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 travellers to the Galapagos Islands like never before.
The ship was welcomed to the brand’s 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.
Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., said: “Every once in a while, a unique ship comes along in the industry and changes things, and Celebrity Flora is that ship. 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.”
He continued: “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.”
Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO, Celebrity Cruises, observed: “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. The ship is designed to showcase this amazing destination, giving our guests incredible memories and underscoring the critical importance of protecting our planets 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.
Said Kakabadse: “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.’ 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 centre and Celebrity Flora is at the forefront.”
During the event, a partnership with EarthEcho International announced. 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:
Youth-focused, environmental sustainability projects in the Galapagos Islands Activities for youth as part of Celebrity’s onboard program
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.”
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.
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 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.