Such a simple thing. But, to me, it shows that Celebrity Cruises aims to please its passengers and pays attention to what breakfast eaters want.
In the Celebrity Apex’s buffet restaurant, Oceanview Café, is a popular breakfast item with a sign overtop it – Crispy Bacon. Great idea!
I’ve seen it happen so many times on cruise ships where a passenger in the breakfast buffet asks a crew member for crispy bacon. Then the crew member uses utensils to search through a big tray of limply half-cooked bacon to find the crispiest.
It was so refreshing to find that Apex has a buffet section specifically dedicated to well-cooked bacon. Those who like their bacon undercooked can certainly find it in Oceanview, too. But most folks I saw at my daily breakfast on the Apex were heading for the Crispy Bacon option.
All in all, the food on the new Celebrity Apex has been excellent. The ship has so many fine restaurants that even on my weeklong cruise, I won’t have time to eat at every one of them. I’ll give a short description of all the restaurants and add a bit more information about those in which I dined. I already wrote a post about my wonderful dining experience at Le Petit Chef so won’t go into that one again.
Instead of having one huge main dining room, the Apex has four smaller ones for a more private dining experience – Tuscan, Normandie, Cyprus and Cosmopolitan. Each of the four has its own beautiful design and special dishes.
Then there are the specialty restaurants which charge extra. I put a dollar sign $ next to those dining spots. There are also two restaurants that are exclusive – Luminae for Retreat stateroom passengers and Blu for AquaClass stateroom passengers. For starters, let’s visit Oceanview Café where some passengers choose to eat almost all their meals.
Seems like there is food being served in Oceanview almost any time of the day. I have eaten every breakfast on my cruise so far in Oceanview. For one thing, the food is great. For another, the floor-to-ceiling windows offer awesome ocean views. And, like everywhere else on the ship, the service is fantastic.
There’s also the plus in Oceanview that I don’t have to appear at a certain time. No reservations. Just walk in when I’m hungry. That means passengers can have an early risers’ breakfast starting at 6:30 a.m. or a late breakfast up to 11:15 a.m.
For lunch and dinner, Oceanview often has themed buffets – American, Taste of Germany,
Taste of France, Taste of Caribbean, Taste of Mexico, Italian Buffet, Taste of Asia and Extravaganza Buffet.
In Oceanview, passengers choose what food they want from the massive buffet, then crew members serve the food onto diner’s plates. In my opinion, that should be done everywhere on cruise ships, in buffet restaurants and in grocery stores. I don’t buy anything from the supermarket salad bar in my hometown because I have seen too many shoppers use their fingers to pick up a free bite or mess with the food displayed to buy. Yuck.
Also, when walking into Oceanview, there are long sinks for passengers to wash and dry their hands. Great idea because even if I washed my hands just before I left my cabin, I still have touched handrails and other surfaces on my way to Oceanview. Hand sanitizer stations are also handy all around the ship.
It took me a day or so to find the pizza place. Doesn’t every cruise ship have a pizza stand? It’s at one end of Oceanview Café on Deck 14. Same for the ice cream and frozen yogurt place. It’s at another end of Oceanview Café on Deck 14. A nice plus of the Apex ice cream is that they actually make fresh waffle cones. Very tasty.
A tip I always give first-time cruisers is to walk the entire buffet before filling a plate. On a cruise one time, a passenger looked at my seafood laden plate and asked where I got that. Seems she had stopped at the first food stations in the buffet and would rather have what was on my plate.
Luminae is exclusive for Retreat passengers and it is my favorite restaurant on Celebrity Apex. It is where I ate lunch on my first day aboard the ship. When I told Luminae waiter Sanjeev that I loved the window seat where he led me, Sanjeev made sure that is where I sat every time thereafter.
I’ve said it before but some cruise ships don’t like to seat a solo cruiser in a favored window seat because two people could sit there instead of one. So, any time I have a thoughtful crew member like Sanjeev on Celebrity Apex, I really appreciate it.
Of course, having a window seat is not enough if the restaurant food isn’t good. But Luminae food is excellent. My favorite was the lobster roll for lunch. In fact, I had it twice for lunch. Dinner choices include grilled filet mignon, Moroccan chicken, fettucine with calamari and shrimp, butter poached lobster, seared scallops, grilled barramundi and so much more.
Luminae has its own special cocktails including Bourbon & Peaches with Maker’s Mark Bourbon, peaches, simple syrup and lemon; Spicy Passion with Ketel One Vodka, passion fruit, lime and jalapeno; Wandering Scotsman with Bulleit Rye, demerara and scotch; and more. Bourbon & Peaches was my pick and a very good one.
Fine Cut Steakhouse $
The menu in this extra-charge restaurant offers a wide range of choice meats and premium seafood. I already knew the steak I wanted, bone-in filet mignon. But it was the steak sauce that had me stumped. Would it be béarnaise sauce, house steak sauce, creamy au poivre sauce, bordelaise sauce, chimichurri sauce, black truffle butter or Maytag blue cheese sauce?
So I asked for advice from my waiter Jelid. He sure didn’t steer me wrong. Since I don’t like hot or spicy, Jelid suggested the house steak sauce. And it was just right.
I also asked Jelid about the side dishes and he suggested one I wouldn’t have picked but am so glad I did. Choices included smoked bacon mac & cheese, sautéed spinach, gruyere tater tots, grilled asparagus, parmesan truffle fries, roasted mushrooms and creamed spinach.
Jelid suggested the parmesan truffle fries. I usually don’t order fries but Jelid said if I didn’t like them he would being me something else. I definitely liked them. In fact, I cleaned my plate of all the steak, potatoes and heirloom tomato caprese salad.
“I would give you a hug if I could,” Jelid said when he saw my empty plate. I had skipped lunch to be ready for Fine Cut Steakhouse and it was definitely worth it.
Raw on 5 $
My Dad taught me to appreciate raw oysters when I was a child. I’m sure he would have loved Raw on 5. This Japanese restaurant offers prices a la carte, such as steamed mussels ($11), pork belly skewers ($11), shrimp stir fry ($10), salmon roll ($9) and much more.
I chose The Lotus with six oysters, three chilled shrimp and three crab claws $28. And the Alaskan California with snow crab, avocado, cucumber and roasted sesame seed ($10). Raw on 5 has a nice sake list. For dessert, I enjoyed a Tokyo Rose cocktail made with Pure Snow Sake, vodka, triple sec and cranberry juice.
Café al Bacio
Although it’s not a restaurant, this was one of my favorite spots. On deck 4, Café al Bacio is a wonderful place to have a dessert, cup of coffee or tea or a coffee cocktail. Sitting by a window, sipping a Speyside Latte (Macallan Scotch, Tia Maria Liqueur, espresso, simple syrup, milk and grated hazelnut) and listening to the live music in the Grand Plaza is going to be one of my best Apex cruise memories.
Featuring a Mediterranean atmosphere, the Cyprus menu focuses on seafood.
Fare here is new American with international influences.
Normandie features contemporary French cuisine in a modern upscale design.
With a modern classical design, Tuscan serves Italian inspired dishes featuring all homemade pastas.
For AquaClass guests, Blu serves contemporary cuisine in a restaurant filled with natural light from large windows, plus plenty of blue design colors. I took photos of the beautiful restaurant but didn’t dine there because I wasn’t in AquaClass.
Rooftop Garden Grill $
A hidden gem, Rooftop Garden Grill is an open-air restaurant at the back of the ship on deck 15. Tables are surrounded by greenery and windscreens so napkins and salads don’t blow away. This specialty grill offers premium burgers, barbecue, pork ribs, steaks and more.
Sorry I didn’t get to this one but, as I said, no way I can eat at all the Apex restaurants on my seven-day cruise. I was told by other passengers that Eden is a culinary experience. I also didn’t make it to The Mast Grill, SpaCafe, Le Grand Bistro or The Magic Carpet.
Guess that means I need to take another Celebrity Apex cruise to see what I missed. Sounds good to me, a to-do list entry for 2022.
Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch
- Blu has lovely blue décor. (cover photo)
- Shrimp is ready for waiters to serve in Oceanview Café.
- Dining at Eden offers wonderful ocean scenery.
- Heirloom tomato caprese at Fine Cut Steakhouse.
- Oceanview Café lives up to its name with beautiful ocean views.
- Strawberry cheesecake has a tasty presentation.
- A coffee cocktail at a Café al Bacio window seat is a favorite treat.
See sailings here Celebrity Apex Cruises (cruisecompete.com)