Overall, the dining experience on Celebrity Flora ranges from good to excellent, but there are quirks you'll want to note. Due to Ecuadorian regulations, no fruits with seeds can be brought into the Galapagos, which means you won't find any berries to go with your cereal onboard. Oranges and other citrus fruits are also hard to come by unless they've been sourced directly from the Galapagos. Watermelon, cantaloupe, papaya and pineapple, for instance, are all grown locally.
Similarly, in order to bring beef into the country, it must first be cooked and then frozen, and while there is some beef for the line to purchase in the archipelago, it's not of the finest quality. We heard from others to avoid the hamburgers at the grill.
Seafood, on the other hand, is plentiful in the region and quite tasty, with tuna and red snapper of particular note.
Every meal offers vegetarian options, and other special needs (gluten- or lactose-free, vegan) can be accommodated with prior notice.
Service in the dining room is friendly, if not always five-star, but the all-Ecuadorian crew tries their best. If you have a little patience, you will eventually get you what you've asked for with a genuine smile.
Other than room service, food is hard to come by when the dining room is not open. There is always a small selection of pastries and quick bites in Darwin's Cove when excursions return to the ship in the afternoon, and we've been told cakes and pastries will be put out in the Discovery Lounge in the afternoons but that had not yet been implemented when we were onboard.
Seaside Restaurant (Deck 4)
Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D)
Yet another spacious area on the ship, the Seaside Restaurant has more than enough room for 100 passengers, with tables spaced far enough apart that you'll never be bumping elbows with anyone else. Two full sides of the restaurant are floor-to-ceiling windows so you pretty much have a view from anywhere you're sitting.
Meals are all open seating, with usually a two-hour window for each (hours depend on the excursion schedule). Breakfast and lunch are buffet style, while dinner most nights is waiter-served a la carte.
Breakfast offers most of the usual morning fare, including an omelet station; feel free to ask a waiter if you want your eggs cooked some other way. Lunch varies by day, but you'll always find a make-your-own salad station, plus a variety of hot and cold items. At least one lunch per cruise will feature a full array of Ecuadorian-inspired fare.
Dinner offers a mix of Ecuadorian- and Galapagos-inspired dishes along with "favorites" from Celebrity's fleetwide menu. Most dinners feature four appetizer choices (including one soup and one salad) and at least five main choices, including one pasta and one vegetarian option each night. Desserts are more limited, with just two choices most nights.
At least two nights per cruise, including the first night of each sailing, dinner is served family style, with large plates of each menu item placed on the table for everyone to share.
Ocean Grill (Deck 7)
Meals: B, L, D
The casual, outdoor Ocean Grill offers simple items for lunch and dinner most days. You'll find snacks like guacamole and chips, hummus with grilled flatbread or a local fruit plate, as well as heartier options including a Galapagos burger (beef is sourced in the Galapagos), quesadillas, grilled chicken and a fish of the day. (On our three-day cruise, it was red snapper every day.) There's also a mixed green or Caesar salad on the menu with toppings that include local fish, chicken breast and local lobster tail.
Twice per sailing, the Ocean Grill is also used for the main dinner, with a seafood buffet Dinner Under the Stars.
Breakfast is also served here, but it's more continental in style with cereal, yogurt and parfaits, and baked goods.
Meals: B, L, D
Room service is available all day long.