Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Destination: Galapagos via Celebrity Xpedition - Part II

Celebrity Xpedition StateroomThe boat is excellent, but can't be considered in the same breadth as cruise ship. This is a boat, or better described as a large yacht. The lowest deck holds the crew's quarters. The next deck, Marina is the lowest deck of passenger staterooms. All staterooms are outside staterooms throughout the boat. This deck's rooms are the smallest. The restaurant, Darwin's, where all meals were served (you could eat elsewhere too as will be mentioned) is at the aft on this deck. Darwin's can hold all 90 passengers at once. At the back of this deck, was the staging area for leaving for excursions and the snorkeling equipment storage.

Celebrity Xpedition Discovery LoungeThe Vista deck is the next up, where we stayed. While the staterooms are not the same size as those on a full sized cruise ship they have plenty of room on all decks. The bathroom size is excellent with plenty of storage. Our stateroom was made up to have the beds as one bed as we requested. There was a night table, a desk with refrigerator, full with bottled water. There was a small sofa and coffee table. The window was large. There were two closets with plenty of shelves for all belongings and plenty of room under the bed to store all luggage. Our room had a problem with a faulty ceiling slat which was fixed immediately upon mentioning it to guest relations (mid ships on this deck). This deck also includes the Discovery Lounge with a wonderful bar area. The Discovery Lounge held all briefings and entertainment, and was a meeting area. It could hold all passengers easily. In the DL was an Internet Cafe area with several computers used with a small fee (about the only thing not included in the cost of the cruise). (I think it's time to mention that all meals, beverages including alcoholic (not premium), tips, etc. are included in your cruise fee.) At the back of this deck was the outdoor Beagle Grill. Breakfast and lunch were served here daily. We often ate lunch here to be outside, and because almost every day they had grilled food made to order which was great.

Celebrity Xpedition Blue Finch BarThe next deck was the Panorama deck which had the suites and the outdoor Blue Finch Bar which was a fun gathering area. From here you could walk up the stairs to the Sunrise deck's hot tub and lounging area and the forward lounging area. There were a few gym machines available adjacent to the hot tub area. Using the hot tube after excursions was wonderful. We didn't use the spa and sauna located on this deck. The ship's power is at 220 volts with both a European and American style outlet at the desk. The 110 volt outlet is in the bathroom. I think that about covers the Xpedition itself.

I want to add here that the crew of the ship was amazing. There were about the friendliest, most helpful, most hardworking ships crew I have ever encountered. About 99% of them are Ecuadorian. They were fabulous. The Naturalists were also absolutely great, and the cruise director, Jason extraordinary. If there was anything to be faulted about the ship and/or crew for us it was that sometimes part of the dinner was not hot (soup) because of the way it is staged. The soup wasn't cold, just not hot. We mentioned this to the Matre'd and they are working to improve this area. In addition, a couple of times we found the seafood a bit overcooked, although for the most part the food was excellent.

By the way, the boat had an Open Bridge policy which we took advantage of and toured. It's essentially the same as any cruise ship's bridge.

Destination: Galapagos via Celebrity Xpedition - Part III

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