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Which Celebrity option for Galapagos?


skyace888
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Hello Cruisers!

 

My girlfriend and I (both mid-30s) are looking at Celebrity Galapagos sailings for April or May of 2022 (hopefully things will be somewhat back to normal then). Trying to decide what Celebrity ship (Flora, Xploration, Xpedition) and what itinerary to take. Here is what we know so far:

 

- Inner vs outer loop seems very similar

- Xpedition is the oldest but was apparently refurbished a few years ago

- Flora is the most expensive. Trying to decide if it's worth it

- Xploration is the smallest by far. Wondering what that experience might be like. 

 

 

We're both seasoned cruisers for many years all over the world but never hit this destination. Suggestions welcomed. Thanks!

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We did Xpedition and thought it was fine. At that time it held twice as many passengers, so it should be even better now.  You spend so much time on the islands or snorkeling that anything fancier might be wasted.  

 

I would be leery of Xploration because of its small size. First it may not be as smooth as the larger ships. Second there aren’t as many public spaces. And third with so few passengers you will be doing everything together. One blowhard could ruin the whole trip!  But some prefer it because of the intimacy. 

 

Finally, Flora looks lovely - but at those prices you should cross-shop Silversea. Their new ship is the sister of Flora, with even nicer fittings and better food and service. 
 

All good choices, depending on what you consider most important. 

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Thanks for the quick reply @Host Jazzbeau!

 

Yes I figured that the ship/yacht/catamaran would be less important on this type of voyage than others. We don't mind an intimate ship environment but yes it just takes one person to ruin it. Probably will be to bed at early hours I'd imagine. Reviews overall have been mostly positive across all these vessels. 

 

Will look in to Silversea and others too. I just know of Celebrity and have done it many times (Elite status). 

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58 minutes ago, skyace888 said:

Hello Cruisers!

 

My girlfriend and I (both mid-30s) are looking at Celebrity Galapagos sailings for April or May of 2022 (hopefully things will be somewhat back to normal then). Trying to decide what Celebrity ship (Flora, Xploration, Xpedition) and what itinerary to take. Here is what we know so far:

 

- Inner vs outer loop seems very similar

- Xpedition is the oldest but was apparently refurbished a few years ago

- Flora is the most expensive. Trying to decide if it's worth it

- Xploration is the smallest by far. Wondering what that experience might be like. 

 

 

We're both seasoned cruisers for many years all over the world but never hit this destination. Suggestions welcomed. Thanks!

 

I only know the Flora, but the pre and post cruise as well as actual experiences on the islands I believe are fairly similar.  So if price is a factor, and galapagos is a bucket list item, I think going on any is better than not going.

 

So we were also on the younger end of the spectrum, but not really active-active people.  I feel like most of the benefits of the flora are better appreciated maybe by those who are no longer young and spry.  If you are in decent health for your age, then I don't think the differences are as pronounced. 

 

If you like being pampered though, those zodiacs on the flora feel like cheating.  The stairs make getting on and off a breeze, especially on that one island without a pier where you debark onto rocks.  And the ramp makes the wet landings trivial.  If you wait for the waves and jump you can avoid getting wet on almost all the wet landings.

The whole flora experience feels like cheating.  It's kind of like glamping.  You definitely don't get the roughing-it backpacking one with nature feel, it's on the opposite end of the spectrum.  Going to see wildlife and then afterwards going back to your large stable pampering boat with your large spacious bathroom really feels like you are cheating.

Also the benefits of a large and stabilized boat.  Have heard from others on small boats that the wave motion was pretty uncomfortable, but the flora was pretty stable and didn't really have an issue for motion for us.

 

I think though your options for activities on smaller boats is kind of limited by your fellow passengers.  There are multiple options for what is possible on each island/stop.  I am not sure how the smaller boats do it with their fewer naturalists (maybe other members can chime in), but for the flora, there was never an issue of not being able to do which one you wanted.  You didn't have to like fight to make sure to get the itinerary you wanted (though you do have to fight to be on the first zodiac out). 

 

Other things: 

I would recommend the the 10/11 day.  Part of the reason why you would choose Celebrity over the other companies is for that part of the service, to get to and from the islands I feel like.  The only reason I would think you wouldn't want to do it is if you want to spend some extra time on the islands afterwards and explore yourselves and take some smaller day trips.  If you want to make it a longer vacation that's actually an option, then you can go for day trips and scuba trips and such if you are certified.

 

I just took a look at the prices, and personally, if the difference is 8k to 10.5k I would choose the flora again 10 times out of 10.

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I was on Xpedition (2012), so I can't speak of it now, but I deliberately wanted the biggest ship for the variety of passengers.

 

As mentioned, on a small ship the chances of meeting someone/s not to your "taste" are greater.

 

On our cruise there were 5 couples who travelled together and were snobbish.

 

I'm glad I had the choice....

 

Except that, the whole experience was top notch and very good organized. I took the 10 days trip, which included 2 nights pre- cruise, the charter flight to Galapagos and one night after the cruise.

 

Re: itinerary -- I would go with one which includes North Seymour. It was the only place where we really "mingled" with all sorts of birds and animals.

 

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8 hours ago, skyace888 said:

... Suggestions welcomed. Thanks!

 

@skyace888

 

Howdy and welcome to the Cruise Critic boards!  emo22.gif

 

There are pinned threads on the Celebrity Flora Roll Calls forum titled Recently returned on Flora and on the Celebrity Xpedition Roll Calls forum titled Xpedition - Anyone recently back? PART 3. Both are for for Cruise Critic members that have sailed on Flora and Xpedition to communicate their experiences, post pics and answer questions.

 

Hope this will be helpful and glad to have you aboard Cruise Critic! emo35.gif

 

Happy sails,

 

Host Kat  emo32.gif

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I would second the comments from Host Kat, we have done two Galapagos cruises with Xpedition and both times we got valuable information from the recently back blog (Xpedition - Anyone recently back? PART 3 - Celebrity Xpedition Roll Calls - Cruise Critic Community). There are many frequent Galapagos cruisers who are very willing to give advice on the ships as well as the itineraries and seasons to go to the Galapagos. 

Enjoy!

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1 hour ago, p18750 said:

I would second the comments from Host Kat, we have done two Galapagos cruises with Xpedition and both times we got valuable information from the recently back blog (Xpedition - Anyone recently back? PART 3 - Celebrity Xpedition Roll Calls - Cruise Critic Community). There are many frequent Galapagos cruisers who are very willing to give advice on the ships as well as the itineraries and seasons to go to the Galapagos. 

Enjoy!

Absolutely agree.  A Galapagos sailing is more rugged than a typical cruise and those roll call boards provided great insights on what to expect and how to prepare.  Helpful hints included quick dry clothing, waterproof hiking sandals and an underwater camera.  We did Expedition a few years back (pre-refurb) and found her spacious enough.  Days were very full so after returning from excursion it was a cocktail or two, dinner and off to bed early (even for our 29 year old daughter).  

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We did Expedition 10 day inner route and it was perfect.  We did the Machu Picchu extension on our own.  Flora is all suites but we didn't miss having a balcony because you are on shore most of the day. 

 

 

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21 minutes ago, nesheiml said:

Flora is all suites but we didn't miss having a balcony because you are on shore most of the day. 

 

And we found the fantail was where we spent a lot of outdoor time and it was only a few steps from our stateroom.   We always have a balcony on Celebrity cruises but didn't miss it at all.  We enjoyed the ship with 90 passengers.  Would love it with 48.

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We cannot speak from experience yet, as we are booked for our first and likely only Galapagos cruise over Thanksgiving 2021 on the Xpedition (if it sails).  

In our case, this is definitely a bucket list item, and even the Xpedition is a budget buster for us.  The Flora is out of the question. Interestingly, it did not bother me at all to pass on the Flora. I can’t explain it, but the Xpedition (especially with only 48 passengers) just seemed the right choice for a Galapagos cruise. The focus is definitely the destination and its inhabitants, not the ship.  In my mind, the shiny new one just didn’t fit.  Perhaps that is because we can’t afford it, but I don’t really think so. 
 

We are also “cruise only” DIY types, but this time we are doing the 11 night package with Celebrity. From my reading,  Celebrity does quite a polished job on the logistics. 
 

Good luck on your decision. 

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A few tips that I am sure are echoed on the Galapagos recently back forum: 

Take only casual clothes, no one dresses for dinner or cocktails on the ship

Take a good pair of sandals or water proof hiking shoes, depending on your itinerary there will likely be wet landings where your feet will get wet and potentially walks on lava beds. We used our Teva sandals. 

Take a hat that will stay on in the wind, including riding in the pangas. We got ventilated hats with chin straps and they worked well. 

Take two pair of swimsuits, one to wear while the other is drying. 

Safety strap for sun glasses

Sunscreen and lip balm

Assuming everyone is taking the 10 day itinerary starting in Quito you can likely leave a suitcase at the hotel in Quito and pick it up on the way back. 

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Posted (edited)

We went with Flora(11 nights, but adding an additional night before the tour, as we wanted to be ahead of the group and more rested)due to the glam factor and our special event we were celebrating.  Unfortunately, we had to cancel because of the 90 days and wanting our $1,800 returned.  Definitely, this cruise will be rebooked, so whatever you decide, it will be a great experience for sure. it is all about the experience and making memories! 

Edited by Lastdance
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17 hours ago, nesheiml said:

We did Expedition 10 day inner route and it was perfect.  We did the Machu Picchu extension on our own.  Flora is all suites but we didn't miss having a balcony because you are on shore most of the day. 

 

 

15 hours ago, p18750 said:

Assuming everyone is taking the 10 day itinerary starting in Quito you can likely leave a suitcase at the hotel in Quito and pick it up on the way back. 

Where do you find the 10/11 day options? I was looking on the Celebrity Site and it only shows me the 7 Day cruises as an option? 

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Our family (2 high school kids then) did the Xpedition a couple of years after X put it into service, and it was the best family trip we've ever taken. To me, spending big bucks on the Flora or Silversea for a luxury cruise in the Galapagos would be a total waste of $. There were no sea days, and you'll probably never spend less time onboard the ship on a cruise with excursions going all day long--it was just to sleep (decent cabins), drink (lots of free beer, daiquiris, etc.) and eat (food was good, especially the excellent local seafood--only the flown-in meat was subpar). We're going again on it in 2022.

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7 hours ago, drowelf said:

 

 

Where do you find the 10/11 day options? I was looking on the Celebrity Site and it only shows me the 7 Day cruises as an option? 

I would ask this question on the recently back blog but here is my input from our cruise: 

When we cruised we did a 10 day which included 2 pre cruise days in Quito and one post cruise day in Quito, the flights to and from Quito and Baltra (Galapagos) and the entrance fees to the Galapagos park. Celebrity has charter flights to/from Quito and Baltra that are only for Celebrity passengers. 

When the plane lands you are taken directly to a dock on Baltra where you board pangas (Zodiac rubber boats) to be ferried to the ship as the ship does not dock. It is very difficult to book your own flights to Baltra and arrive in time to catch the ship so every one we talked to took the 10 or 11 day trips. At the time we went you could also book 7 day cruises but they were intended for those doing a back to back Galapagos cruise. Things may have changed since we went so you might want to ask on the recently back blog. 

IMG_0550.JPG

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8 hours ago, drowelf said:

 

 

Where do you find the 10/11 day options? I was looking on the Celebrity Site and it only shows me the 7 Day cruises as an option? 

 

Their website is a little buggy.  Try various methods of searching and try different browsers.  Like try searching by choosing a ship first, or try from a different page.

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Being able to view the 10/11 day itinerary, or the longer ones going to Machu Picchu is very easy. When on the plan your cruise page, just below the select your destination prompt you will see the Filter By prompt. Select the Packages prompt then the cruise package prompt. All the 7 day as well as 10/11 and longer cruise & tours will display. Hope this helps.

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