VESSEL REVIEW | Celebrity Flora – Innovative expedition cruise vessel for the Galapagos Islands

VESSEL REVIEW | Celebrity Flora – Innovative expedition cruise vessel for the Galapagos Islands


Dutch builder Shipyard De Hoop has recently completed successful sea trials with Celebrity Flora, a cruise ship for Celebrity Cruises, daughter company of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.

Celebrity Flora, the first seagoing cruise ship built in the Netherlands for many years, is also the first expedition ship tailored in design and build to provide high-end luxury cruising in the Galapagos area.

Celebrity Flora will be making year-round cruises to the Galapagos Islands, beginning in Baltra, one of the smaller islands of the Galapagos.

Developed in close collaboration with the client and a number of co-makers/sub-contractors, the project was designed to be a fresh approach to marine exploration of the Galapagos Islands, aiming to create a feeling of being immersed in the environment, rather than just being a tourist to the area.

According to De Hoop, although a number of expedition cruise vessels have been ordered in recent years, none were optimised for the open water experience in warmer climates, or in such a unique and diverse environment.

Designed and Lloyd’s classed for worldwide service, Celebrity Flora was the first vessel to be built according to the latest probabilistic damage stability regulations and therefore already complies with the relevant Rules and Regulations for 2020. This is supplemented with the client’s constraint to comply with a two-compartment damage stability regulation.

The amendment stipulating these regulations was implemented by IMO in June 2017, under protest by many ship designers and builders, who considered these rules to be impossible. Moreover, along with compliance with future international rules and regulations, the vessel also commits to specific Galapagos National Park Directorate Regulations, whereby specific 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 per cent of the operational time, considerable thought went into the design and selection of equipment, allowing the ship to perform efficiently under dynamic positioning.

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. To achieve a high level of redundancy and to meet the class requirements (PSMR* and DP1 / DP-AM notation), the power and propulsion plant of Celebrity Flora is duplicated and housed in two separate engine rooms.

Reduced environmental footprint as a result of energy efficiency

The power supply for two rudder propellers, two bow thrusters and other consumers, is supplied by four Caterpillar C32 diesel generator sets. The diesel engines are equipped with an SCR (selective catalytic reduction) installation, whereby the emission of nitrogen oxide (NOx) is greatly reduced.

The rudder propellers, type 20 CRP of 1,450 kW each, were supplied by Steerprop from Finland, while the 400kW bow thrusters are provided by Veth from the Netherlands. With this configuration a 12-knot cruising speed can easily be achieved and a high-manoeuvrability is ensured.

The introduction of this advanced propulsion system, the hull configuration (improved with CFD calculations) and the specially developed diesel engine arrangement, guarantee an average 25 per cent reduction in hull resistance, 15 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and equivalently fewer exhaust emissions. These characteristics make this cruise ship one of the most energy-efficient ships in its class, in addition to being IMO Tier III compliant.

One glance at the ship’s profile reveals the sophisticated bow shape, featuring a straight, wave-piercing stem, with an integrated bulb. This characteristic bow both reduces resistance in waves when in transit and saves energy when staying in position, similarly due to the higher efficiency of the bow thruster.

To further reduce the environmental footprint, the cruise ship accommodates an enhanced sewage plant to improve the quality and reduce the amount of wastewater, and an improved HVAC system and improved thermal insulation. Energy-efficient, low-emissive glazing leads to 50 per cent less energy consumption. The HVAC equipment is capable of handling the challenging environmental parameters, warmer seawater and higher outside air temperatures of the Galapagos.

In the electric system, additional energy saving measures have also been taken.


The vessel features the largest and most luxurious accommodations in the Galapagos region. The raw materials for carpentry, upholstery, finishing and decorations of all eight accommodation decks consist of sustainable, natural, regionally inspired materials.

One of the penthouse suites

With 50 staterooms divided over decks five and six and a capacity to host a total of 100 passengers. Celebrity Flora transports its guests in spacious all-suite cabins, featuring generous bathrooms, connected to the outside world through outward-facing layouts and integrated balconies, including two penthouse suites with separate indoor and outdoor living areas. Also accommodated onboard, divided over 52 cabins, are the 80 crewmembers.

Characteristic of this vessel is the large variety of public areas, to be found on decks 3, 4, 7 and 8 – including a choice of seven different seating locations including a floor-to-ceiling, glass-wrapped observatory and the open-air hideaway in “The Vista”, on the forward respectively aft part of deck seven.

Discovery Lounge

Guests can relax in the “Sunset Lounge” or enjoy naturalist presentations and excursion information sessions in the “Discovery Lounge”, both to the stern of deck four. On deck three, “Darwin’s Cove” and the “Naturalist Centre”, are home to the tourist offices and there is also a stargazing platform on deck eight.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the Seaside Restaurant on deck four, while the Ocean Grill on deck seven offers a more casual dining space, panoramic views and dinner under the stars.

Ocean Grill restaurant

“The Marina”, the embarkation area located aft on deck three, is the primary point of access to the ship and the guests will be brought on board over water, in one of the three available rigid inflatable boats. Celebrity Flora’s transom features integrated aft stairs, combined with a foldout stern platform with special boarding facilities, to allow safe and easy boarding for the passengers.

Behind the scenes

The dry/cold/freeze stores, galleys, pantries and eateries up to and including the scullery and the waste/sewage management, are unique in their layout, allowing seamless service in the restaurants.

On lower deck (deck 3), a RIB garage with hydraulic hull doors, hatches and dedicated cranes is provided for storage of the tenders. To allow for swift and unseen provisioning logistics by the crew, to starboard side – near the dry, cool and freeze stores in the fore ship – a loading bay is provided.

Shipyard De Hoop said it put a lot of effort into decreasing noise and vibrations, the result of which can be seen in floating floors, flexibly mounted equipment and anti-vibration panels in walls and ceilings. The practical implementation of this was supported by theoretical frequency analysis of the ship and its interior construction.

With Comfort Class 1 notation achieved (the highest possible class notation), quiet and comfortable passenger areas are assured. In addition, thorough wind tunnel tests on the vessel’s superstructure shape ensure passengers on deck will not be subjected to exhaust gasses.

See all the other content from this month’s Passenger Vessel Week right here, including reviews, features, opinions and news.

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