Stand-out features include two stunning aft penthouse suites, a retractable Marina complete with two Rigid Inflatables; a science lab for conducting research, an observatory and a huge lounge with a giant TV screen (the biggest of any ship plying these waters). There is also a small pool, gym and a hot tub. There's even top-deck glamping and star gazing available for $299 per person.
It's not cheap (roughly twice the price of Xpedition for a seven-day cruise), but Flora is all-inclusive -- flights, transfers, drinks onboard, gratuities, shore excursions and Wi-Fi.
The ship has outstanding environmental credentials, too. Celebrity Flora will feature environmentally friendly systems, including anchorless technology (dynamic positioning) that can maintain a ship's position while also protecting the sensitive sea floor. It will also be energy-efficient with a 15 percent reduction of fuel consumption and fewer air emissions thanks to an advance propulsion system, unique hull configuration and specially designed diesel engines. The ship will also feature the ability to convert sea water and air-conditioning condensation into fresh water, as well as provide in-room water filtration stations for even further purification. It also has an advanced waste water treatment system. It even carries 200 square meters of solar panels -- another first. In addition, seafood, vegetables and fruit will all be locally sourced.
Here's what we know:
There are 50 cabins in total, all of which are classified suites, though that might be slightly stretching the definition of the word (they all have a table and chairs, though the lower categories do not have a separate space). All have balconies, though note some of these are so-called "Infinite Verandas", which are large windows which are controlled electronically. They are not balconies in the traditional sense of the word.
All suites sleep two people maximum (in the Galapagos, no ship can carry more than 100 passengers), but there are eight interconnecting cabins if you are travelling in a group or as a family. All have beds which face the outside (rather than at right angles, as on so many ships), which means for stunning views. They are designed beautifully, with dark wood panelling, beige walls and cream with light brown accents carpets. Materials are sustainable and regionally inspired.
All suites feature a King Size bed, bedside tables with lamps, double wardrobes, a wall-mounted TV and a desk with plug sockets and USB ports. You'll find the water filtration tap behind a little door beside the wardrobe.
The bathrooms are stunning: all marble, long sinks with his 'n' hers taps either side, a huge mirror and a rain shower with glass door. Positioned behind the bed, these also all look out to sea; privacy is kept with part-frosted and part-clear glass.
The entry level suites come in at a generous 224 square feet -- and that's not including an 84 square feet veranda/balcony. There are 22 of these, all on Deck 5. They all feature "traditional" (as opposed to Infinite Verandas) balconies (in which you slide open a door), with two chairs and a small table.
The variation on this is the Sky Suite with Infinite Veranda, of which there are 16, all on Deck 6. These come in at 325 square feet. They are exactly the same as the regular Sky Suite in terms of layout and design, except for this Infinite Veranda. This style of cabin debuted on Celebrity Edge -- to mixed reviews. Instead of a traditional balcony with a sliding door, you get a large window which slides down. So they are similar to an ocean view, but you can open the window, similar to balcony designs on many river ships. The window, which is controlled by a button, only goes down half way. The two chairs and table are inside, but oddly the room does not feel any bigger, despite the extra space from the non-balcony.
Premium Sky Suite with Infinite Veranda: There will be seven, slightly smaller Premium Sky Suites (337 square feet) with Infinite Verandas, with nearly identical layouts to the Ultimate Sky Suite.
Ultimate Sky Suite with Infinite Veranda: Celebrity Flora will have a single 365-squre-foot Ultimate Sky Suite. The modern layout of the space features a glass divider with a coral-like design separating the bedroom and bathroom into two distinct spaces. The bedroom will have a sofa, two chairs, large flat-screen TV and king-sized bed that faces outward, while the bathroom will feature a glass-enclosed spa tub and shower that faces the floor-to-ceiling window. The Infinite Veranda concept gives cruisers the option to have an indoor sun room like space or open the windows for a French balcony experience.
Penthouse Suites: The ship's two Penthouse Suites will each be 1,288 square feet in size with separate bedroom and living space, customizable lighting and shades. The bedroom will feature a king-sized bed and floor-to-ceiling windows, while the sitting area with have a flat-screen TV, two sofas, a glass table with chairs for in-cabin dining and a telescope for stargazing or wildlife spotting. The bathroom in the Penthouse Suites will have a spa-like shower, a double vanity, separate toilet area and spa tub that faces one wall of floor-to-ceiling windows. The private 321-squre-foot balcony will feature two daybeds.
Royal Suites: There will also be two 559-square-feet Royal Suites with a separate living area with sofa and desk, bedroom and 129-square-foot balcony with sun bed, chairs and small table.
The menus have been put together by Celebrity's VP Food and Beverage and a chef in his own right, Cornelius Gallagher. All food will be locally sourced, where possible, and that includes: seafood, shellfish and fish; fruit, vegetables and breads. They will feature locally-inspired and regional dishes, such as ceviche and lobster tail.
There is just one restaurant onboard, but there is an outdoor dining area on the top deck. Both are included in your fare.
Seaside Restaurant (Deck 4): The main restaurant onboard is where breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served. Like most other spaces on Celebrity Flora, the Seaside Restaurant will feature floor-to-ceiling windows offering stunning views. Natural stone flooring and sustainable, hard wood chairs with comfortable upholstery are other hallmarks of the dining venue.
Ocean Grill: A casual, outdoor dining space with panoramic views, Ocean Grill will offer lunch and a culinary experience referred to as Dining Under the Stars. Menu will feature fresh, local ingredients and seafood cooked on an outdoor grill.
Cruisers may also opt for room service.
Enrichment & Entertainment
Discovery Lounge (Deck 4): The main gathering spot on the ship, Discovery Lounge is where cruisers will gather for presentations and to find out more about their excursion options. There is a huge TV (apparently the biggest in the islands), at one end for presentations; floor-to-ceiling glass windows and plenty of comfortable seating, much of it designed by local designer, Adriana Hoyos.
At night, the lounge transforms into an entertainment venue with full bar, stage for live entertainment and comfortable seating including sofas and lounge chairs.
The Observatory (Deck 7): A room with a view is putting it mildly. This upper-deck lounge will be wrapped in floor-to-ceiling windows for stunning views from inside the ship. It's also the place to go to learn more about the Galapagos, with a library stocked with books about the wildlife and history of the region. Comfy chairs and tables make it an excellent place to just sit and watch the world go by.
The Lab (Deck 3): Celebrity has formed a partnership with University of Miami to conduct research about the islands in a program called Oceanscope. The aim is to gather information about the region to map patterns and changes from climate and weather. It's not quite clear how passengers can participate, but the room has space for 12 passengers at a time.
Cruisers looking to unwind after a day exploring the islands can do so in several venues. The Vista (Deck 7) will be an open-air lounge with 360-degree views, cocoon-style loungers, private cabanas and a Jacuzzi.
The Sunset Lounge offers a plunge pool, chaise lounges and tables for relaxing with a drink (a small bar is located here).
Deck 3 also has a small plunge pool at the aft of the ship.
The Marina on Deck 3 will be the primary point of access to the ship and will accommodate up to three Zodiacs for easy loading and unloading of passengers. It will also have a supply area to house all the equipment needed for outdoor fun, including wet suits, fins, masks, snorkels and life vests, as well as a rinsing station.
There will be a Stargazing Platform on Deck 8, complete with telescopes for late-night astronomy lessons. The ship also has the option for two couples per night to go "glamping" in the comfort of top-deck double beds. For $299 you get the bed, a naturalist and even a visit from the Captain, presumably to see how you're getting on up there.
Darwin's Cove (Deck 3): Darwin's Cove will house the Guest Relations area, and will also be the spot for cruisers to find cold towels, infused waters and other refreshments. This is also the meeting place for groups before they head out on shore excursions, as well as where passengers will find the naturalist team to ask about daily activities or to talk more about the Galapagos.
You'll also find a small shop here selling essentials, branded items and Galapagos-inspired merchandise.
There is no specific provision for families, though there are eight inter-connecting cabins.
Celebrity Flora will sail the Galapagos Islands year-round from Baltra on alternating seven-night inner and outer loop itineraries.
There are plenty of options for add-ons, too -- 10-, 11- and 16-night packages which include time in Quito and/or Peru.