Celebrity Flora is Celebrity Cruises' first custom-built ship designed specifically for sailing in the Galapagos. The ship ups the line's game in the region, offering more luxury with all-suite accommodations and plenty of modern amenities. Here are seven reasons you should consider choosing Celebrity Flora if you're planning a cruise to the Galapagos.
1. Lots of Space
Whether you like an oversized room, don't want to feel crowded in a lounge or need lots of elbow room standing on deck, you'll find an abundance of space on Celebrity Flora. At 5,700 gross tons, it will be the biggest vessel sailing in the Galapagos when it launches and twice the size of Celebrity's existing Galapagos ship. But it carries the same number of people -- 100 -- making the space-to-passenger ratio onboard comfortably large.
The result is that cabins start at a roomy 224 square feet, and the restaurant and lounges are voluminous.
2. Step On/Off Marina
Although having a beautiful, comfortable ship from which to explore the Galapagos islands is a plus, the main reasons for visiting the region are off the ship. Celebrity Flora makes land visits a cinch with its retractable marina, located at the back of the ship.
The marina lowers down until it's level with the ship and keeps the Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) affixed to the vessel until they're actually ready to move away, allowing passengers to simply step into and out of the RIBS without worry. The entire setup makes it much easier for anyone with mobility issues to participate in scenic coastline sailing. (Getting onto land might still be a problem, as you've got to be able to step out of the RIBs.)
You'll also love the marina for its outdoor shower (perfect for a rinse after snorkeling) and places to hang wetsuits.
3. Suite Life
Everyone gets a suite on Celebrity Flora, from the one-room, 224-square-foot Sky Suite to the two-room, 1,288-square-foot Penthouse Suite, with several options in between. Of the 50 cabins, 24 have Infinite Veranda faux balconies with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that open halfway, and the other 26 have genuine balconies, ranging in size from 84 to 321 square feet each.
All suites also come with 24-hour room service, USB ports, double wardrobes, bathrooms with dual sinks and a rain shower with glass door, and the services of a personal suite attendant who can provide unpacking assistance.
4. It's All Inclusive
Cruising around the Galapagos isn't cheap, regardless of which ship you choose. We readily admit Celebrity Flora is one of the most expensive options, but it's also one of the only ones that's truly all-inclusive.
Cruise fares include international flights, transfers, all drinks onboard (including stocked in-cabin mini-bars with soft drinks and beer), all shore excursions, Wi-Fi, laundry service twice per cruise and gratuities. You'll also get a branded backpack and rain poncho.
One of the most unique offerings on any ship sailing in the Galapagos is Celebrity Flora's top-deck glamping. For a splurge of $299, you'll be treated to an exclusive dinner featuring campfire-themed food and cocktails; after that, you'll get a one-on-one naturalist-guided stargazing session, followed by a night in a deluxe double bed under the stars.
6. Big Ship Amenities
Because it's run by a cruise line that mostly operates big-ship cruises, Celebrity Flora has a few extras you won't find on other small ships in the Galapagos. Most notably, the ship offers two plunge pools, a hot tub, private cabanas for open-air lounging and a small gym. Plus, at night, the Discovery Lounge transforms into an entertainment venue with a stage for live entertainment.
7. Environmentally Friendly
Celebrity Flora features several environmentally friendly systems, including anchorless technology (dynamic positioning) that can maintain a ship's position without the need for a heavy anchor, which can damage the sensitive sea floor. To cut down on the noise disturbance to marine animals, the azipod engine thrusters will be housed in rubber casing, thus muting the noise. The ship will also be energy-efficient, boasting a 15 percent reduction in fuel consumption compared to Celebrity's older Galapagos ship.
Additionally, Celebrity Flora will be able to convert seawater into freshwater and will provide in-room filtration stations in every cabin. There will be no single-use plastics onboard, and all fish, shellfish, vegetables and fruit will be locally sourced.