FORT LAUDERDALE -- Celebrity Cruises has designed a new ship
for use in the Galapagos, a rare newbuild in the market and at 100 passengers
the smallest ship parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has ever built.
Celebrity president Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said that only in a
market with such high demand and limited supply would the economics of building
a ship of that size make sense for a brand like Celebrity.
"On a per-berth basis, it's really hard to get a return
on these ships," Lutoff-Perlo said. "The Galapagos is different."
The Vista will be the Flora's top-deck area.
The number of ships that can operate in the Galapagos is
restricted by the Ecuadoran government and the size is limited to 100
passengers or less, so prices tend to be relatively high.
A seven-night Galapagos cruises on the Celebrity Xpedition
is listed on Celebrity's website starting at $4,399 per person.
The news was announced at CruiseWorld, Travel Weekly's conference here.
The new ship, named Celebrity Flora, will be built in a
Dutch shipyard and debut in May 2019. Lutoff-Perlo declined to say how much it
will cost, but said it is a fraction of Celebrity's bigger ships.
The Celebrity Flora will take over itineraries now offered
on the 100-passenger Xpedition, which will take on itineraries of two smaller
ships, the 48-passenger Celebrity Xperience and the 16-passenger Celebrity
Xploration. The two small ships will likely be sold, Lutoff-Perlo said.
A rendering of the Darwin Deck Bar on the Celebrity Flora.
Although it will carry the same number of passengers, the
Flora will be twice the size of the Xpedition, allowing for more features. "We're
able to do more outdoor spaces and more public space for our guests,"
It will have a small pool, which Xpedition does not, and two
restaurants and two lounges, where Xpedition has one each. There will be more
crew space, so the Flora will have one naturalist for every 12 guests, up from
a 1:16 ratio on Xpedition.
Opting for a new ship enabled Celebrity to design storage
space in the hull for three Zodiac boats that are stored on deck on the
Xpedition. The Flora's two 1,288-square-foot Penthouse suites will be the
largest in the Galapagos.
The design of the ship will be consistent with the new
Celebrity Edge and other larger Celebrity ships, but with an emphasis on the
neutral, natural and organic, Lutoff-Perlo said. Lounges, suites and
restaurants will have floor-to-ceiling windows to facilitate wildlife viewing.
The Flora will be the smallest ship ever built by Celebrity parent RCCL.
About 50% of the accommodations will incorporate the virtual
balcony concept that will debut on the Celebrity Edge.
Celebrity's emphasis on facing out toward the ocean will be
reflected in all beds being positioned to face a window.
The top deck will have four stick-style cabanas that will be
available for day rental and for sleeping out on deck under the stars.
Celebrity Flora will sail year-round from Baltra Island. Bookings