Sam Ballard pays a visit to the innovative new vessel in Rotterdam, before it enters service on itineraries around the Pacific archipelago in July
Key travel partners and media have been given a first look at Celebrity Cruises’ brand new expedition ship, Celebrity Flora – which has been built specifically for sailing in the Galápagos Islands.
The ship – which can handle 100 guests, the limit for vessels operating in the region – will start sailing seven-night itineraries in July.
Among the facilities on board will be a laboratory, Discovery Lounge, with huge screen for presentations; and a marina at the aft of the ship where guests will be able to more easily board zodiacs, which come with their own platform. The ship also has cabanas on the open deck which are available to rent out overnight for a Galápagos Glamping experience at $299.
The all-suite ship has a mixture of infinite verandas and more typical balconies – with some suites featuring showers with sea views. The entire ship makes use of locally-sourced materials including toiletries, soft furnishings and seafood.
Celebrity has included shore excursions, beverages, dining, wi-fi and use of equipment within the fare as well as two laundry services per cruise. The ship has an in-room
water filtration system, eliminating the need for bottles. Along with innovations such as anchorless technology, Celebrity Flora is arguably Royal Caribbean’s most environmentally-friendly ship to date.
The company has also announced a partnership with Oceanscope, building on a 20-year partnership with the University of Miami. The deal will mean that Celebrity Flora will have scientists on board who will track and map the region – offering the findings as open source data for scientists around the world.
Speaking to Cruise Adviser, Jo Rzymowska, the line’s UK boss, said: “This is the first time that a ship has ever been purpose-built for the Galápagos. That is a game-changer. It’s a first. The space that 100 guests will get is incredible. The way our guests will embark and disembark is very special – it’s a beautiful ship but it’s all about making it as easy as possible to see the wildlife.”
When asked about how popular Galápagos cruises were among Brits, the answer was that the UK was a strong number two behind the US.
“We are a nation of animal lovers,” Rzymowska explained. “However,
this is definitely not your annual holiday, it is a bucket list holiday. It’s for big birthdays and special anniversaries. That’s why we’re working so hard with our travel partners to help them understand how best to market and sell it.”