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Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Xpedition

Celebrity Xpedition Review

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 on board, but most passengers get their workouts hiking ashore.

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

The Chandris Group, owners of budget Fantasy Cruises, founded Celebrity in 1989. Initially utilizing an unlovely, refurbished former ocean liner from the Fantasy fleet, Celebrity gained a reputation for professional service and fine food despite the shabby-chic vessel on which it was elegantly served. The cruise line eventually built premium sophisticated cruise ships. Signature amenities followed, including large standard staterooms with generous storage, fully equipped spas, and butler service. Valuable art collections grace the fleet.

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


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


  • Some of the tours require “wet” landings in the Zodiacs
  • If a large group is on board, 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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