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Blurring Boundaries

by Ann Tsang / Images: Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

On the Celebrity Flora the boundaries between ship and nature become blurred. On no other cruise ship can guests get so close to the diverse flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands - thanks to an innovative design by 3deluxe. The Celebrity Flora is the first expedition yacht designed exclusively for the Galapagos Islands and is the most energy-efficient ship of its class in the region.

The research vessel of the American cruise company Celebrity Cruises, named Celebrity Flora set sail for the first time in the middle of 2019 and has been setting new standards ever since. Prominent guests at the naming ceremony included Philippe Cousteau Jr., grandson of marine researcher Jacques Cousteau, and the Ecuadorian environmental activist and former president of WWF International, Yolanda Kakabadse.

Celebrity Flora marks an evolutionary turning point in the approach to ship design - creating a sense of being truly immersed in the destination, instead of just visiting it. Passengers can indulge in the largest and most luxurious accommodations in the Galapagos Islands, where every stateroom is a suite, dine on delectable menus, curated by a Michelin-starred chef, and allow a Personal Suite Attendant to help them unpack. Celebrity Flora makes a visit to the Islands all-inclusive, making the trip as convenient, relaxing, and memorable as possible. This 100-passenger luxury mega yacht ensures that a visit to these primitive islands is anything but primitive.

Each suite includes a thoughtfully curated array of indulgent design features, services, and amenities - premium linens and bathrobes, chocolates and bath products sourced locally from Ecuador, and integrated drinking water filtration systems. Full room automation also allows guests to control everything at the touch of a button.

The 100 metre-long open ocean cruise ship is a fusion of an expedition vessel and a luxury liner and was specially designed for exclusive expeditions to the Galapagos Islands. The task for design firm 3deluxe was to skilfully combine leisurely cruise ship and yacht aesthetics with the rather more robust appearance of a research vessel.

"In our ship design projects, we benefit greatly from our many years of experience in designing unique exhibition and experience spaces," says Björn Asmussen, head of the 3deluxe Ocean department. "We have always focused on a multi-layered and comprehensive emotional exchange between the guests of the space and the overall theme. We want them to experience the breathtaking natural environment as directly as possible." 

3deluxe has focused the design on orienting the guests to the world outside. The suites are equipped with large, floor-to-ceiling windows, and all terraces have glass balustrades. Sky, ocean, fauna and flora are in close proximity everywhere the guest goes. The destination and its surroundings have inspired and deeply influenced the overall design.

   Central to the Celebrity Flora concept was the protection of the fragile ecosystem of the archipelago. According to the nature conservation regulations, the vessel is not allowed to moor on the island beaches - therefore the open stern with its own marina was the focus of the exterior design. It provides a direct connection to the outside world where guests can venture on expeditions to the islands with Zodiacs twice a day. At the stern of the Celebrity Flora sits the most dramatic architectural element of the ship design - the "amphitheatre" formed by the asymmetrical terraces at the stern. The terraces cascade down to the water's surface and form the unmistakable rear view of the ship.

 The architects and designers at 3deluxe are renowned for their innovative work, and now the team has set new standards in cruise ship projects of the future. Their groundbreaking ideas from a wide variety of disciplines naturally flow into the design of new cruise ships. Life on the sea - for designers, architects and visionaries is an exciting and sustainable thought experiment. 

With the design of a new generation of cruise ships, 3deluxe is a pioneer and will continue to develop exciting models for the future on land and on water.