Celebrity Cruises christens new Celebrity Flora

Celebrity Cruises christens new Celebrity Flora
Celebrity Flora is the first of her kind to be designed specfically to sail in the Galapagos Islands (Image: Celebrity Cruises)

Celebrity Cruises has officially christened Celebrity Flora, a new 100-guest, all-suite mega yacht that is the first of her kind to have been purpose-built to sail in the Galapagos Islands near Ecuador.

Celebrity Flora, which is now the most eco-efficient cruise ship in the Galapagos, was named during a ceremony at her new homeport on Baltra Island by godmother Yolanda Kakabadse, an environmental advocate and former World Wildlife Fund International president. Kakabadse gave a short speech before cutting a hand-crafted ribbon made from green banana core and crafted by a collective of local female artisans known as Manos Magicas. In addition, two local school children sang the Ecuadorian national anthem.

“Being here in the beautiful Galapagos Islands onboard Celebrity Flora has reminded me of one of my favourite quotes by Charles Darwin: ‘In the long history of humankind those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed,’” said Kakabadse. “Darwin was right; this is the time to collaborate with all sectors of society, and permanently innovate to seek new ways to address development challenges. Tourism can be at the centre and Celebrity Flora is at the forefront.”

Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Celebrity’s parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., also delivered a speech during the ceremony, highlighting the ship’s sustainability credentials, innovative design and the brand's commitment to the Galapagos region.

“Every once in a while, a unique ship comes along in the industry and changes things, and Celebrity Flora is that ship,” said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “The Galapagos is a truly unique destination and deserved a ship with sustainability at its core. Today was an incredibly special day, with a very special godmother. Yolanda Kakabadse has been a moral force for sustainability, in Ecuador and around the world, and we are honoured to have her inspiration as Celebrity Flora sets sail.”

Ceremony guests were also invited to attend a panel discussion about the Galapagos’ unique environment and the sustainable ‘firsts’ onboard Celebrity Flora. The panel was hosted by marine scientist and regional destination expert Ellen Prager, who discussed topics with Kakabadse; Philippe Cousteau Junior, co-founder of EarthEcho International; and Peter Ortner, research professor at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

During the inauguration event, Celebrity revealed that it has partnered with non-profit EarthEcho International to introduce a new programme that will empower young people to become environmental advocates. Together, Celebrity and EarthEcho International will develop sustainability projects for young people living in the local communities of the Galapagos, as well as those sailing in the region onboard Celebrity Flora and Celebrity Xpedition.

“The launch of Celebrity Flora presents an incredible opportunity for EarthEcho International and Celebrity to jointly develop a meaningful and impactful, initiative that will engage and empower young environmental leaders both onboard and in the communities of the Galapagos Islands,” said Cousteau.

Through the programmes, Celebrity and EarthEcho International aim to help protect and enhance the native plants, wildlife and overall ecosystems of the Galapagos. Over time, the organisations aim to expand this partnership to other regions around the world.

“We want to leave a destination in a better place than when we found it, and we work with partners who share this mission, so joining with EarthEcho International and Philippe is the perfect partnership for us, especially as we both passionately believe that the next generation is critically important to the future of our planet,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises.

Designed by BG Studio International, Celebrity Flora offers suites and multiple public spaces with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, several dining venues, an open-air stargazing platform, custom-designed Novurania yacht tenders and much more, The vessel will also be the first in the Galapagos to be equipped with Oceanscope, oceanographic research equipment that will enable the team at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science to gather and analyse ocean circulation data.

To make her one of the most energy-efficient ships in her class, Celebrity Flora has a specially configured hull and diesel engines, as well as an advanced propulsion system. Together, they will reduce fuel consumption by 15% and lower air emissions. The ship also has dynamic positioning technology, rather than an anchor, to maintain her position while protecting the sensitive sea floor.

Other key environmental features include in-room water filtration stations, a system that reuses air conditioning condensation to provide water for laundry facilities, and reverse osmosis equipment that enables the ship to turn sea water into fresh water to supply 100% of her needs.

“Our guests have never seen a destination quite like the beautiful Galapagos Islands, and the islands have never seen a ship quite like Celebrity Flora, perfectly blending intimate luxury with sustainability,” said Lutoff-Perlo. “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.”

Celebrity Flora will embark on her maiden cruise from Baltra on 30 June and will continue to sail alternating seven-night inner and outer loop itineraries from the Ecuadorian port year-round. Celebrity will also offer a selection of 10-, 11- and 16-night packages, which include either pre- or post-cruise expeditions.

Read more about the inspiration behind Celebrity Flora’s design and her onboard features in our exclusive new interview with BG Studio International, 3deluxe and Shipyard De Hoop in the 2019 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors.

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Monday, June 24, 2019