment, but if your focus is wildlife you'll be in bed by 10pm like most of us were, ready to go again in the morning. The standards in the transportation, safety, dining, guides, were everything you would expect on a cruise and more. Small details added so much more, drinks of any sort, and snacks awaited our every return to the ship, on deck as we shed our life jackets, wet suits and personal belongings. Naturalists would provide so much information to enhance visits ashore and there was always enough time to watch those albatross feel the wind beneath their wings and take off, or watch the pelican dive on the fish the penguin had taken the time to corral in the bay. Food on board was plentiful and of a good international choice. Especially impressed with the lunchtime barbecue I could write a book, a review is not going to do this experience justice! Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Wow well what a trip of a lifetime. We booked this trip 2 years ago and it was definitely worth waiting for. The trip to the equator was amazing did not expect the experiments etc. From the flight to the islands with wonderful food and ... Read More
Wow well what a trip of a lifetime. We booked this trip 2 years ago and it was definitely worth waiting for. The trip to the equator was amazing did not expect the experiments etc. From the flight to the islands with wonderful food and champagne to embarkation everything went very smoothly. Cabin was a bit on the small side but was to expected because of the size of the ship. Food and drink was very plentiful and very very tasty, all the staff were second to none and could not do enough for you Shore excursions were excellent /had a nightly briefing on what to expect the next day. Naturalists were all very good, Christina was our favourite, but probably only because we had her most times. It truly is a magical place to visit, even saw a feral cat chasing a land iguana!!!! getting on and off the zodiacs was great fun especially some of the wet landings. We had a great laugh during some of those. Even a visit to the bridge was very informative. A lovely gesture was that every one was given a CD of our trip with group photos and the animals and birds that we actually saw. From penguins, diving blue boobies and the posing sea lions to name a few of our favourites....the list of wildlife and birds was endless. The only fly in the ointment was a very badly behaved young boy who quite frankly was an embarrassment to most of his family......not really a holiday for children, but saying that all the other children on board were very well behaved. All in all well worth every penny and cant believe its all over :( Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We are not experienced cruisers, and were a bit apprehensive, but we were very pleased. We found that this was the best value and the right length. The ship was very small, just 98 passengers, but very steady. The itinerary was kept to a ... Read More
We are not experienced cruisers, and were a bit apprehensive, but we were very pleased. We found that this was the best value and the right length. The ship was very small, just 98 passengers, but very steady. The itinerary was kept to a tee and there were many options. I enjoyed the snorkeling, especially when sea lions would swim right up me and then turn at the last second. The sea turtles were very graceful and there were many colorful fish. The water was a bit cold. If you are sensitive to temperature you should consider bringing a full wet suit with hood. I brought a new camera and a GoPro type waterproof camera and I'm glad I did. Tip: practice with the GoPro and get the angle right so you don't miss the important part of the scene. The guides were amazing and quite knowledgeable. We learned a great deal about the local flora and fauna and the geology of the islands. We also planted two trees each (optional), and enjoyed the Charles Darwin Research Center, although the more open areas of a local "ranch" were more natural. At the ranch we also were treated to some local music and dances. There were some walks that were a bit uneven (lava) but never strenuous (although I am a 70 year old runner). We only encountered other tourists on one island and the town of Santa Cruz. The nights were dark and the stars were amazing, when it was not cloudy. It was an international group of passengers, which made for interesting conversations. The food was varied and plentiful and the bed was comfortable and the room quiet. There were a few children, but I'm not sure they appreciated the trip as much as the adults. Our only problem was with American Airlines, but that is another review. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We were encouraged to join my sister and brother-in-law of their 25th wedding anniversary trip to the Galapagos. They were considering a much smaller ship, but after I saw Celebrity offered on of the biggest ships in the region I suggested ... Read More
We were encouraged to join my sister and brother-in-law of their 25th wedding anniversary trip to the Galapagos. They were considering a much smaller ship, but after I saw Celebrity offered on of the biggest ships in the region I suggested Celebrity and we joined them. We had been on their larger ship before in the Greek Islands. 1. We were immediately whisked from the airport in Quito into a van within 2 minutes and on our way to the wonderful Marriott ( very similar to the one I had stayed at in Palm springs). The hotel had a marvellous included large scale breakfast, and also a farewell dinner in their terrific Hacienda steak house. 2. Next day Quito city tour with guide and armed guard ( must be necessary) was very good, and included lunch at a local restaurant was top quality. 3. Pre-checked luggage at our hotel before heading off to the airport for their charter flight to the Galapagos , and short wait in a private lounge at the airport made life wonderful. The food was very good on the ship, lots of variety. Alcohol included, and we soon discovered if you asked the better bottle were kept below the bar in a cabinet. Bombay Saphire gin martinis! The nature walks and snorkels were wonderful. We are in our early 50's and did the harder (longer version) of all the walks. I did the snorkels from shore and saw tons of amazing fish, sea turtle etc. Did not do the deep water snorkels since I was not that comfortable. Saw tons of sea lions, crabs, birds, iguanas etc. Didn't disappoint in the amount of creatures we saw. They entertainment was basic but we met a lot of nice people and had dinner/drinks with them every evening. One night the naturalists put on a small music show, another night music in the lounge or karaoke . The overall experience was wonderful and the staff were very accommodating and friendly. A fabulous experience . Celebrity hit the spot. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
First of all, if I had NOT been in the Royal Suite I may have rated this cruise 4 stars (but never 5 stars). And this review is probably only helpful to those people looking to book something other than the least expensive cabin. Because ... Read More
First of all, if I had NOT been in the Royal Suite I may have rated this cruise 4 stars (but never 5 stars). And this review is probably only helpful to those people looking to book something other than the least expensive cabin. Because you need to book the cheapest cabin you can. Celebrity is our cruise line of choice and we like to sail in the larger suites. We do this not only because of the extra space but also because of the perks that go along with the larger suites. For this cruise we booked the Royal Suite. It was very expensive ( at least 8 times more that the lower fare). But if I had it to do over again I'd book the cheapest room. I had read all the glorious reviews and even so I was well aware that this cruise was not going to be anything like our other cruises because of the size of the ship. We knew there wouldn't be many amenities. We were already prepared that the food wouldn't be as good. But even after those lower expectations, we both agreed that this was our least favorite cruise out of the other 9 we've taken on Celebrity. Part of the reason is that with the exception of the food and beverage staff, the service was very poor. We NEVER saw or had any way to contact our room attendant. And we needed her on several occasions. Customer Service was a joke. Of course we knew the internet would be poor but there was no internet for 4 of the 7 days and they really didn't seem concerned about fixing it. Now at this point I feel like the child in The Emperors New Clothes. Because all the other reviews of this cruise are so high. In our opinion, the cruise was good but not over the top like we had anticipated. We liked most of the excursions. However, the snorkeling was not near as good as we had expected. It's fine as long as you're not comparing it to some of the good Caribbean locations. As far as the wildlife, it was VERY cool that we got to see animals that are indigenous to the Galapagos. But after a few days of seeing them you realize that with the exception of some of the sea lions, most Galapagos species are very inactive. So.... look, there's another marine iguana laying on the rocks. Are we glad we went to the Galapagos? Yes! Another check off the bucket list. Would we go again? Nope. But back to my original point. Don't book an expensive suite thinking your going to get any VIP or higher level of treatment. If you want a little bit of extra space, then fine, go ahead. But even the Royal Suite was too small for us to want to spend any time in there. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
I came back to Quito with my 8-year-old daughter, plus a bus-full of new friends yesterday afternoon, with our new Galapagos skin (red, tanned, and slightly peeled) and our Galapagos heart (purified, fulfilled, and hopeful). Now, sitting ... Read More
I came back to Quito with my 8-year-old daughter, plus a bus-full of new friends yesterday afternoon, with our new Galapagos skin (red, tanned, and slightly peeled) and our Galapagos heart (purified, fulfilled, and hopeful). Now, sitting in my room in JW Marriott, we are already missing "the Galapagos Grip", which we've enjoyed and trusted in the past 7 days of our voyage. The Galapagos is truly a wonderland. It's not that green, not that rich, not that convenient, but it's a place that makes you forget almost everything else, but to embrace the amazing beauty of nature, and the company of each other. We didn't get one single 8-hour sleep in the whole trip thanks to all the activities (shore excursion 2-3 times a day, daily briefing at 7:15pm, dinner at 7:30pm, then party at 9pm), but even my 8-year-old never complained, she always got off her bed as soon as I woke her up, because she knew that there were so much to see, and so much to enjoy. I'm sure other friends will chime in very soon, so I will just list some highlights from kids perspective: 1. Each island is unique in its own way, so you see all kinds of different landscapes in very short period of time, colorful sandy beaches (gold, white, red, green), volcanic surfaces, rocky terrain... 2. So many animals to encounter during shore hikes, zodiac rides, and snorkeling. Sea lions, birds, turtles,tropical fishes, giant tortoises, sharks, etc. It's like watching Animal Planet, no, it's like you are in Animal Planet. 3. Well-organized shore excursion activities, always with 2-3 options. My daughter signed up all our activities herself, she almost always choose option 1 (the more challenging ones), and she didn't miss one snorkeling (including deep-water snorkeling), and didn't miss one science talk and after dinner party. I didn't expect her to be this adventurous but she was fully motivated to absorb everything she can. 4. Super friendly crew members and super knowledgable and trust-worthy naturalists. Seems like everyone remembered our names and room number starting day one, so we really felt at home. The naturalists not only served as our guides, but also our protectors during the zodiac rides. I remember one afternoon we had free time in town for shopping, my daughter got a little bit nervous, but once we returned to the pier and met our naturalist, she relaxed right away. 5. High quality food, more than enough healthy options for both kids and adults. My daughter decided to spoil herself with Piña colada and potato chips every day, but that was after relatively healthy meals, and she is the Galapagos, so I controlled myself and didn't say anything. 6. Great friends. This probably can't be planned ahead, but we were lucky enough that 2 other families with wonderful kids were on board this time, and all the kids (8-14) were glued together after a short warm-up. They cartwheeled on the beach, spent hours on solving the puzzle together, and talked and giggled all the time. Quite often, I felt abandoned by my daughter, just kidding. :) Of course, I enjoyed mingling with adults too. Now that we have to pack again and spend another 12 hours to go home, before I wrap up I just want to say, it's all worth it. Galapagos and Celebrity will always have a special place in our hearts, and even though we don't know when yet, we surely will be back. Hopefully we will see some familiar faces then. P.S: The rating below (all 5-stars) and the "AMAZING [so much fun]" part were given by my daughter, who just woke up from a 10-hour long sleep. :) Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
The Celebrity Xpedition Galapagos cruise was a great adventure that exceeded our expectations in so many ways. When they advertise that it’s all inclusive they really mean it. From the time we arrived in Quito 2 days prior to our flight ... Read More
The Celebrity Xpedition Galapagos cruise was a great adventure that exceeded our expectations in so many ways. When they advertise that it’s all inclusive they really mean it. From the time we arrived in Quito 2 days prior to our flight to the Galapagos to the time we departed for home following a post cruise overnight stay, we were provided with meals, lodging, drinks, transportation, tours, entertainment, and a bevy of unexpected personal touches such as cool towels following our twice daily island excursions and a DVD with photos and a personalized presentation from our week at sea. Gratuities and port charges were also included as was Celebrity’s chartered flights to and from Baltra where we met the ship. Our previous cruises had only been on small (less than 100 passenger) ships and while truly memorable in their own way, the Xpedition was nothing short of amazing from the clean and comfortable staterooms, to the friendly and helpful staff, to the exemplary dining. While most meals were served buffet style, dinner was a fine dining affair with plenty of choices and impeccable service. Besides, who needs the shows, casinos, and predictable cruise fare when each day is spent in the company of experienced naturalists dedicated to leaving guests with a profound appreciation for this unique and pristine archipelago? We live in a “connected” world today and if there is one thing they could have done better; it would have been to provide guests with a decent Internet connection. Internet was available only in the bar/lecture area but bandwidth was so limited that if there were more than just a few people online the connection slowed to a crawl if you could stay connected at all. I get that Celebrity prefers you not taint this incredible experience by bringing work from home but the ability to stay in touch with friends and family stateside as well as on the ship was sorely missed. If Internet was available throughout the ship including staterooms, Celebrity could even create their own onboard app to share information about excursions, menus, and special events as well as sending reminders and important announcements. In addition, guests would be able to download books and watch online content on the TV’s in their guest room. I would gladly have paid extra for this service. Given that most of the daily activities involved hiking, swimming, and wet landings from a zodiac, guests with disabilities who have difficulty climbing steps and walking short distances without an appliance should probably think twice about this cruise. Given there are no elevators on the ship, if steps are a problem you should at least book a stateroom on level 4 where most activities begin and end. The only public area on the lower deck (3) is the dining salon. While there are several opportunities to snorkel, experienced divers looking for more than an occasional 30-40-minute swim might be a bit disappointed. Nevertheless, the experience of swimming with playful sea lions, penguins, and marine iguana's is one this diver will never forget. The equipment and wet suits provided by the ship at no charge are better than average although for obvious reasons I suggest you bring your own snorkel which I did. For the fitness types who prefer their activity on land there are rigorous and challenging hikes as well as more moderate walks. The ship does a good job of letting you know the level of difficulty for each day’s excursion so you can plan accordingly. For those who can’t or don’t want to hike, there is usually an all-zodiac tour. Quick tip: Bring along a set of trekking poles that will fit in your suit case or duffle bag but do not try to carry on the airplane. You will lose them! While at first glance the cost of this trip may seem a bit steep compared to traditional cruises, when you figure in everything that’s included and couple that with an adventure you will never forget, it truly is a bargain. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
My husband and I have had a visit to the Galapagos on our bucket list for a long time. Nearly two years ago, we decided to book the 10 day package to the Galapagos on Celebrity Xpedition. We really wanted to find a less expensive option so ... Read More
My husband and I have had a visit to the Galapagos on our bucket list for a long time. Nearly two years ago, we decided to book the 10 day package to the Galapagos on Celebrity Xpedition. We really wanted to find a less expensive option so over the time since we booked out cruise, we kept looking at alternatives. Every time we saw an option that was less than what we were paying and compared it, we realized how good the Celebrity package was. But actually we didn't even begin to know how good it was until we actually experienced it. We flew from Florida to Quito, the capital of Ecuador. We were met there by the Celebrity representative and transferred to the JW Marriott in Quito for two nights. While we were in Quito all over food, tours and transfers were included. The next morning we met our tour guides in the lobby, along with others in our group. We had an all day tour of the city and a trip to equator where we experienced several natural phenomena that only occurs in this location. This was a really fun experience. That Evening we were transported to a lovely restaurant where we got to interact with others in our group and an opportunity to get to know them better. The next day we were transported from Quito to Baltra in the Galapagos by a very comfortable flight chartered by Celebrity. In Baltra our cruise ship, the Xpedition was only minutes away by bus and then by Kodiak boats. And then the fun had just begun. It was an all inclusive package. That meant that everything is included..all our food (filet mignon or lobster every night if that's what you wanted), all our alcoholic beverages, all gratuities...totally everything. It was fabulous, both on board and on our twice daily excursions to visit the islands. We were so well looked after, and the wildlife was incredible. All of our guides were certified naturalists, who all were incredibly knowledgeable. Because we were on the Xpedition for a full seven days we got to visit some of the further away islands where the smaller boats or shorter cruises don't get to visit. I'd have to write a book to tell you about all the amazing things that we did and saw on the islands. Since this is just a review, I'll just encourage anyone thinking about the Galapagos to go and do it, and do it on Celebrity Cruises. It truly is an experience of a life time. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was a once in a lifetime cruise to a pristine location where few are able to travel. If you like wildlife in a natural setting with a cruise line that knows how to do it simply and never miss a beat to excite and offer new ... Read More
This was a once in a lifetime cruise to a pristine location where few are able to travel. If you like wildlife in a natural setting with a cruise line that knows how to do it simply and never miss a beat to excite and offer new opportunities, this cruise is for you. This small ship (100 passengers) affords passengers the opportunity to explore a world where animals have no natural predators and fear of humans does not exist. The ability to see a world where marine iguanas sun themselves alongside of sea lions, fur seals and penguins is unbelievable and all at a distance of a few feet. The naturalists that accompany the small groups (up to 16) are well informed, humorous and willing to answer any question without hesitation. It is obvious that the entire crew of the Xpedition love their jobs and want to share their love with everyone they come in contact with. From the moment that you land in Quito two days before the cruise begins, it is obvious that this staff have the logistics of the entire trip down pat. In a small city where people are travelling great distances to get to, delays and snafus are inevitable but the Celebrity staff seems well equipped to handle every possible scenario from missed connections to cancelled flights to lost luggage, and you feel that you are in the company of professionals that can deal with every possibility. The first day in Quito (pre-cruise)involves a city tour that is informative and fun. At the start of the tour many expressed a desire to go back to the hotel early after lunch (which was not a problem) but after lunch everyone decided the tour was so good that they decided to go on the afternoon as well. The afternoon was very interesting so no one was disappointed even though many were tired from late arrivals the day before. The following day, everyone has a wonderful breakfast at the JW Marriott Quito and then it is time to assemble for the bus to the airport for the chartered flight to Baltra. The logistics of getting 100 people to the airport, through security and then on a plane was seamless. The trip was handled by Avianca Airlines who served lunch on the plane even though we knew we were headed to a lunch on the ship once we embarked. After the two hour flight you land in Baltra and are quickly escorted through security to waiting buses for the 10 minute trip to the dock for a Zodiac ride to the ship. After a quick briefing, the expert staff assisted everyone to board and we were on our way. Once on ship, there was nothing to disappoint. We had several briefings to prepare us for what to expect and then given choices on activities. While some activities were physically demanding such as deep water snorkeling or strenuous hikes up rocky inclines, there were other activities that were more sedate. Definitely, you need mobility on this ship as getting in and out of zodiacs can be somewhat difficult and there are no elevators, but the crew does everything in their power to accommodate everyone so they have an enjoyable cruise. And getting up close and personal with wildlife like marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, birds of every variety and fish of every size and color is definitely worth a bit of effort. And the naturalists make sure that you know what you are looking at and how they adapted to the environment to make them so unique. So, there are less expensive alternative cruises to the Galapagos, but to get to see the sights and sounds of the true Galapagos island with a bit of luxury, fine dining and excellent service, the Celebrity Xpedition is an excellent choice for a once in a lifetime voyage to a land that time forgot. In addition, Celebrity is doing its part to ensure that this land remains as pristine as it is today along with the government of Ecuador and the Galapagos Conservancy by donating funds to enable projects to restrict visitors, reduce the impact of humans on the wildlife and to ensure that all wildlife is safe in their natural habitat. Read Less
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Outer Loop.First off, this is not a Luxury cruise. Other reviews bemoaning the non luxury element did not heed the advise of others. Luxury price, yes, luxury extras, no. Tips: Bring extra plug in strip to charge stuff. No bright colors ... Read More
Outer Loop.First off, this is not a Luxury cruise. Other reviews bemoaning the non luxury element did not heed the advise of others. Luxury price, yes, luxury extras, no. Tips: Bring extra plug in strip to charge stuff. No bright colors of anything for the Islands, wasps get angry. Hats are a must. When picking up snorkel gear get the suit first before the add- ons or your size may be gone. Long sleeves are best against the cold. Our Baltra plane was delayed 5+ hours...we were told this the day before the flight. To make up for the time we were told an additional tour would be given to the artist Guayaasamin's home. Once on the bus and moving we were hijacked to a different museum...something on archaeology. I would have preferred watching TV in my room....JW Marriot is a fine establishment, service excellent. 7th floor hallway nauseatingly foul of diesel fumes. Heat/air system did not work in either room we were assigned.Day ONE: we were exceedingly late to arrive, one day wasted. Guides wear crocks. Make sure your water shoes do not have insoles...the smell will be too much. Lesson learned. No seasickness noticed on the ship. No patches either. WASH YOUR HANDS! Those people that did not diligently wash became ill. Expensive trip to be stuck in your stateroom. When they state advanced snorkelers only...it's okay to go as long as you are not afraid. Nobody will die. Lessen learned here too. In May it is HOT. Keep this in mind. If you have toe/foot/ankle/knee/hip/balance difficulties this trip is not for you. Pay attention when the hikes are labeled rough terrain or unstable rocks etc. Many people did not heed the warnings, things went bad and excursions were missed for the rest of trip. Again, very expensive trip to just sit on the boat.There is no wi-fi. People sitting glued to their phones trying to connect is a sad thing. Again, sitting on the boat should not be your priority. Santa Cruz Darwin Center...find something else to do. On this island things are shut down for Saturdays and when it comes siesta time it is even more closed down. Wish we had known this. Photography: up to a 400mm lens, nothing larger needed as critters are close. Dinner under the stars...good idea but all protein food...get a salad as appetizer...I would not do this again. Room 406 was wonderful...not too big, not too small and the staff super clean it all day long! There were a couple special needs people on board, the staff went out of their way to facilitate them at all turns BRAVO!. On the last Sunday you are literally kicked out of your room quite early...not much else to do....another day wasted. Yes, the ship needs to be set up for the next group, but take out and do something on Baltra...whatever it takes. Would do again if prices were dropped considerably. We waited 9 months for our vacay, others 18 months, one couple got on in just 5 weeks. Another couple (according to them) paid full price, the price was later cut, they wanted a refund in the difference, did not get, canceled trip @ $900 fee, purchased a new one at same sailing at the reduced fare, and saved $1600 even after cancellation fee. For us, we paid once, took the choice air option and had nothing to worry about. Questions? Let me know...have lots more info! Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Wonderful experience and one of the best cruises we’ve taken!!! I would definitely recommend doing this trip with Celebrity. Everyone else has written extensive reviews so I won’t go into all of the superlatives again. This is a ... Read More
Wonderful experience and one of the best cruises we’ve taken!!! I would definitely recommend doing this trip with Celebrity. Everyone else has written extensive reviews so I won’t go into all of the superlatives again. This is a fantastic trip and one that should be done while you are still physically active. We are both 68 and are glad we did the trip now. We did the Inner Loop, and I would do this cruise again – doing the Outer Loop and perhaps at a different time of the year for a different experience. We had perfect weather in April and the water was great for snorkeling. We also did the Machu Picchu land tour with Celebrity after the Galapagos cruise, and that too was fantastic. Our main guide for the trip was Julia, and she couldn’t have been better – really an amazing guide!! Our guide in Cusco was Jorge, and he too was great. Just want to touch on a few things that have not been mentioned before. 1. On our trip we were directed to move all liquids from our checked luggage and pack them in our carry-on luggage for the flight from Quito to Baltra. We really didn’t get a reason for this directive. Since many people had a carry-on that was only big enough for their valuables, it made it really tight squeezing all of their liquids into it also. Since in the US, TSA has the 3-1-1 Rule, we are used to packing all of our larger liquids in our checked luggage. Again we were not given the reason for this requirement for our flight from Quito to Baltra, and I don’t know if this is the usual way Celebrity handles this flight. But just a heads up, so that you can plan to have a carry-one with enough space for the liquids in your checked luggage. The guides at the hotel in Quito seemed to be vague about why they were having us do this. 2. I went for several massages on the ship as I was having some issues that started prior to our trip. The masseuse was very good. She speaks very little English. However I showed her the areas that I wanted her to focus on, and she did exactly as I asked. I would highly recommend her. 3. Machu Picchu – this part of our trip was, as I said, amazing. We are so glad that we did this add-on after the Galapagos cruise. Here is a recommendation if you are interested in the hike to the Gate of the Sun at Machu Picchu. After our tour of the Machu Picchu, we had tickets for a buffet lunch with about 1.5 hours for lunch before the next scheduled event, which was tea scheduled for 4 pm. If you are interested in hiking to the Gate of the Sun (see Trip Advisor for reviews), grab a quick bite for lunch and then set out for the hike. The Guard House is on the way to the Gate of the Sun. You can skip tea and be back in time to board the bus back to the train. We were not told about this and so did not realize that we could done this hike by eating a quick lunch (we definitely did not need 1.5 hrs) and missing tea. You have a wonderful dinner on the Hiram Bingham train back to Cusco. From what I read and was told, it’s about a 2-hour hike round trip to the Gate. Several of us on our tour would have liked to have done this but were unaware of the timing until after we had spent time lounging over lunch. So we were only able to hike halfway to the Gate before we had to turn around to make it back. However it would have been easy to do if we had realized how to plan our time. You generally only do Machu Picchu once in your life, and it would have been great to have done this hike and experienced the views! I would recommend that Celebrity advise people that this hike is possible to do in the time available at Machu Picchu. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Cruise included two night pre stay at the JW Marriott in Quito Ecuador. Hotel was very good. All meals included. Tour they gave us was not very good. Would have been better to have different options for tours. All transfers, drivers ... Read More
Cruise included two night pre stay at the JW Marriott in Quito Ecuador. Hotel was very good. All meals included. Tour they gave us was not very good. Would have been better to have different options for tours. All transfers, drivers and most guides very good. Flight to Baltra good, plane a little cramped though. Transfer to ship went very smooth. We were in cabin 506 with a veranda, If you can do it I definately recommend having a veranda. We saw all kinds of animals and birds while sitting there. Cabin was a good size, queen bed that you could walk around. Love seat, desk, fridge stocked with water and pop. Good size bathroom. Ship in good condition everything easy to get to. Gym only had one treadmill, a manual elliptical and a manual bike and some free weights. It is located right where they give massages which I'm sure would be noisy. Ship is warm, we kept our air conditioning right down and it was ok. Food pretty good. Service good to excellent. Only a few could not speak English it seemed. Tours were good. Guides excellent except Adolpho, he seemed to do the bare minimum and didn't seem too enthusiastic about his job. On the second last day my husband picked up a Norwalk virus. Dr. Saw him three times and he was in very poor shape. A few other people also got this and we heard that one woman that went onto Machu pichu was hospitalized with the same thing. I never saw anyone cleaning hand rails or anything else for that matter while on the ship. The use of hand sanitizer was never enforced or expected. They were more concerned with what is on the bottom of you shoes than keeping people healthy. Celebrity never followed up on our complaint as we wanted to make sure they cleaned the ship thoroughly as to not have anyone else get sick. Very poor customer service from celebrity after the cruise. Not happy with them. Galapagos is a must see. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Having just returned from our 10 day Quito and Galapagos experience, there are still visions of land and marine iguanas, blue-footed boobys and giant tortoises floating in our heads. What an experience! And Celebrity does it right. ... Read More
Having just returned from our 10 day Quito and Galapagos experience, there are still visions of land and marine iguanas, blue-footed boobys and giant tortoises floating in our heads. What an experience! And Celebrity does it right. We flew into Quito and were met by Celebrity staff who directed us to our bus and on to the Marriott hotel which was a very fine place to stay. Check-in of the group was amazingly simple and the hotel was comfortable. The tour on Saturday was fun and interesting. I would disagree with some who say that it is boring. The churches are beautiful, the bus ride is quite interesting, and the lunch was full of new foods to try. The setting at the restaurant was elegant. I also disagree with some who say it was not worth it about taking the trip after lunch to the Mitad del Mundo Park where you can stand on both sides of the equator. The day we visited there were puffy white clouds in the mountainous setting, the temperature was perfect, and it was nice to be set free to roam the park on our own. The colorful flags make it festive and even if it isn't really exactly on the equator, taking the photos was fun. To top the day on Saturday off, we ate at a great restaurant with fine service. When we left, the staff "clapped us out" which was a surprise and much appreciated. The first moments on the ship were a bit hurried. We were just a little late arriving and had to squeeze lunch, muster, snorkel gear hand-outs, explanation of the next day's tours and dinner into a short period of time. We were all so excited that it didn't matter. The islands are everything they say they are. We saw mating dances and all the expected animals except an albatross. Each day we thought it was the "best day" and then the next day was even better. The tours are varied, the naturalists are outstanding and the Zodiac drivers are wonderfully skilled. When doing Zodiac tours along cliffs, they would always maneuver the Zodiac from side to side so that both sides of the Zodiac could take good photos. We totally enjoyed the food. The fish was always very good and the Filet Mignons were done right for us every time. Don't miss the night they serve the Celebrity "Signature Filet." And don't miss doing one of the dinners on deck. At lunch and dinner the desserts were especially nice. My 12-year old granddaughter and I tried just about every sweet thing offered on the ship. We were served lobster twice: once in the dining room for dinner and once at the lunch time Barbecue. We did not encounter either a bee problem or a mosquito problem, but time of year may have something to do with that. Not many people have mentioned the night activities. On our ship very few people participated, but we had fun at Crossing the Equator Night, Kareoke Night, and the night when the Naturalists sang to us. We also had a Trivia night which tested our skills at remembering all we had learned. One night we went to the top deck and the Cruise Director pointed out the constellations, including the Southern Cross which we had never seen before. On the last day the trip to Darwin's Research Center was very interesting. None of the buildings were open so we could not visit the exhibits, but walking in the outdoors and seeing so many giant tortoises made the day one of my favorites. The town visit was good for shopping if that was your inclination. We stopped for iced coffee at a nice place along the main route and enjoyed a shady spot where we could do some people watching. Don't miss the last full day's activities that include the tree planting, lunch, and tortoises in the wild. Others have said to skip it, but I have to say, it was one of my favorites on the trip. The tree planting is a little hokey but I have great pictures of my family in big rubber boots planting fast growing trees. The lunch is served in an open air restaurant and then dancers entertain you for a short while before you put those rubber boots back on and go out to see more giant tortoises. We saw at least 10 on that trip, many in the muddy area and many just sitting in the woods. We departed the ship the day after the April 16 earthquake hit Ecuador. The Xpedition staff had family concerns but all were found to be safe with much relief. Our plane was delayed in leaving and we missed shopping at the market in Quito, but we were able to go to a nice art store where some prices were high but there were a few items in the $15-$20 range. The quality of items there was good. The gift items in the Marriott shop are authentically Ecuadorian and the prices there are reasonable if you miss other opportunities to shop. Our last dinner in Quito at the Hacienda restaurant (included) was probably the best on the trip. If you have any inclination to do this trip, do it with Celebrity. You are taken care of at every step along the way. The staff is charming, knowledgeable and always helpful. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Going to this Galapagos cruise, I was very nervous about sea-sickness, inadequate staterooms or standard of food, etc. on the ship. None of these fears were realized. The stateroom (Suite 602) was very comfortable though admittedly ... Read More
Going to this Galapagos cruise, I was very nervous about sea-sickness, inadequate staterooms or standard of food, etc. on the ship. None of these fears were realized. The stateroom (Suite 602) was very comfortable though admittedly smaller than I have experienced on several other Celebrity cruises. I did not experience any problems with the air conditioning in this room as had been reported in several previous postings. The quality of food was very good, though, again, not quite up to the "usual" standard for this cruise line. There was virtually no entertainment, but this cruise is full-up with hikes, snorkeling etc, that more than fills the day up, and the entertainment wasn't missed. I never heard any complaints from other passengers in this regard. Biggest complaint I heard on the trip was that the captain wasn't mixing with the passengers as much as he'd expected and wanted. Nitpicky, I think. The other crew were very friendly, approachable and competent. The real highlight to the trip however, was the island experience. Think snorkeling with Moorish Idols and a penguin, simultaneously. Or a sea lion pup playfully cavorting, dipping, surfacing and weaving through a group of us snorkelers. And I could 't stop taking pictures of the animals, The creatures were so familiar, no, OBLIVIOUS to us that I felt like I was filming BBC special. I had been nervous that, by day 2 or so of this trip, I would be developing a sense of deja vu at the "sameness" of the flora and fauna from one day or island to the next. The naturalist guides really helped us all to appreciate the subtleties of nature and marvel at variety and beauty of this somewhat barren land. The activities (we virtually always took the "strenuous" option when picking the next day's activities) were quite easy; never had anyone lagging behind and the average age on board seemed to be about 65. Lots of breaks, but not annoyingly so. The Galapagos is really a step back in time to a place where mankind seems not to have left his mark. Celebrity did a very good job of meeting/transporting us at every juncture (we arranged our own flights to/from Quito) and I was very pleased with the service. My wife and I are quite well traveled and place this trip on a par with the African (Botswana/Namibia/South Africa) safari and the South American (Iguazu Falls/Peruvian Amazon/Machu Picchu) trips taken recently, and worlds ahead of the "Mediterraneans". "Caribbean"s etc on previous trips. Can't quit raving about it. One final note. There continues to be rumblings about Ecuador reducing the number of guests allowed on these islands in order to preserve their pristine character. A good idea, I believe, but you can be sure this will just drive up the price more. Supply and demand. Loved the trip. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
61 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We just returned from the 10 day packaged Celebrity Expedition trip. We are happy we did the package. We had booked our trip almost a year and a half ago and didn't get much attention from Celebrity and felt forgotton until the ... Read More
We just returned from the 10 day packaged Celebrity Expedition trip. We are happy we did the package. We had booked our trip almost a year and a half ago and didn't get much attention from Celebrity and felt forgotton until the baggage tags arrived in the mail with instructions. We boarded the plane with fingers crossed there would be a Celebrity employee at the Quito airport upon our arrival since the booking process was long ago and vague. Our flight arrived at the airport in Quito way later than expected due to an AA delay out of Miami. Exhausted and much after midnight we saw a person with a Celebrity sign waiting for us. What a relief because we don't speak Spanish and didn't know what to expect. They held our hands (so to speak) from this point foward (worth the extra money!). We boarded a mini bus (were handed bottles of water, the start of a major ritual) with folks who had arrived a bit sooner and a few who were on our flight and started our incredible journey. It was drizzling lightly as we cruised through the mountains and about 55 minutes later we pulled up to the JW Marriott Hotel after 130am ( I think - so tired after two flights and drive).We were all greeted in the lobby with a cocktail and our room keys and instructions about the breakfast and tour we had to be ready for in hours. UGH!. The Marriott was really great, nice staff and very clean. Roses everywhere as they are grown in Equator and are cheap. Buffett breakfast was included for Celebrity package guests at the hotel and was very good. Patrons paid US $25 if not part of the tour. Us dollars are the currency in Ecuador, but if you are part of the tour you only need souvenir cash. Note- most don't take credit but if they did they added taxes to the bill.Hotel gym was excellent and pool was heated but was outdoors. The outdoor temp was in the 60s so we were glad to have worn sweat pants and a long t-shirts. It warmed up mid day on the tour. Being from Florida we are use to heat and humidity and felt the weather was cool for us. My partner thought the tour was a waste, and I sort of agreed wishing we could of slept in rather than start the trip exhausted. The Churches were the only highlight, they were covered in real gold flake - beautiful and not something you will see likely elsewhere in a lifetime. The rest BORING. Lunch was with the Celebrity group in the city and was ok but we were nervous about eating in the town and made sure we stuck with cooked only items. We then had the option to go back to the hotel or do the equator tour. We did the tour, why not??! Was fun to take pictures on the line and go up in the monument. Dinner was with the Celebrity group out in town in a wonderful restaurant they closed just for us. Food was great, but the start of unavoidable late dining ugh. Sunday morning we went down to the buffet (all food included) and the news spread quickly about the charter flight being delayed. Celebrity said we would have lunch in the hotel and didn't have to check out of room early. They set up a museum tour but we opted to grab a much needed nap and hit the gym. Folks said it was nice. Hotel included robes (as did the room on the ship including slippers - less to pack!) The Cruise: The trip was beyond wonderful. The food was just ok overall. Staff excellent, ship old, but very clean. Every day they offered two hikes (morning and afternoon). There were two options per hike (short and long) we always did long hikes but they were only maybe half hour longer than the short most of the time. We just got back from our trip and never saw a drop of rain (march 2016) in the islands although it was rainy season. We always carried in our day pack w/ our rain jackets in case. Day pack is a must have, buy one before the trip!! I have a REI Stuff Travel Daypack that runs $29. It zips into itself and when unfolded has over both shoulder straps with a convenient top zipper area and storage on each side for water bottles. ( I did day hikes in Grand Canyon with it - bottle holders fits Nalgenes bottles too! BUT DONT BOTHER TO BRING - the cruise provides unlimited bottled water!!!) The bag is great to stow a camera, extra space to shed clothing sandals and store bug spray sun lotion so on. You need free hands to get on and off the Zodiacs so this bag is perfect. Water bottles store handy on the side mesh pockets. Shoes - Slippers are provided no need to pack! You need comfy shoes to have while on the boat for breakfast and dinner. I brought a lightweight pair of Sanuks - perfect. I brought Croc sandals (also perfect) for beach hikes and wet landings- they are lightweight and water proof and fit in daypack. Many folks had Keen type Sandals or similar, they two are great but take longer to dry. I brought a pair of hiking shoes not knowing what to expect. Smart choice. I happen to own Scarpa Mojitos and they turned out to be perfect. Not heavy weight so perfect for walking in city and on lava or rough trails. Some folks had hiking boots, but unless you have weak ankles that is overkill and hot. If you do tend to roll your ankles then you may consider them as the lava walks on some islands were loose and footing had to be made carefully. So the shoes I packed - croc sandals, sanuk slip ons and lightweight trail hike shoes and extreme light weight running sneakers (only worn while on treadmill in gyms -not needed otherwise). What to pack - two bathing suits for snorkeling, they provide dive suits but you need the bathing suit underneath. No chaff shirt was needed. Invest in a cheap underwater camera, you won't regret it. Wet cloths in room dry slow thus reason for two suits. Some days we did two snorkels. By the way the deep water snorkels you jump out of zodiacs into at least 30 feet of water. They do not teach you how to snorkel so good to practice before trip if you never did it. They do provide anti fog gel. There is a ladder to climb to reenter the zodiac kind of like a pool ladder. WORTH IT TO SNORKEL, you may be tired but do it!! We swam with seal pups marine iguanas and turtles beside the fish!!! Water temps vary depending on the area in islands, warmest was 80, coldest mid 60s (freezing for this Florida kid!). I brought comfy casual cloths to wear on ship and used during breakfast and lunch. Dinner folks wore polo shirts and nice blouses. Shorts of course!! Not super fancy and no ties or suit jackets, Some sun dresses. Boat is not super cold with AC but was comfortable, so never needed long sleeves or sweater. Brought my lightweight Columbia safari hat to avoid the skin burning sun and also long sleeve lightweight Columbia beige fishing /safari style shirt. That shirt washes easy no wrinkles and dries fast!! two Long pants that zip off also easy to wash and dry. Bra and undies stay away from cotton on this trip. The water on the ship is safe in the showers and to brush teeth as the ship makes its own water, but drink bottled water and it is everywhere! Alcohol and soda flowed freely as well as fancy coffee drinks (coffee is STRONG so I drank (happily) cappuccinos. I averaged 10 or more bottles of water a day but it was hot and you sweat more than you realize. Beer was Equardorian but the light variety was only 3.3% alcohol so it was perfect with a lime for me!! Tons of wines and any mix drink and frozen drink you wanted. I would highly suggest investing in clothing that can be washed and rinsed and drys quickly and doesn't need ironing. Not that type of cruise!!!! NO COTTON!!! Just about everyone looked like a safari guide. Tan or olive was the smart typical color choice. I brought zip off pants which I was grateful for. Times they recommend long pants on hikes but then a bit into the walk you can unzip if not needed. DO NOT BRING ORANGE RED YELLOW OR PINK cloths to wear on hikes. BUGS and WASPS in particular are attracted to those bright colors. The guides would give warnings for hikes that had potential high areas of wasps. Bugs were never an issue, wasps were around in a few spots but seriously they zero in on the folks with the bright colors. Pick a low key color day pack as well! Needless to say the boat store made a killing on everyone buying safari shirts hats and pants. Plan ahead and go have a drink rather than wait to shop on the boat lol, but rest assured there are cloths available if you forget. Other suggestion is a neck buff. They also sell them on the ship for $22. All the boat drivers wear them as the sun is very strong!! I brought two and washed in sink and hung up in room to dry. They have biodegradable soap and the body soap worked well to wash lightweight clothes out. You sweat a lot!! We brought camp soap as well but the body soap is great and makes cloths smell fresh. GYM- SMALL!!! only a spin bike, treadmill and elliptical without electronics. Treadmill was perfect for me. There was a hot tub out side the gym on deck 6 as well but never used it. Folks who did were happy. Food - Well don't expect big cruise dinning. My partner rated food on scale of 1-10 a 2. I gave it a 6. I'm the chef at home so it was nice to have organic fruit and an omelet station every day. Breakfast was buffet, as was lunch. They always offered an outdoor BBQ but pizza and burgers and fries are not my thing. One day they had a massive BBQ with variety of shrimp and fish and meats, it was good. No lobster was ever offered this cruise. Dinner was an looooong event. Dinner everyone sat together at 730pm each night. We never escaped earlier than 930pm. Three course meals and tables were seating for 4,6,8,10 not assigned. You tend to sit with everyone at one point or another on this cruise. Service was excellent but food was not grand. Fish was good every night but my partner seemed to always get the piece that was raw or overcooked. Stay away from the meat. Deserts were also not great. Nice touches : Being handled cold wash cloth after climbing on board after hike or snorkel. Having a drink and fruit station set up after each excursion at top of steps. Being Given a hard covered Galapagos book. Last night being given a photo CD of pictures taken by guides during the week. Back in the Marriott the last Sunday afternoon after the cruise we had the option to go to the local souvenir market.They had a bus that took us to a market place with 100 tiny stores owned by locals. They sell leather goods, Panama hats, knit tops, blankets and trinkets. Most of the branded stuff said Equator. IMPORTANT -If you want Galapagos items and see something you like in the islands, then buy it although it is pricey. The only day we saw shops was on last day in Santa Cruz on the Darwin center hike in town. There are plenty of shops with Galapagos branded items you"ll walk past. Cash transactions are cheaper so bring US cash. Finally after our last included breakfast at the Marriott Monday morning Celebrity had a private van with Celebrity escort take us to the airport. The escort brought us to the AA gate and said goodbye. No one weighed any carry on baggage and they told everyone the rules are less stringent then they use to be. Wish we knew that, but the extra space was great in my carry on for souvenirs on the trip home. The charter flight both directions is Celebrity staff and passengers only and provides lunch and drinks. Customs in Galapagos was quick and the outgoing flight wait area in the Galapagos airport was seperate for Celebrity charter passengers. They offered cheese and fruit and coffee and tea and juice the day we were departing. Side note - we are in our early 50s, and there was only maybe 6 people younger than us (40s) and only one 18 year old kid. I don't know if this is the right trip for kids, they may bore quickly. This is not an ideal trip for disabled folks as you need to be able to hike on uneven terrain and climb in and out of the zodiacs. There are no elevators so you have to be able to climb steps on board as well. That said, the trip is not one that you need to be an olympian. The hikes are slow, but you want to enjoy everything you see rather than get a cardio workout in (use the treadmill is you want that cardio - I was only one of two aboard that did lol). We saw smaller boats in inlets and a variety of tour boats anchored in Santa Cruz. I think we made the right choice as Celebrity had top level Naturalist, very clean standards, we felt safe most staff spoke english and they had good equipment. No one complained of sea sickness although some passengers wore patches. Smaller vessels may not be as stable and some seemed smokey from fuel. Thumbs up to the Equator/Galapagos Celebrity employees, they took very good care of us. No sales pitches, everything included, no stress, great trip!! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This experience really exceeded my expectations. As a travel consultant I have traveled a lot. But this was the best nature cruise/vacation that I have ever experienced. From the moment we exited Immigration we were wrapped in the arms ... Read More
This experience really exceeded my expectations. As a travel consultant I have traveled a lot. But this was the best nature cruise/vacation that I have ever experienced. From the moment we exited Immigration we were wrapped in the arms of Celebrity. We chose to arrive in Quito on the early flight to avoid the midnight arrival. Arriving at 2:15p was great as it gave us some time to see the city in the daylight. Also it helped us avoid the hassle of recovering lost luggage, which some of our shipmates unfortunately had to deal with. The airline required that the luggage be shipped to the Galapagos, $600! Our tour of Quito the next day was very informative and enjoyable. This was truly a trip of a lifetime. The scenery, the animals, the ocean, the geological diversity, intelligent and knowledgeable naturalists and friendly, caring staff completed this wonderful adventure! The weather was perfect. Although it was the rainy season it only sprinkled once during the day. However we were prepared for rain and would have welcomed it a couple of really hot days. The JW Marriott was excellent. Celebrity made the transfer from Quito to Baltra a breeze. The ship was smaller than any I had ever sailed on but I had no problems with seasickness. The Galapagos, what can you say? I was awestruck everyday. Each new island offered another opportunity to come close to rare birds, sea lion pups and more. We did the inner loop. Although I said it was a once in a lifetime trip, I would love to do the outer loop also. I would recommend Celebrity Xpedition to everyone. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
My husband and I did the 10 day package with Celebrity on Xpedition in cabin XS501. This was definitely a different type cruise than we are used (we like lazy beach time) but we knew that going in and were pleasantly surprised at how much ... Read More
My husband and I did the 10 day package with Celebrity on Xpedition in cabin XS501. This was definitely a different type cruise than we are used (we like lazy beach time) but we knew that going in and were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed this trip. Lots of reviews on the ship tours etc so I will concentrate on the things that stood out for us. Although we booked our own air arrangements we were very happy that once we arrived in Quito (we arrived mid afternoon the day before which we recommend) Celebrity looked after all travel from that point on. The transfer to the hotel (JW Marriott) by bus was fine (approx 1 hour door to door). Once at the hotel we asked right away about upgrading the Quito to Baltra flight to business class and they took note of that. We found it to be very reasonable ($400 total for 2 return trip) and worth it to us to be comfortable. We learned that you can't book this in advance so best to ask as soon as you arrive at the hotel if you do want it. The charge was added to our shipboard account. Our cabin was in the perfect location we thought and we loved having a balcony. We spent a couple hours there each day between morning and afternoon zodiac trips. Make sure you bring good binoculars - we use Canon image stabilizing binocs which are especially helpful on the water. We sat out and saw huge sea turtles, beautiful countless stingrays (many even jumped out of the water) and even a hammerhead shark from the balcony. We ordered fries from room service as a snack (heh we were on vacation :-) and enjoyed the quiet time. Our room was a great size for the two of us and was very well looked after by our cabin attendants. Be sure to ask for extra beach towels or whatever you need - you will be taken care of. We definitely felt the rocking of the ship most days - the first night was the worst - make sure you secure things in your cabin (like glassware, bottles etc. and anything that might roll around). Take some gravol or motion sickness meds and you will be fine. One of our other favourite things to do onboard after an excursion was to grab some drinks and head up to the hot tub on the 6th floor. We did this pretty much everyday and only once was someone else in it. It was a lovely quiet place to absorb the setting and the outdoor shower there is highly recommended. Take tons of sunscreen with you on this trip - it was hot in February when we went and i can't even imagine what it would be like later in April, May etc! I would also recommend that ladies bring a few sports bras for daytime hikes etc so you can keep your regular ones clean and non-sweaty. I didn't think of this until afterwards and wished I had. We did use the ship's laundry service several times and found it to be fast and good value. We are 40 and 49 and were probably the one of the youngest couples on our cruise. There were no kids on our sailing at all which we liked. We were impressed that some of our fellow (older) guests dealt with the physical challenges of exiting and entering the zodiacs which were at times a bit tricky. Everyone on the boat seemed to be young at heart for sure. This was probably the only time we have ever been unable to reliably receive/send email and or surf but we went in to the trip expecting that and it was fine. We found it actually forced people to put down their phones and talk to other guests which was both refreshing and entertaining. If we really HAD to get our messages we would time it so that we were the only ones in the lounge area where wifi was available and then we had some success although it was still slow. If more than a couple people were in the lounge attempting to do the same thing we quickly learned it was a waste of time. We heard a few guests saying they were doing back to back inner/outer loops and were happy that we were not. One week was enough for us but I can understand wanting to maximize your time while there. We just didn't think that it would differ that much and felt one week was the perfect amount of time. Read Less
48 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Since I prepared myself my reading all the reviews that the people before me left I only find it fitting that I write a review to help the people after me. To start this off I am a 30 year old male that went with my wife, father in law and ... Read More
Since I prepared myself my reading all the reviews that the people before me left I only find it fitting that I write a review to help the people after me. To start this off I am a 30 year old male that went with my wife, father in law and mother in law. Flew from Arizona to Miami. Then Miami to Quito. Landed in Quito around 230pm local time, which is the same as east coast United States time. I highly recommended getting into Quito as early as possible. Which I'll explain later. At the airport customs took a little longer than expected. Luckily we sat in the front of the plane and were some of the first people at the customs line. People that sat in the back of the plane, took them almost an hour to get through custom. After you get through customs you are greeted by a celebrity representative and they take you to a private bus. From the airport to the hotel it was about an hour drive through the scenic hills of Ecuador. The celebrity representative gives you some local knowledge during this drive. But all and all the drive is very uneventful. Once arriving at the Marriott you get your room keys and are pretty much released for the day. The most important part about arriving early into Quito is once you get to the Marriott be sure to check with the celebrity representative to upgrade your seats on the flight to the Galápagos in two days. It was a first come first serve basis and you cannot do this prior to arriving in Quito. It costs about $400.00 per couple round trip to upgrade. And all upgrades were sold by 600pm as there are only 12 seatsl. Trust me it was well worth it. The rest of the day we hung out around the hotel. Went to the bar for appetizers and they were good which you would expect at a JW Marriott. For dinner we went to the steakhouse which is located next to the elevators. Very good food. Had the salad and the lamb and definitely would have it again. The only downside to the Marriott stay was that almost all the channels were in Spanish. Found 6 channels in English but it was hard to find since the guide and all the commercials on those English channels were in Spanish. But the rooms were nice and the service was great. There was a 9th floor VIP lounge that we were allowed into and it was nice. Had American beer and good snacks. On the first real day of the trip, Saturday, celebrity started it off right with a large buffet style breakfast that was amazing. Local fruit, made to order eggs, and smoothies. Was perfect since you don't stop till around 1230 for lunch. After breakfast we loaded the buses to take off to see the town of Quito. Every time your on a bus it's only about 2/3 full so you never fill cramped and cold bottle water is always available. The tour began at a local church and was a beautiful site to see. The rest of the trip takes you through 3 more churches and a quick stop at the presidential palace. Then a short bus ride to the lunch stop. Lunch was nice, nothing special, a small sampling of local Ecuadorian food. I highly recommend trying to grab one of the outside seats as people watching on the adjoining town square was quite amusing. After lunch a trip to the equator is available. We do not go but elected to head back to the Marriott with a few other people. Relaxed the rest of the day till around 600 when the buses were ready to pick up the entire group and take us to dinner. Another short drive and we arrived at a small local upscale restaurant. Everyone fit comfortably and it was a good atmosphere. For dinner you had your choice of two appetizers, 3 main courses, and for dessert they brought everyone a sampling of three dishes. I had the veal as my main meal and it was amazing. No complaints at all for the entire dinner. Just a side not for the dinner beer and wine was not included and was extra. Wine bottles were around $40.00 and beer $5.00 a bottle. So bring some cash with you if you would like to drink. After dinner you are brought back to the hotel where you need to bring your main bags down so they can check them through for you. You don't see these bags again until you get to your cabin on the boat so that was nice. We also had a small bag that we left at the Marriott until we got back from the boat. Just a side note on baggage for the trip. I highly recommend only one check bag and one either backpack or shoulder bag for your carry on per person. Then a shared bag per couple to leave at the Marriott. Makes the trip a lot easier. After you drop your bags off its back to your room to sleep. In the morning another amazing breakfast is provided for you. Then at 730 you can pick up your flight tickets and it's off to the airport at 815. Another hour bus ride and your at the airport. Security and check in was very quick and only took about 5 minutes and we were at the gate waiting. 10 minutes later they started loading the airplane and then we were off the the Galápagos Islands. The flight to the Galápagos was nice. They offered breakfast to everyone on the plane and a variety of drinks. Landed in Baltra and a decent walk from the airplane to the terminal. From the airport you take a bus down to the dock and from there a quick ride on a small boat the the xpendition. Upon arriving your sit down for a small orientation the. You are taken to your state room where champagne is awaiting. After that you do your normal boat drills followed by an official greeting from the crew and a toast with the captain. After the toast the head naturalist goes over the events for Monday and everyone then signs up. (See me note later in the cons section). After you sign up for your days trips you are released for dinner. At this time my group and some people we met went outside and had a drink so wait for the dining room to calm down. As I said before I am 30, besides my in laws and two other couples the rest of the boat was 65 plus. So a 730 dinner was late for them so we just waited till 830 and went down. There is no assigned seating during dinner and the dining room is made just for the 96 people on board. When we finally ate dinner was amazing. The have two menus. The xpendition favorites menu which stays the same the entire trip and then a daily menu with 15 new choices everyday, so there was something for everyone. Dinner on the program days till 900 but we drank and ate till a little after 10. The staff knew why we came late and was happy to serve us. Then off to bed we went because breakfast was served at 700. There was morning stretching at 630, but due to our wine intake the night before we opted out of it. After breakfast it is off to the small boats for your first trip The first trip was a walk and swim/snorkel at espanola island. The walk was very nice, witnessed a diverse amount of wildlife and the naturalist, Marvin, was very pleasant to talk to. Once your done with the walk you can swim/snorkel in the bay. The water temp was perfect but the waves a little rough for some people. Loading the boat proved to be difficult for many of the older guests. I mean almost all. ATTENTION: spend as much time snorkeling and swimming in the water as you can. This is by far the best beach and most relaxing area to swim on the trip. Please read the information on celebrity's website. This is an expedition cruise not a cattle call all you can eat kind of cruise. You need to be in decent shape to do this activities. Many of the guests couldn't load onto the small boat from the beach. It was very easy for my family and the two other couples in their 40's. The second excursion of the day was amazing. We witnessed so many animals up close on our 3 mile hike. From the start when you off load the small boat it is a very strenuous walk across uneven lava rocks. The entire way you are having to jump from rock to rock so please only go on this if you have great balance and are in good shape. The weather was upper 80's with 90% humidity so many people were struggling. But besides that we were feet away come seals,hawks, iguanas, etc.. Total the walk was about 3 hours. After the walk the normal nightly routine starts. A briefing at 715 and dinner to follow. On Monday night it is the first night that you can schedule to eat outside. The food is not as good as inside and it is served family style, but being outside under the stars was well worth it. So I recommend you do it one day. On day 3 of the cruise you have another early start followed by a long or short walk on the beach of floreana island. Both walks are easy. Take the long walk no matter what and go see the sea turtle nesting are. It's extremely easy for everyone and well worth it. I'm the afternoon you have the option to go see the post office box and zodiac ride or just a zodiac ride. Honestly the post office box was pointless but the boat ride was amazing. Got to see boobies, baby seals, birds, etc up close within 5 feet. Strongly recommend this boat ride to everyone. Day 4 of the cruise started off not so good. The morning excursion was canceled due to the beach landing area being unsafe. I applaud the staff for doing what they did and making the best out of the morning with activities. The afternoon was a "fitness" walk with snorkeling. The walk was probably the most intense of them all for the long walk. Clinton over boulders and extreme heat it was a little tough for almost everyone. And the pace was extremely quick compared to other walks. But it all paid off in the end when we ran into 3 giant tortoises and a few land iguanas. At the end of the walk, either the short or long, you get to snorkel in the bay. Visibility wasn't that great but we witnessed was amazing. Dozens of sea turtles feet from you, sea lions swimming around you, and penguins darting around. Truly one of the more memorable snorkels in my life. Then another short ride back to the ship for our evening festivities. Day 5 was probably one of my favorite days. In the morning you can go on a long or short walk which in essence they are practically the same. Rather short easy walks but you do see an abundance of wildlife. After the walk is over a deep sea snorkel was available. The conditions and visibility were not that great but I was amazed by what we saw. Sea turtles inches from you, flightless birds swimming next to you , and all the fish you could imagine. After lunch the boat moved and we had another deep sea snorkel. And this one wasn't far the best. Sea lions playing with us, penguins zipping around you, the flightless comoronent bird fishing under you, dozens of sea turtles feeding, and sting rays everywhere. This snorkel was truly one for the books. Then after that everyone had the same option of an hour long boat ride along this 2000 foot cliff. More wildlife than you could imagine. Everything from blue footed boobies to baby sea lions. Like I said by far the best day in the Galápagos. That night they had a "crossing the equator" party. A very nice party thrown by the ships crew, and if you haven't done it before you get a certificate for crossing the equator. Not many know that this is a pretty big deal especially in the navy. So take great pride in it. Day 6 brought a few more islands. The first expedition was either a long or short walk. You witnessed the exact same wildlife on both. A rather extremely hot and uneventful walk but it showed a different side of the Galápagos. The trip was highlighted by a land iguana climbing a cactus to eat it and a small tide pool with about 15 baby seals playing. Very easy landing and walk. Just bring water as it was hot. The afternoon brought lunch and repositioning of the ship for the afternoon adventures.On the afternoon adventure you had the option for a short and long walk. Take the long walk if you can. You walk through a highly vegetated and humid area to the top of a hill overlooking the island. You mostly only see land iguanas but the view was worth it. Not the most memorable walk of the trip but was well worth it. Day 7 started off horrible. You go to the Darwin Research Center. Which is horrible, there is nothing open expect a few pens with 6 or 7 giant tortoises. First off you have to walk over a mile through nothing to get there and it is extremely depressing and a waste of time. After it's over, only lasted about 30 minutes, you have to walk through town back to the pick up point which is close to 1.5 miles and through a little part of town. We ended up just getting a beer and sitting at a fish market waiting for the bus. Next you go up to the highlands to plant some trees. Yes, its for a good cause but honestly was pretty senseless. You show up run and plant a tree and are out in ten minutes. After that you are driven to a ranch to have lunch and see tortoises in the wild. This is where the day changes into something great. First off the local lunch was amazing probably some of the better food of the trip. Then after lunch the do a local dance show and you go off with a naturalist around the area to witness tortoises in the wild. Our group was out there the longest and we got to see maybe 25-30 tortoises and it was amazing. Plenty of photography opportunities with them. This was one of my favorite land expeditions on the trip. After you are done a short bus ride back to town and everyone had about 3 hours to explore town. Not sure why more people didn’t take the chance to hang out in town. Our group was the only ones that stayed in town, and we made the best of it staying to the last boat at 630. We obviously did some local shopping which wasn’t anything to write home about. But we found a nice bar overlooking the bay and had drinks for a couples hours. Well worth it and better than sitting on the ship for 3 hours. All and all it turned out to be a good day but skip the Darwin center if you can. On the last day on the ship you wake up and eat breakfast. After that everyone was in the lounge or on the patio. We ended up just have a couple more drinks and waiting for the call to go to shore. Once you arrive on shore you take a bus ride to the airport and wait around for about an hour. After that its off to Quito and back to the Marriott. That night there is a tour of the local markets and dinner at the steakhouse at the Marriott. The menu that was "included" or free was kind of depressing and we ended up ordering of the normal menu and paying. Our flight left shortly after dinner so we loaded up on a prearranged ride and were off to the airport and back home. Tips • You don’t need that much money. All meals except the first night are included. And the second night if wine/beer is desired that is all you have to pay for. From there on out I didn’t spend a dime until the last day in town. • The only other time we used money was to tip the workers that truly made the cruise great for us. No one really tipped besides our group but some workers did deserve it. No need to bring more than a $1000 US. • The currency is US Dollars • Go on every excursion/snorkel/walk you can. That’s what you are paying for so don’t miss out. Every island has a different feel and is worth every minute you can spend on it. • This is an expedition boat, not an all you can eat buffet cruise so you have to be not fit but able to walk without a cane or hurting. There were probably 40 people that stayed on the boat at all times, which is fine by me, but they are missing out on the good stuff and paying so much money to sit and do nothing Cons • Signing up for daily trips. Kind of a cattle call but I always got what I wanted to do • Loading boats for daily excursions. There are just those type of people that run to the front of line to be the first. Quite annoying. But a little tip if you do the long walks always wait for the last boat, usually only 6-9 people so it is a smaller group and more interactive • Do not have crown royal or grey goose. If you drink it bring your own • The food. Not that great at all. More of an Applebee's kind of quality. But see note on service below. • The outside dining. It is available 5 out of the seven nights but is the same meal. Thinking they should mix it up a little so you want to eat out there more. • Cooking of meat. I am a medium rare plus kind of guy. But anytime out of country I always get medium. And there medium was rare. Be sure to ask for medium well no matter what. Pros • The excursions. Truly an amazing experience everyday all day • The naturalist. There were 7 and I say 5 of them were very knowledgeable and entertaining. Became good friends with them. • Everything is included. Nice to just order drinks all day with no hassle. • Service: Everyday it was amazing. Like I said the food was not that good but the service was awesome. They would do anything for you. We asked for a private table on the 6th floor deck for our group and they did it no questions asked. Your rooms are cleaned 4 times a day and everyone is polite. • The ship size. Only 96 people. Small enough that there wasn’t too much cattle call but big enough to find a couple or two to hang out with. • The rooms: we had a suite with a balcony. Wasn’t that large but your never in it and everything was comfortable. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
I just returned from a Galapagos cruise with Celebrity. The cruise itself is 7 days but the package includes 2 nights pre-cruise at the Mariott in Quito and 1 night post-cruise at the same hotel. The cruise package is all inclusive. ... Read More
I just returned from a Galapagos cruise with Celebrity. The cruise itself is 7 days but the package includes 2 nights pre-cruise at the Mariott in Quito and 1 night post-cruise at the same hotel. The cruise package is all inclusive. That is including pick up at Quito airport (private transfer). Hotel stay, tours, breakfast, lunch and dinner plus luggage transfer from hotel to airport to ship. Everything is seamless and headache free. The flight from Quito to Baltra is a Special chartered flight by Celebrity for all its passengers. Passengers were in a special VIP lounge at the airport with drinks and snack. There is even a table cloth for meal service on the plane. Very classy! The ship only accommodates 95+ passengers but has over 70 crew. Only one small dinning room where breakfast, lunch and dinner is served. Very friendly, helpful service and decently good food. The cabins are decent size. All has window or balcony. Ample shelves in closet for clothing and accessories. His and her closets. All shore excursions are included with a naturalist - maximum of 16 people in each group. Very knowledgeable and friendly. Let us take time to take photos at each spot. Entertainment is simple but nice. All passengers gather for information slide shows, or Karaoke or dancing with all the staff. Disembarkation is also very organized and smooth. All luggages delivered from cabin right to the hotel room in Quito. One of the best cruise I ever had. (I have cruise almost everywhere with quite a number of cruise lines and this one is very impressive) Tips: Travel light - bring your best hiking shoes, water shoes, water hikers and neutral coloured clothing. Best if they are washable and easily dried. Hat, sunglasses and tons of sunscreen is needed. A camera with lots of zoom! Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
To be clear, I'm not an experienced cruiser (only one prior cruise 25 years ago, with no plans to sail today's giant modern ships), and we don't fit the typical demographic—I'm a 52-year-old man traveling with my ... Read More
To be clear, I'm not an experienced cruiser (only one prior cruise 25 years ago, with no plans to sail today's giant modern ships), and we don't fit the typical demographic—I'm a 52-year-old man traveling with my 18-year-old daughter. We wanted to see the Galapagos, and we chose the Xpedition not for the food or the accommodations, but because it seemed like the easiest most trouble-free and comprehensive way to do so. And the trip totally lived up to our expectations. We went for the wildlife, and the Galapagos didn't disappoint. Snorkeling with sea lions and penguins and sea turtles, carefully stepping around the iguanas, and photo-bombing boobies and giant tortoises. And of course, more sea lions and iguanas. Everywhere. The landscape was spectacular, the weather a welcome relief from our Seattle December, and I don't think there was a species we expected to see that we didn't get to see up close, with the exception of the flamingos, which we saw from a distance. It's hard to believe from the online reviews, but the Galapagos experience is not oversold. The wildlife is so abundant and so approachable that at times it felt like we were in the middle of an elaborately constructed zoo, going from exhibit to exhibit. If you are a comfortable swimmer, don't be scared away from the "advanced only" deep water snorkels—there's nothing difficult about them, and the zodiacs are quick to pick you up if you want to get out. I hadn't snorkeled in more than 30 years, and my daughter had never snorkeled at all. No problems. And if you are comfortable snorkeling, don't be afraid to go without a wetsuit. Thanks to El Nino, the water was very warm last week—over 80 degrees at all the sites—and I regret the extra heat and buoyancy the wet suit gave me on the deep snorkels. I went without on the beach snorkels, and was much more comfortable and mobile. Bring a rash guard if you're afraid of jelly fish (never saw any) or you want to protect from the sun. But for me, the wetsuit shorties they provided were totally unnecessary. One tip about all else: do this while you're still young and fit enough to enjoy all the excursions! My daughter and I did every long option and every snorkel, and while individually they weren't overtaxing, combined they were exhausting. We napped every day. And took multiple showers. On some of the hikes, the footing is very uneven (even on the short options), so if you have trouble walking, and/or you don't swim, you can't enjoy the full experience. On our last deep water snorkel (the second of the day) a sea lion came out to play with us. For my daughter, that was the highlight of the trip. As for the ship itself, it was fine. Our stateroom and the public areas were comfortable if not fancy, and the food and drinks are good and plentiful, though not fine dining. The service was always unfailingly friendly and excellent, but if you expect the high price tag to buy you a luxury cruise, this isn't it. You are paying for a week of excursions throughout the Galapagos (2 to 3 a day), in groups of no more than 16, guided by well-educated and experienced Galapagos Park certified naturalists. That's why Xpedition (and to be fair, all the ships) are so expensive. Also, remember that this is a tiny vessel by modern cruise ship standards, so yes, the Xpedition rocks. Almost always. And sometimes rather severely. We both got queazy at times, and my daughter needed dramamine. If you are prone to sea sickness, be forewarned. As for the passenger demographics, at 18 my daughter was the ship baby, although there were a handful of other young adults traveling with family for her to share the time. The median age was almost certainly over 60, so I felt youngish by comparison. I would not recommend this for young children, but relatively resilient pre-teens should be fine. Also, pack light and casual. Almost nobody dresses up, and the laundry services are relatively inexpensive if you need to wash a few things. We chose the 10-day package with 2 nights before and 1 night after in Quito, if only to make the trip as painless as possible. The JW Marriott is fine (the breakfast buffet is excellent) and the city/equator tour is okay if you're into that sort of thing. What Celebrity delivered on above all else was making the trip entirely painless and worry free from the moment they pick you up at the airport to the moment they drop you off. The logistics are impressive, and everything went off on time and without a hitch. Had I to do it again (and the scheduling had worked out) I might have flown in a couple more days early and visited the cloud forest, but by the time we disembarked the ship we were ready to go home, so I don't regret not tacking on Machu Pichu. This was not a trip I could easily afford, but I have to say it was worth the money, and I'm glad I did it while I was still relatively young. At first, Xpedition looks more expensive than some of the other options, but when you factor in the all-inclusive nature of the package, it really isn't, and what extra money we spent bought us a lot of peace of mind. Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
This was a trip I have wanted to do for many years. Hearing someone talk about his experience on this trip and seeing his pictures, the trip became a reality. My wife and I are in our late 60's and in decent health. We decided on ... Read More
This was a trip I have wanted to do for many years. Hearing someone talk about his experience on this trip and seeing his pictures, the trip became a reality. My wife and I are in our late 60's and in decent health. We decided on the trip that included Espanola Island because I wanted to see the waved albatross which is only on that island. Note they leave the island sometime in December and return later. From what we heard either route would be great. We opted for the 10 day package that included 3 nights in Quito. You may want to consider the Peru/Machu Pichu package. On hindsight wish we had. We did book air through Celebrity because our flight did not get into Quito until after 11:00 PM. The Quito airport is about 45 minutes - 1 hour from the city. We wanted the guaranteed transfer. All 3 nights in Quito at the JW Marriott were great. Celebrity had a trip coordinator at the hotel during a good part of the stay. He was most helpful and asisted us greatly rescheduling a delayed flight The tours in Quito were interesting and enjoyable. If you are adventurous, you may want to opt out of the 0'0'0' site trip and do something on your own, but it was OK. Breakfasts were in the hotel. We had one lunch at a restaurant with an Ecudorean buffet. The food was fantastic with a good survey of local dishes, especially the cerviche. Dinner was at a very nice white table cloth restaurant. Dinner on the return was a set meal with choices at the hotel just for those of us who were staying the last night. The trip to Baltra was on a Celebrity chartered flight with only guests and staff. A very nice lunch was served both going from and returning to Quito. Cannot say enough about the boat and the crew. Everyone was extremely helpful, pleasant and could not do enough for you. The cruise director,dining room and bar staff was exceptional in trying to meet your needs. If they saw you might not like something, they offered to replace it. Drinks and wine were offerred without hesitation. Choices included local dishes and seafood. Never knew there were so many types of cerviche. All good. Open seating gave you a chance to meet many different people. Everything first class in my book. The licensed naturalists on board were also exceptionally nice and knowledgable. Readily answered questions that they had already covered. Always aware of guest safety and protecting the environment. All really seemed to enjoy their work. The excursions were at 2 different levels, short and long, lasting 1 or 2 hours usually. The areas on each island that can be visited on each island is limited by the government. The major difference between the two are the distance. You generally see all the same animals on each. The only exception is on Espanola. Will not see the Albatrosses or a booby breeding ground on the short tour there. Some tours were on a large raft (Zodiac/panga) and did not land. We did not find the trip particularly difficult, although some of the landings can be difficult for a short distance, slippery or broken rocks. All trips start with a Zodiac/panga ride and can be either a landing in shallow water or on land. The hikes can be over broken lava and or rocks. Hot and humid at times. Weather was sunny to partly cloudy most days. Just go slow and watch where you are going. The walk is broken up by frequent stops to look at the animals. Suggest taking trekking poles or using the boat's walking sticks. I experienced back problems from a long time condition and was able to do all tours (long and short). The variety and nunber of animals was overwhelming. Got to see most of the animals you read about. The naturalists have an encyclopedic knowledge base. The animals never diasappointed. Puting on a constant show. It is true that they have no fear of us, except when they protect their young. If you have any interest, "carpe diem". The islands are ever changing and the number of visitors is controlled. While we had no real problems, obviously the younger you are and the better shape you are in are a plus. We cannot recommend the Galapagos and this Celebrity trip strongly enough. First class and worth it, especially if you want a touch of luxury in a sometimes stark area of the world. 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 4.8
Value For Money 3.0 4.5
Rates 5.0 4.5

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