This is a specialty cruise on a luxury ship. It is not your typical, laid back cruise. So don’t expect lots of glamour, glitz or specialty dining and entertainment. This is a once in a lifetime experience that really can only be enjoyed if you participate in the excursions.
This was a wonderful and exceptional cruise. The Flora is an amazing ship. It is minimalistic in its design, making it very pleasurable and enjoyable. None of the Avant Garde and extreme designs that the newer ships like Edge have but really don’t add any functionality. The Flora is extremely functional in its design, and provides a very pleasing environment for the passengers. The rooms, being suites, are exceptional. Tremendous amount of room and storage. There are two negatives for the rooms. First, there are limited outlets, especially on one side of the bed (none). Bring a multi-socket adapter for charging your cameras and phones. Second, the glass between the bathroom and bedroom is mostly clear, with some minor opaqueness at the bottom. That means that if your suite mate turns on the bathroom light, it will illuminate the entire bedroom. It needs a night shade to prevent waking up the other occupant if the light is turned on (no way to turn on just dim lighting in the bathroom unless you turn on the entire set of bedroom lights first).
OK, the pros and cons of the trip. The total experience is amazing. From arrival in Quito, Celebrity is there every step of the way to get you to the hotel, take you on local excursions, and then deliver you to the Galapagos. Totally amazing service.
The excursions with the naturalists are exceptional. So much information is provided that it is almost overwhelming. Seeing the wildlife up close and personal is an experience you will never forget. The currents sometimes cloud the water up limiting visibility for snorkeling, but you still get to see some of the underwater life. Wet shoes are a must as several excursions had wet landings (slippery) or wet treks. If using hiking or tennis shoes, a second pair would help. The casual environment means not having to pack formal clothes or anything special. Since luggage is limited to 44 pounds, this certainly helps.
We probably took over 1000 photographs and are still sorting them out, so make sure to have plenty of storage. Even the sunsets at night are spectacular.
The food is good, but nothing spectacular. A variety of ceviche was common each night, and it was excellent. There is a huge variety of food at the lunch buffet, so even the person with dietary restrictions should find plenty of choices. Service in the evening is via menu, and the staff provides excellent recommendations, and not just pushing a dish. Choices are more limited than big cruise ships, but no one should leave hungry.
There were some glitches on the Flora. Weather on the TV in the rooms is for Quito and not the islands. They need to show current conditions where the ship is, and not Quito because it will be 20 degrees cooler there, and the weather is completely different. The sound for the Celebrity presentations was intermittent the first couple of days on the TV (not the other channels, only the Celebrity videos for the Galapagos). Also, the vacuum suction for the toilets quit working a couple of times and the system had to be reset. The pool was closed at first, then opened, then closed again. Not a big deal (use the whirlpool), but it was somewhat surprising for a new ship to still have these problems after six months.
The navigation map (TV) never shows the current position of the Flora. It does show the intended stops at the various islands, but there is no real-time position display (like airlines show, or Google Maps). Also disappointing is that the navigation map doesn’t even show the names of some of the smaller islands that the Flora is visiting. These are actual excursion stops, but the island name is not displayed. The navigation display really needs to be updated. It is also the same display that is shown in the Discovery Lounge, so after a week of the same thing over and over, it gets to be pretty repetitive.
One of the best features of the cruise is the staff. I think we saw the Captain every single day, intermingling with the passengers. Amazing! Every single staff member goes out of their way to make sure your needs are met. They get to know you and your requests by the end of the week. The personal touch makes the Celebrity Flora cruise so very special.
Cabins are so spacious, with plenty of storage areas. Bathroom is huge with double vanity sinks. Shower is outstanding with plenty of room.