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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
As you probably know this ship will be refurbished and re done and a new one is taking its place, I believe, in 2020. The ship, thus, looks a little tired, but it is very clean. The state rooms are among the smallest I've seen, even ... Read More
As you probably know this ship will be refurbished and re done and a new one is taking its place, I believe, in 2020. The ship, thus, looks a little tired, but it is very clean. The state rooms are among the smallest I've seen, even the suites, but you won't spend a long time in the room. My only criticism would be the snorkeling equipment, the fins in particular are lacking, they don't have inventory in the most common sizes and the same with the wet suits most of which show a great deal of wear and are broken in places. Fins and a wet suit are essential in this cruise and at this price the equipment should be in top shape. The bar is another thing that needs minding. There is only one bar and it's the hang out place when you are cruising or after excursions. The bar has very limited selections and the bartenders are hit and miss with the drinks. Other than that Celebrity provides a great experience from the moment you touch down in Quito. The places they take you, the food, the hotel, it's all done very organized. Staff is all terrific. The ship's food is very good, not fancy, but fresh and delicious. The meat is pre cooked before it reaches the ship so you may want to opt for the sea food items which are local and fresh, specially the langoustines which are a delicacy State side and quite expensive. Some tips. If you are not used to snorkeling in cold water, buy a hood, it's cheap and (along with the wet suit) will keep you warm. Seconds after the initial shock of cold water, I forgot all about it, and I'm used to Miami water. More than half the life in the Galapagos is under water, if you don't do the snorkeling you miss half the trip. Invest in a small water camera, I got an Olympus TG 5, while the photos were ok (most of the time the water was cloudy) the under water video was terrific. You also need a camera with a good zoom lens, I only took the water camera and it was a mistake. While some of the wildlife is close a zoom will give you amazing shots. Regarding the Galapagos in general. We are an avid wildlife loving family, traveled the Andes, Amazon, Africa, etc, and have stayed in luxury camps and candle light only shacks. The wild life and terrain in the Galapagos is unique, but not varied and the cruise experience, specially when paying for a family, lacks value. This is not a trip that touched my heart or something I want to do again. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
A very good Galapagos cruise I chose this cruise and itinerary in order to see the Galápagos Islands in comfort on a celebrity cruise ship I chose the seven day cruise which meant I had time to arrange my own itinerary in Quito As ... Read More
A very good Galapagos cruise I chose this cruise and itinerary in order to see the Galápagos Islands in comfort on a celebrity cruise ship I chose the seven day cruise which meant I had time to arrange my own itinerary in Quito As well as staying for a couple of nights on the islands prior to embarkation I spent two nights in Quito at hotel Casona to La Ronde which is a lovely colonial hotel in the old quarter I undertook a day tour to see volcanoes hummingbirds and the cloud forest which was a brilliant experience I then spent two nights at hotel Solla Verde Santa Cruz Island The hotel is located in the highlands A 20 minute taxi ride into Puerto Ayora Very clean comfortable boutique hotel with lush vegetation and a pet giant tortoise Day trip to North Seymour Idlsnd which the hotel advised having looked at the itinerary for expedition Amazing wildlife including Sally Lightfoot crabs seals blue footed boobies and many other species The trip include snorkelling the highlight of which was seeing turtles Which were inquisitive swimming around us Embarkation was smooth There is no pier side check in as individual travellars we were met at the airport where there was a short wait in a reserved area with other guests on the seven day itinerary Most of The passengers who were on charter flights were delayed by some hours and we had the privilege of being taken onto Xpeditiob after a short wait At the airport The only way to embark is by zodiac so this would not suit any passengers with significant walking difficulties the same is true for all visits to the islands from Xpedition The ship seemed clean with a very friendly crew There is no elevator which is not a problem for passengers that can manage to get in and out of the zodiacs I had an suite which was a good size with a small balcony but cannot comment on the size of the routine cabins which I understand are quite small The only problem with the cabin was the wardrobe doors were difficult to shut and opened spontaneously which could not be fixed during the cruise The cabin was otherwise clean and was more than satisfactory The only slight problem was the dining which is not all celebrities fault Meat has to be partly precooked before import into the Galapagos Islands which affected the quality of the meat Fish alternative was somewhat over cooked especially the shellfish but I guess they have to do this to avoid Gastro intestinal upset Every evening the cruise director informed us in a very entertaining way about the next days activities giving everyone a choice The activities In groups of up to 16 passengers were excellent with well informed guides Prior to activities most passengers would have assemble in the lounge and there was some disorganisation as passengers vied to go into the first groups Selection by giving passengers ticket numbers as they do on the tendering process on the larger ships would’ve made for a more organised procedure that this is a minor complaint The extent of wildlife seen was amazing and overall the trip was very enjoyable and fulfiilled my expectations Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Our bucket list has always included seeing the Galapagos Islands and as Celebrity offered a post cruise visit to Peru's Sacred Valley and MachuPiccu, the choice seemed easy. The Xpedition is the largest of Celebrity's vessels ... Read More
Our bucket list has always included seeing the Galapagos Islands and as Celebrity offered a post cruise visit to Peru's Sacred Valley and MachuPiccu, the choice seemed easy. The Xpedition is the largest of Celebrity's vessels that visit the islands though it needs to be said, this is not a large ship with a maximum capacity of 98 guests. The trip begins in Quito with a tour and overnight followed by a flight to Baltra and a Zodiac to the ship. All went as planned without a hitch. On board, cabins are on the smallish side though there are some larger suites.Each day of the cruise there are two stops. Alternative excursions are presented the night before and one signs up for their preference as to degree of effort required, e.g. hikes, snorkels, etc. This is one of the few areas where Celebrity can use some improvement. Guests appeared mostly Type A's and so the time for sign up was not pleasant. Perhaps they could have a computerized system for sign up or use the excursion process that is used on their other vessels. 16 guests to each naturalist heads out the next morning, returning to the ship for lunch and then repeating the process after lunch. Again, here, a bit of improvement is warranted: there was some jockeying for position to get on the first zodiac to shore which is disruptive. All the excursions were incredible- lots of wildlife and excellent guides to help one understand the uniqueness of the environment. The food was good but not exceptional, perhaps because of the restrictions on what can be brought to the region. The chef tried hard to vary dinner options but overall it is not what one expects on typical Celebrity cruises. A dinner highlight is dining out on the deck under the stars. Really something to see. As this is all inclusive, drinks, wine and beer are available at any time. Don't expect to see single malts on the shelf, though. There is little in the way of entertainment but after a day outdoors, an early bedtime is typical. Also, there were no kids at all; it appeared the youngest may have been 40 or so though the group is quite active all day. At the end of the cruise, the zodiac ride and a flight back to Quito occur. We went on to the Peru portion of the trip as did about 40 others and met up with a few from Celebrity's smaller Galapagos vessels. This portion of the trip had incredible highs but some lows as well especially as to all the connections required. From Quito, we board a flight to Lima. The traffic in Lima is Kafkaesque-- 90 minutes for a ~ 10 mile ride to the hotel only to be repeated in the opposite direction early the next morning for the flight to Cuzco- another 90 minute bus ride. The trip to Casa Hacienda Orihuela is long and a bit tedious but once in the Sacred Valley, amazing to see. The next day we tour Inka ruins and lunch at Wayra Ranch for an equestrian show. Then off to Machu Picchu which defies description. All tours require some climbing an at altitude so this is not trivial sight seeing! We return from Machu Picchu ( to Cuzco) and have dinner on the Train: Hiram Bingham. This day can use some work. It is an early morning train to the site, a climb through the ruins, then lunch and then scheduled "nothing and tea time followed by the train ride to Cuzco (with dinner). Thje group convenced our guide to forgo the tea and give us some time in the Pueblo Machu Picchu where we pick up the train. The original plan has far too much down time with little to fill it. As modified, it was more interesting. A day of Cuzco touring follows then a day with a half day tour of Lima and then to the hotel. Transfers are provided from the hotel to the airport at appropriate times. This post cruise portion has pluses and minuses: On the positive side, the sights are incredible and almost not to be believed. All hotels are first rate: Westins and J.W. Marriotts- what appeared to be the most upscale in the region. The Hotel Monestario a former monastery, was truly most interesting. The guides and staff most accommodating considering we were a group of 50 with at least 60 opinions. Meals were very good though not quite excellent; language is a bit of a problem. As a not very important but illustrative example, I ordered a gin martini and received a glass of ice, a bit of Vermouth and a bottle of ginger ale. On the downside, traffic in Lima and Cuzco is near the worst though not the worst I've experienced. No such thing as following traffic rules. Also, far too much time spent on fancy long lunches when the reason to be there is too see and experience the culture not to eat. This is a trip to do once! it is costly and tiring but mind opening and beautiful. One needs to be prepared for a few physical challenges and certainly challenges to one's patience. A few changes by Celebrity kcould make this a 5 star experience. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
The Celebrity Cruise line did a fabulous job organizing all the events that took place from the airport in Quito, excursions around Quito, hotel arrangements at the JW Marriott, transportation to the Hotel and transportation to Baltra. ... Read More
The Celebrity Cruise line did a fabulous job organizing all the events that took place from the airport in Quito, excursions around Quito, hotel arrangements at the JW Marriott, transportation to the Hotel and transportation to Baltra. Organization was top notch and guides were well spoken and helpful. The cruise ship was kept tidy with the assistance of excellent cabin stewards that cleaned our rooms after every excursion and worked relentlessly. The ship dining room and most facilities were well maintained. Our upgraded cabin was not as well kept as I would have liked to see, given the extreme expense of having a suite. I realize the cruise line must utilize all the cabins to make money, but areas where tiles are chipped and toilet seats appear melted are not what I expect when traveling at such a "huge" expense. My sons" "standard" cabin appeared to be more up dated and refurbished. The beds are also not of the caliber I would expect at this price point. Again, I am grateful that the stewards and various other deckhands worked seamlessly to provide updated and clean conditions in the common areas of the ship. The service was stellar and the Naturalists seemed very excited about the tours they were leading and provided excellent information regarding conservation practices in the Galapagos.The Cruise Director worked to keep the cruisers engaged. The pre- cruise package/tour and cruise around the islands and excursions were all excellent, just a bit disappointed with the overall quality of our cabin accommodations for the price point. I commend the staff and the Zodiac operators for making safety a priority and that comes down from the Captain as well as Celebrity. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Rated this 4 out of 5 from a photographers point of view since I saw few penguins, wasn't able to get good photographs of blue footed boobies on land or diving, couldn't get good shots of flying frigates. Land and marine iguanas ... Read More
Rated this 4 out of 5 from a photographers point of view since I saw few penguins, wasn't able to get good photographs of blue footed boobies on land or diving, couldn't get good shots of flying frigates. Land and marine iguanas were extremely numerous and easy to photograph as were the land tortoises. I opted for good weather (we had rain only briefly on one day) but sacrificed a few wildlife opportunities. Cameras: In spite of what you read, the longer the zoom the better. Use burst mode for shooting birds in flight. Landings and foot-wear: Closed-toed sandals are fine for all landings and walks but wear socks for odor and blister prevention. You'll have time to dry your feet after wet landings though not always with a place to sit. I brought a small wash cloth though towels are provided for drying feet. I think it unnecessary to bring a water proof camera bag since wet landings are in very shallow water for just a couple of steps and help is always available getting in and out of zodiacs. I didn't hear of anyone getting dunked. Walks: Daily walks are divided into long and short walks though the length applies more to duration than to distance. Long walks are probably never more than a mile or so and were pretty level and easy to manage. Only one walk was tough on I think Espanola Island. This was not adequately explained and the walk was somewhat dangerous, required intense focus as it was almost entirely over irregularly shaped rocks which caused a few falls. If you have mobility problems then skip the long walk on this and take a walking stick (sticks are always available) if you choose the short version. Carry bandages. Climate: Though hot and humid it was not nearly as bad as I expected. I wore a long-sleeved all cotton white shirt that worked great. Insects are not much of a problem but take Off insect repellent individual packs. Large water containers are provided. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Celebrity runs a top notch operation in the Galapagos. From our arrival to departure we were well taken care of! The tour guides were informative on land and the naturalist offered their vast knowledge on the islands. The whole tour runs ... Read More
Celebrity runs a top notch operation in the Galapagos. From our arrival to departure we were well taken care of! The tour guides were informative on land and the naturalist offered their vast knowledge on the islands. The whole tour runs like a well oiled machine....with safety of the passengers always present. The ship is smaller than any I have ever cruised on, but perfect for this location. Lack of internet is a issue I think Celebrity needs to address in this day and time. I'm sure almost all passengers would be willing to pay for a high speed internet package. The food was typical cruise fare....good, but not highly seasoned! I found the seafood to be the best choice almost every night! The beef was not good and lacked flavor! The Dinner Under the Stars was disappointing! The menu is the same every night that Dinner Under the Stars is offered. Service was slow and sketchy! I would not book that option if I went again. The service in the dining room was also slow and spotty.....Dinner almost always taking almost two hours. The crew was great, always greeting us and taking care of our needs! The charter flight out to Baltra was good and I did upgrade to First Class. We checked off almost every creature on the Galapagos list! Snorkeling was excellent and I urge everyone to do the Deep Water Snorkeling...it was the best! The zodiac rides along the coast were an enjoyable change from the hiking. Information was given every day regarding the excursion and the clothes, shoes, rain gear, sunscreen, and bug spray needed! We had rain only one day and hardly ever felt a bug. Sunscreen was a must...Hot! Hot! Hot! On our final day in Quito we picked the Spa option and it turned out to be the Piece de Resistance to our whole trip! After the rigorous excursions....a spa day was the perfect ending! I would highly recommend! This was truly the trip of a lifetime and I checked it off my bucket list! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We wanted a boat larger than the 14-16 passenger ones you see most often in the Galapagos. The ability level of vast majority of passengers was limited. Very few passengers under the age of 60. We are very experienced snorkelers and ... Read More
We wanted a boat larger than the 14-16 passenger ones you see most often in the Galapagos. The ability level of vast majority of passengers was limited. Very few passengers under the age of 60. We are very experienced snorkelers and were looking forward to deep water snorkeling offered to advanced snorkelers. Unfortunately, there were always a few passengers electing to go on these excursions and interrupted our experience since they could barely swim much less snorkel. We went in February, so water was warm enough to swim with just a rash guard, no wet suit needed. We took our own mask and snorkel and used their fins. You need to know the internet service is practically non-existent, could barely retrieve emails, but no attachments. The ship has plenty of room to roam and get away from annoying passengers. We had cabin #311, a smaller one, and it had plenty of room, plus you are seldom in the cabin. Food was good, disappointed no lobster was available. All staff onboard provided exceptional service. Naturalists were all outstanding, especially Marta. Shore excursions included and had two levels of ability. Definitely not a cruise for teenagers or children. It's a bucket list experience and expensive, so we'd not be going again, but would recommend others take this trip. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Was a very nice cruise. Only disappointment was the limited snorkeling available. One port was skipped because of rough seas, and three were murky waters. Here are some Pros and Cons to our trip. Pros Nicely packaged with ... Read More
Was a very nice cruise. Only disappointment was the limited snorkeling available. One port was skipped because of rough seas, and three were murky waters. Here are some Pros and Cons to our trip. Pros Nicely packaged with flights and prestay and post stay in Quito. Including their assistance with the checked luggage. They have things down to a science. Very efficient. Seeing the giant tortoises and all the sea lions and iguanas was really cool. Quito and Galapagos guides were very good. Good food. Very confident and friendly staff. Excellent room steward. Nice evening briefing before dinner on next days hiking or snorkeling choices. Cons Poor decision to do slippery rock landing on Fernandina. Four people fell on the wet boulders at the zodiac landing site and got bad cuts on their legs. One night they lost our dining under the stars reservation. No place to view the beautiful dark night sky because of all the deck lights. Unless you had a balcony cabin. Could have reserved one night after dinner for a naturalist to dim the lights on the back deck so people could see the amazing dark sky's. Lack of lectures by naturalists before or after dinner. We were never asked if we wanted coffee or tea with dessert. Two of the snorkels, one from a beach, one from a zodiac, were into completely murky waters. They should have checked it out beforehand instead of wasting our time. Extremely slow internet service, and no working woman e-mail, but we expected that it would be poor. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
The Galapagos was on my bucket list. My college roommate and I had booked this cruise and waited 2.5 years for it to come to fruition. We had a great time, however both of us and our husbands got sick in Quito. As part of the ... Read More
The Galapagos was on my bucket list. My college roommate and I had booked this cruise and waited 2.5 years for it to come to fruition. We had a great time, however both of us and our husbands got sick in Quito. As part of the cruise-tour, we ate where Celebrity took us. Both our husbands got sick just before they embarked on the Xpedition. My roommate and I got sick at the end of the tour after eating salad at the Marriott. I believe the food on the ship was safe. The food on the ship was okay. It was not the same quality as what you would find on a regular Celebrity ship. Our room was comfortable and quiet. It was nice to roll out of bed, walk down the hallway to breakfast. I found the staff on the ship to be pleasant and enjoyed being with a small group of people. The Naturalists were good. Some were better than others. With the exception of getting sick, we had a lot of fun. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
The Xpedition is a small comfortable ship that promotes guest interaction because of its small size and layout. There are several outside areas and one inside lounge where daily briefings are held. The lounge is the only place on the ship ... Read More
The Xpedition is a small comfortable ship that promotes guest interaction because of its small size and layout. There are several outside areas and one inside lounge where daily briefings are held. The lounge is the only place on the ship with internet but during our week on board we were only able to access internet a couple of days, most of the time it was down. Getting around the ship is quick and easy. We did not have any rough seas. Everyone dressed very casual so don't even think of bringing dressy clothes- think cool,comfortable and sun proof. The dining room is very nice and tables seat 4-8 so you will find yourself sitting with different people at each meal and getting to know many of your fellow travelers. The food is good but not as high quality or as varied as the large Celebrity ships. The only alternate venue is the outdoor grill that served dinner four times -the same menu, and lunch most days. Our cabin on deck 3 was comfortable and had adequate storage. The bed is tight against the wall on one side so very inconvenient to get in and out. We had it converted to two twins so we had a space of about 6 inches in between beds to allow the inside person access. The beds were comfortable if a little narrow. There is a fridge in cabin with complimentary water and soft drinks. There is also a safe. The window lets in lots of light. I do not think a balcony is worth the extra money on this cruise as you can be on deck in minutes and I didn't miss it at all. Prior to taking this trip we had heard rave reviews from so many people - many named the Galapagos as their best cruise ever! I did enjoy the trip but after a few days began to find the activities somewhat repetitive. The wildlife is interesting especially the giant tortoises and the naturalists were very knowledgeable. The scenery is beautiful in a stark kind of way. The sun is hot and I would avoid the hottest months of February and March. Each day there was an AM and PM off ship included activity with transportation by zodiac. The trips were very organized and there was never a problem getting the excursion you wanted. A lot of the snorkeling trips were categorized as advanced because of deep water and currents. There did not seem to be any scuba diving. The on shore walks included a long or short option and there was an accurate description of difficulty. Expect to spend quite a bit of time in the zodiacs getting to and from each activity. The Marriott hotel in Quito was beautiful and I am glad we arrived early to rest a day before the full day tour of Quito. The chartered flight to the ship was nice and included lunch both ways. I recommend this trip if Galapagos is on your to do list but personally I feel there are many more interesting places to visit. 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
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
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
We were on the same cruise as the only British Couple and flew out to Quito On BA and Iberia via Madrid early Boxing Day morning arriving some 12 hours later. We were met at the Airport on arrival (we were the only couple) and arrived at ... Read More
We were on the same cruise as the only British Couple and flew out to Quito On BA and Iberia via Madrid early Boxing Day morning arriving some 12 hours later. We were met at the Airport on arrival (we were the only couple) and arrived at the hotel some 45 mins later around 9.45pm. We were lucky to be given an upgraded room. We enjoyed the food at the hotel both pre and post cruise. The included tour of Quito was good and the buffet lunch with traditional Ecuadorian singing and dancing Was excellent. Although we were fairly tired we went out on the afternoon trip to the Equatorial Line Monument. The evening meal was at La Gloria, a local restaurant we enjoyed this too. Now for the Cruise We were sold this as an "adults" cruise. This was not the case and slightly spoilt it for us. Probably being over Christmas and New Year altered the dynamics slightly. There were only 5 or 6 English speaking couples. The rest were made up of family groups, some large with 3 generations and some with young children. Also, quite a number of Spanish speaking South Americans. They all kept to their own groups and didn't mix so dining times gave you little choice of who to sit with. Luckily we made friends with the American couples. One of the American ladies was very upset at the "unsociable"situation. Most of the teens and 20 something's were a pain as far as hogging and sitting right on top of the Wifi "hot spot".They seemed to be on their phones/laptops 24/7. In fact some of them hardly seemed to leave the ship! My husband likes to keep in email contact with his 90 year old Mother. This was virtually impossible. Make no mistake, this is not your usual cruise. It's an "Expedition" ship. It doesn't matter how many cruise lines you've sailed on or how many you have done and we've done over 50 this is totally different. There is nothing to do on the ship during the day as your not expected to be there and have paid a hefty price to go see the spectacular wildlife. Something that LeaderLady failed to mention. We saw Boobies, Nazca and Blue-footed varieties. Marine and Land Iguanas. Galápagos Hawks, Waved Albatross, Tropic Birds, Mockingbirds, Frigate Birds, flightless comorants. Sea Lions, Sea Turtles, Penguins, Giant Tortoises, Darwin Finches,Flamingos and much more to see if you enjoy snorkelling in cold water. Just wildlife everywhere. You had to be careful not to step on anything. The only disappointment as far as seeing wildlife for me was that we didn't see the Red Footed Boobies or the recently discovered Pink Iguanas, both found on Isla Genovesa in the far north and not on any expedition itinerary. The Naturalists all Ecuadorian were all good. Some better than others. I did feel that the Spanish speaking guests should have gone out separately in their own group as there were many occasions when a lengthy Spanish conversation was conducted within the party of which we were not included. Every evening before dinner we were given a talk with slide show on what we should see the following day and the type of terrain and level of fitness required and recommendations as to footwear, clothing and if insect repellent was necessary. This information is also given in your Celebrity Today. Apart from 1 walk we chose the long walk every time. Paying all that money I wanted to see all I could. The ratio of guests to staff was 98/62. Our cabin was made up 3 times a day. There was plenty of hot water. Only a couple of channels on the TV and very little drawer space. The ship did sway a bit some nights but it's a small ship so its to be expected. No, there isn't a lot to do in the evenings after dinner, there was always music and dancing. Karaoke one night. Many went straight to bed. It's very full on and not what I would describe as a holiday. We were up at 6.30, breakfast at 7. The long walk usually started at 8am. Back on the ship by 11.30, lunch at 12. Afternoon walk 3pm back to the ship by 6.pm then cocktail party from 7pm talk at 7.15 followed by dinner. It was hard not to over indulge on the all inclusive drinks. I did suffer one morning after to many Pisco Sours the previous night!! The food was good and the Lobster excellent. We ate out on deck one night, wonderful. Our first night on the ship we were standing at the stern. It was dark and we were watching the stars when we heard a strange noise. We looked down to the landing platform where there were 3 sea lions asleep catching a ride. They were there for quite a while. All in all we really enjoyed this trip. Not the 5 star I expected but a good 4 1/2 I would definitely like to do the trip again at a different season and the Inner Loop. I would just ensure that it wouldn't be during school/college break. Whilst waiting at Baltra Airport for our flight back to Quito I did notice that the newly arriving passengers were all adults and seemingly couples. We booked this over 18 months ago when on the Celebrity Infinity. At that time there were no deals. We had a £400 cruise credit but they wouldn't let us use it for the xpedition. They are doing deals now though. We did a Transatlantic in October when Celebrity were heavily promoting the Galápagos and offering up to $500 onboard credit for your current cruise. So if your thinking about this trip it might pay to book onboard if you have a forthcoming Celebrity cruise booked.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
My husband and I took the 10-day Quito, Ecuador/Xpedition Galapagos Islands cruise in late April, itinerary 'B'. As most other reviews have said, the trip is fabulous with great hiking, warm, humid weather, amazing wildlife and ... Read More
My husband and I took the 10-day Quito, Ecuador/Xpedition Galapagos Islands cruise in late April, itinerary 'B'. As most other reviews have said, the trip is fabulous with great hiking, warm, humid weather, amazing wildlife and fun guides. Snorkeling is great, and the food on the ship is very good, as cruise food goes. A really great once in a lifetime trip. Some issues that have not been mentioned: if you wear glasses and don't have contacts and want to snorkel, you might want to bring along your own personal prescription snorkel goggles. I've found some hotels (in Hawaii for example) carry some general prescription pairs for glasses-wearers, but there are none on the Xpedition. So I was out of luck to be able to see well during snorkeling trips. Probably a good investment anyway as they are not too expensive (I hear you can get a decent pair that works for around $30, not custom of course). Yes, the ship rocks. Like crazy it rocks, but only on a couple of nights. Pretty funny to hear deck chairs crashing at night. Had to hang onto the edge of the bed. One word of caution: the night before you leave Quito for Baltra, while staying at the JW Marriot hotel in Quito, the Celebrity personnel request you bring your checked luggage down to the lobby to have it 'inspected' by the Galapagos customs personnel. They will keep your luggage overnight and transfer it to your ship cabin by the next afternoon. This is fine, except do NOT leave anything even remotely valuable in this checked bag because it may be taken. I unfortunately lost my binoculars and camera charger during this 'inspection'. I think it happens all the time because when I reported it to guest services, I saw many other 'entries' in their record book. Also, don't be alarmed when you are on the plane to Baltra, and the stewardesses 'fumigate' the inside of the plane while you are in there with bug spray. Eeesh. Oh, and pretty much 80% of the passengers were over 60. No kids, and not much ethnic diversity. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2013
My husband and I are in our early 40s and this was our second trip on Xpedition. We took the 10-night cruisetour in Sept. 2007 and enjoyed it so much that we wanted to return. We decided to take the 13-night Galapagos cruise B with Machu ... Read More
My husband and I are in our early 40s and this was our second trip on Xpedition. We took the 10-night cruisetour in Sept. 2007 and enjoyed it so much that we wanted to return. We decided to take the 13-night Galapagos cruise B with Machu Picchu this time. Xpedition only had a single itinerary last time so we had a hard time picking between the A and B itineraries for this trip. There were aspects of each that we really wanted to see again. North Seymour Island was the deciding factor for us since that was our favorite stop from the previous trip. We booked cabin 502 (same as previous cruise) to be close to the Blue Finch Bar. On our previous cruise, the bar was open so we were able to run out the door, get drinks, and return to our cabin - very convenient. The bar was never open for this cruise so we had to go downstairs to deck 4 for drinks, but not really a big deal. We recognized some faces from our previous cruise. The cabin layout was changed slightly to add a loveseat, which made it more cramped than before but we managed. There is adequate storage in the cabin and in the bathroom. The beds are not very comfortable at all - thin, lumpy mattresses. I asked about getting a foam pad for the bed but was told they don't have any. There is only 1 -110V outlet but a couple 220V outlets. My camera battery charger will use either so I was able to charge my batteries off the 220V and use the 110V for other things. I noticed when I had my laptop plugged into the 110V supply that the power would fluctuate quite a bit. My battery symbol would change from "charging" to "battery" every few seconds. A couple people onboard mentioned that their camera batteries didn't seem to be charging correctly. I didn't have a problem with mine - the 220V supply seemed steady. The internet connection (Wifi) was unreliable. We were initially given 3 free hours. I used about 10 minutes of mine then lost the connection and couldn't get it back to log out. I lost all my minutes but was given more after I mentioned the problem at guest services. There were many times that I was unable to connect at all. The staff at guest services told me that I was the only person onboard who was having problems and it was because I was using a Windows based computer (which she called "obsolete technology") rather than an iPad. As she was explaining that I needed to buy an iPad, another passenger using an iPad came in to complain that he couldn't get a connection. I could understand if she had said the connection will be slow or even non-existant since we were in the Galapagos, but saying the problem was due to my using WIndows didn't make any sense. I think overall the food was better this trip than last time. Xpedition offered a nice variety of choices and I was mostly satisfied. There were a few things (chicken and grilled items) that turned out dry. The ship was still having problems with stabilizers. I didn't get seasick, but I was almost rolled out of bed one night due to the ship's rocking. We had problems with drawers and doors opening/closing due to the rocking. It was very annoying at night. We tied the handles together on the closet to hold them closed. We shoved Kleenex between the drawers and casing to keep them from opening/closing. Those are tricks we picked up from previous cruises where we had occasional problems. On Xpedition it was every night. In general the guides do a good job of explaining the excursions available. The one failing was Sullivan Bay. I don't think they correctly depicted how rough the terrain really was for the longer hike. The trail was a dry landing but required being able to take a large step out of the rocking zodiac then walking across sharp lava rocks with loose stones. I am very mobile and brought hiking shoes with ankle support so I was fine. It was also very sunny that day so the black lava rocks were really hot. An elderly couple on the tour did not realize how bad the trail was. They were having problems keeping up with the rest of the group. I informed our guide that they had dropped way back and we should let them catch up. His reply was they should have picked another excursion and he kept walking. I agree that they should not have taken this walk, but I was upset that the guide showed such disregard for their safety. If one of them had fallen, they could have been seriously injured on the sharp rocks. Celebrity does a fanastic job with the Galapagos portion of the trip. I only wish the Machu Picchu portion had been that good. Of the passengers onboard, 24 of us continued to Lima. We flew from Baltra to Quito on the charter flight with the all the other passengers from Xpedition. Once in Quito, we were told that we would have to wait about 10 minutes for our luggage to get off the plane before checking our bags for the flight to Lima. We were left standing in the middle of the terminal for almost an hour before our luggage showed up. We checked in for our flight to Lima then had another couple of hours to wait at the airport for the flight. Celebrity booked us at the Colony Club hotel in Lima, which is a beautiful facility. However, by the time we arrived in Lima, got through immigration and customs, and spent an hour driving to the hotel, it was almost 11 PM by the time we got to our rooms. We had to leave in the morning to drive back to the airport to catch our flight to Cusco so we were only in the room for about 9 hours. I would have preferred a hotel closer to the airport to eliminate the hour transit time each way. We stayed at the Montesario Hotel in Cusco, which is a converted monastery. The rooms are rather small but the location is nice. When we arrived at the hotel, my checked bag was missing. Our guide didn't seem to understand why I was upset about the missing bag. He kept telling me that I needed to go on a tour and I could find my bag later. I was adament that I needed that bag since it had almost all of my clothes. He eventually agreed to have another staff member look for it. It had been delivered to the wrong room and was finally located. I also noticed that my name was misspelled on the paperwork for the hotel. I pointed this out to our guide who said it wasn't a problem. It was true that it wasn't a problem for the hotel but would be a problem later. We were divided into 2 groups of 12 for the tours, each with a guide. I was not impressed with the quality of our guide. She didn't like to answer questions and would repeat the same information several times. A couple times when people asked questions she would say that she didn't want to discuss that right now. Several people in the other group had nothing but praise for their guide so I wished we had been in his group. We saw several of the Incan sites in the Sacred Valley but also got stuck doing the obligatory cruiseline shop tours. I would rather skip the alpaca sweater shop and silver shop since those items hold no interest for me. I know some people feel that a cruiseline approved shop is preferable and many people made purchases at the shops. The train ride to Machu Picchu was nice but I wished we had a couple more hours to spend there. The city is facinating and really needs a full day to explore it rather than just the 3 hours we had. We returned to Lima the day after Machu Picchu. When I checked in for the flight from Cusco, the agent informed me that the names on my passport and boarding pass didn't match. Celebrity had booked the flight and had misspelled my name again. I asked the agent what would happen and he told me that I might not be allowed on the plane and would have to buy another ticket if one was available using my correctly spelled name. I was upset since I had expected Celebrity to make sure my information was correct. My name was spelled correctly for all the Galapagos paperwork. I informed our guide again about the misspelling of my name and asked what would happen if they wouldn't let me board the plane. He shrugged it off and said I would be responsible for purchasing another ticket and getting to Lima on my own. I know how strict they are about passport name exactly matching the boarding pass name for US flights so I was afraid I wouldn't be able to fly to Lima with the group. Since it wasn't long before our flight, my husband and I wanted to go through security rather than sitting in the lounge to see if I would have a problem. Our Celebrity guide wouldn't come with us so we went on our own. The agent at the security area didn't speak English very well so she had us move aside while she called another agent over who spoke some English. He asked us a few questions before speaking to the first agent in Spanish. My Spanish is very limited and from the way they were gesturing, I kept thinking that they weren't going to let me through, but he finally gave me my passport and boarding pass and let me into the gate area. I was so relieved that I must have said "Gracias" a dozen times. The flight was uneventful after that and we arrived in Lima around noon. We were supposed to make a 45 minute stop at a museum then have lunch. Our guide got bogged down in the details at the museum so our 45-minute stop took over 1.5 hours. We continued the tour and were supposed to have some time at the end to visit a few shops but our guide said we had taken too much time at the museum so no shopping. I was a disappointed because I wanted to pick up something for a nephew. I really enjoyed the Galapagos cruise. I don't know that I would do it a third time, but the second trip was definitely worthwhile since we got to see the islands during dry season previously and rainy season this time. The tour of Machu Picchu was a reminder of why I stopped taking ship tours. I thought it would be nice to leave the planning details to someone else, but I realized what a mistake that was. I prefer to set my own pace and make my own arrangements for what I want to see. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2013
We took the eight-day Galapagos cruise on the Celebrity Xpedition. While the Galapagos animals and environment are the core of the trip, Celebrity does finesse the supporting logistics. Like many visitors, we weighed up the big ship/small ... Read More
We took the eight-day Galapagos cruise on the Celebrity Xpedition. While the Galapagos animals and environment are the core of the trip, Celebrity does finesse the supporting logistics. Like many visitors, we weighed up the big ship/small ship option. The Xpedition, at 100 pax, is the largest vessel operating in the Galapagos. Other vessels are 15-20 pax. Some friends said a larger ship may not be able to get close in, maybe Zodiac transfers will take longer? But we detected no difference and these guys are good at mobilising people into boats. So, any delays would be more than compensated by having much more space, menu variations and other 'large boat' facilities, like the spa. Airport meet and greet arrangements were good, as were transfers between Quito and Baltra, the embarkation port. The charter flight was good - B737 with meal service for a two-hour flight. The JW Marriott in Quito is a fine hotel and the day tour of Quito was first rate. Baggage arrangements were also first class. The vessel is well suited to the locale, which is essentially a new island or site every day, with a morning and afternoon excursion. There is enough time to rest up between the morning and afternoon excursions. The vessel is flat-bottomed with shallow draught, so is subject to a lot of lateral movement, even at anchor. Cabins are comfortable, a bit small (except suites on decks 5 and 6). Bathrooms are good and bedding acceptable. Staff on board were hard to fault in any way. Bar service was fantastic and service in the restaurants was terrific. The Maitre de, Se'or Fernando, is one of the most attentive hosts we have encountered in many years of travel. One evening, when the restaurant was crowded and I mentioned I had a hearing problem, Sr. Fernando set up a table on an outside deck (upper level) and personally delivered our dinner and poured the wine! Quite exceptional. This gentleman should be cloned by all cruise lines. The cruise director, Sr Jorge was also first rate. The naturalists were excellent, and exhibited broad knowledge of flora, fauna and landscape. One of the primary interests for us was the geology and geomorphology of the Galapagos. And the ocean currents and climatic issues. While the guides satisfied most general queries, they may not have the depth required for the visitor with a strong interest in this area. In summary, spend more time in pre-reading on geomorphology and climate and less on the animals. The naturalists know the animals backwards. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2013
Xpedition is billed as a "luxury" cruise in the Galapagos. The reality is that the Galapagos islands are a long way from anywhere (600 miles off the coast of Ecuador), in a challenging environment, so any cruise line operating ... Read More
Xpedition is billed as a "luxury" cruise in the Galapagos. The reality is that the Galapagos islands are a long way from anywhere (600 miles off the coast of Ecuador), in a challenging environment, so any cruise line operating there will face challenges. I believe it would be practically impossible to create a true luxury experience in the Galapagos. The Xpedition is as good as you're going to get, but you have to realize that some elements will not be luxurious. The air-conditioning on the ship strains to keep up with the heat and humidity, particularly on the upper decks (5 and 6). We passed some uncomfortably hot nights in our XS suite on the 6th (top) deck. The motion of the ship is significant. Frequently the drawers, closet door and shower door in our suite would start banging open and closed in the middle of the night because of wave motion. One night the motion was so bad that a wine glass on the counter in a high-sided, boxlike tray provided by the ship, flew out of the tray and smashed all over the place. We are not affected by seasickness, so this was only mildly annoying to us. If you are susceptible, get a patch or pills, because the ship does move a lot. The food is adequate. Don't expect the quality and presentation you may have experienced on larger cruise ships. They are working with local suppliers, so the quality of the products they get is variable. The fish was always pretty good, as were the pasta dishes. Salads were so-so. A lot of things that should have been cold (sushi, salads, etc.) were lukewarm. I kept expecting to get food poisoning because of that, but we were fine, so I guess their sanitation is good. Like Ecuadorean food in general, we found the food on the Xpedition pretty bland but also relatively healthy (few heavy sauces, lots of grilled stuff). Desserts were very good and breads quite good. The excursions are fantastic. The scenery is great, the animals are of course amazing, and the naturalists are top-notch. Some naturalists are better than others in various ways: some are more enthusiastic, some have better English skills, some are more safety-oriented than others. They are uniformly well-informed about the animals and plants, though. I think it's nice that the naturalists are assigned to the Zodiacs randomly, as they all have different things to offer, and this allows you to experience different approaches. (Apparently in at least one competing program, people are assigned to the same naturalist for the entire trip!) The ship's staff are all eager to please, which is especially impressive because there's no tipping. The ship's facilities are limited, as you'd expect on such a small craft: the "fitness center" is a bit of a joke, etc. But everything is well-thought-out for the specific purpose of the cruise, which is the excursions to the islands. They have efficient systems for handling the snorkel equipment, loading the Zodiacs, etc. I was very impressed with that. If you're considering this trip, please do a realistic self-evaluation of your fitness and health status. This is not a trip to Disneyland! There are real dangers, and we saw people who were way out of their depth and hurt themselves or others. Several had to be rescued. This itinerary is best done while you're still pretty agile and able to do a reasonable amount of physical activity. If you're unsteady on your feet or have brittle bones, this is not for you: you are going to have to get in and out of a rocking Zodiac. If you want to do some of the best excursions, you'll need to hop over the side of the Zodiac onto shifting sand in shallow waves. You'll have to pick your way over sharp lava rocks. If you can't walk a mile over uneven ground, do yourself a favor and don't go on this cruise! If you can't handle heat and humidity, forget it. That said, you just need to be reasonably fit and have decent balance. You don't have to be an Iron Man competitor. My husband and I are both overweight and I have bad knees, but we can and do walk/hike 3-10 miles a day on a regular basis. We are both good swimmers and know how to snorkel. We managed the excursions just fine, though I skipped one that involved hundreds of stairs. Sadly, too many people on our cruise didn't seem to have realistic ideas about their own abilities, probably because they never do any physical activity outdoors. Before you go, find out: can I walk up 300 stairs? How about 10 uneven, slippery stone stairs? Can I hop from one little boulder to another? Do I know how to snorkel? Can I swim in a current? etc. That will help you assess whether this trip is for you. The majority (I'd say 8 out of 10) of the "long" or "hard" version of the excursions are not that taxing, as long as you're even moderately fit and healthy. I did a couple of the "easy" or "short" excursions and thought they were a waste of time -- riding around in a Zodiac was hot and usually boring. The hikes are where you see all the best stuff. If you can't manage most of the longer/harder excursions, I feel you'd be wasting your money. In terms of seeing wildlife, there are only 6 excursions I would consider "must-do's" -- and it wasn't always clear from the descriptions which fell into that category. We were on the B itinerary and I felt the best excursions by far were Puerto Egas, Rabida, Elizabeth Bay (the only worthwhile all-Zodiac/no-hike excursion), Las Bachas, North Seymour (DO NOT MISS - nesting site for frigates and boobies) and Santa Cruz Highlands (only opportunity to see giant tortoises in the wild). I don't mean to be discouraging about taking this cruise. Visiting the Galapagos is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we felt it was well worth the trip. But it can be challenging in some respects, so be prepared. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
The experience is amazing. The comments and reflections by others adequately sum up the experience. I was impressed on the life boat drill. In my many years of cruising it was perhaps the best that I have experienced. Unlike the larger ... Read More
The experience is amazing. The comments and reflections by others adequately sum up the experience. I was impressed on the life boat drill. In my many years of cruising it was perhaps the best that I have experienced. Unlike the larger cruise ships, they had life boat space for all passengers and ample rafts in the event that a life boat could not be launched. Our cabin was on deck four -- the same as the lounge/bar area which was convenient as there are no elevators on the ship. The air conditioning on decks three and four is very good vs. the larger suites on decks 5 & 6 which have more glass (remember you are in the tropics on the equator) and more roll. There was a library in the lounge area -- but the books on the Galapagos were under lock and key. Go figure. However, there are some areas which could provide for a better experience. The on deck galley the Beagle Grill was the greatest disappointment. The hamburgers were spiced and were awful. There was no salad bar and the grill was closed in the evening. It would be a great addition to the dining experience to be able to dine on a limited menu alfresco on the deck in the evening. One night could be pizza night, the next grilled chicken etc. Seating could be limited and there was adequate cover for four tables which would be protected from rain showers. It took hours to feed the passengers ( typically more than two ) in the "formal" dining room. On the next to last night I requested a set menu on deck for four of us. We were attended to by the bar tender. It was pure magic! The next night I observed the captain and his staff following our lead. SilverSea will initiate service in the Galapagos with a new ship this October. On most of their ships they offer alfresco dining using a "hot rock" on each table for grilling steak, chicken or sea food when weather permits. I can only assume that they will offer an alfresco dining experience. Although the Silver Sea base price is almost $1,600 more, I would chose their standard room over comparatively priced upper level rooms and suites on the Celebrity X. SilverSea provide serious competition in this luxury market. We took the post trip trip to Peru to see the Inca sites and Cuzco. There was too much air and bus travel. I would omit the trip and return home after the cruise portion. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2012
We did a lot of research before selecting this cruise. It is not a cheap investment to go on this ship. Almost all of the review are glowingly positive. Here were our experiences with this cruise. We purchased the before and after ... Read More
We did a lot of research before selecting this cruise. It is not a cheap investment to go on this ship. Almost all of the review are glowingly positive. Here were our experiences with this cruise. We purchased the before and after package and had only 1 minor issue. Our flight back home was very early in the morning (0610). The Quito airport does not open until 0400. Unfortunately our boarding passes were unable to be printed the night before. Celebrity had our bus to the airport scheduled at 0400. It did not leave on-time and it take 15+ minutes to get to the airport. This caused a bit of a panic when we arrived at the ticket counter and stood in line for almost 45min. For some passengers it is imperative to get to the airport when it opens if there is a short amount of time before takeoff. The flight to and from Baltra was fine, it was nice to have a chartered flight. Did have to wait a long time in the lounge at Baltra to return. But I understand that they needed us off the ship so that they could prepare it for the incoming guests. All the excursions were lead by wonderful and knowledgeable guides. They all had a passion for the area and were a delight to be around. That being said, our itinerary got switched after we booked and we had specifically chosen the other itinerary. Oh well, not much we could do about that. The only problem was that many of the islands were so similar in what we say, a few excursions could have been skipped and nothing would have been missed. Also be aware that if they mention wasps...it is a real possibility that you could encounter swarms as we did. Several people got stung, at least one in every group. Stateroom was as we anticipated. The cabin stewards keep them immaculate. Now the major downfall...the food. We are not gourmets eaters by any means. But when we pay over $1000 a day for a vacation, we expect to have some really wonderful food (especially after our fantastic previous experience with Celebrity). It is sad when the best meal I ate was garlic pasta that I could have made at home. The steaks were always undercooked and covered in some kind of sauce. The alternative dining site for lunch often closed earlier than posted times. Leaving you only with the main dining room or room service (with an incredibly limited menu). I know that many of our fellow passengers experience similar food woes. So expect unforgettable contact with animals but only mediocre at best meals. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
The Galapagos are a unique experience not to be missed. The Marriott, Quito, where the pre and post cruise stays were spent, was in, every sense, a luxury hotel. The crew of the Xpedition was courteous and attentive. The cabins were ... Read More
The Galapagos are a unique experience not to be missed. The Marriott, Quito, where the pre and post cruise stays were spent, was in, every sense, a luxury hotel. The crew of the Xpedition was courteous and attentive. The cabins were smaller than usual, but we expected this. The naturalists were, generally, great, friendly, and knowledgeable. The food was about as good as we had experienced on Celebrity cruises in the past. All alcohol was included in the not insubstantial cruise price. All equipment was also provided. Everything was well organized and executed efficiently. Only negatives: A methane odor was evident in our cabin and in the hall on deck three. The crew was apprised of this, but no improvement was made. Since there was really only one indoor common area, a single group could (and did) monopolize its use. The food served on the Baltra-Quito flight at the end of the cruise was just about the worst airline food I have ever had (and that is saying something). These problems (with the exception of the odor) are minor. All in all, a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
We agree with most of the information provided in reviews contained in this forum but with less enthusiasm. I will add some personal thoughts. The itinerary was fine but after seeing bluefooted boobies, sally lightfoot crabs, sealions, ... Read More
We agree with most of the information provided in reviews contained in this forum but with less enthusiasm. I will add some personal thoughts. The itinerary was fine but after seeing bluefooted boobies, sally lightfoot crabs, sealions, marine iguanas, frigate birds, lava lizards, little birds, for two days they all became somewhat old after that. The contracted guides were excellent but Carlos and Marvin really stood out. The zodiac drivers had good skills. The cruise director did little more than present a briefing on the following days activities and checked people off the boat on each zodiac event. He made no attempt to get to know any of the passengers. Viewed two BC documentaries on the Galapagos during the afternoons and they were good. would have enjoyed more enrichment activities. The food was OK and well presented but nothing really exceptional. The wines were very nice. Stuck with fish dishes most nights and it was tasty most evenings. Breakfasts and lunches were average. Sitting in the aftmost section of the vessel resulted in delays in eating dinner. Dinner should have commenced an hour earlier. I got really sick on the morning we disembarked, was it the lobster the previous dinner? Ran into some other passengers in Cusco post-cruise and they mentioned the same GI tract illness and they had eaten the lobster too. Maitre'd Fernando was extraordinary, likely the best I've seen in over 35 cruises, he couldn't do enough for us, very friendly. He did a nice job of organizing my wife's birthday celebration. He was the hardest working person in the crew. Saw the Captain twice at the Welcome Aboard and Farewell meetings. He didn't mingle at all. Was not on the bridge when we toured it. So glad we opted to do Cusco and Machu Picchu on our own post-cruise as we saved thousands over what Celebrity was charging even with staying at the obscenely expensive Sanctuary Hotel for one night. It was easy for me to put together a nice 5 day post-cruise land excursion package. The snorkeling was poor (limited visibility) at best (was this bad luck or was it normal?), the Xpedition provided equipment was adequate. Opted not to try snorkeling the final opportunity because I had been so disappointd earlier and I understand I missed the best day of snorkeling. Perhaps I've been spoiled by really great snorkeling in the Tahiti area. The cabin was fine and the attendant was wonderful. The beds were comfortable and the linens were fine but the bathroom was a bit on the tiny side. Compared to our Silversea experience in the Antarctic on Prince Albert II (now Silver Explorer), Celebrity Xpedition comes in a distant second in nearly every category. All in all, we had a good Galapagos cruise but I think 5 nights vs. 7 nights would have been ideal. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
The cruise around the Islands of the Galapagos was great. It far exceeded expectations and we were very happy. It seems that all the cruise lines are under the fist of the Galapagos Islands and have some very stringent rules they must ... Read More
The cruise around the Islands of the Galapagos was great. It far exceeded expectations and we were very happy. It seems that all the cruise lines are under the fist of the Galapagos Islands and have some very stringent rules they must follow. Like, food from approved sources, staff must all be locals, Islands must be visited by select timetables, the Guides must be employed by the Galapagos Islands government. So bearing these contrictions in mind, only a few things can be improved on. The food was adequate and not up to normal cruise ship standards. The guides, although knowledgeable, if you get a not so good one, your stuck. On the Xpedition there were at least 6 guides and I would say that 2 were outstanding, 2 were good and 2 were not so good. The cruise director is a complete waste of time and I would bet that he did not know the names of as little as 2 passengers by the end of the voyage. More interested in surfing the web and checking people off the ship and back on. The tours were great and it is all you expect and more. The staff on board were fantastic, so attentive and helpful, the Maitre D, Fernando was the best I have ever seen. I would recommend this cruise to friends and would advise people to go now. The staterooms were roomy and good. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
We have just returned from the Galapagos Cruise with Celebrity Xpedition Cruise A departing 26FEB12 Although we had originally booked and planed on travelling on what is now Cruise B over a year ago we tried to make the best of the ... Read More
We have just returned from the Galapagos Cruise with Celebrity Xpedition Cruise A departing 26FEB12 Although we had originally booked and planed on travelling on what is now Cruise B over a year ago we tried to make the best of the experience given that we had 3 days advance notice from Celebrity that our trip of a life time that we had planned on is now all rearranged My wife and I had this trip planned specifically for our wedding anniversary on 29FEB this is our once in every four years chance to do a great celebration. After contacting Celebrity we were told that they had been aware of the change since January 2012. We were also aware that the new regulations were to be in effect as of 2012 per the Galapagos national park system. I understand that itineries can change without notice, but what we were upset about was the lack of notice or caring from Celebrity. We went ahead and continued with our 10day package that included a two night pre departure stay in Quito at the JW Marriott hotel. We had decided to do an additional night on our own at the Marriott hotel so that we would be rested before the actual tour started. When we enquired at the front desk as to what time the representatives would arrive at the hotel we were advised that they would be there at 1830hrs so we decided to delay dinner so we would be sure to meet with Celebrity and get all of the correct information for the remainder of the tour. Well the Celebrity representatives did not show up until after 1930 HRS so this resulted in our cancellations of our dinner and folklorico show. You would have thought that as long as this program has been operating that they would have at least this part down. The next morning for the full day City tour and Equator monument and dinner was great, that evening we took our luggage to the holding area that Celebrity arranged and transferred the checked bags directly to the airport we did not have to do a thing. Sunday morning we all met in the lobby Celebrity issued our boarding passes and off to the airport we went to catch our chartered flight on Aero Gal to Baltra, very smooth, very nice. From the Airport we transferred to the Zodiac, sea lions there to greet us and then off we go to the Xpedition. The ship's crew was very welcoming and assisted us with our carryon baggage to our rooms. In the afternoon we all regrouped with a welcoming cocktail and then proceeded to start our adventure by circumnavigating Daphne Major and Daphne minor. We noticed at this point that Cabin temperature was as we got ready for dinner. As we continued with dinner we noticed that the dining room was also very warm and we dismissed this as they were adjusting the temperature to the outside but that evening our cabin never cooled down. The next morning we discussed this problem with other passengers and they advised they were having the same issue in their cabins but only on deck 3, decks 4 and 5 were very cold they said. Of course Deck 3 is also where the Darwin restaurant was located so needless to say the Dining room was also very hot with the kitchen close by. We complained to the purser and several officers all week about the heat and no one cared not until one passenger almost fainted due to the heat and then they tried to resolve the issue by only giving her a small fan in the cabin Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
We sailed on the Celebrity Expedition to the Galapagos on July 24 - August 2, 2009. My wife and two grown children shared in this voyage of discovery. We flew into Quito, Ecuador the day before the cruise. The next day we had a full tour ... Read More
We sailed on the Celebrity Expedition to the Galapagos on July 24 - August 2, 2009. My wife and two grown children shared in this voyage of discovery. We flew into Quito, Ecuador the day before the cruise. The next day we had a full tour of the city including lunch and dinner, and in the afternoon got to stand on the equator. WARNING Quite is on the Equator,but it is 9,000 feet HIGH. Breathing may be difficult particularly with luggage or climbing stairs. Bring altitude medicine from you doctor. It was also down right COLD - 12 degrees centegrade - you will need a light weight jacket - trust me on this. Flew to Baltra in the Galapagos the next day. Loaded onto the Expedition via PONGAS - we know them as Zodiacs. 20 person rafts that were our transport for the next week - sometimes with wet and sometimes with dry landings. Expedition holds about 100 passengers and had over 60 crew including 6 wonderful naturalists. All meals and top shelf liquor all day was included, as were all gratuities. 8am departures for two hour hikes each morning then another island and another hike in the afternoon. More picture opportunities than you can possibly imagine. Sea lions, iguanas, turtles, birds that defy the imagination, sharks etc - and you can snorkle with them if you choose. It was a little rocky on the ship for sleeping some nights. Almost everyone had seasickness patches - see your doctor. Wonderful food and crew - almost all from Ecuador. Trip was exactly as advertised. Expensive but I would highly recommend it. 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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