I am a big fan of Celebrity Cruises and pretty much all of my clients that trust me enough to experience a larger ship have come to find out: Celebrity gives you “The Bang For Your Buck in the Business!” The newest iteration is the Celebrity Apex.
The Celebrity Apex is the newest and largest Celebrity ship and, to be sure, it has a lot of “Bang”; something that has gotten even better with Celebrity’s new Always Included: Drinks, Tips, and Wi-Fi. However, while she is a beautiful, she is large. At 2,900 passengers it is, to me, pushing my limits…unless she proves me other wise. I always keep an open mind!
I, personally, have been on almost every Celebrity ship – including many long gone – over the past two decades; having attained the second-highest status: Elite Plus status. That is a lot of cruises and cruise nights! You know how critical I am, so that should tell you something about my high regard for Celebrity Cruises! Note: I was not invited to the Naming Ceremony because of my sailing history, but my selling history.
Due to Covid the normal (is there any “normal” anymore?) Naming Ceremony followed by an inaugural cruise didn’t happen for the Celebrity Apex. In fact, I saw her in Piraeus, Greece when I was on the Seabourn Ovation. So after operating some limited cruises in Greece, Celebrity is bringing her over the the United States for a variety of shorter (5-9 day) Caribbean cruises departing out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. And that is where she will have her Naming Ceremony on November 2, 2021 as a two day cruise to nowhere begins.
The Celebrity Apex has much in common with her younger sister, Celebrity Edge, and with her older sister that is about to be delivered, Celebrity Beyond. But she also has similarities with her fleet mates, but with Celebrity always pushing both the innovation and luxury-leaning edges there are some innovations. (And I do believe the pun was intended.)
As seems to be the way of things at the moment, I am required to have a negative Covid test taken within two days of embarkation. Celebrity has a program where you can buy two or three video-supervised antigen tests and have them sent to you. As I travel a lot I figured I would purchase the 3-pack for $99.00 including shipping. (I will be visiting my 89 year old fully vaccinated mother in New York before this cruise so I, once again, visited Walgreens for my rt-PCR test the day two days prior to boarding my flight…just in case. So for me, this double testing is just the way it is and I don’t really mind it. I’ll take my test two days prior to boarding.
Celebrity also has, as expected an app. The app is quite robust and seems to be functioning much better than, say, the Seabourn app. You are asked to scan in your passport and both sides of your vaccination card before being able to complete your check-in. Under normal circumstances you can also book restaurant reservations, etc. So with the Covid-19 kit ordered and the Celebrity app downloaded…
I will be staying on Deck 11 in a Prime Concierge Stateroom which is 243 square feet, including a 42 square foot “Infinite Veranda”- which really isn’t a balcony, but an interior area with a sliding window that simulates a balcony…a first experience for me. It sits just below the similarly sized AquaClass Stateroom (which have access to the SEA thermal spa and Blu, a private dining room). There are, of course, the expected veranda, oceanview and inside staterooms as well.
And then, on the luxury end, there is the plethora of different Suite categories with access to to their own Luminae Restaurant, The Retreat Lounge and The Retreat Sundeck. The suites range from the Iconic Suite (1,882 interior square feet + 689 terrace square feet) to the two story Edge Villa (739 square feet + 211 square foot terrace) to Penthouse Suites (1,291-1,432 square feet + 197-1098 terrage square feet) to the more, ‘er um, “mundane Reflection, Royal, Signature, Celebrity, Aqua Sky, Sunset and Sky Suites (254-362 square feet + 57-102 terrace).
During this cruise I do not know what restaurants I will be trying out as they will be assigned once we are onboard, but there are quite a few of them! Celebrity says there is no main restaurant on this ship. This is partially true as it has split it into four restaurants all with the identical menu but with different themes, decor and a few different menu items kinda sorta based upon the theme: Cosmopolitan (American); Cyprus (Greek); Normandie (French) and Tuscan (Steakhouse/Italian).
The remaining restaurants are divided into different categories.
Oh, you must be wondering about Bars and Lounges. Not to worry, Celebrity Apex has many, including on the Magic Carpet, Eden, the Pool, Sunset Bar (overlooking the stern), Martini Bar, The Club (late night) as well as the Retreat Lounge and Retreat Pool Bar for suite guests. There is also Craft Social that focuses on presenting 40 different craft beers including beer and wine flights as well as small bites. And there are a number of coffee bars spread throughout the ship. Plus Room Service.
Clearly there is no way that I will be able to experience all of this in less than two full days onboard, but I will have a heck of a time trying out those that I can and taking a peak at the ones I can’t.
But what I can tell you is that if you were, for example, to book a Sky Suite (so you have access to The Retreat and Luminae) with premium beverages, gratuities and WiFi included plus a $600 Onboard Credit to offset some of that specialty dining a one week cruise over Thanksgiving would cost you less than $6,900 total for two including all fees and taxes. So what I can tell you is that Celebrity and the Celebrity Apex continue to bring you “The Best Bang for the Buck in the Business”!
Stay tuned for my impressions!