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bpmba

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About bpmba

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  1. There's no reason to upgrade, and unless you're one of the first 6 or 8 people checking into the JW in Quito, they'll probably all be taken anyway by the time you get there. It's first-come, first-served. The plane for us (to the Flora, Sept. 8 ) was a charter but full with naturalists, ship guests and some staff changing over. It's a 3-3 seat configuration. They seat you by cabin #, so you end up next to your cabin partner (we were lucky enough each end up in an aisle seat) and the people in the cabin next to you. Good way to get to know your neighbors. The flight is about 2 hours. They feed you a full meal, with unlimited drinks, and the food was surprisingly good. For those of you lamenting missing time in Quito ... I didn't find it very interesting. The views of the volcanoes in the distance are pretty, as is the city from high up on some of the hills, but the day tour itself was heavily based on the fact that Equador is 84% Catholic - so you go to the large statue of the Virgin Mary overlooking the city, 2 churches, a monestary and a quick trip through the downtown area. You can arrange a driver through the concierge to go do other things - there's a cloud forest a couple of hours away, there's a tram to high up in the mountains with hiking about 20 minutes away, and so on.
  2. Haha - I did the same for our Sept trip! And saw lots of BFBs, so it was all good!
  3. When is your cruise? This time of year it isn't an issue. We were on the 9/8 sail. I carried repellent wipes with me (that I'd bought for Costa rica), just in case. Pump sprays are fine.
  4. Somebody else asked me what the days on the ship were like. Here's a picture of part of the printed schedule they give you when you board.
  5. Yeah our flight to Miami was at 11:55 pm. There were three expensive options (like $250/each) and all took the entire day: a trip to the cloud forest, a trip to a spa out in the middle of nowhere or some far-away traditional markets. We chose to take a long walk around Quito and then park ourselves at the hotel bar. 🙂
  6. Thanks! It's actually a very old Nikon P500, which is the lowest-level hybrid they make (either P&S or manual settings), but it has a surprisingly large zoom on it - 36X (4.0-144mm) - and it served me just fine. Most people had little tiny P&S cameras; I probably only saw 10 really expensive cameras. You're probably fine with your Canon as long as the zoom is pretty good. Whatever you bring, I'd recommend a dry bag for it on the tenders - it can be pretty splashy and wet. You can get as close as 8 feet, so even a smaller zoom than mine should be fine. The afternoon excursions are 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on which you choose; you are a little rushed to get changed up for cocktails and the evening presentation but it is SO casual it doesn't really matter. There were 3 deep water snorkel opps and 3 from the shore (we only had 2 from the shore bc of rough seas). The first of each offered the most wildlife.
  7. It's 2 photos; that would have been quite a shot otherwise! 🙂 Booby was Elizabeth Bay/Isabella and the male frigate was North Seymour.
  8. The Xpedition started sailing again as of this past Saturday, 9/14. They announced it on the Flora since a bunch of us (who moved onto the Flora from the Xpedition) were asking about its status. Getting the license transferred was primarily Ecuadorian politics, as it was explained to us. I think all of you booked on Xpedition going forward should be good to go, even if it means they'll change your cabin from 3XX to a different floor. I haven't read through the last 5 pages of updates since I've been on the Flora, but today is the extra day in Quito so I thought I'd log on. The Flora is AMAZING. We were on its 7th sail and it has the biggest bathrooms (on a ship) I have ever seen. I mean, it's a full bathroom, about 8x10! The whole ship is beautiful, and the staff and service were top-notch. Food was excellent. Naturalists are knowledgable and fun and clearly love their jobs. The unsung heroes are the tender drivers. I will write up a full review when I get home, in the proper section, and post a bunch of pics. Anyone have specific questions in the meantime? The islands themselves and their non-human inhabitants are mind-blowing. You will see everything you want to see, plus some surprises. Those who are looking for a relaxing trip - this ain't it. The first tenders of the day depart at 8 am and the afternoon excursions start around 4. There are presentations in-between and at night. Celebrity has outdone themselves on the logistics for this whole trip (we chose the 10-day version, including Quito). I didn't find Quito all that interesting and, in hindsight, would have just booked the cruise. Otherwise, not a single complaint.
  9. We were in an Xpedition Suite, room 50X.
  10. Well, because we had to coordinate with 2 other couples on what to do, we lost out on the Xploration. It filled up almost immediately. It's the Flora for us!
  11. Nope - Xperience was not offered.
  12. And ... the joy of Xpedition being on-the-move-and-possibly-a-positive-sign is short lived. I just got "the call" with the following options for the 9/7 departure: -Go on Xploration and get 50% of the cruise price (minus fees and taxes) refunded -Go on Flora (departing one day later 9/8) at no upcharge and get up to a $400 refund pp if flights need to be changed and there's a change fee -Cancel altogether and get 100% refund (minus fees and taxes) + credit for a future cruise With #3 not an option (I NEED THIS VACATION), which one would you pick?
  13. I just posted the same thing. I think it really has moved!
  14. The ship is on the move, too! For some time, it was off the coast near Guayaquil and today it's moving North. https://www.cruisemapper.com/?imo=9228368
  15. So it sounds like you were notified 9-10 days out. We are booked on the 9/7 Xpedition departure, so I guess if we're going to hear something, it's in the next day or two. Personally, I don't care what ship we're on. I just can't wait for this adventure!
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