By Anne Kalosh.
Celebrity’s Custom-Built Galápagos Ship.
With their incredible wildlife, ranging from blue-footed boobies to giant tortoises, the Galápagos Islands are one of the most marvelous and unusual places to explore by ship. Until now, those ships have been mostly repurposed expedition vessels or smaller catamarans and tour boats.
Celebrity Cruises is going to change that by building 100-passenger CELEBRITY FLORA, Celebrity’s custom-built ship for the Galápagos. The all-suite ship is designed to maximize the views and is packed with environmental features. It has a glass-wrapped Observatory with a library dedicated to the Galápagos, plenty of open-air spaces on the top deck for lounging and observing wildlife and a stargazing platform. Four rental cabanas are available for privacy by day or sleeping under the stars.
“A lot of what you see in the Galápagos is from the ship — penguins in the water or boobies flying by. We wanted to be sure there’s plenty of open deck space to see this amazing cornucopia of wildlife,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises.
Celebrity’s Custom-Built Galápagos Ship
A marina in CELEBRITY FLORA’s stern will make it easy to step into Zodiacs for the frequent nature tours — hiking, swimming and snorkeling — that characterize a Galápagos cruise. A staircase leads from the marina to the Sunset Lounge, an outdoor space with a plunge pool.
Inside CELEBRITY FLORA, Darwin’s Cove is the place where passengers can chat with the naturalists who lead tours and give informative talks. There will be one naturalist guide for every dozen passengers. Briefings will be delivered in the Discovery Lounge, where there’s a full bar, stage for entertainment and comfy seating. The lounge’s walls are nearly all glass, making another great place to take in the views.
Besides the Seaside Restaurant, open for all meals, the ship will have a casual alternative, the Ocean Grill, with panoramic views and the opportunity to dine under the stars.
Tourism in the Galápagos, a national park, is tightly controlled. Ships are limited to 100 passengers. That’s how many CELEBRITY FLORA will carry, but at 5,739 gross tons, it will be more spacious than any other vessel in the archipelago. This allows for some very roomy suites.
The standard, measuring 330 square feet/31 square meters, is a Sky Suite with Infinite Veranda. The doors to the Infinite Veranda can slide to the side to make the veranda a seamless part of the room. When the doors are closed, creating a separate veranda area, the top of a floor-to-ceiling outside window can be lowered to the open air.
There are also several kinds of bigger, posher suites. The top-of-the-line pair of corner Penthouse Suites, 1,288 square feet/120 square meters each, feature big verandas (321 square feet/30 square meters) and bathrooms (196 square feet/18 square meters) with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Especially important for its operations in the sensitive Galápagos are CELEBRITY FLORA’s advanced environmental features that reduce fuel consumption and emissions. The ship will have dynamic positioning so there’s no need to drop anchor to keep it in a fixed position at sea, thus protecting the ocean floor. And an in-suite water filtration system should cut or eliminate the use of bottled water, reducing plastic waste.
CELEBRITY FLORA is under construction in the Netherlands at De Hoop, a builder of specialized vessels that’s best known in the cruise arena for its riverboats. Delivery is set for spring 2019.
The ship will sail year-round from Baltra in the Galápagos.
© This article is protected by copyright, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission from the author. All Rights Reserved. QuirkyCruise.com.