Sunday, October 26, 2008

Celebrity Xpedition - Day 3 - Flight to Baltra

Sunday, August 31st we bid farewell to JW Marriott Hotel Quito for our new home for the next seven days: Celebrity Xpedition. Our luggage was taken to the Quito Airport via truck and we followed by motor coaches.

Upon arriving at the airport, we went through security and were shown to VIP lounge where we waited for our flight to Baltra. Our flight was a charter on TAME Airline. We flew from Quito to Guayaquil where we made a short stopover to refuel. On the flight from Quito, we had breakfast which consisted of yogurt topped with cereal. The flight to Guayaquil was about an hour.

We landed in Guayaquil and were instructed to remain seated with our seat belts open. This was a security measure incase anything were to go wrong during refueling. It didn't take long for the refueling. Additional passengers boarded our flight. We learned later that they were the naturalists and some crew members.

On the flight from Guayaquil to Baltra we were served lunch which consisted of a ham and cheese sandwich. Drinks were available, including wine which was the same wine we'd be served throughout the cruise.

Once again, the flight was about an hour. We deplaned and walked to the airport lounge. We checked in with Celebrity and received our Galapagos National Park paperwork and cards. After completing our checkin process, we boarded a bus for a short ride to the site where we'd meet the Zodiacs which brought us to the ship.

The first thing we learned was the Galapagos handshake. Everytime we entered or exited the Zodiac, we'd use this handshake to assure our safety. As you can see from the picture, the handshake involves clasping right hands of a naturalist or crew member and yourself. Even if the Zodiac were to move due to a wave, you have a firm grip and can safely exit the craft.

Once onboard we were greeted by the staff, shown to Discovery Lounge, and offered a glass of champagne. Embarkation was completed in the lounge and we headed to our cabin to drop off our carry-on bags. Lunch was being served in Darwin's Restaurant on Deck 3.

In my next post, I'll continue with the activities for the remainder of our first day onboard Celebrity Xpedition.

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