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Flora…vacation begins!


kent4489
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Hi everyone,

I really appreciate all the info I find here and want to pay back a little. I won’t go so far as saying that I’m doing a live blog, but will try to post as I can. I found it helpful to hear from others and know there isn’t that much current info about the Flora Galapagos cruises. DrKoob did great updates and a blog on his July Flora cruise. The first after since Covid. Celebrity didn’t do the normal “package” with that cruise, but they are doing it now.)

 

So, we are doing the 11 night package. Our cruise departs Sep. 5, the Inner Loop. (I had a few hiccups with Celebrity pre-cruise, but hopefully, those issues will work out for future cruises.)  I’ll just report my experience from now and happy to answer questions.

 

Thursday…we’re fortunate to live a couple of hours from Miami, so we decided to drive over today and spend the night. We used Celebrity Air for our American Airlines flight tomorrow, nonstop to Quito. We were able to add our AAdvantage number and will earn miles for the trip. And we’re getting American updates. With the 11 night package, we got a $750 flight credit. Business class was $966 so it only cost us $216 for round trip in business class. We are staying at the EB Hotel, near Miami airport. I only have positive comments about the hotel. I highly recommend this hotel for an overnight before an early flight. (We had a stressful situation on the way here, ended up leaving our car at a dealership and renting a car…long story. Anyway, I must have looked a little stressed when we checked in and they upgraded us to a huge suite on the top floor. Nice to relax tonight.) We enjoyed drinks at the bar and dinner in the dining room. We’ve been laying low the past 10 days to reduce our exposure and had decided we just wanted to stay in the hotel tonight. So far, so good. The hotel shuttle will get us to the airport in the morning. It was nice to stay in a hotel with a Latin vibe to put us in vacation mode. 😀

 

My last report for tonight is in regard to Covid testing. The Galapagos recently changed their requirements and as of yesterday, in addition to a vaccination, they now require a negative RT-PCR test, no more than 72 hours prior to flight to Galapagos. (Another long story that I won’t address here, but hopefully is worked out with Celebrity now.) Anyway, we had already booked our tests for this afternoon with Good Hearts Testing. Now that Celebrity has agreed to provide the test in Quito, we considered canceling the test. After thought, we decided we would feel better knowing we had a negative test before flying tomorrow, so we were tested here. The great thing is that they are set up here at the EB Hotel. We did not know that when choosing the hotel, but I was more than pleased and satisfied. We had our tests at around 3:45pm. At 4:15pm, we had our results. They printed out our results and also emailed them to us.  We’re good to go. If anyone needs this option and are overnighting in Miami, it worked out perfectly!

 

Thats about it for tonight. We plan to lay low tomorrow evening in Quito at the JW Marriott so will probably report in then. By the way, the JW is the hotel that Celebrity uses for the package. They weren’t interested in taking my Marriott Bonvoy number, but I contacted the hotel direct and they added my number to our reservation. I am now receiving updates from Marriott. We have Marriott status and they added in our usual requests. Not sure if we earn points, but they do recognize our status, so may be helpful.

 

Goodnight!

 

 

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20 minutes ago, calsnoozie said:

Safe travels Kent4489, looking forward to your updates.

 

We are on the same flight from Miami to Quito just two weeks later!  

 

-Sue from California

We’re leaving an hour late, but backing away from gate now! By the way, security lines were horrible. We were in the Priority line and it took almost 40 minutes. All is good now. 😀✈️

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Friday, here’s an update from today. May be brief as I’m exhausted! 😀

 

As mentioned above, our flight was delayed by an hour, then another half hour on the runway. It happens, not a big deal. We were happy to be on a morning nonstop. I can’t imagine arriving really late tonight as some people will be doing.

Miami airport was packed! Security took forever. We were in Priority line, but really slow. Anyway, we arrived in plenty of time and still had an hour to spend in Admirals Club. Really needed coffee and breakfast and glad we had it. We’ve flown American for years and are million milers with lifetime Gold status. Haven’t been on a long AA flight in quite a while, but wow, what has happened to their service? We were in business class and were really surprised. Oh well, still got here easily enough. 
 

Immigration was easy enough and non eventful. Baggage…our bags were tagged priority, but that doesn’t mean much, really nothing. Again, not a big deal. So, when we exit baggage, our Celebrity representative was easily visible. He checked us off the list, said one couple was waiting and there was one other couple to come out. He showed us where to wait. Took a while for the last couple to come out, but then we were on our way. The representative gave a very good commentary on the way to the hotel. I really liked him and hope we are in his group tomorrow for the tour.

 

Once at the hotel, our temperature was checked and we were ushered into a small room to collect our keys, etc. Our representative took photos of all of our PCR tests and our vax cards. (If anyone did not have the PCR test, they will schedule it for tomorrow morning before the tour.) Then we were free to go. On our way to our room, I had a little issue with altitude sickness. Got very dizzy. As soon as we were in the room, I drank a couple of bottles of water and have been ok since then. (I’m fairly physically fit, so it can happen to anyone.) Our luggage was delivered moments after we were in the room.

 

After a short rest, we headed downstairs for an early dinner. (We were starving.) But first enjoyed the pianist in the lobby for a while. Since we hadn’t eaten well today, we decided to have dinner in the Hacienda (steak house in hotel). The food was very good. The service excellent. 
 

That’s it for today… already in bed and so ready to sleep. Meeting for city tour at 9:45 in the morning.

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46 minutes ago, kent4489 said:

Friday, here’s an update from today. May be brief as I’m exhausted! 😀

 

As mentioned above, our flight was delayed by an hour, then another half hour on the runway. It happens, not a big deal. We were happy to be on a morning nonstop. I can’t imagine arriving really late tonight as some people will be doing.

Miami airport was packed! Security took forever. We were in Priority line, but really slow. Anyway, we arrived in plenty of time and still had an hour to spend in Admirals Club. Really needed coffee and breakfast and glad we had it. We’ve flown American for years and are million milers with lifetime Gold status. Haven’t been on a long AA flight in quite a while, but wow, what has happened to their service? We were in business class and were really surprised. Oh well, still got here easily enough. 
 

Immigration was easy enough and non eventful. Baggage…our bags were tagged priority, but that doesn’t mean much, really nothing. Again, not a big deal. So, when we exit baggage, our Celebrity representative was easily visible. He checked us off the list, said one couple was waiting and there was one other couple to come out. He showed us where to wait. Took a while for the last couple to come out, but then we were on our way. The representative gave a very good commentary on the way to the hotel. I really liked him and hope we are in his group tomorrow for the tour.

 

Once at the hotel, our temperature was checked and we were ushered into a small room to collect our keys, etc. Our representative took photos of all of our PCR tests and our vax cards. (If anyone did not have the PCR test, they will schedule it for tomorrow morning before the tour.) Then we were free to go. On our way to our room, I had a little issue with altitude sickness. Got very dizzy. As soon as we were in the room, I drank a couple of bottles of water and have been ok since then. (I’m fairly physically fit, so it can happen to anyone.) Our luggage was delivered moments after we were in the room.

 

After a short rest, we headed downstairs for an early dinner. (We were starving.) But first enjoyed the pianist in the lobby for a while. Since we hadn’t eaten well today, we decided to have dinner in the Hacienda (steak house in hotel). The food was very good. The service excellent. 
 

That’s it for today… already in bed and so ready to sleep. Meeting for city tour at 9:45 in the morning.

Glad you made it!  

 

I also noticed on our plane reservation that there is no food service, we will make sure to have breakfast at the Miami airport before our flight.  

 

We had an International Travel Nurse consult call yesterday through our healthcare proivder and were prescribed Diamox to take as a preventative for altitude sickness.  I am always hesitant to take new meds but maybe will consider  (have to start taking 24 hrs before landing).  Have 13 days to decide (yes- countdown down the days...).

 

Also, thank you for the tip on calling the JW Marriott ahead of time to add Bonvoy #.  Will try to do this next week.

 

Did Celebrity tell you how many passengers on the ship?

 

Enjoy the city tour tomorrow.

 

-Sue from California 

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6 minutes ago, calsnoozie said:

Glad you made it!  

 

I also noticed on our plane reservation that there is no food service, we will make sure to have breakfast at the Miami airport before our flight.  

 

We had an International Travel Nurse consult call yesterday through our healthcare proivder and were prescribed Diamox to take as a preventative for altitude sickness.  I am always hesitant to take new meds but maybe will consider  (have to start taking 24 hrs before landing).  Have 13 days to decide (yes- countdown down the days...).

 

Also, thank you for the tip on calling the JW Marriott ahead of time to add Bonvoy #.  Will try to do this next week.

 

Did Celebrity tell you how many passengers on the ship?

 

Enjoy the city tour tomorrow.

 

-Sue from California 

There was food service on the flight. Just not great. Ice cold bagel with cream cheese, banana and yogurt with granola. 
I prefer to not take medicine. The feeling didn’t last that long, maybe half hour. But, longer and I would have wished I had taken something.

I emailed the JW. The address on their Facebook page. Had a reply in a few days. Everyone is very nice here.

I think there will be 44 pax. Not positive. Forty did the package.

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17 hours ago, sanger727 said:

I’ll be in the Galapagos in a couple weeks. Interested to know about the weather and water temps when you get there. Thanks.

I’ll report on the weather when we get there. Today was fantastic weather in Quito.

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Ok, Saturday update. 😀

 

Had included breakfast here at the hotel. Very nice and excellent service. The waiter takes you to the buffet to make your choices, then we gets it and brings to your table.

 

We met in lobby at 9:45 for 10:00 am departure. We had the same guide that picked us up at airport. We really liked him and I asked him yesterday if we could be with him today. We were 10 to a group and they spaced us apart on the bus and asked us to take the same seats each time we reboarded. Yesterday, our guide told us to not wear jewelry today, so I left everything but wedding band in the safe. Actually, I didn’t bring much jewelry anyway. We had a security person with us all day as well and he followed our group. So far, we have been very pleased with the Celebrity personnel here.
 

I’m too tired tonight to detail the entire tour, but it was all very interesting and well organized. The included special lunch was very nice. We got back to hotel shorty after 5:00 pm and had to meet at 6:00pm for 6:15 departure for dinner. Only 4 from our group went, but we had a lovely time. All of us agreed it was too much food today and we were all careful to only try small portions.

 

We had to have luggage out by 10 pm tonight. We only have our carryons for tomorrow morning. No liquid restrictions for the flight so we can take all toiletries with us. Just an FYI.

 

That’s it for tonight. We’re tired. We have an 8:30 health check in the morning, then breakfast and meet at 10:00 for 10:15 departure to airport. Our guide told us to eat a good breakfast as the snack on the flight wasn’t much. 😀

 

Goodnight.

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We'll be going on this cruise in 2023. I do have questions:

 

Is there a weight or bag limit for flights? I have read that the flight to Baltra has limits. Like 1 bag for 2 people and no more than 44 pounds. Can you confirm any luggage/weight limits?

 

For the included meals, especially lunch and dinner, is wine included or extra cost?

 

For any non-included meals, and wine, could you give an idea of the cost? And if you had to pay cash or if CCs were accepted? I assume CCs are OK  but you know what they say when you assume!

 

Thanks for any details you can provide.

 

I hope you have the cruise of your life.

 

ML

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7 hours ago, NoWhiners said:

We'll be going on this cruise in 2023. I do have questions:

 

Is there a weight or bag limit for flights? I have read that the flight to Baltra has limits. Like 1 bag for 2 people and no more than 44 pounds. Can you confirm any luggage/weight limits?

 

For the included meals, especially lunch and dinner, is wine included or extra cost?

 

For any non-included meals, and wine, could you give an idea of the cost? And if you had to pay cash or if CCs were accepted? I assume CCs are OK  but you know what they say when you assume!

 

Thanks for any details you can provide.

 

I hope you have the cruise of your life.

 

ML

Hi, happy to answer whatever I can. However, 2023 is a long way off…. But for today, the baggage limit was one checked bag PER PERSON. I believe the limit was 44 pounds (maybe 40). We could each have a carry on and a personal item. They did not weigh our carry on or personal item.

 

For the included land package meals, wine/beer was not included I really didn’t pay attention to prices except last night, we bought a bottle of wine for $40. They did accept credit card. On the ship, drinks are included. 
 

Thank you. We are having a wonderful time so far!

 

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8 minutes ago, kent4489 said:

Hi, happy to answer whatever I can. However, 2023 is a long way off…. But for today, the baggage limit was one checked bag PER PERSON. I believe the limit was 44 pounds (maybe 40). We could each have a carry on and a personal item. They did not weigh our carry on or personal item.

 

For the included land package meals, wine/beer was not included I really didn’t pay attention to prices except last night, we bought a bottle of wine for $40. They did accept credit card. On the ship, drinks are included. 
 

Thank you. We are having a wonderful time so far!

 

 

 

Yes, it's a long way off but you're on the cruise now so I thought I would ask. Thank you so much for your answers, it will help as I plan.

 

I am going to follow along with your cruise since we won't be cruising anywhere until Oct 2022 at the soonest 😉

 

 

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Sunday update… this will be quick. It’s late, we had a bit too much to drink and we have an early wake up.

 

I want to add quickly… I do think I had a little altitude issue in Quito. Not bad, but noticeable. This morning, we had our “health check” at the hotel. My oxygen was low… I had noticed that I got winded easily. The Dr. told me to take several deep breaths and my oxygen got up to 90 so I was good to go. (Normally, I have never had an issue like this and am really pretty healthy.) This evening I was talking with another lady and she said her husband had the same issue… he was younger than me and very fit. My husband is 9 years older than me and had no issue. So, no telling who this might happen to.

 

Anyway, after healthcheck, we had breakfast, met in lobby and we’re on our way to airport at 10:15. Easy check in. Flight was nice on Avianca. Only passengers for our ship. Lots of room to spread out. 
 

Once we landed at Baltra, check in was easy and quick (not really immigration, but we did have to show passports, etc.).

Then they called us by cabin number to board buses. We were on the first bus. At the landing pier (10 minutes away), we were again called by cabin number (smaller groups on the zodiacs, maybe half of our bus). Again, we were called for first zodiac (we were not a high category, so not sure why we were first again). Anyway, we got to ship and officers were there to meet us…. first thing the hotel mgr. announced is that no more masks are required!!! That got a round of applause. (On that note, I do want to mention, in Quito, masks are required and it was strictly followed by everyone we saw.)


Once on the ship, we were greeted with Champagne and escorted to our cabin (in our case, the housekeeping mgr. escorted us). Really nice cabin and he showed us around. We then proceeded to deck 7as instructed for “safety drill”. As we arrived, they took us in groups of 6, to kind of explain where to go ICE.

 

I’m getting tired, so, I’ll fast forward..drinks and light lunch on deck 7. Met on Deck 4 for some instruction, then we had about 45 minutes to crash. Met at 7 for Captains welcome. And explanation/signup for tomorrow’s excursions. Then dinner. Somehow, our group was last to leave dining room. My husband is sound asleep and time for me to follow. We need to be up early! The ship operates on Quito time. A little confusing since my phone updated to Galapagos time. My husband did not go online with his phone, so he set the alarm for tomorrow!

 

I know I had more to say for today, but must sign off. Oh, we have 42 passengers onboard. Service is awesome!

 

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So glad to have found your new post. I was communicating with you before you left. When you have time would you please tell me when they checked your Covid test results? I can’t wait to hear more about your cruise. Are you doing inner or outer loop?

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Thank you for the daily check-in updates, we now know what to expect in less than 2 weeks when we join the ship!

 

Interesting about the altitude sickness and your oxygen level.  After reading this, I think I have decided to take the preventative medication that was prescribed (Diamox).   

 

Enjoy exploring !

 

-Sue from California

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Thanks for the mention. Looking forward to your inner loop report. Since we did the outer and are planning on going back to do the Inner. Keep up the good work but I know it’s tough. This is a busy cruise. 

Edited by DrKoob
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Hi - I’m DrKoob’s wife Kathleen. So glad your trip has started out well. I also had an issue with the altitude. When we got our PCR test the doctor asked if I was okay. My heart rate was way up & I was obviously having difficulties. They took my oxygen level twice. It was even worse on the way back for some reason. I’d been feeling really great for the whole trip until we got off the plane back in Quito. Within minutes I was struggling. I hardly slept that night, my heart was pounding. I checked my sleep app in the morning & my heart rate during the night was in the 90’s. I will definitely be getting meds when we go back in 2024. Have a great time! The Galapagos is an amazing place. Can’t wait to return.

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We did Galapagos with Celebrity about 4 or 5 years ago. This is for those of you going in the future. We were at a different hotel, but we were advised the hotel had small oxygen tanks for anyone experiencing altitude sickness. One lady in our group fainted during a tour. That evening, Robert wasn't feeling well so we asked the front desk for oxygen. It's a small tank. They tell you to use it for only 5 minutes. They recommend you take oxygen before bed to prevent problems during the night. We were in the hotel for a couple of nights, and were able to keep the tank until we left for Galapagos islands. We weren't the only ones in our group who asked for the oxygen.

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On 9/4/2021 at 4:01 AM, sanger727 said:

I’ll be in the Galapagos in a couple weeks. Interested to know about the weather and water temps when you get there. Thanks.

It was comfortable cool this morning when we left. We took the long walk. I wore shorts and a long sleeve tee. I was warm by the time we got back. Not hot, but warm. We did not snorkel, but waded in the water. Water was pretty cool, but refreshing.

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