You probably know it as one of the most beautiful places on earth, and indeed, with its veritable treasure trove of wildlife – both land and marine – as well as unblemished natural beauty, the Galápagos archipelago draws eco and leisure travellers from the world over. But as is almost always the case with stunning locales, the magical destination runs the very real risk of overtourism ruining the landscape and the biodiversity that inspired naturalist and biologist Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.
While the Ecuador government has in place measures to minimise the impact of tourism on the 19 islands and dozens of islets that make up the Unesco World Heritage Site, travellers can now do their part too, by making a conscious effort to travel green. For that, there’s no better option than Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Flora.
Marrying luxurious form with sound eco credentials, the 100-guest Celebrity Flora is designed expressly with the Galápagos Islands in mind. Everything, from ship design right down to the mechanics, is geared towards offering guests a sustainable travel experience that doesn’t take away from the pleasures of exploration and adventure.
As the primary point of access to the vessel, the Marina, for instance, is designed to hold up to three zodiacs at any one time, reducing the time taken to transport guests to and from land – and maximising the time on the islands where sea lions share the beach with giant tortoises, blue‑footed boobies, frigate birds, marine iguanas, Galápagos penguins and more.
And because a cruise is as much about unwinding as it is about discovering new territories, Celebrity Flora has on board curated spaces that encourage ultimate relaxation. Characterised by Celebrity Cruises’ signature outward-facing design, which places the destination at the centre of attention and encourages guests to turn towards the vistas that surround them, all are tailored to make guests feel like part of the landscape.
Chill out and take in the 360-degree view of the tranquil surrounds at the Vista, an open-air space outfitted with comfy loungers and private cabanas, or head indoors to the Observatory, which affords the same panoramic scenes courtesy of floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The Stargazing Platform, meanwhile, is perfect for enjoying the starlit skies.
The suite life
Putting to rest the concern that cruise cabins are cramped quarters is the all-suite accommodation. Fitted with oversized bathrooms perfect for post adventure freshening up and incorporating sustainable, natural materials that complement the destination, all suites are outward-facing, with most featuring the innovative Infinite Veranda – a proprietary feature that merges the room and balcony with the touch of a button, allowing guests to virtually walk out to the water’s edge.
The Penthouse Suite, in particular, holds the honour of being the largest stateroom sailing the Galápagos. Spanning 1,253sqft, with a 271sqft balcony, it comes with customisable lighting and shades, and even has a telescope for stargazing or peeping at sea lions.
Even the food on board comes from sustainable sources, and is served at Seaside Restaurant (breakfast, lunch and dinner) as well as the Ocean Grill, a casual dining space offering panoramic views and the opportunity to dine under the stars.
Eco-travel at its best
Walking the talk on its commitment to the environment, Celebrity Cruises has fine-tuned the mechanics on Celebrity Flora, making it one of the greenest cruise ships in its class.
Among the new technologies introduced is the dynamic positioning system, which maintains the ship’s position sans anchor, avoiding any damage to the seabed; keeping things stable are the zero-speed stabilisers. Other features, such as an advanced propulsion system, the hull configuration and specially designed diesel engines, make the vessel more energy efficient while reducing its carbon footprint.
There are even in-room water filtration stations and systems that convert seawater and air-conditioning condensation into pure, drinkable water, reducing the need for plastics. There is also a strict waste management system that calls for the recycle, reuse or donation of any suitable materials.
Further demonstrating a dedication to environmental conservation are the educational spaces on board Celebrity Flora. Guests keen on finding out more about the destinations, wildlife and environmental efforts can head to Darwin’s Cove and the Naturalist Center, while those interested in excursion information and naturalist presentations can make their way to the Discovery Lounge.
As environmental activist Wendell Berry said, “The earth is what we have in common.” We owe it to ourselves – and the future generation – to protect our planet and conserve its natural resources. And what better way to set an example than by choosing Celebrity Flora, which points the way to a greener way of travel that minimises environmental impact while still allowing for the joys and pleasures of water-based travel?
Celebrity Flora, which makes her maiden voyage on 26 May, sets sail from Baltra Island year round. For more information, visit celebritycruises.com/Galapagos/ships/celebrity-flora or contact our preferred sales agents:
Citystate Cruises (TA 648), tel: 6222 9222
UOB Travel (TA 185), tel: 6252 6822