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Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Xpedition

Celebrity Xpedition Cruise Review

Insider Take

Overview

The 98-passenger expedition vessel stays within and only offers adventure cruises to the Galapagos Islands.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

A leisure cruise experience with umbrella drinks and late-night parties.

Decor

The ship is small and intimate with cozy public rooms and bars meant for evening socializing and lectures during the day.

Cuisine

Don't expect the variety of cuisine of most Celebrity cruise ships, most meals are pre-planned with limited selection of menu items. However, the food is expertly planned and executed to be delicious. The small single-seating restaurant adds to the quality of the experience.

Restaurants

Darwin's Restaurant is comprised of table/booths where two sit side by side against the wall and two sit in chairs. Dining is open seating so it is easy to mix and mingle. There also are two tables for eight.

Named after the ship that first brought young Mr. Darwin to these rugged shores, the rear deck Beagle Grill offers casual fare in an equally casual, relaxed setting. The delightful view that ensures your meal will not only be delectable, but memorable as well.

Service

Service is unintrusive and helpful. The best crewmembers are the onboard naturalists who are there almost full-time to answer questions and give presentations.

Cabins

Inside, outside, veranda cabins and suites are available.

Fitness/Spa

There is a small fitness center and an onboard masseuse.

Attire

Shipboard dress is always casual with smart casual recommended for the Captain's dinner, held once during each cruise.

Most important is hiking shoes, sunscreen and insect repellant.

Best For People Who Want

A small ship nature tour experience with the focus on seeing a number of unique species in their natural habitat.

Onboard Experience

The 2,842-ton, 98-passenger Celebrity Xpedition has been offering seven, 10 and 11-night Galapagos sailings since 2004. Active excursions ashore are a part of the new sailings including snorkeling and hiking tours.

The focus here is on the outdoors. The ship is comfortable but utilitarian. Warm and cushy sofas and chairs with small bars and tables. Included in the fare are excursions, gratuities to shipboard staff and beverages including house wine, champagne, liquor, beer and soda.

The top deck includes sun loungers, a hot tub, spa and sauna. The weather in the Galapagos can be surprisingly mild considering it is situation nearly on the equator.

Public Rooms

The Discovery Lounge offers an ideal venue to familiarize yourself with the wonders of the Galapagos. Get prepped on the creatures you'll encounter with our naturalist-led nightly lectures or simply relax over a drink at the picturesque bar. Recount the day's activities over a drink as you take in the spectacular outdoor views from the Blue Finch Bar, located on the Panorama Deck.

There is a beauty shop and small gift shop.

The Sunrise Deck offers a hot tub, sauna and sunning area, you'll find a panoramic near-360-degree view. At night, unwind under a magnificent blanket of stars.

Tipping

Gratuities to shipboard personnel are included in the fare.

Entertainment

For entertainment there is a gym, spa, library, lounge with live music and a roster of enrichment lectures.

Fellow Passengers

Well-heeled people who are ecologically-minded.




Ship Overview

Built in Germany and originally christened Sun Bay in 2001, the boutique ship was rechristened Celebrity Xpedition in 2004. Celebrity Xpedition spends most of the year sailing weeklong cruises throughout the Galapagos Islands. Many passengers take the opportunity to add pre- and post-cruise land tours and, on occasion, voyages are scheduled that roam as far away as Machu Picchu.

When Celebrity Cruises acquired the small expedition ship Sun Bay and relaunched it as Celebrity Xpedition, the line introduced an entirely new soft adventure product to the premium cruise line that had traditionally focused only on big ships. Celebrity Xpedition sails only in the Galapagos Islands and offers a destination intensive experience amid the rich flora and fauna and abundant wildlife of the region—one of the world’s least inhabited.

The ship itself is a lovely vessel with plenty of deck space and an intimate lounge and restaurant. The small library contains informative literature about the Galapagos and DVDs to watch in cabins—each of which has a flat-screen television and DVD player. There is a small gym onboard, but most passengers get their workouts hiking ashore.

Unlike the rest of Celebrity Cruises’ fleet, Celebrity Xpedition offers nearly all-inclusive pricing, with the relatively high fares including gratuities, shore explorations, and all beverages onboard—including soft drinks, bottled water, alcoholic beverages, wine, and beer. Even snorkel gear and wet suits are provided.

Since it was founded in 1989, Celebrity Cruises has grown from a single refurbished ocean liner into a fleet of premium, sophisticated cruise ships that have a reputation for professional service, fine food, and some of the best design in the industry. Signature amenities have grown with the fleet, including gourmet specialty restaurants that carry an additional fee, large staterooms with generous storage, fully equipped spas, and butler service for guests in the top accommodations categories. Valuable art collections grace the stylish modern luxury ship interiors.

Although spacious accommodations in every category are a Celebrity standard, Concierge-class, an upscale element on all ships, makes certain premium ocean-view and balcony staterooms almost the equivalent of suites in terms of service. A Concierge-class stateroom includes numerous extras, such as chilled champagne, fresh fruit, and flowers upon arrival; exclusive room-service menus; evening canapés; luxury bedding, pillows, and linens; upgraded balcony furnishings; priority boarding and luggage service; and other VIP perks. At the touch of a single telephone button, a Concierge-class desk representative is at hand to offer assistance. Suites are still the ultimate, though, and include the services of a butler to assist with unpacking, booking spa services and dining reservations, shining shoes, and even replacing a popped button.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • You’ll see a lot of animals up close
  • Snorkel gear and wet suits are provided
  • Naturalists onboard and ashore lead the complimentary excursions

Cons

  • Some of the tours require “wet” landings in the Zodiacs
  • If a large group is onboard, they tend to crowd out independent passengers
  • Food quality can be inconsistent
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 50-60
  • Entered Service 2001
  • Gross Tons 2,842
  • Length 296 feet
  • Number of Cabins 45
  • Passenger Capacity 90 (92 max)
  • Width 49 feet

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