Ecuador's Galapagos Archipelago, PART 2 - CELEBRITY FLORA
12/21/2021POSTED BY IGNACIO MAZA
There are over 50 cruise ships sailing the Galapagos archipelago on a regular basis. Here's why Celebrity Flora stands out.
A new ship designed for the Destination. Flora was the first purpose-built ship created specifically for the Galapagos. This means the ship meets the strictest environmental standards, offers more stateroom and deck space per passenger, has more on board facilities, and gives more options for guests. Flora is large enough to feature two restaurants, a small gym, two bars, and plenty of deck space & public areas, yet small enough that the staff on board gets to know you by the second day of your cruise. The ship was launched in 2019, so the hardware is new and in great condition. Ship's capacity is 50 suites/up to 100 guests.
All-suites. Flora features 100 suites, ranging from 300 to over 1,200 square feet of space. Most suites feature either a veranda, or an 'infinite veranda', meaning a window whose top opens to let in the fresh air. The Royal and Penthouse suites offer the most space, with separate living areas and large bathrooms and terraces.
All-Inclusive, Elevated. Celebrity Flora fares include all meals, drinks, tipping, excursions, transfers, and much more. Every guest is provided with snorkeling equipment, fins, and a wet suit. When arriving on board from a shore excursion, expect drinks and snacks served on deck. Every detail is taken care of. The only extra charges are for premium wines, laundry, and spa treatments. Spending the night on deck ("Glamping" option, see below) has an extra charge.
More time for adventures. Getting on/off Flora is easy with next-generation tenders that can embark or disembark a group of ten guests in under 1 minute (I timed it!). This means guests have more time to enjoy the destination. Typically, tenders carry up to 10 guests with a dedicate expedition leader.
More choices.Every day, Flora guests have up to 7 excursions and experiences to choose from. These range from easy coastal rides on a tender spotting wildlife to a challenging hike. There is also kayaking, snorkeling (both beachside and in the open ocean), and walking & hiking excursions on offer.
Exceptional service on board. A team of almost 100 professionals delivers a very high level of service, with a staff to guest ratio of nearly 1:1. The expedition team is very experienced and knowledgeable. I was very impressed with the service levels, the quality of the lectures on board, as well as the commentary on all guided excursions.
Peace of Mind. The Celebrity team in Ecuador takes care of guests from the moment they arrive in Quito until they fly home home. This includes all luggage handling, transfers, and Covid testing. As an extra safety measure, Celebrity tests all guests in Quito the day before they fly to the Galapagos, exceeding local requirements.
Great pre/post packages + Exclusive flight to/from Galapagos. Celebrity is the only cruise line that has an exclusive non-stop flight from Quito to Galapagos, and return. This avoids the stop in Guayaquil, and gets you to/from destination faster. There is also more space on board the airplane, as Celebrity's flight carries a maximum of 100 guests on an aircraft that can carry up to 160 passengers. The pre-cruise package includes two nights in Quito at the JW Marriott Hotel with sightseeing and meals, as well as one night at the airport on the return, before guests fly home. Guests can choose from a 10 night package (Including Quito sightseeing) or a 16-night Ecuador & Peru package that also includes Lima, Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu.
A fun option: Spend a night under the stars. Celebrity Flora is the only ship that offers guests 'glamping' At sea. Travelers spend the night under the stars, enjoying dinner for two (served al fresco in your cabana), a proper bed set up with all the trimmings, and breakfast in the morning. Note - there is an added cost for this special option.