The first expedition mega yacht of its kind specifically designed for the Galapagos Islands was launched in a historic, sustainability-focused naming ceremony
In a game-changing moment two years in the making, Celebrity Cruises officially launched the revolutionary new Celebrity Flora, a 100-guest, all-suites mega yacht that’s poised to connect travelers to the Galapagos Islands like never before. The ship was welcomed to the brand’s award-winning fleet with a sustainability-focused ceremony where executives, valued travel advisers and journalists joined the ship’s Godmother, environmental advocate and former World Wildlife Fund International President Yolanda Kakabadse, in blessing the ship. In another first, a partnership was announced with EarthEcho International, a nonprofit organization founded by Philippe Cousteau. Jr., to inspire young people to act now for a sustainable future.
The naming ceremony brought together distinguished guests, employees and crew members to commemorate the debut of Celebrity Flora, the first ship of its kind designed specifically for the Galapagos Islands.
“Every once in a while, a unique ship comes along in the industry and changes things, and Celebrity Flora is that ship,” said Richard D. 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.”
Fain added: “Yolanda Kakabadse has been a moral force for sustainability, in Ecuador and around the world, and we are honored to have her inspiration as Celebrity Flora sets sail.”
“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 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.”
Both Fain and Lutoff-Perlo, as well as Kakabadse, delivered passionate remarks about the ship’s sustainability, cutting-edge design, and the brand’s commitment to this awe-inspiring region. In a unique nod to these themes, the traditional bottle-breaking was triggered by a ceremonial ribbon-cutting that used a hand-crafted ribbon made from green banana core and crafted by a collective of local female artisans known as Manos Magicas. In addition, the Ecuadorian national anthem was sung by two schoolchildren from Ecuador.
“Being here in the beautiful Galapagos Islands on board Celebrity Flora has reminded me of one of my favorite 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 center and Celebrity Flora is at the forefront.”
During the event, a partnership was revealed with EarthEcho International. Celebrity and the team at the non-profit will work together to introduce a comprehensive and customized youth strategy, designed to empower a new generation of environmental advocates both in the local communities of the Galapagos, as well as aboard Celebrity Flora and Celebrity Xpedition in the region. The program will include:
By training, engaging and investing in youth and the local community, Celebrity and EarthEcho International will work to inspire champions for the protection and enhancement of the treasured ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands. Over time, the goal is to explore opportunities to expand this partnership to other regions around the world.
Philippe Cousteau Jr., Co-Founder, EarthEcho International, said: “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.”
Lutoff-Perlo added: “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.”
Ceremony guests also enjoyed the chance to take part in a panel on sustainability and the uniqueness of the Galapagos Islands held in the ship’s stunning Discovery Lounge. The panel was designed to raise awareness of the unique environmental aspects of the destination and highlight the sustainable firsts exclusive to Celebrity Flora. Host Dr. Ellen Prager, world-renowned marine scientist and regional destination expert, discussed topics with a distinguished panel, including Cousteau Jr; Peter B. Ortner, Research Professor, University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science; and Kakabadse.
The most energy-efficient ship of its kind in the region, Celebrity Flora was designed specifically to explore the Galapagos. Celebrity’s signature outward-facing design concept gives guests 360-degree views of the islands at virtually every turn. The all-suite luxurious accommodations surround guests with every creature comfort, including service provided by personal attendants. Unique to Celebrity Flora are the first-ever glamping experience at sea in the Galapagos, new dining venues, an open-air stargazing platform, expert-led ecological seminars, and custom-designed Novurania yacht tenders, which create a seamless sea-to-shore experience.
With the launch of their newest ship, Celebrity had the opportunity to blend exploration and research by making Celebrity Flora the first vessel in the Galapagos to be equipped with cutting-edge oceanographic research equipment, known as Oceanscope. The program builds on a more than 20-year relationship with University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science that benefits from a cruise ship’s consistent itinerary to create a perfect and cost-effective way for scientists to gather and measure ocean circulation dynamics.
The system will track and map the region while measuring sea-surface temperatures and gathering data critical to research prediction of El Niño and La Niña. All findings gathered by Celebrity Flora will become open source data – globally accessible to research – a first for scientists around the world and anyone with a passion for this information.
Celebrity Flora is also one of the most energy-efficient ships in its class, with a 15-percent reduction of fuel consumption and equivalently fewer air emissions, thanks to the introduction of an advanced propulsion system, hull configuration and specially designed diesel engines. Celebrity Flora’s dynamic positioning is a first in the Galapagos. It has anchorless technology, which maintains the ship’s position while protecting the sensitive sea floor system, with zero speed stabilizers promising smooth sailing throughout.
Celebrity Flora will have in-room water filtration stations and the ability to reuse air conditioning condensation to provide water to the shipboard laundry facilities. Reverse osmosis equipment will be used, so the ship can process sea water into fresh water to supply 100-percent of her needs. Plus, any materials that can be recycled, reused or donated will be as part of a strict waste management system.
Celebrity Flora will sail from Baltra year-round, making its first sailing on June 30, 2019. Bookings are open at www.celebritycruises.com/galapagos/ships/celebrity-flora or through a travel advisor, for the ship’s alternating seven-night inner and outer loop itineraries and selection of 10-, 11-, and 16-night packages, which feature either pre- or post-cruise expeditions.