Dialy excursions to individual islands. Naturalists were most informative and easy to understand. All questions were answered without hesitation. All seemed to have a strong appreciation for their job.
Expert guided hikes and snorkeling, then return to pampered luxury on board Xpedition. All staff were delightful and helpful. Their only wish was for you to learn and enjoy every minute of the tour.
From the time we were met at the Quito airport until the time we departed Quito, Celebrity staff made this trip perfect. Everything was right on time. Service was warm and personal. The trip was casual, yet elegant at the same time. No need to dress up, but the dining room was lovely, staff were very attentive, the bar staff made all our drinks cheerfully and quickly. The naturalists were with us on every shore excursions to explain all the magnificent birds, animals and plants, and always were looking out for our safety while we hiked or snorkeled. The ship was immaculate and everything was well-organized and timely. I could not have asked for more and the whole trip exceeded our expectations in every way.
This cruise was everything Celebrity promised....... and more! The crew of the ship was awesome. Everyone was very friendly and did everything to make sure all of the guests were comfortable and happy. The naturalists were OUTSTANDING! No matter the situation, they were reassuring, patient, and supportive. The stops that we made optimized the kinds of animals and terrain that we experienced. It was worth every cent that we paid. I can't say enough good things about sailing on the Xpedition and the crew.
This WAS the trip of a lifetime. With about 90 passengers, you get to know just about all your fellow travelers, and we made great friends. The staff was also outstanding. Special mention goes to bartender Ana, always prepared and always with a smile.
Loved the snorkeling opportunities. Excellent, informative naturalists (though sometimes things got a bit repetitive), and helpful presentations. The walks can be a challenge, so invest in good trekking shoes before you go. You may want to consider below the knee pants or knee pads, because falling on the lava rock would not be pleasant and you may want to kneel to take photos. Also loved having walking sticks available.
The ship is comfortable and enjoyable. My only complaint is that the mattresses and pillows could be of a better quality.
This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. We loved everything about the cruise. It was well organized. The staff were all OUTSTANDING! Meeting our every need. The naturalists on every island landing were all knowledgeable and enthusiastic. They loved sharing about their homeland. Monica, the cruise director, was informative every night about the next day's activities. My suggestion... Go on every panga ride a valuable. Learned so much, saw so many animals, snorkeling was so good. We used the ship's snorkel gear and did use wet suits to prevent sunburn. On and the food.... Great choices, Carlos and staff, could not have been more gracious. Everyone spoke English, but they were so helpful to us learning our Spanish. WONDERFUL cruise, way better than expected. Totally different as everything is paid for up front...drinks, gratuities and snorkel.gear.
It is an intimate experience secondary to the 100 passengers onboard. From the airport pick up to the hotel, the level of services was incredible. This continued on to the cruise, the post cruise hotel and the airport drop.
Outstanding adventure. It is not cliche in this instance to be considered a trip of a lifetime. As experienced travelers, the two of us tend to expect the promotion to far exceed the experience. In this case the Galapagos Islands, as seen from the Xpedition, is a correct use of "awesome." I would have enjoyed a second week back-to-back for the outer loop but my sweetheart was satisfied with the one week. We also are satisfied with the cooler temps and wildlife options during November.
We tend to avoid the herd and travel independently. But we are glad we opted for the 11 day package beginning and ending in the airport in Quito. The Galapagos restrictions and requirements are extensive and cumbersome. It was worth the cost to avoid navigating all of those contingencies.
We likewise enjoyed the morning tour of Quito, lunch, and afternoon at the Equator. The Marriott is truly 5 star as well.
Each day on the Xpedition includes two or three excursion options. A 1-3 mile hike, a Zodiac (Panga) ride, beach/swim snorkel or deep water snorkel. You need to do all of them to experience the full beauty and diversity of the Islands and wildlife. Bring a prescription dive mask if needed and a "dry top" snorkel. Celebrity provides gear including short wet suits. In November we found the water cool but did not need the wetsuits. With the 44 pound weight limit for the one suitcase, use their fins. Bring sunscreen and bug wipes. I am glad I brought hiking boots, water shoes and another pair of loafers.
We could have worn shorts and short sleeves but opted for added sun/bug protection of long sleeves on the Islands. You may need a light rain jacket.
Laundry came back same day even if you did not check the one day option. It is relatively inexpensive as hotels/cruises go but we chose to wash items ourselves. They dried rapidly on the deck or in front of the fan. The newly added room 500 suite is reviewed below.
The usual Elite priviledges do not apply. We chose to eat in the suite each evening, ordering from the dining room menu. Food overall was excellent. Our Southern Sweet tooth would have preferred different desert options but the chocolate souffle was delicious.
We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and recommend it without hesitation.
This is a once in a lifetime experience that shouldn't be missed! Everything was included and perfect! You will never have a chance to experience nature as it was meant to be seen anywhere else. This is one place that hasn't been commercialized in any way. The ship was great but now they are putting it in dry dock in a few weeks to totally refurbish it so it can only get better. We were in a cabin without a balcony for our first time ever and I thought it would feel small in the room. The room was perfect. We had a window and didn't miss the balcony at all. The staff was awesome.
The Celebrity Xpedition was an exceptional cruise with a great itinerary and overall amazing experience of the Galapagos natural ecosystem, of the land, the geological transformation, of the range of life-forms in the water, the birds and land-animals.
There are two areas of improvement recommended:
1. No smoking should be enforced. We were in the Penthouse Suite but a neighboring suite (602) had heavy smokers and their smoking was not curbed by the staff.
2. Some of the "naturalists" were not very knowledgeable and also were rude or unfriendly - very unlike normal Celebrity experience. Their boss was also grumpy, possibly unsuited for the job.
Celebriity did an awesome job in all phases of this vacation! The JW Marriott in Quito was a nice land base. Good restaurants, shops, and rooms. Nice Quito tour. The trip from Quito to Baltra was well organized and Celebrity' handled everything! We left our luggage at the hotel and it showed up in our room on the Xpedition! FYI no liquids allowed in luggage to the Gallapogos it all needs to be in your carry-ons! Bought a wide brined hat for $20 at the airport in Baltra! Best investment I made! Transition to the Xpedition was easy and rooms were ready when we arrived along with lunch. Lectures on board by the naturalists were informative along with videos and constant attention on excursions. The pace was creatively set up to accommodate all agendas with different opinions available every day. They really want everyone to be able to do what they like. Groups are small and plenty of down time is available and you really do not have to participate in excursion if you don't want to go out. Transport back to Quito and airport departure was well organized. Bring plenty of sun screen , water shoes of some kind, sun hat, a few sun protective shirts , and be prepared to have a really fun educational vacation! The ship was amazing and so much fun!
Best Price Guarantee - Celebrity Cruises offers a “Best Price Guarantee” but pay attention to the fine print. In my case, this was nothing but an empty gesture. In December 2016, I booked a May 14 sailing. I made the full payment in January as this was the due date. In March, I noticed that they were advertising a cabin in the same category on the same cruise for $1,000 less. When I called to ask about this “Best Price Guarantee”, I was told that I do not qualify for any refund or concessions because this was after the due date of final payment. While I do understand the cruise line’s reluctance to part with money that they have pocketed, I thought they should have offered me some shipboard credit that I can use for laundry, gift shop purchases or, at least give the crew a generous tip if the services were good. Again, read the fine print!
The crew and naturalists of the Xpedition were outstanding. We had a wonderful trip and they catered to our every need. They were always willing to go the extra for any of us. What a wonderful experience. Don't miss it!!
Finally getting to the Galapagos islands ended a long desire to see the unusual array of birds and animals that we had heard so much about. We spent considerable time examining and evaluating various cruise options and based on a desire for some luxury as well as an experienced ship and crew we selected the Celebrity Xpedition, a cruise line that we had not used previously. We also liked the inclusion of two days in Quito before and after the cruise. From the very first excursion to an island we knew our desire to visit the Galapagos was correct and now fulfilled. Every excursion brought new and wonderful sightings made all the more appreciated by the wonderful naturalists that accompanied us and provided amazing knowledge.
A major negative aspect of sailing on the Celebrity Xpedition that absolutely every conversation we had with fellow cruisers verified was the poor quality of the food. Time and time again there were dishes that had little taste or suffered in other ways. It became common practice to taste a dish, decide it was not worth eating, and then order another dish or try something else from the buffet table. An enormous amount of food ended up as waste. We found it fascinating that our waiter at the first dinner advised us to skip meat and chicken dishes because they were frozen and would not satisfy us.
There were no problems or surprises with our stateroom. Though relatively small it was well designed and quite pleasant and satisfactory, with the odd feature that one person has to sleep adjacent to a wall and get into and out of bed in a strange way.
This ship rocks considerably, sometimes even when anchored. A bridge tour provided an explanation. The stabilizers are just too small and the ship is somewhat top-heavy because an upper deck was recently added to provide some suites. The routine rock and rolling was far worse than previous cruises on Seabourn and Regent ships.
As we knew the ship was small with just under 100 possible passengers we did not expect a lot of things which we have enjoyed on previous cruises. But we really appreciate the single musician that often played at cocktail times and in the evenings; he is quite a talent. The simple "shows" offered by crew and some passengers were also pretty good. The daily briefings on the next day's excursions by the naturalist cruise director were both informative and enjoyable. A special treat was the bridge tour where we learned how much Celebrity does on this ship to protect the environment and provide safety to all on board.
Don't miss or stay away advice for excursions? Everyone who goes on this type of Galapagos cruise should absolutely go on every excursion, because every one offered some unique nature watching experience.
The ship’s doctor was kept very busy, because at least 20 percent of the passengers became sick, some with digestive problems and others with upper respiratory issues, and still others had injuries because of some very difficult walking conditions on shore.
On the plus side, we were glad that we selected a Galapagos cruise that included days in Quito, because Ecuador is a unique and most beautiful country with some of the most gorgeous people on the planet. But the disappointing food on the ship was a real negative.
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