The odd man out in Celebrity’s otherwise mega-sized fleet, Celebrity Xpedition is a tiny, 2,842-ton, 92-guest expedition vessel that offers year-round cruises in the Galapagos Islands, one of the world’s most pristine and unusual ecosystems. She was built in 2001 at the German shipyard Cassens Werft and spent two years sailing European itineraries under the name Sun Bay before Celebrity bought, renamed, and refurbished her in late 2003.
Xpedition mimics the style of her larger fleetmates to some degree, but there’s only so much you can do in the amount of space available, and in an expedition context. In total, Xpedition’s public rooms comprise a comfortable main dining room, an outdoor buffet, one indoor bar/lounge, one cozy outdoor bar, a small gym with sauna and steam room, and an outdoor whirlpool tub — and that’s it.
The contemporary decor in the public areas isn’t up to the level of Celebrity’s newer vessels, but it’s light years beyond what you find on most competing Galapagos vessels.
Standard staterooms are tight at just 145 square feet, and even so-called “premium” and “deluxe” staterooms are only 160 square feet. Bumping up to a junior suite will get you 180 square feet of elbow room, plus a private balcony. Xpedition Suites and Penthouse Suites are the top of the food chain, the latter measuring 460 square feet and including a double-wide balcony, separate living room and bedroom areas, and a list of extras, like a pillow menu and dinner one night with a ship’s officer.
Service by the mostly Ecuadorian, Celebrity-trained crew is friendly, and crew members offer some nice perks that are particularly welcome on these hot-weather itineraries, like offering guests cold towels and fresh fruit juices as they return from expeditions ashore. Daily morning and afternoon excursions are included in the price of Xpedition’s trips, with guests traveling to and from the islands in inflatable Zodiac craft, which they embark and debark at a launch platform in the ship’s stern. Five naturalists sail with each cruise, providing expertise both on board and in the field.
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