Reviewer: Mala from the USA.
Cruise Line: Celebrity Cruises.
Ship: Celebrity Xpedition.
Destination: The Galapagos Islands.
# of Nights: 7.
Departure Date & Ports: February 7, 2016, round-trip from Balta Island, Galapagos.
Rating: 4 out 5 stars.
Have you been on a small ship cruise before? This was my first.
Review Title: A ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience.
Review: Be prepared for a very different cruise experience. Most of the islands are very rugged and uninhabited. The only way to visit them is via rubber Zodiac rafts. Some landings were “dry” where we could step directly onto the lava rocks. Others were wet where we jumped into the surf at a beach. The contrast between the remoteness of the islands and the luxury of the ship was quite striking.
The most interesting thing about the animals in the Galapagos is how tame they are. Not having lived around humans or other predators, they will allow you to get within touching distance. Of course you also get a tremendous appreciation of the power of evolution by observing iguanas that have learned to swim and live off underwater algae or cormorants that have lost the power of flight.
The naturalists were very knowledgeable and we were given a good briefing about each island prior to visiting it. We really liked these presentations as they helped us look out for various highlights and helped identify the flora and fauna. There were daily hikes which enabled us to appreciate the variety and differences between the islands.
We traveled as a family of 4 (kids ages 8 & 10) and were the only family with kids. Most people were retired, and the average age was probably 60+. I believe there are more children June-Aug. If someone is traveling with kids, it would be a good idea to plan it with family or friends.
The suites have a 3-person maximum occupancy, so a family of 4 would need to get two cabins or suites. You also need to book well in advance. Our suites were spacious for such a small ship and well maintained.
The staff was mostly friendly and worked hard to please, but the cruise is geared more for adolescents and up rather than pre-teens.
The sunset dinners out on the deck were spectacular and we were able to enjoy several such evenings.
We did miss the Galapagos Waved Albatross as the season wasn’t right, but we saw all the other species of flora and fauna which was spectacular.
One of the most amazing experiences came one night post dinner when our kids noticed a couple of sea lions jump on board. It turned out there were about a dozen Galapagos sharks trailing the boat and the sea lions probably came aboard to get away from the sharks!