By Anne Kalosh.
The newly minted, all-suite Celebrity Flora has just started sailing in the Galápagos Islands, where it’s the poshest, and perhaps the most sustainable, way to travel.
Tourism is highly regulated in this remote archipelago and marine reserve that UNESCO describes as “both a living museum and a showcase of evolution.” Celebrity Flora carries just 100 passengers, the most allowed by Ecuador’s government.
One of the most energy-efficient ships of its kind, it’s designed to be 15 percent more fuel-efficient (and, therefore, less polluting) thanks to an advanced propulsion system, hull configuration and specially designed diesel engines.
Celebrity Cruises’ Flora also has dynamic positioning, which means it can stay in place without dropping anchors that could impact the sensitive sea floor. Zero-speed stabilizers keep the ship steady when it’s stationary.
Reverse osmosis equipment can process seawater into fresh water to supply all of Flora’s needs. In-room water filtration stations and the ability to reuse air conditioning condensation to provide water for the laundry facilities are other features. Plus, any materials that can be recycled, reused or donated will be part of a strict waste management system.
In its designation of the Galápagos as a World Heritage Site, UNESCO writes that the marine reserve’s location at the confluence of three ocean currents makes it “one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world. Ongoing seismic and volcanic activity reflects the processes that formed the islands.
“These processes, together with the extreme isolation of the islands,” UNESCO continues, “led to the development of unusual plant and animal life — such as marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, giant tortoises, huge cacti, endemic trees and the many different subspecies of mockingbirds and finches — all of which inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection following his visit in 1835.”
“Our guests have never seen a destination quite like the beautiful Galápagos Islands, and the islands have never seen a ship quite like Celebrity Flora, perfectly blending intimate luxury with sustainability,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “The ship is designed to showcase this amazing destination, giving our guests incredible memories and underscoring the critical importance of protecting our planet’s fragile ecosystems.”
An Ecuadorian, Yolanda Kakabadse, environmental advocate and former World Wildlife Fund International president, served as the godmother for Flora during its recent naming festivities.
EarthEcho International Partnership
In tandem, Celebrity announced a partnership with EarthEcho International, a nonprofit organization founded by Philippe Cousteau Jr. to inspire young people to act now for a sustainable future.
This partnership will introduce a comprehensive and customized youth strategy aimed at empowering a new generation of environmental advocates, both in the local communities of the Galápagos and aboard Celebrity Flora and Celebrity Xpedition, the line’s other Galápagos ship. The youth-focused program will include environmental sustainability projects and activities.
The Itinerary & Ship
Celebrity Flora is sailing from Baltra in the Galápagos year-round on 10- and 11-night “Outer Loop” and “Inner Loop” itineraries that visit different islands. Both start with two nights in the Ecuadorian capital, Quito, before the flight to Baltra to embark.
Because touring the Galápagos is a rigorous experience, with daily wet landings, swimming, snorkeling and hiking, the ship was designed with rejuvenating venues. There are multiple places, inside and out, to sit back and soak up the views. Public rooms and accommodations have floor-to-ceiling windows. The Discovery Lounge is like the ship’s living room, where people can congregate, have drink, hear a talk or watch a movie.
The Vista, an outdoor lounge on an upper deck, offers cozy chairs, a plunge pool and cabanas that are available to rent for sleeping under the stars. Closer to the water, the alfresco Sunset Lounge overlooks the stern marina, where travelers step into the custom-designed Novuranian Yacht Tenders to go exploring.
The standard accommodations are 337-square-foot Sky Suites with infinity veranda. The two top-of-the-line Penthouse Suites have up to 1,288 square feet of space including large verandas.
The ship carries one naturalist for every 12 passengers. They lead excursions and lectures, and hang out in The Lab, a place to delve into the science of the destination.
Oceanscope for Research
Celebrity Flora is equipped with cutting-edge oceanographic research equipment known as Oceanscope that builds on Celebrity’s more than 20-year relationship with the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. This system benefits from the ship’s consistent itinerary to create a cost-effective way for scientists to gather and measure ocean-circulation dynamics.
Oceanscope will track and map the region while recording sea-surface temperatures and gathering data critical to forecast El Niño and La Niña. All findings will be available to passengers and will become globally accessible, open source data.
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