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drfun48

Galapagos -What to bring and do

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I will be going on the Xpedition the last week in June.Do I need to bring rain gear,ponchos,umbrellas? Are these provided.?I am not new to cruising,over 20,15 on Celebrity,but was wondering also whether there were any "special" items that I should remember to bring on this somewhat unique trip.

Lastly,I realize that there are three levels of excursions at each port. Is there one that stands out as a "don't miss"? Thanks

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I really can't help, I hate ships, because of the water, but can you do me a favor, can you bring me back a turtle, a really big one?

 

Thanks for your help, you da man, unless your a woman, then, you da woman!

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We just returned from Galapagos 11/15. I asked one of our Naturalist when is the best time to visit. I was told May, November and December. In the warmer months, they do more swimming and less hiking.

 

We did not have rain our entire week so I do not know if the rain gear is provided. I suspect not. I would travel prepared.

 

Pack light. Shorts for hiking, and/or hiking pants that convert to shorts, hiking boots. Dress is casual. I wore a hooded windbreaker in Quito.

 

Some staterooms had binoculars, but others did not. I took a pair of Bushnell's and found them useful.

 

For me, the first day was the best. We did the high intensity hike. But the medium intensity covered the same area without walking over all the rocks.

 

We were not real impressed by the Darwin Institute (sorry). But were glad we went. The gift shop is pricey but it's a worthy cause.

 

We thought the shopping was best at the first port we stopped at.

 

Post Office Bay is a must see. We dropped our card in the box on 11/13 and on 11/16 someone picked it up & mailed it to us. Good service!

 

Email me with specific questions or if you want to see some pictures from our trip.

 

Ingrid.

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Ingrid - Could you let me know about the staterooms? I am interested in finding out which decks the passenger cabins are on and how the numbers run. I will be making reservations in a week or so and I want to choose a cabin mid ship, mid deck. Thanks.

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The Staterooms are on Levels 3, 4 and 5. The room numbers run lowest at center ship and higher going forward. The Stateroom & floor plans are shown on Celebrity's web page if you want to see where you are situated.

 

We booked late for our cruise & there were 2 Staterooms left. We ended up in 315. We spent literally no time in the room except to sleep. Everyone heard the anchor, but it never woke us or caused a problem. There was an in room safe, hair dryer & adequate closet space. We had small cases & stored the cases under the bed.

 

I believe the balcony staterooms are on Level 5. The dining room is on Level 3, the Beagle Grill, bar & lounge are on Level 4. I believe the spa & fitness equipment is on Level 5. Level 2 is Medical & staff accommodations.

 

There is NO elevator. A few slightly disabled pax were surprised by this.

 

Someone correct me if I am off base.

 

Let me know if you have other questions. Email: jazz4az@yahoo.com

 

Ingrid.

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There is NO elevator. A few slightly disabled pax were surprised by this.

Ingrid.

How many levels do people have to climb daily, with no elevator would it be a problem for a slightly disabled person to get around the ship?

 

I haven't seen this mentioned in an advertisement, thank you for mentioning that!

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How many levels do people have to climb daily, with no elevator would it be a problem for a slightly disabled person to get around the ship?

 

I haven't seen this mentioned in an advertisement, thank you for mentioning that!

 

It is true. There is no elevator. Would that be a problem? Yes, if you can not climb stairs at all. If you can walk, however slowly, up 2 flights of stairs, you can get around the ship. Cabins on decks 3, 4, 5. Dining room on deck 3. Conference lounge on deck 4. Zodiac landing aft (between 3 and 4, I think). If you can climb on and off a tour bus, you can enjoy this cruise.

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I will be going on the Xpedition the last week in June.Do I need to bring rain gear,ponchos,umbrellas? Are these provided.?I am not new to cruising,over 20,15 on Celebrity,but was wondering also whether there were any "special" items that I should remember to bring on this somewhat unique trip.

Lastly,I realize that there are three levels of excursions at each port. Is there one that stands out as a "don't miss"? Thanks

Hve been putting my souvenirs away, and as I reread your question I remembered that there is one place I didn't mention nor has anyone else. It is a special shopping place. On Saturday afternoon, the last stop is the Middle of the Earth (Equator) Park. When my group got there, the guide casually mentioned that the heritage buildings beside the park were now being used by local artists. She didn't say anything more. I hurried through the museum by myself and managed to get 45 minutes to explore. I found a treasure trove; independent artists selling their creations. I wish that I could have gone back. Or perhaps had been savvy enough to stay there and take a taxi back to the hotel. I also hadn't enough cash on me. Credit cards were not accepted by Richard, who carves lovely unique items out of semi precious stone. I paid only $60 US for a beautiful 8 inch humming bird sipping from a rose. Several times during the day the guide had mentioned that humming birds are very common in Ecuador, (actually, I seem to remember her saying 142 different species) and there are roses everywhere! This place was so much better than the usual t-shirt booths we had been seeing. So besides the unique beauty in the islands, there is this artists' village.

 

Something else to bring? BUBBLE WRAP! Richard wrapped my sculpture in toilet paper. I tried to cushion it with clothing but it did break apart. I can mend it, but ... oh well. Experience is the best teacher.

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The lack of an elevator was an issue for several people with knee injuries, bad backs, etc.

 

If you can take your time & manage 2 flights of steps to the next level, you will be okay. There is a flight of stairs to go down to board the zodiac Rafts, plus a few steps into and out of the raft. No matter which level your stateroom is on, you will need to climb stairs. There are walking sticks available for hiking.

 

If you go to the Lava tunnel in the Highlands, there is a steep flight of stairs down into the tunnel and then back up. On at least one other hike there was a flight of stairs up to an observation deck, the bottom of which is rocky terrain & it's an uphill hike. Take shoes with good support.

 

I agree with the shopping around the Equator Park. It was excellent quality & prices were good. You need to carry cash in small denominations. Ecuador's currency is officially the U.S. Dollar -- they accept it everywhere. Same with the Open Market on the final afternoon, take cash & negotiate.

 

The Marriott boxed & shipped large artwork & souvenirs for some of the guests in our group. The concierge or the Tour guide can help to arrange that. The staff at the Marriott was very helpful. Bubble wrap is definitely useful!

 

Ingrid

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Ingrid - Could you let me know about the staterooms? I am interested in finding out which decks the passenger cabins are on and how the numbers run. I will be making reservations in a week or so and I want to choose a cabin mid ship, mid deck. Thanks.

I am not Ingrid but here is a plan:

 

http://www.cruisestateroom.com/Celebrity/Xpedition.htm

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I'm just back this past Monday from the Xpedition, and want to stress that you take anti-diarrhea medicine with you. At least half the passengers on our trip came down with "turista". In comparing what was consumed/not consumed, we could not find a common element. The ship's doctor had mentioned to one of the passengers that it was from snorkeling in the coves where the sea lions congregate, but a couple of passengers who were sick either didn't snorkel or became sick before they ever snorkeled. I had visited my local hospital's travel clinic, and came prepared with prescription cipro, and of course always carry immodium AD. Also, I was not anticipating any problem with the altitude in Quito and found it hit me pretty hard. Again, I had altitude sickness medicine from the travel clinic, mainly in anticipation of any problems my father, who was traveling with me and has a bit of emphysema, might have. Although people will tell you to acclimate by going slow, it is hard to do that with the tight schedule you are on with the tour. If anyone has any other specific questions, don't hesitate to email me.

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I'm just back this past Monday from the Xpedition, and want to stress that you take anti-diarrhea medicine with you. At least half the passengers on our trip came down with "turista". In comparing what was consumed/not consumed, we could not find a common element. The ship's doctor had mentioned to one of the passengers that it was from snorkeling in the coves where the sea lions congregate, but a couple of passengers who were sick either didn't snorkel or became sick before they ever snorkeled.

 

/COLOR]I've been trying to email Xpedition since I returned because I too, and 13 of my fellow passengers got sick. This was a particularly nasty gastrointestinal attack. While on the ship, I was too sick to think clearly about what happened, and so it wasn't until I recovered at home that I realized how serious this attack was. The doctor told me not drink the water. I had been drinking bottled water except on the ship, and we were told that the ship's water was safe. Besides not everybody got sick. So it can't have been the water. Others have reported thinking it was food poisoning. It wasn't. The time elapse and number of attacks spread out over too long a period for that. Now, the doctor is saying it's from ocean water? There is something wrong here and Xpedition isn't doing what they should to find out what it is. No samples were taken from me. No questions asked. I wasn't asked what I ate, not even had I'd eaten uncooked shell fish. As far as I know he didn't do much any investigating at all, even though he had to know that this was at least the second group of passengers presenting with the same symptoms.

 

If I were to have this happen again, I wouldn't be so meek. I should have spoken out in the conference after I found out that 13 others had the same thing! I could have asked the doctor and captain what measures had been taken to isolate the spread of this. I could have insisted that samples of blood, urine, stool, saliva, water, swabs of common hard surfaces, crew etc be sent to CDC. I lost 2 days of a 7 day cruise. That was minor to what some others, more frail than I, suffered.

 

I did have immodium, Tylenol with codeine and cipro with me. I only called the doctor when I realized I'd forgotten my rehydration therapy in the suitcase left behind in Quito. The doctor gently chided me for not calling him sooner. I asked him what else he would have done. His advice was to not use immodium. He gave me Kaopectate instead. It didn't work.

 

Maybe I should have been using pepto bismal the whole trip as a prophylactic. I used it in Quito but stopped after I got aboard Xpedition.

 

Mahini, I tried to email you but can't see your email address.

/COLOR]How many of the passengers in your group got sick?

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This "turista" seems to be a VERY big problem. I think we all agree that this is a once in a lifetime cruise and it's terrible the way this is striking the passengers. I agree that Celebrity has to do MUCH MORE to try to quell this. Hope it all gets straightened out.

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Interesting. I had a conversation the other night with one of the pax I met during our week on Xpedition, and found out that one of the more seriously ill passengers on our cruise ended up in intensive care for a week upon his return to California. He ran a high fever with vomiting and stomach upset the entire week. Initial dx was gall bladder related, but who knows! He also was a diver, but don't think he managed to do anything the entire week.

 

Ingrid

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This doesn't seem to be just a minor problem. I'd love to hear from some of you who didn't suffer. It's starting to get scary. I look forward to hearing from those who are in transit right now to begin their journey.

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Thanks to all who have shared tips about "everything". It sure is helpful to those of us who are getting ready to leave. Leave in the morning for flight to Miami - Quito. Have all packed and suitcases are just a little over the 30 lbs. We are planning to leave some things at the Marriott while cruising.

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/

Mahini' date=' I tried to email you but can't see your email address.

How many of the passengers in your group got sick?[/quote']

 

Kami,

 

My email is Mahini@aol.com. We had 87 passengers on our trip. Through informal discussions, it appears that about half had it. Most couples had one or the other down with it, or both of them. But only a very few called the doctor from what I understand, so the "official" count would probably be pretty low. I can send you more details via email.

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I based my number on a fellow passenger's count. She said " That makes 14!" when I finally resurfaced. 14 out of 70 is 20%.

 

So that does mean 80% didn't get sick. At first I tried to dismiss it as one of those things. However, I relapsed while on the way home. It took taken another week to really feel OK.

 

Then I started to read other reports on Cruise critic, so I tried to contact Celebrity, but got only promises that someone would contact me.

 

Until I read your post today, I was thinking that perhaps I was being too alarmist.

 

Cool cruiser "Tim" gave me a contact for RCCL, J. Williams. I have forwarded to him copies of my post and my emails. Perhaps he will investigate.

 

Don't know quite what else to do, except as you did, warn people of the problem

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This doesn't seem to be just a minor problem. I'd love to hear from some of you who didn't suffer. It's starting to get scary. I look forward to hearing from those who are in transit right now to begin their journey.
From our trip perspective it was minor. I didn't get sick! Nor did most of the 52 passageners on board with us. One woman, actually a physician herself, got sick at the Marriott before we even left of the trip. It seemed like a mild flu. There were a couple of people who either seemed to have caught her flu thing - aches, chills etc or had some stomach problems but it was very minor on our trip. We had several physicians on board and none of them seemed the slightest bit concerned that a few had various colds, maybe a mild flu/stomach issues. What may be forgotten in this discussion is that on this trip everyone gets to know each other very well. So everyone knows when someone isn't feeling well. On trips with more people, or less friendly people, we just never know who is sick and who isn't. I would surmise that folks getting sick on vacation is a common event - especially when the initial safety of drinking water (Marriott/Quito) etc... is an issue.

 

Also, not a single soul was injured on any of the excursions. Also, even the few older frail people had no problem getting around the ship or doing the excurisons. Oh, and no one had any altitude issues. The walking pace was very slow.

 

We just had no one complain about anything the whole trip! Don't let the negativity scare you away. Just don't drink the water or the unpeelable fruit in the Marriott (they tell you this) and follow all the safety precautions you ordinarily would on this kind of trip, the probablity is that you will be just fine.

 

Cheers

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Eliot,

 

I know that some of my group also experienced minor respiratory problems. We too didn't think that the minor "cold" was due to anything that Xpedition did,

 

What I experienced was not a mild stomach upset. I've had those too on other vacations and here at home.

 

What happened on Oct 31 was serious. Since no effort was made to identify the problem, I can't label it, but from my research, I can list symptoms that match a situation which if reported in a Canadian city (or American) would result in quarantine.

 

I have refrained from being very specific. I have instead cautioned. And I am waiting for a response from RCCl.

 

I'm glad you didn't get sick. I did. So did 14 of the other passengers on my cruise that I know of. Many more MAY HAVE but didn't report it. I did consider that. In my first review, I didn't emphasize it, but after reading subsequent reviews that reported the same thing, I decided I couldn't in conscience remain quiet. And since my effort to contact Xpedition were unsuccessful, I've been forced to try by using this forum to tell the next groups what I experienced so that if they perceive a pattern they might take action AT THE SOURCE.

 

I want Xpedition to succeed. It is a great opportunity for those of us who would never be able to travel there. More importantly, Galapagos needs tourist money to protect this resource. Ecuador needs tourist money.

 

There is sufficient knowledge to keep this project safe if proper reporting and measures are taken. refusing to acknowledge it isn't the way to do that.

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Thanks again, Eliot. As a nurse, I do think it's important to travel with the appropriate medications whenever traveling to other cultures (especially when such incidents have been reported). I plan to take Cipro, PeptoBismal, and Imodium with me and to drink only bottled water (preferably bottled in the states). There are never any guarantees when the food is different from what we normally eat, altitude and activity levels are different and Murphy's Law (when you're on vacation, things may happen - I'm paraphrasing a bit :)) I agree that if there is a travel clinic in a nearby facility at home, a quick call and recommendations to follow are in order. In the meantime, I plan to have a good time but be cautious.

 

I do think that Celebrity should be more forthcoming. We had an incident last year when they added too much chlorine to the pool in the Spa on the Galaxy. They ultimately treated us well and, of course, the visit to the doctor was gratis, however, it took some prodding to accomplish our goals. The aura of possible legal issues always abounds in these situations.

 

Sheila

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Here is someone who might be able to help.

 

Tensi Westreicher

Account Executive, Loyalty Marketing

Celebrity Cruises

Phone: 305-539-4315

Fax: 305-982-4876

tensiwestreicher@rccl.com

 

Thank you. I did receive a contact email address for the Xpedition and I have sent an email to that person. I'll let you know if I hear anything more. Right now I just hope that some investigation is done to rule out any preventable cause. If it is a virulent form of 'tourista' then perhaps measures to prevent that can be instigated.

 

If the Xpedition contact doesn't respond by Tuesday morning, I'll try contacting this person.

 

However, I don't have to be the only one asking questions. Anyone who experienced this on Xpedition, or who is concerned could use this email contact, or the one Tim gave.

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