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The Galápagos Islands’ rich natural history make a visit to the archipelago a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And what better way to experience the islands than to follow in Darwin’s footsteps and explore on board a ship? Celebrity Cruises have just launched Celebrity Flora, the first ship of its kind designed specifically for navigating the Galápagos. Celebrity Flora’s layout places the destination at the centre, featuring a unique outward-facing design that facilitates breathtaking panoramic views – making for a wholly authentic Galápagos experience.
However, you’ll be exploring the archipelago in substantially more luxurious surrounds than Darwin. Celebrity Flora boasts deluxe all-suite accommodations and gourmet food, drinks, and friendly, attentive staff. This high-end service is complemented by excellent educational facilities, including expert guides, talks, shore excursions and snorkelling equipment. The entire Celebrity Flora experience is delivered with the Galápagos’s precious ecosystems in mind, using sustainable materials and cutting-edge technology to minimise environmental impact.
The Galápagos Islands are nothing short of an out-of-this-world destination. They are an untamed wilderness, filled with extraordinary wildlife untouched by human activity. Visiting this cherished place is a privilege few experience – and to do it in the luxury of the Celebrity Flora is more uncommon still. With two comprehensive itineraries, exploring the Galápagos aboard the Celebrity Flora is a journey like no other.
Launched in summer 2019, the Celebrity Flora marks a turning point in cruise ship design. Built specifically with the Galápagos Islands in mind, the vessel’s innovative outward-facing layout virtually erases the boundary between the ship and its environs. This allows for spectacular views and extraordinary encounters with the Galápagos’s unique wildlife. By its very nature, the Celebrity Flora’s design creates a distinction between visiting this incredible place and truly experiencing it.
Moreover, the Celebrity Flora is one of the most environmentally-friendly vessels in Latin America. With 15% lower emissions than comparable boats, the ship also boasts a state-of-the-art Dynamic Positioning System that means she never has to drop anchor. Inside, the ship’s interior is crafted entirely from sustainable materials and the bars, restaurants and rooms use no plastic whatsoever.
Aboard the Celebrity Flora sustainability is never at odds with luxury. The all-suite accommodations include private balconies, on-demand TV, organic bath products, a fully-stocked minibar and full-room automation that allows you to control everything with the touch of a button. What’s more, the luxury doesn’t stop with the suite fit out; personal attendants are available for around-the-clock room service.
Outside of your suite, Celebrity Flora’s two restaurants serve locally sourced cuisine prepared by Michelin star chefs. These gourmet meals are complemented by a full bar, serving a complete range of soft drinks, hot beverages, beer, wine, and spirits. On the top deck, passengers can retire to two comfortable cabanas for alfresco dining, campfire-inspired snacks, and selected wine and cocktails (*fees apply). One cabana even includes a double bed for stargazing – all with a naturalist on hand to highlight the Southern Hemisphere’s breathtaking constellations.
Celebrity Flora’s onboard team of naturalists are what make for a truly exceptional trip. With twice-daily shore excursions led by a Galápagos National Park certified expedition leader, you can get up close and personal with the islands’ endemic species. Plus, entrance fees and charges are all included with complimentary use of snorkelling equipment, wetsuits, binoculars and walking sticks. Supplementary to these excursions, Celebrity Flora’s expert team host daily briefings and lectures so you can get the most out of your Galápagos experience.
During the Second World War, Baltra was a U.S. military base, protecting the Panama Canal from attack. Today, Baltra is home to the region’s airport and where your journey will begin.
At 14.30 you’ll set sail for Daphne Island. The island’s sheer cliffs are home to sea lions, pelicans and the remarkable blue-footed boobie. You can also observe enormous shoals of fish from one of Celebrity Flora’s Zodiac boats.
The vessel will depart from Daphne Island at approximately 18.00. That evening you can enjoy your first delicious meal in one of the ship’s restaurants or retire to your suite for some room service.
Your first full day exploring will begin at Gardner Bay, one of the longest beaches in the Galápagos. This white sandy shore is home to a huge colony of sea lions and other fascinating wildlife including the bright red Sally Lightfoot crab.
At midday Celebrity Flora will set sail for Suarez Point. Offering some of the archipelago’s most dramatic landscape, our guides will lead a hike up Suarez Point’s steep southern cliffs towards a blowhole where water cascades 50 feet into the air.
Early next morning Celebrity Flora will land at Cormorant Point. This tiny town was the Galápagos’s first capital where Charles Darwin met the islands’ governor. Today, you can spot flamingos and stilts in the rocky lagoon.
Next, we’ll move onto another of the Galápagos’s important historical sites, Bahia Post Office. It was on this rugged shore that whalers and explorers used to leave their mail for outbound ships – and you can continue the tradition and send a letter of your own.
Located on the northern coast of Isla Isabela, Moreno Point is home to some of the Galápagos’s most remarkable wildlife. With enormous marine iguanas roaming the shores, you’re likely to feel like you’ve been transported back to the Jurassic period.
Later, we continue the prehistoric theme and land at Urvina Bay. Here, you can spot land iguanas and even the famed giant tortoise. Urvina Bay is also great for snorkelling, so take the opportunity to borrow some of Celebrity Flora’s equipment and discover some spectacular marine life.
Espinoza Point is undoubtedly the highlight of Fernandina Island. With abundant wildlife, including the adorable Galápagos penguin, this morning gives you the chance to encounter several endemic species.
After lunch, Celebrity Flora will head back towards Isla Isabela. Docking at Vicente Roca Point, you’ll have the chance to disembark and snorkel in the beautiful bay, where you can find seahorses, rays and puffer fish.
On day six Celebrity Flora stops at South Plaza, a tiny island off of Santa Cruz. This rocky outcrop is home to one of the Galápagos’s largest sea lion colonies, where you might even get the chance to see some sea lion pups.
After a delicious lunch aboard the ship, we’ll dock at Dragon Hill, so-called because of its large land iguana population. The site offers some incredible views of the rugged landscape and the opportunity to spot flamingos alongside the giant lizards.
On the final day of your adventure, you’ll have the chance to encounter what is arguably the Galápagos’s best-loved animal: the giant tortoise. At the Puerto Ayora nature reserve, you can explore the lush highlands and meet these remarkable creatures.
Later, you can stroll through the picturesque streets of Puerto Ayora and enjoy a snack or some retail therapy. After disembarking at 19.00, it’s time to enjoy your final evening aboard Celebrity Flora with dinner, cocktails or stargazing on the top deck.
On the eighth day your trip will come to a close as the ship returns to Baltra. With scores of incredible encounters and some amazing memories, you’ll fly back to the Ecuadorian mainland to return home or continue your adventure.
On this once-in-a-lifetime holiday, you'll cruise the paradise islands of the Galápagos in the comfort and 5* luxury of the magnificent Celebrity Flora℠, exploring these beautiful islands and enjoying unforgettable wildlife encounters in the land of evolution.
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