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Live blog of first voyage of Flora in the Galapagos, post pandemic


DrKoob
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On 7/13/2021 at 9:07 AM, dani negreanu said:

Jim, just curious if some of our team was also in your sailing....

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Dani - these are the naturalists we had. As they add passengers, they will be adding more naturalists. 1st time adding a pic so hope it works!

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33 minutes ago, DrKoob said:

 

If it works as ours did, once you fly back from Balta you will be given an appointment in the later afternoon when you must go for a COVID test. You get the results in about an hour. You can't get a boarding pass from any airline leaving Quito without the test results. I would not make any plans for that day. We didn't reach the hotel until 4:30 and our test was at 6:45. We went to dinner (X paid) and then got the test results. By that time it was too late to get a boarding pass so we got them at the airport at 4:30 am the next morning.

Thanks for the info!!

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Thank you, I saw you were in Wellington on Tuesday, had I known I would have bought you lunch and picked your brain (Office is in Palm springs very close by). I did send a request to your website for a copy of your packing list for Gpagos (see you are a list guy also!!)

Thanks

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6 minutes ago, miltonplane88 said:

Thank you, I saw you were in Wellington on Tuesday, had I known I would have bought you lunch and picked your brain (Office is in Palm springs very close by). I did send a request to your website for a copy of your packing list for Gpagos (see you are a list guy also!!)

Thanks

 

I am going to do another set of questions as the next post so I will add that there. This may be the first trip where I took NOTHING that I did not wear or use and pretty much wasn't missing anything (except one pair of shorts that I left in Wellington by mistake) that I did need. I did the entire thing out of my camera/computer bag and a 24" carryon.

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4 minutes ago, DrKoob said:

 

I am going to do another set of questions as the next post so I will add that there. This may be the first trip where I took NOTHING that I did not wear or use and pretty much wasn't missing anything (except one pair of shorts that I left in Wellington by mistake) that I did need. I did the entire thing out of my camera/computer bag and a 24" carryon.

Thanks!!

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More Questions—More Answers

 

 

So I have had a lot of questions from both the comments on my blog and from Cruise Critic, I thought I would do those first and it would give me a chance to add some additional info I haven't covered yet. So let's get to those questions. (BTW: I may have answered these on Cruise Critic or on this blog before but not in both places. This will give me a chance to do both.)

  • We’re on the July 25th sailing, and I’m starting to think about what to pack. How quickly does the laundry turn around and do we need to bring slacks or just shorts? 
    I got away with one pair of decent shorts, three pair of hiking shorts and the jeans I had worn on the planes (I don't like flying in shorts). Took a bunch of izod shirts I didn't have to iron, my hiking boots and my Tevas, underwear and socks. That was it. You get two free bags of laundry and we left both of them out in the morning before we went on our morning excursion and our stateroom attendant picked them up when she serviced the room. In both cases, they were back by that evening while we were at dinner. We did not ask for rush service but we got them back that fast. I am guessing part of the speed was because there were only 57 passengers on board.
  • How cold is the water? Have the snorkelers mentioned this? We’re Floridians and I’ve packed second skin so I won’t be cold. Is this necessary? 
    Since I didn't snorkel or swim that much I asked three friends (one of them was Celebrity's scientist in residence Ellen who does the Galapagos 3-4 times a year) who did snorkel and swim everyday it was available and their answer was that the water was really nice. The times I got in the water, I did not find it too cold. But Ellen mentioned that it will get colder until the fall. Ellen said the second skin is a good idea. Many of those snorkeling wore a rash guards under their wetsuits. All three of them said that no matter what you bring to wear under the wetsuit you need to wash them out EVERY NIGHT. Two of our friends said they came back after dinner on the first night they snorkeled and the smell was overpowering. Ellen says she always just wears whatever was under the wetsuit into the shower, soaps it up and then rinses it out. Be prepared to take it off in the morning wet. I had a rash guard that Kathleen had gotten me and since it was also sun protective I wore it a bunch. Pretty much on every walk. She got it at Land's End and I loved it.
  • Can you buy postcards or souvenirs on board? Should you?
    Yes and no. We are kind of old school. We like to send postcards. I even pre-print address labels to take with us. So we went down to the very small ship store on deck 3 and bought 15 postcards. Kathleen saw a tee-shirt there that she liked and got that too. And we bought a magnet as we kind of collect those. Total: $80. Didn't realize that until we settled our account by the end of the trip. Later we found out that had we waited we would have paid half of that in the airport in Baltra on the way home. Save your money. Also, the airport in Baltra has a lot of souvenirs. Not knowing this, we bought something before we went through security. And then we found there were tons of places to buy things.
  • Did you get any take home gifts from X? 
    Yes we did. I need to preface telling you what we got by saying that we don't know how many were given to us because we were the first cruise back after the pandemic or are given to everyone on every cruise. We got a really cool hand carved wooden tortoise, two Galapagos-themed coffee cups, two really nice metal water bottles, two backpacks (not that usable) a fanny pack, a baseball cap and Ecuadorian chocolate. All are awesome and we will use them. The wooden tortoise is sitting in our living room right now reminding us of all the good memories. Oops! I almost forgot the best thing we got. A small USB thumb drive on the very last day just before we got off the ship. It wasn't the drive but what was on it. Every picture taken by the naturalists/guides during our week as well as pictures of the entire crew we had shared the week with. It is awesome. Especially if you were afraid you didn't get enough pics.
  • Do you have a packing list? 
    I detailed above what I had with me. I did the entire cruise with a 24 inch carry on bag. Unlike other cruises you can wear whatever you want to the dining room and no one will say anything. Also, if you look on Cruise Critic there is a super great thread we followed to get ready. It is tremendous and there is a complete packing list on it. You can find that thread by clicking here. You may have to join Cruise Critic to see it though but that would be a very good thing if you cruise.
  • What was the average age of the people on board? What were your fellow cruisers like?
    There were all kind of people. The youngest were two outstanding 8th graders who entertained us all and there were people in their 80s. If you are a regular cruiser, remember that this is not the cruise where you will meet fellow cruisers with like backgrounds. For about half the people onboard, this may have been first time cruisers. They were there for the Galapagos and not the ship. We were there for both.
  • Coffee and booze—what's the story?
    Coffee was available from about 6:30 am until around 10:00 pm in the Discovery Lounge. You could get your usual variety of coffee drinks you could get at your local Starbucks. We loved their cappuccinos. The Ecuadorian coffee in the dining room was wonderful.
    As far as alcoholic beverages, the same bar in Discovery Lounge will make you whatever you ask for but the liquor selection is very limited. For instance, there was one tequila, one gin, one vodka, one whiskey, etc. Much of this is because it is very expensive to ship it in and there is very little space to store it. This also reminds me to tell you that when it comes to wine for dinner, you get a choice of red or white. That's it. For the same reason—importing and storage. We had red every night (yes, even with fish) and it was always from South America. Many times it was either Malbec or a red blend of Malbec and something else. Our favorite was a Malbec/Cab blend from Chile. They had maybe four brands of beer. Plus in your stateroom there is your typical mini-fridge with two bottles of an excellent Ecuadorian pilsner as well as four soft drinks. They get replenished as you drink them and they, like everything else on the ship are included. No charge!
  • What kind of weight limits did they have on the Baltra flight?  Was it full?  Did they have any diabetic passengers...they couldn't go that long without food or the ability to carry food with them?  
    We were told they would limit us to 14 pounds for carryons (ONLY ONE ALLOWED) and 44lbs for checked luggage (again, only one). We were well under the checked luggage requirement but my camera bag weights at least 30lbs but no one checked it. The flight was not full and would not have been even if the ship had been full. It is a charter and most couples had a row to themselves. There was food served (a pretty lousy ham and cheese sandwich) but I don't know if there were any diabetics on board. Kathleen says, "when they offer you food, take it because you don't know when you will be offered food again." Unlike a regular cruise when there is ALWAYS some food available, this is not the case on Flora since there is no regular buffet, only the dining room and the grille upstairs.
  • Would this cruise work for someone who is in a wheelchair?
    Sadly, no. There would be no way to get on or off the ship if you can't go up or down the stairs on the Zodiacs. There is an elevator and it always cracked me up when people used it because there are only five passenger decks and we were on deck five which meant we only had to go up or down two levels no matter where we wanted to go
  • Was this a good post-pandemic cruise to take?
    We don't think you could find a better one.  All except one day, we were completely in a bubble. There is no COVID on any of the islands other than maybe Santa Cruz. That was the only island we saw people who were not sailing with us. Celebrity did a great job with COVID precautions and testing. It is the perfect post-pandemic cruise.
  • "You take amazing photos! What kind of camera do you use? What lenses did you take?"
    Thank you! Photography is my favorite hobby. If you click here you can see the best of my previous travel pics. And yes, I do sell them on that site but feel free to just look. I shoot a Nikon D810 DSLR. It's a big heavy, full frame camera. I took two lenses with me; a Nikor 24-300mm zoom that I shot every photo with. I also had a 50mm lens with me but it was just as a backup. Every single photo was taken with the zoom lens. I will also mention that prior to this cruise I didn't take a lot of wildlife photos. But to prep I watched a ton of videos on YouTube and read a lot. You should do the same if you want the kind of moving action I got.
  • We were recently informed by the Galapagos Desk that all travelers in our party would need coverage for both medical  and evacuation. Were you asked to provide proof of either?
    We were also told you HAD TO HAVE medical and evacuation insurance and it was REQUIRED by the National Park of Ecuador. We have friends who had taken the cruise before and they had to show proof of insurance but we did not. I think that may have been because of all the COVID stuff just got in the way.  If you go without either of those insurance policies, you are NUTS! Even though there are two doctors onboard Flora, there are no major medical facilities on the islands. Medical Evacuation insurance is a MUST. 
  • We are interested in booking a private tour on the last day when we return from Balta, as our flight home leaves at midnight.  But also concerned about last minute Celebrity changes and what the schedule will be for testing on the last day to return to US.
    If it works as ours did, once you fly back from Balta you will be given an appointment in the later afternoon when you must go for a COVID test. You get the results in about an hour. You can't get a boarding pass from any airline leaving Quito without the test results. I would not make any plans for that day. We didn't reach the hotel until 4:30pm and our test was at 6:20pm. We went to dinner (X paid) and then got the test results. By that time it was too late to get a boarding pass so we got them at the airport at 4:30 am the next morning.
  • After all the hassles you had with your air cancellations we are worried we will have problems as well. Any advice? 
    Yes! Check your airline reservations all the time. Verify them daily in the week or two leading up to your cruise. This is true no matter where you are flying. I want to make it clear that we do NOT hold Celebrity responsible for the cancellation of our original flight to Quito. American Airlines (WHO I WILL NEVER FLY WITH AGAIN for so many reasons—I would rather walk) who cancelled our flight to Quito with less than a week to go and did not inform us even though I had given them our e-mail and phone number. But that does not excuse Celebrity Air from not notifying us either. I just happened to be checking seats and found out that way. Check, check, check. Especially if you are flying with one of the big carries like United, American or Delta. They fly so many flights that they can cancel them with impunity. Keep in mind if they do cancel you and don't offer you a flight within six hours of your original flight they must refund your airfare. It may take a while but you will get it. Not a voucher, a refund.

I think that about covers it. If you have any others, please let me know in the comments. Tomorrow more about the ship.

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Posted (edited)

DrKoob, thank you for a wonderful review! I was very detailed and entertaining. Brought back lots of memories!

 

Since questions about diabetes popped up several times I thought I'd mention that we were on the Xpedition in July 2016. My DH has diabetes and was permitted to carry a small snack that was a closed packaged item, double bagged in a ziplock onto the islands during excursions. I'm pretty sure he also carried closed packaged snacks with him through the airport for all flights. 

Edited by kathynorth
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2 hours ago, kathynorth said:

DrKoob, thank you for a wonderful review! I was very detailed and entertaining. Brought back lots of memories!

 

Since questions about diabetes popped up several times I thought I'd mention that we were on the Xpedition in July 2016. My DH has diabetes and was permitted to carry a small snack that was a closed packaged item, double bagged in a ziplock onto the islands during excursions. I'm pretty sure he also carried closed packaged snacks with him through the airport for all flights. 

 

Thanks Kathy!

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Posted (edited)

Flora—what a ship!

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Now that I have told you all about the cruise and the adventure and shown you the islands and the animals, it's time to talk about the ship. I can honestly say, Flora is my favorite ship we have ever sailed on. She is also the smallest ship we have ever sailed on. But I wanted to give you a little bit of an idea what our overall accommodations were like and the public areas of the ship as well. First, as you can see above, she looks wonderful in the water. Almost like a private yacht...a BIG private yacht.

Let's start with the staterooms. Here's an iPhone pano shot of the bedroom part of our "suite." Celebrity calls it a suite. Other cruise lines would call it a suite but to me a "suite" means you get more than one room. At the EB Hotel in Quito we had a suite...a bedroom, two bathrooms, a dressing room and a living room. That's a suite. The really big "suites" on Flora are true suites. On the photo below, enlarge it because it is showing out of proportion.

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Those suites have other rooms as well (living room, two bedrooms, two bathrooms). But we had a traditional verandah stateroom. That said, it was the LARGEST stateroom we have ever been in. It was even bigger than the suite we once had on Century. At more than 330 square feet with an 84 square foot verandah we had more than 400 square feet to ourselves. To give you something to compare, on our last cruise on Reflection to Mardi Gras our stateroom had 194 square feet with a 54 square foot verandah. We found it interesting (at least to us) that we are going to go from the largest stateroom we have ever had on a ship to one of the smallest we have had on our next cruise. In December we take a Viking River cruise to the Christmas Markets on the Danube. Our stateroom on that ship will only be 204 square feet with the verandah. We were very pleased with this one. I did a quick video tour of the stateroom and the bathroom (the largest and nicest we have ever sailed). Sorry but these videos just will not upload so you will need to see them on my blog. Just Google Jim Bellomo and go to the first entry. 

Here's some cabin/bathroom pics:

Bathroom294.thumb.jpg.7a87fca60c55614ba225218b3c9655ee.jpgBathroom295.thumb.jpg.5c10eab49cd7f8bd97a77e0eb360c9f7.jpgBathroom296.thumb.jpg.705601a3600a2d70152d36e4b034201f.jpgBathroom297.thumb.jpg.a02e4f88b6f3f777e51c7206fe79dd30.jpgBathroom298.thumb.jpg.e9bd1f439f45c99f89a0b8dddc826f78.jpgBathroom299.thumb.jpg.5da9396eff9f88b0a340507b78df2bfe.jpgBathroom300.thumb.jpg.c85990134f583d94657dc9bdd0485408.jpgIMG_4066.thumb.jpeg.dc0099277dce2e06ac6f701ef2536d60.jpegIMG_4066.thumb.jpeg.dc0099277dce2e06ac6f701ef2536d60.jpeg

 

The ONLY complaint we had about the stateroom was the lack of places to charge electronics. This ship was built three years ago. It's not like she was built in an era before we all carried numerous gadgets. But there were exactly FOUR electrical receptacles in the room (not counting one above the sink in the bathroom for shavers).  One of those was a European plug. I always have a converter but the receptacle was inverted so my adapter/converter would not work with it. That left us three. One at the desk and two in the wall next to one side of the bed. Except that the two next to the bed were vertical and VERY THIN! So thin that if you plugged any kind of adapter or charger in to one of them, you could not use the other. That is crazy. No USB plugs at all. They have those on other, older Celebrity ships.

I know what you are thinking...how many things can you have to charge? Well, we travel with the following: Kathleen has her iPhone, her iPad, her Kindle and her Apple Watch. I have my MacBook Pro, my iPad, my iPhone, my Apple Watch, my Nikon battery charger, my Kindle and my GoPro battery charger. Twelve items to charge with two plugs. That's crazy. I certainly hope when they dry dock Flora in a few years, this is one of their big upgrades. It is needed.

The rest of the ship

Flora is beautiful from top to bottom. The best way for me to show you that is to add some pics and explain in the captions. So here you go:

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Sorry, captions are on my blog. 

And two answer two quick questions I got over there: 
Question: Can the “window” in the bathroom be darkened so the light doesn’t go into the bedroom area? If one person wakes up before the other, will turning on the bathroom light disturb the person still trying to sleep? Oh, and did you ever order Room Service? We usually do not but I might want my 5 a.m. coffee. Yes, I know we’ll be tuckered out, but I always wake early. 
Answer: 
The window to the bathroom can NOT be darkened. There is a fairly bright nightlight under the sinks. And yes, if you turn on the bathroom light, it will wake the other person up. We are not room service people. We have ordered room service once in 31 cruises. But lots of people did. It is available from 6:00 am onward while the dining room does not open until 7:00. With the shore trips starting at 8:00 some mornings, you might need it. I doubt you will be able to get anything at 5:00 am. But once the shore trips start up, you will be so exhausted you will sleep as long as you can. At home I NEVER use an alarm clock. Haven’t for more than 20 years. I am usually up before I ever need to get up. My average day starts at 3:30 am. On Flora, I needed an alarm every day. And most of those days, that’s what woke me up.

 

Question: What was the daily weather and temperature like?
Answer: 

No problem. Highs were in the high seventies, lows were in the low seventies. There was hardly any differentiation in temperature since you are at the Equator and at the end of a number of major ocean currents. We have been told that the “wet” season is much warmer. Best times according to our friend Ellen, Celebrity’s science and nature expert to go are November-December or May through July. Their falls and winters are not the best. This is also true depending on what wildlife you want to see. If you Google it, you will find the best times. We were lucky. So many animals were on the islands. Much of the birds are migratory. We got there as some were coming back just then and others had not left yet. The naturalists said they had never seen that many albatrosses there at that time of the year.

One other thing that was interesting to me that I hadn’t thought of. Sunrise and sunset are just about exactly 12 hours apart.

 

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Stateroom Pano 2.jpg

Edited by DrKoob
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More really helpful info for our Nov. cruise on the Flora. Especially the part about the plugs (or lack of). Now I will take my Odoga travel converter to help charge more things especially the cameras. Would have never thought of taking it until you mentioned the problem. 

Did they provide a small clock in the room or did you take your own?

Sounds like you guys were able to take just two carry-ons and that was enough. We are going in November and I guess it may be a little hotter? That will be a first for us. We normally take two bags and carry-ons and of course take way too much stuff.

Thanks for all your helpful info!

John and LiLi

 

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6 hours ago, jogruffy said:

More really helpful info for our Nov. cruise on the Flora. Especially the part about the plugs (or lack of). Now I will take my Odoga travel converter to help charge more things especially the cameras. Would have never thought of taking it until you mentioned the problem. 

Did they provide a small clock in the room or did you take your own?

Sounds like you guys were able to take just two carry-ons and that was enough. We are going in November and I guess it may be a little hotter? That will be a first for us. We normally take two bags and carry-ons and of course take way too much stuff.

Thanks for all your helpful info!

John and LiLi

 

There was no clock in the room. I don't think I have ever seen one on a ship (other than on a phone and the phone is too far from the bed to see it). We both have Apple watches and wear them when we sleep so we didn't notice it.

 

We actually had four bags. I had a 24 inch bag that I could have carried on but didn't. I also carry a camera/laptop bag that weighs about 35lbs with everything I put in it. My bride had a 30 inch bag she checked and a good size backpack she carried on. All my clothes and Tevas fit in the 24 inch bag. I only carry electronics and photo gear in my camera bag. Hope this helps. 

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Jim, thank you for your Galapagos review, I was worried after your first post, but I'm so glad that everything picked up and that you had a wonderful time. Your photos are incredible. You are truly talented. Our phone photos cannot compare. We were on Xploration in January 2019. The ship was retired and replaced with Flora later that year. There were only 16 cruisers onboard. Xploration was pretty long in the tooth by then but the crew went out of their way to make our stay memorable. We sat around a large table for meals and it was easy to get to know everyone. The food was very good but not a la carte. There was always something for every taste. Our Captain was Natalie and we were told that she was going to Captain Flora, I wonder what happened? We had Juan Carlos as our Naturalist and he was very knowledgable. We seemed to have had a similar daily schedule to yours and yes it was hard work keeping up. We usually did the first excursion and skipped the second and in the afternoon we would nap for the first and do the last one. There were two Zodiaks so everyone that wanted got to go. I would highly recommend appropriate footwear. One of the ladies bruised her foot wearing sandals over the lava rocks. We were so tired at night that I never felt the ship rolling and Xpedition was a small tub compared to Flora. Again thanks for taking the time to post your blogs. I want to read what you experienced in Iceland as that is where we are heading next year.

Nely

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Summing up the Galapagos on Celebrity's Flora

Flora-BIG-300x225.jpg

This was a hell of a trip. We have decided it was the best we have ever taken. On the final night on board Captain Patricio (one of the nicest guys you will ever meet) talked for a few minutes about how he feels about the Galapagos. He said that (paraphrasing here) that "the Galapagos should be the model for the rest of the earth. A place where every animal and bird has learned to live together. And the people who come to visit care about those islands and do their best to nurture them." I loved that. It's the way I felt walking through the nests of the albatrosses, stepping over sea lions, watching penguins be totally unafraid and letting us get within inches and so much more.

 

It is also the way I felt when I talked to the naturalists and crew members who lived and had grown up on the islands. Their love for the place they live was evident in the way they protected the land, the animals, the birds, the foliage and the geology. These islands are truly magical.

 

One thing I love that Celebrity Cruises is doing, is giving back. From the perfect ship (that does not run on smog producing bunker oil) to the fact that they never drop anchor so as not to disturb the ocean floor and the tree planting that we did and they continue to support. I will admit that in the middle of our day on Santa Cruz Island I was not that thrilled to stop to plant some trees in the rain, but as I look back on it, it was more than just a symbolic gesture on Celebrity's part. It was making us think and giving us a chance to give back to these incredible islands.

 

Somewhat else that makes Flora different from every other Celebrity ship (besides the  other two small ships in the Galapagos) is that there is no caste system on board. I think I have mentioned that after 21 cruises with Celebrity we are switching our cruising to Viking Ocean. This is because on their other ships, if you aren't in a suite or aqua class you do not get the same experience as the others on board. You get a lot better trip if you spend a lot more money. You can actually sail in a suite on their big ships without ever seeing the folks in the "economy class" staterooms. They can stay in "The Retreat" and have a "luxury" experience and never have to associate with the riff-raff. But on Flora, everyone is the same. Unless I stood outside the door of the biggest suites, I would NEVER have a clue who was in them. That would not be the case on the other Celebrity ships. There would be lots of places those in suites could go, that I couldn't. Sad.

 

This post is all about summing this cruise up and answering some last questions and giving you a few more pieces of information I have missed in previous posts.

Let's start with the questions:

  • What was the weather like?
    When we there in early July it was magnificent. In the 70s every day and pretty much every night. Before we made the decision to go, we did a lot of research on the weather. As we were told by our naturalists mid-June through mid-August and mid-November through early-January (the transitions between seasons) are the best times to go. Here's a chart on the weather:
    85-300x273.png
    From looking at this there may be a better time if you are a snorkeler, you may want to go when the water is warmer.
  • I like cocktails. What were they like on the ship? Are they expensive?
    First, everything is included onboard including all alcoholic beverages. That said, as much as we love our wine and cocktails we drank less on this cruise than we have on any of our 25+ previous cruises. Why? I think for two reasons. We knew that we had to be up early every day to be on the islands on the ship's schedule. Being even the least big hung over or dehydrated was something we could not do and be at an optimum for the excursions. The other reason we didn't drink as much is that there was less time to drink. Seriously, on other cruises, gathering in our favorite lounge both before and after dinner to socialize and sip is not something you do on this cruise. Before dinner you hear about the islands and what you will be doing the next day and after dinner...you go to bed.
  • What was the one thing you bought for this cruise that you could not have done without?
    That's easy. My dry bag. I would have been lost without it. I owe the advice to get one to my Instagram friend Marvic_212. He is a crew member on Flora and takes the most amazing photos of the islands. He and his family live there as well and one of the biggest regrets I had was not being able to meet him when we were there. He was going to come back onboard a few weeks after we left. But if you love my pics, you will love his. When I asked him what I would need to keep my camera dry, he said "get a dry bag." So I got the one I linked. I also ordered a strap so I could carry it with me. You will need a backpack with straps to take on the Zodiacs. The reason you need the straps is because you have to have both hands free to board the ship or get off on a wet or dry landing. So this is the strap I got.  I am really glad I got this as on the very first Zodiac trip, the bag got soaked. If I hadn't had it, it would have been my camera getting soaked. And there would have been none of the great photos I took.
  • What was the best thing that Kathleen got before the cruise?
    She says, "That little turtle backpack." Celebrity gives you a small mesh backpack but it is just too small. This one was the envy of all our fellow cruisers.
  • Are there bathrooms facilities on the islands?
    Nope, the only facilities are the bushes and trees. Seriously. I asked Ellen what do people do if they have to go. She said that you tell your naturalist and they will direct you to a place (hopefully out of sight of others but sometimes that is not possible) where whatever you will do the least damage to the environment. On all our trips (always more than 2+ hours) I only saw one person "using the facilities." It was a young lady and I felt sorry for her because she had a wetsuit and a one-piece bathing suit so she pretty much had to disrobe. And it was on an island with hardly any bushes or trees, just lava. Everyone just looked in the other direction. As for me, I stuck with one cup of coffee every morning 😀.
  • Can you say a little more about the motion of the ocean? Will I get seasick?
    Kathleen says, "A couple of nights it was rough. The wind was blowing in one direction and the currents going in another. So if you are a person who has problem with motion sickness, you should consider possible preventive measures." Kathleen always has her "Relief Band" with her on any cruise. It has saved her a bunch of times since she learned about it from our friend Carol. The ship does have dramamine-type drugs available if you need them and some of our onboard friends used a behind the ear patch.
  • What was the best thing about the ship?
    I loved the bed facing the ocean. That and deck eight where we went to see the stars on two nights (DON'T MISS THIS!). Kathleen says hers was hands down the shower. So well equipped, so well designed. For instance, there was a towel rack on the outside of the shower door that opened inward so you didn't have to reach out and get the floor wet. Brilliant.
  • What was the worst thing about the ship?
    Kathleen says the lack of electrical outlets. Especially none on her side of the bed. The two that weren't on the desk, were on my side of the bed. If you asked me, I would have to say the pillows. I am a side sleeper and the two we had were just too soft. I had to use a couch pillow under one of them or my neck was sore all day.
  • What was the most amazing you saw on the ship?
    Kathleen says that for her it was everything we saw while we were off the ship. It was just so magical. I would totally agree with her and add that one of the most amazing things I have ever seen a human do is the way the seamen on board handled the Zodiacs. They were able to do things with them that blew me away—such incredible skill. And you don't realize it before you ride in one that they NEVER tie them up to the ship or to any dock. They control them while loading and unloading with the throttle and the steering. It's amazing.

We are totally willing to answer any other questions but this is my last post about this trip. I think I have covered it pretty well and I have struggled to think of anything I may have missed. I hope you have enjoyed traveling along with us. We have lots more adventures planned or you can go back through the archives to see our Iceland trip and our Mardi Gras trip from 2019. You can also switch over to our other website a by clicking here to see all our travels since 2002. And come back after Thanksgiving when we will journey to Portugal, Amsterdam, Prague, Nuremberg and the Christmas Markets of Vienna, Krems, Passau and Budapest.

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Yes, thank you so much for your live blog and review - the DH and I have been following along - so much great information and tips!

 

In your last post, there appears to be something wrong with the link for "My dry bag". I have tried it from here and from your blog page and from different devices but it does not work for me.  All the other links (strap, turtle bag, relief band) are good. Although at the end of your post you also mention your 'other website' and it reads as if you meant to include a link in that text as well, but I don't see one. 

 

Absolutely don't mean to trouble you or pick on you, 🙂 just very interested in the dry bag - hope you are able to repair the link. Thanks again for all the time and work you put into this!

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11 hours ago, cruizinfools said:

Yes, thank you so much for your live blog and review - the DH and I have been following along - so much great information and tips!

 

In your last post, there appears to be something wrong with the link for "My dry bag". I have tried it from here and from your blog page and from different devices but it does not work for me.  All the other links (strap, turtle bag, relief band) are good. Although at the end of your post you also mention your 'other website' and it reads as if you meant to include a link in that text as well, but I don't see one. 

 

Absolutely don't mean to trouble you or pick on you, 🙂 just very interested in the dry bag - hope you are able to repair the link. Thanks again for all the time and work you put into this!

 

Thanks for noticing those. Unfortunately, there is no way to go back and edit after 30 minutes so I will drop them here in case you need the links. You can get the Dry Bag at Amazon. As to my website, I am not allowed to put it on CC so if you Google my name, Jim Bellomo you will find a link to my blog and if you then go into the About Me page you will find a link to all our old cruises.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Jim

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One other thing I forgot. You can click here to download some Celebrity PDFs that I saved. The big one is the dailies for the entire week. Our entire schedule with other items as well. The others are menus, one is the room service lunch and dinner menu, another is a mid-week menu and the last one is the Celebrity menu choices for the pre and post hotel dinners. 

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Hi Jim - thanks for all the info.  We are heading out on the Flora in Mid-October and I really hope we get to have the extra days at the JW in Quito.  So far, you answered nearly all of my questions but I had one more.   We plan to bring camera equipment and are all set with dry bags and appropriate backpacks.  How much space did you need to reserve in your backpack (or that little turtle bag!) for drinking water?  I really don't want to lug a huge backpack, but I don't know how much water we need/should bring for the long/short hikes.  

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1 hour ago, VioletView said:

Hi Jim - thanks for all the info.  We are heading out on the Flora in Mid-October and I really hope we get to have the extra days at the JW in Quito.  So far, you answered nearly all of my questions but I had one more.   We plan to bring camera equipment and are all set with dry bags and appropriate backpacks.  How much space did you need to reserve in your backpack (or that little turtle bag!) for drinking water?  I really don't want to lug a huge backpack, but I don't know how much water we need/should bring for the long/short hikes.  

They will be giving you two very cool water bottles when you get there so you don't need to bring any. Most people used those. They are thermos types. 

 

That said, I did not carry any water with me. Kathleen did but she wasn't carrying a camera. For me, it was because of that of facilities that I mentioned earlier. We were encouraged to bring water and I could easily have fit the water bottle into my dry bag but I was fine without. Thankfully most of the long walks/hikes were on cloudy, cool mornings. 

 

And I do hope you get the JW but I have to say the EB was awesome and the restaurant at that hotel was one of the best I have eaten in. And our room was a true suite. We had a living room, bedroom, 2 bathrooms and a dressing room. WOW! 

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On 7/19/2021 at 12:45 PM, guidance lady said:

We were so tired at night that I never felt the ship rolling and Xpedition was a small tub compared to Flora. 

Nely


Did you mean Xploration?

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17 hours ago, VioletView said:

Hi Jim - thanks for all the info.  We are heading out on the Flora in Mid-October and I really hope we get to have the extra days at the JW in Quito.  So far, you answered nearly all of my questions but I had one more.   We plan to bring camera equipment and are all set with dry bags and appropriate backpacks.  How much space did you need to reserve in your backpack (or that little turtle bag!) for drinking water?  I really don't want to lug a huge backpack, but I don't know how much water we need/should bring for the long/short hikes.  


Regarding water, we purchased small hydration back packs (Camel and Osprey make them). We never had to fiddle with taking a water bottle in and out, and there was plenty of room for incidentals. 

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