Shipyard De Hoop has recently completed successful sea trials with Celebrity Flora, an innovative expedition cruise vessel for Celebrity Cruises, daughter of RCCL. Celebrity Flora, the first seagoing cruise ship built in the Netherlands for many years, is also the first expedition ship tailored in design and build to provide high-end luxury cruising in the Galapagos area. In Amsterdam next month, the 100-passenger ship will be handed over to Celebrity Cruises before sailing to Ecuador in South America, where the naming ceremony will be held in June. Recognised globally for her championing of sustainable development and environmental biodiversity preservation, godmother Yolanda Kakabadse, will attend the ship’s naming ceremony. Yolanda Kakabadse is the former president of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and also a former Ecuadorian minister of environment. After the ceremony, Celebrity Flora will be making year-round cruises to the Galapagos Islands, beginning in Baltra – one of the smaller islands of the Galapagos – at the start of the 2019 cruise season.
Despite dynamic international competition, Shipyard De Hoop secured the prestigious contract as a result of their accumulated experience of technically advanced features on high-end offshore vessels, combined with the knowledge of developing luxury cruise interiors (for smaller inland cruise vessels). It took almost a year from the initial discussion with Celebrity Cruises before the first block sections were erected.
The management at De Hoop are certain that more than a decade of participating in smaller seagoing cruise vessel projects, with the associated design development and investment in knowledge, has now paid off. De Hoop’s CEO, Patrick Janssens, states that this was the ideal basis for entering the growing market of expedition cruise vessels – their designers were fully prepared when the Celebrity Cruises challenge arose. Furthermore, with many Dutch suppliers and subcontractors on the client-approved ‘makerslist’, this project presented a great opportunity for the Dutch shipbuilding industry as a whole.