Luxury At Sea: Celebrity Apex Cruise Ship Review
Discover the latest ship in Celebrity Cruises luxurious fleet in this Celebrity Apex cruise ship review as we set sail in style on a week-long trip to the Greek Islands.
The smell of the sea, sun on your skin, the taste of new food and the sound of different languages just a few of the things Ive missed from travelling. The last 18 months have been tough on the travel industry, and no sector more so than cruising, which saw ships out of action for over a year. But travel is coming back to life, and cruising with it.
AD: My trip was hosted by Celebrity Cruises, but all views are my own.
My last big pre-pandemic trip was an Alaska cruise with Celebrity Cruises, so if felt strangely apt to be back on board with them for my first overseas trip since. This time Id be travelling on Celebrity Apex, the newest ship in their fleet, sailing through Greece and Croatia. One of the Edge Series ships, shes a radical new departure from Celebritys previous ships. But whats it like on board? This Celebrity Apex review tells you all you need to know.
Medium Ship Line #: Viking Ocean Cruises
Originally a river cruise line, Viking has launched six ocean-going vessels since 2015, the most recent being the brand-new Viking Jupiter, whose maiden voyage took place in February 2019. The ships are nearly identical, carrying 930 passengers each, housed in balcony staterooms. Though not all-inclusive, Viking Ocean guests do receive one free excursion in each port , beer and wine with lunch and dinner, and an unlimited Wi-Fi connection.
Its Pretty Cut And Dry In Regards To What Is And Isnt Included In Your Cruise Fare
If youre a newer cruiser, then you might be a little bit confused by your cruise fare when youre shopping around. Whats included? What can you expect? Are you really going to have a great time when youre traveling aboard a certain cruise ship if you dont purchase any of the add-ons that are available?
Celebrity Silhouette makes it easy when youre cruise shopping to know what youll get with your basic cruise fare and where you might want to upgrade. Your stateroom pricing comes with dining at the main dining rooms, buffet and a very few other restaurants; daily cruise activities; use of the gym, but not most classes; use of the table tennis activities; and access to all the theater shows and the comedy club.
What you wont get with your cruise fare is gratuities; beverage and spa tips ; all drinks beyond water, tea, coffee and juice; spa treatments; shore excursions; WiFi; and any extra activities or purchases made aboard the ship.
Why Its Important To Pick The Right Line For You
Weve long said that no matter what type of cruise youre taking, its important to do a little bit of research or work with a travel advisor to make sure that you wind up with a vacation thats going to be a great fit. Yes, you can jump on just about any cruise ship and have an amazing time.
And yes, the basics of a cruise will be the same on most lines. But the devil, as they say, is in the details.
With that in mind, were going to look at each of the major cruise lines and give you an idea of what they have to offer adult travelers.
From restaurants perfect for date nights to a ship on which no one under the age of 18 is allowed, weve got all kinds of options for you to consider.
Think of this as a Beginners Guide to Adult Cruising.; Lets dive in, looking at what they each offer, in no particular order.
Keep in mind that in some cases, well be speaking about what a cruise line specializes in generalities. Not all of the mentioned restaurants or amenities will necessarily be available on every ship in the lines fleet.
Celebrity Cruises’ Newest Ship Has Star
The Celebrity Beyond will set sail on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England on April 27, 2022.
Celebrity Cruises is certainly living up to its name.
On Thursday, the cruise line unveiled its newest ship, the Celebrity Beyond, and some of the eye-popping features on board, including wellness offerings curated by Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel Boulud’s first restaurant at sea.
When the ship sets sail in April 2022, it will boast 30 different restaurants, bars, and lounges; luxurious staterooms complete with private plunge pools and celeb-designed features.
“Celebrity Cruises has always been an innovator at sea, and now we have challenged the status quo with a vessel that goes beyond expectations, beyond imagination,” said Lutoff-Perlo Celebrity Cruises President and CEO said in a press release this week. “Celebrity Beyond;shatters any and every preconceived notion of the cruising experience. This exquisite ship offers a journey at the intersection of elegance and approachability filled with what’s important to our guests today: forward-thinking design, culinary excellence, unparalleled well-being and incomparable service.”
Guests will be able to dine at Michelin-starred Chef Boulud’s restaurant, Le Voyage. Boulud said in a statement that the restaurant will place food on center stage and that the menu “will be grounded in the DNA of my French roots, but, at the same time, it’s going to be very adventurous.”
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Small Ship Line #: Metropolitan Touring
Operating three expedition vessels in the Galápagos, Metropolitan Touring is the ideal cruise line for those seeking a casual experience in the wildlife hotspot. The tiny ships, which only accommodate between 40 and 78 passengers, have a laid-back atmosphere where the focus is very much on wildlife spotting. The company also offers land-based tours in mainland Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia that can be combined with a Galápagos expedition.
Small Ship Line #1: Hapag
German company Hapag-Lloyd is not just in the shipping business: its building a luxury expedition cruise empire, too. Though it currently only has two ships in its fleet, the MS Europa and MS Europa 2, the line has impressed its customers with suite-style cabins, impressive itineraries across all seven continents, and extremely polished service thats anything but stuffy. Hapag-Lloyds budding empire will expand with three new expedition ships scheduled to launch in 2021.
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Celebrity Cruises Theatre Entertainment Is All Backed By A Live Band
The singers and dancers were absolutely brilliant in all of the shows, youre actually able to film and take photos during the shows which is something you cant normally do.
In the theatre all guests were meant to wear their masks, the majority of people did. Social distancing measures were in place too with two seats between each cruise group. I love the two levels of the theatre, we often sat at the top and had a great view down of the stage.
Sometimes different bits would come out of the stage like poles and podiums, I enjoyed it a lot. The shows had a live band too! None of the recorded music that Im used to.;
Dining And Venue Enhancements Extend To Areas Open To All Guests
If you think the new and upgraded venues aboard Celebrity Silhouette are only open to suite guests, think again. The cruise line made some changes to venues open to all cruisers.
The newly upgraded Oceanview Cafe has a more open design and increased seating. The new Main Restaurant also has more seating, for more guests dining at once. The redesigned Sunset Bar provides better seating with great views and a similarly redesigned Rendezvous Lounge offers a bigger bar and more space to spread out.
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Small Ship Line #: Ecoventura
As Ecoventura operates a fleet of three expedition yachts with a capacity of only 20 passengers, you know youre getting a personalized experience on board. The ships sail two week-long itineraries in the Galápagosyou can combine them both if you want more time with the islands incredible wildlife. The luxurious ships each have 10 well-appointed cabins, a lounge where naturalists provide lectures and briefings before excursions, a dining room and bar, a library filled with scholarly tomes on the Galápagos, and a sundeck for relaxation.
Xplor Playa Del Carmen Mexico
Xplor in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico Photo by pauljoelhancock on Flickr, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
Soar through Playa del Carmens jungle landscape at the Xplor by Xcaret adventure park. This double circuit zip line course includes two sets of seven cables and adds in a couple of exhilarating water landings for an extra dose of fun.
Traverse a total of almost two and a half miles, zooming over the lush terrain of the Mayan jungle, with views of the Caribbean Sea in the distance. Afterward, whizz down the waterslide to cool off.
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Its Always Easy To Find A Drink When Youre Aboard Celebrity Silhouette
Speaking of watering holes, you wont find a lack of them aboard this ship. Theres a wide swathe of bars and lounges open every evening, so you can find somewhere to wet your whistle, no matter what kind of bar and lounge experience you like.
Theres the Passport Bar, open until late every evening, and opening in the morning at 9 a.m., so you can get a drink almost any time. Craft Social is the newest watering hole, added with the February remodels and replacing Cellar Masters; its an upscale sports bar, with lots of beer, upgraded bar food and high-end furnishings.
The Martini Bar is a favorite spot overlooking the atrium. Quasar is a retro night club, while Entertainment Court Bar, another new spot, is adjacent, offering cocktails. World Class Bar is all about mixology. The Retreat Lounge, also new and just for suite guests, took over the spot where Michaels Club once was.
And this all just scratches the surface! Theres still a handful of other bars and lounges left to explore.
Mega Ship Line #: Msc Cruises
Though MSC is headquartered in landlocked Switzerland, this cruise line has mastered the art of mega-ships, building five of the 25 largest in the world: MSC Grandiosa, MSC Bellissima, MSC Meraviglia,MSC Seaview, and MSC Seaside. Each can hold between 5,300 and 6,300 passengers at maximum capacity. MSC Grandiosa is the newest of the five, offering innovative features like Zoe, an artificial intelligencepowered virtual assistant that can help you with any questions or requests on board, as well as impressive entertainment like the third set of Cirque du Soleil shows at sea . But on all five ships, youll find everything from top-notch dining options to bowling alleys to copious outdoor space for sunbathing. MSC has some plans for mega-growth, too: it has another Meraviglia-Plus class ship and four World-class mega-ships in the pipeline, each with a capacity between 5,800 and 6,850 passengers.
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What Are Celebrity Apex Staterooms Like
Celebrity Apex has 1467 staterooms around 10% are inside and 10% are ocean view , but the vast majority have a veranda. Aqua Class and Concierge Class staterooms come with extra perks, from access to the thermal suite and Blu restaurant to a dedicated concierge. And there are also 176 suites on board Celebrity Apex.
If you want to splash out, theres an array of amazing spaces you can stay in. There are the Edge Villas located in The Retreat with their two-story living area and private plunge pools. Or the spectacular 5,000-square-foot Iconic Suite, right at the front of the ship, with two bedrooms, a balcony over the bridge, cabanas and hot tubs.
New for the Edge Class ships are the Infinite Veranda staterooms, which swap a normal balcony for whats almost an outdoor room added onto the cabin, which you can either close off or leave open, with a window that goes up and down with the push of a button. It brings the outside in and gives you more space up 23% versus a comparable balcony stateroom on Celebritys Solstice Class ships, and the bathrooms are also 10% bigger.
Our First Port Stop Was Close To Home
Our first port stop was in Dover and we took an excursion on the Kent and Sussex railway. At the moment guests on Celebrity cruises from the UK have to take organised excursions but I dont think thatll be the case for much longer as lockdown eases here in the UK.
It was a terribly foggy and rainy day when we set off on our excursion, thankfully I had already had the free room service so I was ready for whatever the weather and day would bring.;
Im from the south coast of England so it was strange to take an excursion so close to home, we did enjoy it though. The cost of the excursion should have been around $100 per person, if you know me youll know I rarely pay for ship excursions so it was nice to experience some on this cruise.;
In true British style as soon as we got back onboard the sun came out. Typical! We went to the theatre to see the show then went to one of the most memorable parts of the cruise for me.
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Hacienda Campo Rico San Juan Puerto Rico
Hacienda Campo Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Explore Puerto Ricos subtropical forest from above at Hacienda Campo Rico, a former plantation house located near the city of San Juan. Choose from a thrill ride that includes five zip lines and five canopy bridges, or embark on a Rappelling and Zip Lining Safari that involves three ziplines, three canopy bridges, and cave rappelling, all within the lush, 2,300-acre estate.
Youll fly over tropical rainforest, lakes, and marshland. The last zip line lands you at the estates mojito bar, where you can award your own bravery with some local Puerto Rican fare and a refreshing mojito.
River Ship Line #: Delfin Amazon Cruises
Sailing the Amazon River in Peru isnt quite like other river journeysits a blissful escape into the wilderness, where you might be surrounded by pink dolphins or piranhas at any given moment. Delfin, the first Relais & Chateaux cruise line, makes the journey incredibly comfortable, offering boutique hotellike accommodations aboard its three rustic-luxe ships. And, as part of the Relais & Chateaux family, the cuisine is spectacular, incorporating regional dishes made with local ingredients.
Celebrity Brand’s Cruising Experience
- Accommodations: some of the largest cruise suites . Luxurious “ConciergeClass” staterooms, attentive highly personalized impeccable service; and enjoying seating preference, priority check-in. 2:1 guest-to-staff ratio
- Dining: award-winning cuisine, excellent alternate dining venues. Celebrity’s “Gourmet Bites” every afternoon, themed lunch buffets. Culinary demonstrations. The line has partnered with “Elizabeth Blau and Associates”, as to menu and wine selections, and all the standards of serving.
- Facilities: the largest cruise ship spa and gym facilities at sea . “Celebrity Theatre” for Broadway-style productions, huge European-style casinos, bingo, themed bars, and lounges, including a discoclub, large pools, poolside recreation programs , onboard boutique shopping.
- Enrichment: “Celebrity Lecture Series”. Rich contemporary art collections. Art auctions, and enhanced golf program.
- “Celebrity Escape” concept offers complimentary classes, workshops, themed events, fashion shows, deck parties, etc.
Since 2013, the company has been partnered with “Top Chef” . In late 2014, both companies started the exclusive “Top Chef at Sea” cruising experience. By this onboard culinary program, fans and foodies have the opportunity to travel with a lineup of celebrity chefs on food-themed “Top Chef Signature Sailing” each year. Celebrity also offers an interactive “Quickfire Challenges” and “Top Chef”-inspired menu evenings fleetwide on cruises 5-nights or longer .
Stateroom Enhancements Put Comfort First
While Celebrity Silhouettes dry dock period only added a handful of staterooms to the ship, the overall stateroom enhancements that are part of the Celebrity Revolution initiative are certainly noticeable. These enhancements put cruiser comfort first. New bedding includes luxurious cashmere mattresses. New finishes and fixtures can be found in stateroom bathrooms. Stateroom doors now feature redesigned digital key access, with advanced, RFID lock technology.
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The Celebrity Cruises Fleet
Of the seven big cruise lines that account for the majority of cruises taken by North Americans, Celebrity has one of the simplest fleets.
At the core of the brand are 11 relatively big ships that can be bunched into just three groups, or classes, as they are known in cruise industry lingo.
The newest group of ships at the line is the Edge Class, consisting of just two vessels that have been unveiled since 2018 each holding around 2,900 passengers. If youre in the newer is better camp when it comes to cruise ships, this is the Celebrity ship class for you.
Celebrity currently has plans for five Edge Class vessels in all. A third vessel in the series, Celebrity Beyond, already is under construction at the Chantiers de lAtlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France. Its scheduled to be completed in 2022. Two more of the vessels are expected to be constructed by 2023 and 2024, respectively.
Eventually, the abovementioned rollouts will make the Edge Class the new core of the Celebrity fleet. But, for now, that title falls to the lines five-ship Solstice Class series. If you take a Celebrity cruise now, the odds are youll be on one of these ships.
Just a tad smaller than the Edge Class ships, the Solstice Class vessels were unveiled between 2008 and 2012.
The last grouping of relatively big ships in the Celebrity fleet is the Millennium Class, made up of four significantly smaller vessels that debuted between 2000 and 2002.