“My husband, Nagy, and I loved the Celebrity Flora – great staff, great excursions, great food, and a great sized ship, which was easy to get around!”
FROSCH Travel Advisor
Woodland Hills, CA
Exploring Galápagos and witnessing its remarkable wildlife is a dream come true for many travelers. Whether you’re snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, or riding in a Zodiac, you’ll encounter and observe the most interesting animals.
FROSCH Travel Advisor, Raye Said, recently had the opportunity to sail the Galápagos onboard Celebrity Flora, and she shares highlights of her phenomenal trip below.
VIEWING THE WILDLIFE
The Galápagos Islands are a wonderful experience with a focus on the activities and time with the animals. Since the Celebrity Flora was designed and built specifically for Galápagos, the vessel size was perfect as we were on excursions in minimal time.
Our naturalist guides were exceptional and knowledgeable on MANY subjects. In the evenings, we gathered in the lounge as the naturalists explained the different activities available for the next day. We were shown the maps of our route along with photos of the area.
Our guides explained the terrain, the animals we’d see depending on the excursion we chose, and the level of physical ability required for each excursion. These options ranged from a moderate activity like a tender ride around the islands learning about geological formations to steep strenuous hikes for guests interested in intense activities. After the presentations, guests chose their morning and afternoon trips for the following day.
During our excursions, we saw sea lions, blue-footed boobies, red-footed boobies, land and marine iguanas, giant tortoises, whales, dolphins, and all sorts of fabulous birdlife. On one occasion, we even witnessed a blue-footed booby seducing his mate by tapping his large feet!
On our hikes, our guides told wonderful stories about the pirates that lived here years ago, the whaling industry, and the research of Charles Darwin. As we walked, the naturalists shared details about the different flora, fauna, and cacti. They stopped to show us the different berries on the bushes, which were edible, and which were not.
One day we went to the museum to see famous ‘Lonesome George’, the last known Pinta Tortoise that died in 2012. We learned the interesting story of George, how he was preserved, and the conservation efforts of the islands. It was an interesting experience!
ONBOARD THE INNOVATIVE SHIP
The ship is new, beautiful, and intimate. There’s only a total of 100 guests onboard but 85 crew and staff. What an incredible guest to staff ratio!
The staff was so warm and welcoming. Celebrity focuses on hiring local Ecuadorians for these sailings so we’re able to learn insight into the local culture from the crew and staff. Our captain was kind and approachable. He ate in the dining room with the passengers, helped guests onboard, and assisted the other crew members with loading suitcases onto the ship.
The all-inclusive experience included all excursions, meals, and drinks, which made it a very pleasant experience. In between our two tours of the day, we came back on board the ship for a break for lunch, rest, and relaxation. We met wonderful people mainly from the States, a few Canadians and a charming couple from the UK. We managed to somehow communicate with a couple from China who spoke practically no English.
The one main restaurant onboard served a buffet-style breakfast and lunch, but dinner was a sit-down service. On the top deck, we dined alfresco in the cute bistro as well. The seafood was fresh, and it was so fun to try all the different varieties of ceviche, some served over popcorn or plantain chips!
There is very low-key nightly entertainment. We had karaoke one night and a silent disco on another. Typically, guests sat around with cocktails regaling each other with what animals they saw that day and sharing their different experiences.
AN UNEXPECTED RESCUE
The excitement as you may have heard about on the news was that we rescued the Celebrity Xpedition that hit a rock and was just floating. The Celebrity staff and crew were amazing, working tirelessly all night to tow the ship to a safer location to get the 46 guests and 44 crew members onto the Flora. Our chef prepared a special dinner for them and breakfast the next day.
The captain then took the ship to the island of Baltra to get them all safely to the airport for their flights home. Celebrity refunded their money, paid for the flights, and gave them a free future cruise. They also credited our accounts for the two days missed and gave us two free days on a future Celebrity Cruise. This cruise line is a real class act.
Bottom line, we loved the experience, the excursions were fabulous, the service was outstanding, and the ship was wonderful. I highly recommend this cruise!
- We had good seafood, poultry, interesting desserts, and salads, but I don’t recommend ordering a steak onboard as the red meat selections weren’t near as good as the other choices.
- For families, I suggest that the kids be at least 8 years old to be able to enjoy the excursions and to remember the experience! Keep in mind, there is no true kids club or activities specifically for children. However, we had a multigenerational family onboard from Panama, and the kids loved swimming, snorkeling, and seeing the wildlife.
- This isn’t a good trip for people with mobility issues. This would be too difficult for those needing wheelchairs, walkers or canes.
- Go to the Galápagos on the Flora and prepare to be amazed!
Thank you, Raye, for sharing your insight with us! For more information on a Galápagos cruise, reach out to your FROSCH Travel Advisor.