Celebrity Cruises has officially launched the Celebrity Flora, the cruise line’s new, Galapagos-bound mega-yacht. Celebrity welcomed the 100-guest, all-suite vessel to its fleet in a ceremony where executives, 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 a nod to the vessel’s focus on sustainability, 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.
At the ceremony Celebrity also announced a new partnership with EarthEcho International, a nonprofit organization founded by Philippe Cousteau Jr., to inspire young people to act now for a sustainable future. Celebrity and the non-profit said they 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 both youth-focused, environmental sustainability projects in the Galapagos Islands and activities for young guests as part of Celebrity’s onboard program.
Celebrity says that the new ship was designed specifically to explore the Galapagos Islands, with an outward-facing design concept that aims to give guests 360-degree views from as much of the ship as possible. In addition to all-suite accommodations, the ship also has new dining venues, an open-air stargazing platform, expert-led ecological seminars and custom-designed Novurania yacht tenders for a smoother ship-to-shore experience.
In addition to the EarthEcho partnership, the ship will also host oceanographic research equipment called Oceanscope as part of the cruise line’s longstanding relationship with the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. 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, the cruise line said.
Other notable sustainability features on the new ship include a 15 percent reduction in fuel consumption, a dynamic positioning system that allows the ship to hold position without using an anchor, in-room water filtration stations and a waste management system.
The Celebrity Flora will sail from Baltra year-round, making its first sailing on June 30.