Photos: The First Cruise Ship Purpose-Built for the Galapagos
Celebrity Cruises has released photos of the first cruise ship purpose-built for operations in the Galapagos Islands. The new expedition ship Celebrity Flora has a capacity of 100 passengers, the largest number allowed by the Ecuadorian government, but she is larger, more luxurious, and will carry a bigger crew complement relative to previous vessels in the area.
Several features set her apart from other ships in the Galapagos. All of her suites have floor-to-ceiling windows, and half are built to Celebrity's Infinite Veranda design, which uses a large slide-down window to create an enclosed balcony space. She has a superyacht-style platform at the stern for passengers to easily embark and disembark yacht tenders for shore excursions. And, as has become popular for luxury cruise ships, she features a "glamping" cabana on her top deck that can be reserved for an additional charge.
Celebrity Flora's aft deck for small boat operations, with stair-equipped, purpose-built tenders
The Flora's "glamping" cabana on the top deck
The Infinite Veranda window, right
Celebrity Flora is also the first vessel in the Galapagos to be equipped for the OceanScope program. Participating OceanScope vessels carry a suite of automated sensors that gather information on the marine environment as the ship travels on its commercial voyage. In Flora's case, this equipment will track and map the region while measuring sea-surface temperatures and gathering data that will be useful for researching the El Niño and La Niña patterns. All findings gathered by Celebrity Flora will become open source data.
The Flora will be home-ported in the Galapagos for sailings in all seasons, and she makes her maiden commercial voyage on June 30. Itineraries of between 10 and 14 nights are available at prices beginning at about $10,000-$20,000, depending upon the route. Celebrity's Galapagos package prices are inclusive of all shore excursions, equipment, gratuities, drinks and meals.