The 5,635 GT 100 passenger-capacity vessel, to be named Celebrity Flora will have a keel laying ceremony later this year and is due to be delivered in May 2019.
De Hoop said the cruise vessel is “optimised for experiencing the land and marine environment of the Galapagos in high comfort”. Celebrity Flora will be the first vessel to be built to two-compartment damage stability regulations and additionally complies with the relevant damage stability requirements planned for implementation during 2020. De Hoop said the vessel also commits to specific Galapagos National Park Directorate Regulations, whereby explicit environmentally low-impact features were applied.
As this vessel is expected to be stationary – in a bay or near one of the islands – for 66% of the operational time, “considerable thought went into the design and selection of equipment, allowing the ship to perform efficiently under dynamic positioning (DP)”. Combined with a zero-speed stabiliser system, the DP system will choose a heading to minimise the roll and heave motions on the vessel, significantly improving passenger comfort.
The power and propulsion plant of Celebrity Flora is duplicated and housed in two separate engine rooms.
De Hoop said the introduction of an advanced propulsion system, its hull configuration (improved with CFD calculations) and specially designed diesel engines, guarantee an average 25% reduction in hull resistance, 15% reduction of overall fuel consumption and equivalently fewer air emissions.
The ship’s bow shape features a straight, wave-piercing stem, with an integrated bulb at the waterline. De Hoop said, “This characteristic bow both reduces resistance in waves when in transit and saves energy when staying in position, due to the highly efficient short bow thruster tunnel.”
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 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.
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,” Lutoff-Perlo said.
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.
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 open today.