We’ve just arrived to the pier on Isla Baltra in the Galapagos Islands to attend the naming event of the Celebrity Flora. The Celebrity Flora is the first purpose built ship to sail the Galapagos Islands. Her environmental footprint on this delicate environment is minimal and she’s one of the most luxurious vessels to sail these Islands. We’re honored to be among the media, select travel advisers and Celebrity executives attending today’s naming ceremony.
After a quick zodiac or panga transfer we enjoy the relatively short naming ceremony including the traditional blessings, a bit of build history and finally the crash of the champagne bottle on the hull. On hand for the festivities are Celebrity dignitaries including Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Phillip Cousteau and the ship’s godmother, Yolanda Kakabadse, a world renown environment ambassador and former minister of environment for Ecuador.
The next day, our morning excursion to Gardner Bay on Española Island includes a beach walk and the opportunity for swimming, snorkeling or kayaking. Afterwards, we’re back onboard for lunch and repositioning to Punta Suarez, the home of the famous “Albatross Airport”. Here, hundreds of Albatross arrive each April to court, breed and have their young.
On Thursday, the ship is anchored outside of Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island. Actually we’re not anchored, but “GPS stabilized”, a computer controlled technique that allows the Celebrity Flora to use thrusters to to remain stationary without harming the delicate environment with anchors and chains.
The ship’s excursion today is to the highlands for tree planting in a reforestation project and a visit to a farm of the giant tortoises. After, there’s an opportunity to visit the Charles Darwin center or just enjoy wandering through the town’s souvenir shops or sidewalk cafes.
Departing Puerto Ayora for the return trip back to Baltra we enjoy a wonderful dinner presentation of traditional Ecuadorian specialties. Five initial courses of salads, soups and appetizers are followed by five main courses, including Ecuadorian lobster, grilled snapper, salmon ceviche, beef Wellington, and a delicious sweet potato pie wrapped in filo pastry as the vegetarian option. All are served family style so that we can enjoy a taste of each.
Also open for dinner was the casual, outdoor Ocean Grill offering a traditional menu of grilled fish, burgers, sausage, hot dogs and fresh made salads.
Unfortunately, after only two days on board, our quick introduction to the Flora is coming to an end. However, even in this short amount of time there are heartfelt goodbyes and hugs as the zodiacs are loaded and depart for the pier the next morning.
Celebrity Flora welcomes the first 7 night sailing on June 30th and bookings are now open through December 2021. If your travel bucket-list includes the Galapagos Islands (or, you’re ready to return), there’s no better way to experience this magical place than onboard the new Celebrity Flora!