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Galapagos Problems

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On 7/1/2019 at 12:26 PM, rachiem said:

This is the reply that I had from Celebrity regarding the problems:

 

Celebrity have built another ship - Celebrity Flora - specifically to sail Galapagos - and she has just arrived this month. As a result of this the island authorities have put in a temporary restriction on Celebrity Xpedition sailing to the same islands on the same weekend as Flora and unfortunatley this has meant we have had to cancel about four Xpedition sailings so far.

We hope and belive this will be a temporary issue and we are working with the Galapagos authorities to make adjustments to the required sailing licences that will allow both ships to sail but there is a chance it may affect cruise for a few weeks more.

Should the situation change and affecting Xpedition long term, we would advise everybody who has booked with the details and options available, as soon as we are aware.

 

Delightful transparency.

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looking at the Celebrity website...it now shows that you can book the Xpedition for the 13th July (previously the earliest was the 27th)

Do you think they may have sorted the problem?

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I wonder if the issue was the ship, the crew or the cruise Line? If they feel the cruise line was ultimately to blame, couldn’t that impact Flora? 

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I spoke to Celebrity yesterday about an unrelated issue on  our November cruise.. I asked about Xpedition sailings and they said they were taking it cruise by cruise and would notify each impacted traveler as needed with options.

 

She said just a paperwork issue and it was taking longer than normal to resolve.  Appeared to be just a normal issue... so we will see 😳🤞

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A friend of mine had the Xpedition booked for this week.  He got a 50% refund and a move over to the Xperience, which was supposed to go out of service.

 

We had the Expedition booked for next year, but changed it to the Silverseas Silver Galapagos, which looks nicer and we got a better deal and didn't have to take the Celebrity "package".  We'll do an excursion on our own and be better off.  Unfortunately, after next May, decent Silversea prices will no longer be an option as their new ship is same price as the Flora.

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2 hours ago, hubofhockey said:

A friend of mine had the Xpedition booked for this week.  He got a 50% refund and a move over to the Xperience, which was supposed to go out of service.

 

We had the Expedition booked for next year, but changed it to the Silverseas Silver Galapagos, which looks nicer and we got a better deal and didn't have to take the Celebrity "package".  We'll do an excursion on our own and be better off.  Unfortunately, after next May, decent Silversea prices will no longer be an option as their new ship is same price as the Flora.

 

That's a great deal and I would not hesitate to sail on the Xperience. 

 

As far as your comment regarding "didn't have to take the Celebrity 'package'' " There is always an option to book just the 7 - day cruise, Celebrity does not require anyone  to take a package.

Please explain "We'll do an excursion on our own and be better off." Are you talking about Quito, Lima, Machu Picchu ...?

 

I am eager to see the new Sliversea Galapagos ship. (You do realize the company was acquired by Royal Caribbean?) I would think they would be charging even more than Flora, since they are considered a more upscale brand. Time will tell.

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Is Celebrity still operating the Xploration?  I don't see it on their website.

 

I have friends that have traveled extensively (dozens of land trips and cruises to nearly 100 countries so far) and one of the trips they always talk about was the Xploration.

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10 hours ago, sippican said:

 

That's a great deal and I would not hesitate to sail on the Xperience. 

 

As far as your comment regarding "didn't have to take the Celebrity 'package'' " There is always an option to book just the 7 - day cruise, Celebrity does not require anyone  to take a package.

Please explain "We'll do an excursion on our own and be better off." Are you talking about Quito, Lima, Machu Picchu ...?

 

I am eager to see the new Sliversea Galapagos ship. (You do realize the company was acquired by Royal Caribbean?) I would think they would be charging even more than Flora, since they are considered a more upscale brand. Time will tell.

 

Celebrity shoves the Quito package down your throat because they don't let you on their flight from Quito to Baltra unless you take their overpriced package.  You would have to get to Baltra on your own and probably a day earlier if you don't tale their package.  The logistics are horrible.  With Silversea, there is an optional 90-minute evening old town walk, but you can do what you want otherwise for a day excursion and dinner.  We are doing a TBL Otavalo full day tour and adding on the touristy equator stop and still paying less in total than Celebrity and that's even taking an additional day at the Marriott for a resort day, getting used to the altitude and relaxing and going to old town later on our first day.  

 

Royal Caribbean may acquired a majority interest in Silversea and even funded four new ships for them, but they certainly are not running Silversea through Celebrity.  They are different.  We aren't regular Silversea passengers as they are a bit too formal for us, but for Galapagos, they are casual, but still have a really nice product and even their cheap cabins are much larger (they're 240 square feet!!) than Xpedition cabins with better amenities.  At the end of the day, it's all about the Galapagos itself, but, at least for us, the voyage works better on Silversea.  Of course, after next June, Silversea will retire the Silver Galapagos and the Origin is priced like the Flora.  Maybe Royal Caribbean will move the Silver Galapagos over to Celebrity for the moderately priced vacations in the Galapagos.  After all, the Origin was originally supposed to be a Celebrity ship.  

 

Royal Caribbean bought a majority stake in Silversea, but Silversea is still owned 1/3 or 1/4 by the original family.  We'll see how that pans out.  

 

 

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5 hours ago, hubofhockey said:

Celebrity shoves the Quito package down your throat because they don't let you on their flight from Quito to Baltra unless you take their overpriced package.  You would have to get to Baltra on your own and probably a day earlier if you don't tale their package.  The logistics are horrible.  With Silversea, there is an optional 90-minute evening old town walk, but you can do what you want otherwise for a day excursion and dinner.  We are doing a TBL Otavalo full day tour and adding on the touristy equator stop and still paying less in total than Celebrity and that's even taking an additional day at the Marriott for a resort day, getting used to the altitude and relaxing and going to old town later on our first day.  

We are on the Xpedition and have the Quito (2 days before, 1 day after) package.  We are in a Xpedition suite, which includes a suite in Quito and business class to Baltra.  Total, not including flights from the US, about $15K for both of us.  After your post I looked at Silverseas and the pricing was $10K to $15K per person for their base cabin.  I did not look at details, but assume this price does not include Quito.  Unless I am missing something, looks like Silverseas is almost double the cost?????  What am I missing???

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5 hours ago, hubofhockey said:

Celebrity shoves the Quito package down your throat because they don't let you on their flight from Quito to Baltra unless you take their overpriced package.

 

I don't know about SilverSeas but why would any company "let you" on their chartered plane.  Yes I understand you would expect them to charge you but they are selling you the convenience of the package where everything is handled for you.  I have taken the trip with Celebrity and the package was handled very well.  Our privately booked inbound flight to Quito was diverted due to fog and we had to overnight on the coast.  When we flew back to Quito the next afternoon Celebrity was waiting for us, gave us an expedited tour of Quito and has us rejoined with the rest of the group by desert at dinner.  $$ well spent in my opinion.

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2 hours ago, Seville2Cabo said:

We are on the Xpedition and have the Quito (2 days before, 1 day after) package.  We are in a Xpedition suite, which includes a suite in Quito and business class to Baltra.  

 

Just for clarification - we booked an Xpedition suite for our trip last November. We did staty on the Executive Floor of the Marriott in Quito (not in a suite) but we did not get the benefit of flying Business on the charter. When we inquired, we were told everyone needed to pay extra for that privilege .Are you by chance in a different class of suite?

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2 hours ago, Seville2Cabo said:

We are on the Xpedition and have the Quito (2 days before, 1 day after) package.  We are in a Xpedition suite, which includes a suite in Quito and business class to Baltra.  Total, not including flights from the US, about $15K for both of us.  After your post I looked at Silverseas and the pricing was $10K to $15K per person for their base cabin.  I did not look at details, but assume this price does not include Quito.  Unless I am missing something, looks like Silverseas is almost double the cost?????  What am I missing???

 

If you find a good TA, there is no way you're paying $10K per person on Silversea.  That might be price for new Origin out next June.

 

I paid $6,115 with $505 refundable credit or roughly $5,610 per person. 

 

Here's what I get:  

 

  • Two nights pre-cruise at Marriott in Quito with breakfast (same as Celebrity)
  • Day at Marriott after cruise - check out by midnight (most flights leave around midnight).
  • Transfer flight from Quito round trip to San Christobal / Baltra.
  • 240 square foot suite
  • There is an early evening old town excursion included (we're not taking it)
  • WIFI and free minibar in the cabins
  •  

My price would have been $650 more and included roundtrip flights from Boston to Quito, but I elected out and will book JetBlue with my points and save the money.  

 

The only thing that initially concerned me was the Silversea reputation of being very formal, but they are casual in Galapagos.  For the most part, Celebrity is the line we look to book, but this wasn't even a close call.

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I believe that the issue is with the permits for the ship. When Celebrity started building Flora, the company( Ocean Adventures, S.A.) associated with the ships Athala (now Xploration) had 16 passenger permits, and Eclipse  ( now Xperience) had 48  passenger permits.  Xpedition had 100 passenger permits and was already sailing. When Flora came out, Celebrity used the 100  passenger permits from Expedition to transfer to Flora which is currently sailing. Celebrity applied through Ocean Adventures, S.A.) and was originally granted the right to use the other permits(64) to be transferred to Xpedition which would then sail with 64 passengers, and the two other ships would no longer sail under Celebrity. 

 

Marcelo Mata Guerrero, the Minister of the Environment of Ecuador reversed the permission  on June 26 ,2019 and posted the notice on his twitter account.

http://www.ambiente.gob.ec/ministerio-del-ambiente-revoca-el-permiso-de-operacion-al-barco-celebrity-xpedition-en-galapagos/

 

 

So Celebrity has  offered passengers up through the July 13, 2019 sailing either to cancel and receive a refund, a transfer to the smaller ship, with a significant discount ,or some have switched to future Flora sailings.

 

I believe that Celebrity will get it worked out hopefully in the near future. Most of the Galapagos ships are smaller passenger vessels, with the larger ones being 100 passengers.

I have not read of any environmental damage caused by the Xpedition ship posted by the Minister. I do believe that they are trying to limit the tourism to the Galapagos to protect the environment and wildlife.

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2 hours ago, wrk2cruise said:

 

I don't know about SilverSeas but why would any company "let you" on their chartered plane.  Yes I understand you would expect them to charge you but they are selling you the convenience of the package where everything is handled for you.  I have taken the trip with Celebrity and the package was handled very well.  Our privately booked inbound flight to Quito was diverted due to fog and we had to overnight on the coast.  When we flew back to Quito the next afternoon Celebrity was waiting for us, gave us an expedited tour of Quito and has us rejoined with the rest of the group by desert at dinner.  $$ well spent in my opinion.

 

That is EXACTLY my point.  If you want Quito with Celebrity, it's not a la carte.  If you want to go to Quito, the only to make your cruise would be to leave a day early and spend a day in Baltra or in that area.  With Silversea, there is humongous package to buy.  You pay in your total price for two nights at the Marriott and the transfer from Quito to San Christobal or Baltra.  

 

As to your question, why would any company let you on their chartered plane?  Well, you're their customer and you would pay for it.  Celebrity just won't allow a la carte pricing, forcing their customers to overpay for their 7 hour excursion.   

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15 minutes ago, sippican said:

 

Just for clarification - we booked an Xpedition suite for our trip last November. We did staty on the Executive Floor of the Marriott in Quito (not in a suite) but we did not get the benefit of flying Business on the charter. When we inquired, we were told everyone needed to pay extra for that privilege .Are you by chance in a different class of suite?

I will check with our TA again, but we were told it included Business class

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23 minutes ago, hubofhockey said:

 

If you find a good TA, there is no way you're paying $10K per person on Silversea.  That might be price for new Origin out next June.

 

I paid $6,115 with $505 refundable credit or roughly $5,610 per person. 

 

Here's what I get:  

 

  • Two nights pre-cruise at Marriott in Quito with breakfast (same as Celebrity)
  • Day at Marriott after cruise - check out by midnight (most flights leave around midnight).
  • Transfer flight from Quito round trip to San Christobal / Baltra.
  • 240 square foot suite
  • There is an early evening old town excursion included (we're not taking it)
  • WIFI and free minibar in the cabins
  •  

My price would have been $650 more and included roundtrip flights from Boston to Quito, but I elected out and will book JetBlue with my points and save the money.  

 

The only thing that initially concerned me was the Silversea reputation of being very formal, but they are casual in Galapagos.  For the most part, Celebrity is the line we look to book, but this wasn't even a close call. 

I did not ask my TA, just looked online.  But have now asked her to take a look.  I assume Silverseas is all inclusive.  We only booked an Xpedition Suite for the balcony and space.  The standard rooms looked very small.  Appears SS standard rooms are pretty nice

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1 hour ago, kk99 said:

 

I believe that Celebrity will get it worked out hopefully in the near future. Most of the Galapagos ships are smaller passenger vessels, with the larger ones being 100 passengers.

I have not read of any environmental damage caused by the Xpedition ship posted by the Minister. I do believe that they are trying to limit the tourism to the Galapagos to protect the environment and wildlife.

 

Your information above is generally correct. I'd like to add, that to reach the 64 passenger limit for the Xpedition, Celebrity combined the licenses from both the Xperience and Xploration.

 

I can't put my hand on the article at the moment, but I read somewhere that the "environmental impact" concern was that the proposed itineraries of the Flora and Xpedition did not comply with the regulations regarding the number of visits/visitors to particular islands, within the allowable timeframe. My understanding is that a ship(or perhaps cruise line) can bring passengers to any given place within the park  only once every 14 days - hence the alternating itineraries, and that the actual number of visitors brought ashore is limited. Of course, that may have been just speculation on the part of the author.

 

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1 hour ago, Seville2Cabo said:

I did not ask my TA, just looked online.  But have now asked her to take a look.  I assume Silverseas is all inclusive.  We only booked an Xpedition Suite for the balcony and space.  The standard rooms looked very small.  Appears SS standard rooms are pretty nice

 

You are correct about the suites - they are more like standard balcony cabins on other ships. We enjoyed ours, but have booked a regular oceanview on our next trip. Did you book your trip under the "Free Air" promo? My friend was able to get a Business Class seat on the flight to and from Quito because the credit was up to $1000 pp.

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5 hours ago, Seville2Cabo said:

I did not ask my TA, just looked online.  But have now asked her to take a look.  I assume Silverseas is all inclusive.  We only booked an Xpedition Suite for the balcony and space.  The standard rooms looked very small.  Appears SS standard rooms are pretty nice

 

I am attaching a Silversea / Celebrity Comparison chart that someone sent to me.

 

Silversea is a bit more inclusive than Celebrity in Galapagos, but more a la carte in Quito.  We took the least expensive room.  It has windows, but is 240 square feet.  There are two dining venues.  One is the nice restaurant and the other is one you make reservations for, which is the cooking on the hot rocks.  The Silver Galapagos is being taken out of service at the end of next May as soon as the Silver Origin goes into service.  At that point, the Expedition will be the only reasonably priced expedition ship in the Galapagos.  

Silversea Celebrity Comparison.pdf

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11 hours ago, Seville2Cabo said:

We are on the Xpedition and have the Quito (2 days before, 1 day after) package.  We are in a Xpedition suite, which includes a suite in Quito and business class to Baltra.  Total, not including flights from the US, about $15K for both of us.  After your post I looked at Silverseas and the pricing was $10K to $15K per person for their base cabin.  I did not look at details, but assume this price does not include Quito.  Unless I am missing something, looks like Silverseas is almost double the cost?????  What am I missing???

 several years ago,  we booked the 7 day cruise and flights on our own. we flew into guayaquil and took a commercial flight the next morning to baltra. we were the only ones on our ship that did that, but there was no issue. even years later, i suspect that someone is 'paying off' someone else to send everyone through quito (where people get elevation sickness etc.). Guayaquil was fine and we flew out first thing he next morning to baltra.  i recall there was some question or issue about our flight from baltra back to guayaquil and we started to run into a language issue (I understand spanish but my spoken spanish is not good), but someone from celebrity helped us talk to the gate agent for 2 min and it was all fine). this was a while ago...i mean, we paid for 2 people on the xpedition what one person now pays. but it was definitely an amazing amazing amazing trip.

 

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Hubofhockey - Wow that's a great comparison that Silverseas compiled. Of course, it is now a bit outdated and I hope they generate another one for Origin and Flora.   I would certainly take a look at Silversea if I were just beginning my research. 

I agree with your last statement about the Xpedition - BUT, that all depends upon resolution of the licensing issue. 

 

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According to *****, the Xpedition is on the move finally.

Fingers crossed, a resolution?

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, rachiem said:

According to *****, the Xpedition is on the move finally.

Fingers crossed, a resolution?

 

I don't think so,  CruiseMapper shows it has left the Galapagos Islands and sailed back to the mainland.

 

image.png.0c44300843fd236698def520f78c4297.png

Edited by ipeeinthepool

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Oh that's a shame. Last few times I've looked, it was on the mainland, so I assumed it had moved.

Have they cancelled the 13th July's sailing yet?

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Speaking of CruiseMapper.com...It currently reports that the Celebrity Xperience is in the Adriatic right now. How does this site actually track ships?  By where they are supposed to be, or do they actually get real time coordinates for them. Isn't the Xperience currently subbing for the Xpedition?

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