A typical day on Celebrity Flora starts with breakfast, followed by a shore landing, before heading back to the ship for lunch and then another shore landing. Each time landings are offered, there are usually one to four choices of activities, but all require some level of effort and dexterity. For instance, you might have a choice of a beachside walk, kayak or snorkel trip in the morning and then more kayaking or a long hike in the afternoon.
Options are dictated by which island you're visiting and what there is to see and do there; one day per cruise (the day you visit Santa Cruz), you'll do a three-quarter day tour to see the giant tortoises. Most days you'll pick your excursions the night before, but some might require earlier registration. (All excursions are included; there are no optional, extra-fee tours available.)
Tours are limited to 12 people (the most that can fit in a tender at a time) and each has a dedicated naturalist guide to lead it.
Getting on and off the ship is done via specialty tenders that have been designed with a ramp and a set of stairs. (The ship never actually docks anywhere.) You'll use the ramp for getting onto and off land (usually a little hop). The stairs are for getting onto/off the ship, as the top of the stairs is flush with the marina and requires just a small step. It's one of the easiest tendering experiences you can ever hope to have. They can't accommodate anyone in a wheelchair, but if you've got limited mobility, you should be able to handle the tendering.
The Galapagos is one of the world's greatest places for wildlife viewing, made even more amazing by the fact that the animals show no fear of humans so will stay put even when you're right next to them. Depending on the season, you'll spot hundreds of sea lions, marine and land iguanas, albatross, blue- and red-footed boobies, frigate birds and a wide variety of sea life.
You'll have a couple of opportunities to snorkel off some of the beaches frequented by sea lions, and if you're lucky, a curious youngster may come in to play with you.
In the evening, while sailing, make sure to take a look off the side of the ship. You might spot a dolphin or reef shark.
There are plenty of opportunities to learn more about the Galapagos, whether during formal presentations in the main Discovery Lounge, hands-on demos in the science lab or chatting with guides in the small library-like Naturalist's Lounge. Celebrity Flora typically carries 11 guides onboard, each with their own specialty (marine biology, geology, environmental law, etc.).
Presentations might be about how to identify birds or how different water currents affect the wildlife in different ways, or a guide might offer a few photography tips. In the science lab on Deck 3, you'll be able to see how sand from different islands looks under an electronic microscope or see what type of phytoplankton and zooplankton can be found in a scoop of water. The space is used for hands-on learning and is also a place for visiting scientists to do actual research.
Across the hall is the Naturalist's Lounge, which is mostly a place for the guides to hang out and be available for anyone who wants to ask questions. The space can double as a library as it has a small selection of books as well. The Deck 7 Observatory can also double as a library, with books and small wooden puzzle games.
There's an occasional food demo or tasting on Deck 7 as well, and once the sun is firmly settled in the west, you'll find a guide up on the tiny Deck 8 most nights for a stargazing session.
Daytime and Evening Entertainment
You'll find very little entertainment onboard Celebrity Flora besides accompanying music in the lounge or on the top deck. One night it might be piano music in the lounge and a guitar player/singer on the Vista Deck, while another night a pan flute player will provide the backdrop for a cocktail.
Our preview cruise had a silent disco late one night (10:45 p.m. to midnight), but it was quite poorly attended and considering that most people retire early after a long day of exploring, we suspect the offering won't last.
Celebrity Flora has one proper lounge/bar and one upper deck bar. The Discovery Lounge on Deck 4 is a large multipurpose space used for presentations, evening updates about the next day's activity and pre- or post-dinner cocktails and socializing. It's also the space onboard to get a specialty coffee any time of day. At the back, outside, is a space called the Sunset Lounge, but it's really just an outdoor extension of the Discovery Lounge.
Deck 7 is divided into three spaces: Ocean Grill, The Vista and the Observatory. Ocean Grill, which is where you'll find the ship's second bar, is an outdoor dining venue that serves casual lunches and dinners. The Vista Lounge is an outdoor relaxation area with comfy wicker armchairs, love seats and clam shells. A waiter from the Ocean Grill bar makes rounds every once in a while, but you're better off just picking up your drink from the bar first before settling in.
All the way at the front of Deck 7 is the Observatory. This small glass-enclosed space is a quiet nook for reading, playing small wooden puzzle games or taking in the scenery all around you. There's no bar here, just several comfy armchairs and sofas.
There's a small cold-water plunge pool on Deck 4 (technically in the Sunset Lounge), overlooking the marina, which can hold 10 to 12 people. There's also a smaller hot tub on Deck 7.
The marina, on Deck 3, is where you come on and off the ship and where you'll get kitted out for snorkeling with a wet suit, face mask and fins, but you'll never actually do anything off the marina (as in no jumping or diving into the water). It's just for getting into and out of the specialty tenders, as well as washing off when coming back from a shore excursion. (It's important to wash any traces of each island off your shoes before visiting the next island to avoid any type of cross-contamination.)
An unusual offering on Celebrity Flora is the nightly glamping experience, which is available for up to two couples per night. For $399, each couple gets to use two cabanas on Deck 7, one which is turned into a bed and the other a dining and lounging space. The experience includes an upscale dinner, cocktails and breakfast, as well as a private stargazing session with a guide. However, the cabanas, which are located across from each other on Deck 7, are not in a private area and anyone is free to pass by.
All entrance to Celebrity Flora is via the marina and Darwin's Cove, which is what Celebrity calls the entire area on Deck 3 despite the fact that it is composed of several smaller areas. Once inside the double glass doors, you'll find the reception desk and a small shop with essentials and souvenirs (including delicious Ecuadorian chocolate).
There's an elevator that stops on every deck from Decks 3 to 7. The only area you can't reach by elevator is a small stargazing deck at the front of the ship (and technically on Deck 8).
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available from front to back on the ship. There's no self-service laundry, but you can send items out with your butler to be cleaned for you.
Celebrity Flora has a small fitness center and a single massage room, both on Deck 5. Massages can be booked at the reception desk on Deck 3 and are one of the few extra expenses you'll find on the ship.
The fitness center has a small selection of fitness machines, Yoga balls and free weights. Group fitness classes are not offered.
Officially there is no minimum age to sail (beyond the 6 months that is the same for all Celebrity cruises), but Celebrity Flora is most appropriate for kids 10 or so and older. That said, you won't find many children onboard. There is no kids club, no babysitting and no family accommodations that allow for more than two people in a room.
Kids will love seeing all the wild animals, but they must be old enough to understand and respect the rules that come with a Galapagos trip, as well as old enough to keep themselves occupied without a lot going on onboard.