Let me start by saying that until recently I hadn’t considered going on a cruise as an option for my annual vacation. I had always assumed a cruise was stuffy and formal; something you do to pass time after you retire.
I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I discovered a new class of cruising that shatters those stereotypes. There is no question that Celebrity Cruises has gone all out to target a younger audience with their latest new ships, named Edge and Apex.
We joined Celebrity Apex for a 7 night cruise around the Greek Islands, and here are 8 reasons why you should consider Apex for your next vacation.
1. Incredible ship design
Apex is the second ship in the ‘Edge’ series. Its revolutionary design will blow your mind, with features like the Magic Carpet, where you soar above the sea on the side of the ship whilst enjoying a cocktail or dinner. The Martini Bar located under the Grand Plaza’s stunning chandelier is one of our favourite areas, with nightly flair and light shows.
The rooftop garden is a serene space where you can relax with a drink, and the sunset bar is a great place to sip on a cocktail as you sail away from each destination.
Eden, which is also located at the stern, offers an out-of-this-world experience with inspiring design, tantalizing food and experimental cocktails.
Throughout the ship, you will find amazing design details with contemporary art installations, over 200 individual chair designs, and lots of quiet spaces where you can relax and unwind.
Our favourite space is the Retreat sun deck, which is available to all suite class passengers, and boasts an outdoor area to rival any high end hotel resort.
2. Luxury accommodation
Apex offers a wide range of spacious staterooms and suites, designed by world renowned interior designer, Kelly Hoppen. The soft fabrics and neutral colour palette provides a calm and contemporary space, and the sumptuous bedding will guarantee a great night’s sleep.
Most of the staterooms are outward facing, and the infinite veranda gives you open air access to the sea at the push of a button. This clever feature maximises the internal living space, but without losing the benefits of a traditional balcony.
If you’re feeling like treating yourself then why not book one of the stunning suites, which automatically provides access to The Retreat. From the Sky Suite to the Iconic Suite, there is something for everyone and every budget. Our favourite is the Edge Villa, a breathtaking two storey accommodation, complete with a private terrace and its own plunge pool.
3. The Retreat
The Retreat provides the ultimate in luxury vacation experiences, and is available to all suite class passengers.
The Retreat includes spacious accommodations, a private restaurant that delivers exquisite food and service, an exclusive lounge for cocktails and snacks, and a sun deck with its own pool.
You will also get your own personal retreat host, who will take care of any special requests throughout the journey.
As a Retreat guest, you also get a range of curated amenities included and these include a shore excursion credit, premium drinks, streaming wi-fi, tips and onboard credit to spend as you wish.
4. Tantalising food
If you are new to cruise ship getaways then the dining options can be a little overwhelming. There are four main restaurants included, and these offer a range of classic menu choices, as well as themed speciality dishes.
If your budget allows, there are a further seven speciality restaurants, offering you the chance to sample a range of cuisine from around the world. You can buy speciality dining packages in advance, with all the options available to view on the Celebrity Cruises app.
If you are a sushi fan, then Raw on 5 is the restaurant for you. The Raw bar located at the entrance showcases a range of colourful sushi and shellfish and a dramatic drum chandelier greets you as you enter the dining room. The range and quality of food is good enough to rival many top sushi restaurants and is definitely one of our favourites.
Fine Cut Steakhouse offers an upscale dining experience with an impressive selection of meat and seafood, together with a large collection of fine wines. The dining room conveys an elegant design, with a warm and inviting colour palette and the sumptuous chairs make you feel right at home.
If you are feeling a little more adventurous, Eden features an open kitchen that produces innovative dishes with locally sourced ingredients. We were particularly impressed with the precision with which the dishes are executed, resulting in dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious.
5. Top notch entertainment
The main theatre spans two floors and showcases a state of the art 20ft tall LED screen and hydraulic stage, which together provide an immersive experience. It’s not just the tech that takes your breath away though, it’s the cast, the costumes, the production, and the quality of the performances.
During our trip we watched four shows in the main theatre and we loved them all. Our favourite was Rockumentary, which takes you on a whistle-stop tour of rock history, where big screen projections are coupled with incredible vocal performances and the audience votes for the finale using the Celebrity Cruises app.
The Club is a more intimate space, with nightly entertainment. The highlight of the week was the show Caravan, which recreates something akin to a cabaret club or circus, with acrobats and performers delivering a spellbinding performance that has you on the edge of your seat.
Wherever you are on the ship, there is always something going on, from singers to comedians, acrobats and dancing lessons, and the whole entertainment programme is enthusiastically overseen by Guiseppe, the most energetic Cruise Director you will ever meet.
6. Exceptional destinations
This Mediterranean cruise contained a bucket list of destinations. We set sail from Athens and visited the historic city of Dubrovnik, followed by Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini. All of the ports were well located and provided easy access to the destinations.
The destinations team are available to help you book shore excursions, and they provide an exciting range of experiences, from city tours to boat excursions and cooking experiences.
Some cruises can leave you feeling a bit underwhelmed, but this Mediterranean itinerary with its dramatic landscapes, ancient ruins, and picture postcard cityscapes is sure to impress.
7. Healthy at sea
We all recall the scenes of people stuck on cruise ships at the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s understandable that people are still nervous about travelling. However, I am pleased to report that Celebrity has robust measures in place to keep you healthy at sea.
All passengers over 12 years of age are double vaccinated, and everyone is given a lateral flow test before they are allowed to board the ship. Whilst on-board, you will find the highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness. I felt safer on-board Apex than I would sitting in a bar or restaurant in central London.
8. Commitment to LGBTQ+ community
What we really love about Celebrity Cruises is their commitment to the LGBTQ+ community, and their passion for diversity and inclusion. From the top down, you can really see that Celebrity Cruises is a diverse company, who have continually shown themselves to be allies to our community.
You can book your trip for 7 nights sailing the Greek Islands and Croatia onboard Celebrity Apex, with prices starting from £1109 per person. Price excludes flights. Click here to find out more.