Sailing on Celebrity Apex in the Caribbean (Day 1)

Ever since we did a short preview sailing on Celebrity Apex back in November, we were anxious to spend more time experiencing what this latest ship in the “Edge” series has to offer. And now we are.

Departing from Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, we’ll spend the next seven days in the Caribbean, calling on Bimini, Belize City, Cozumel and Georgetown, Grand Cayman.

Despite COVID health protocols still firmly in place, there’s a feeling that at long last — dare we say it — cruising could be getting back to normal. To board you still need a negative antigen test (our sixth, but who’s counting), proof of vaccination and a passport. Masks are a requirement in the terminal, but once onboard, not necessary, except for ship personnel. But from the crew to the passengers, it’s clear everyone is happy just to be here, doing what we love.

And even though our previous stay on Apex was short, there’s the feeling you’re greeting an old friend as Pam and I reacquaint ourselves with the ship.

Celebrity has always been one of our favorite cruise lines. While their ships are like floating art galleries, with famous name shopping and amazing dining, they achieve an upscale experience without the pretension, not an easy line to walk.

Prior to the cruise, guests choose an arrival time, which helps streamline the boarding process. We had already checked in online using their app, and had an Express Pass. A few checks of our documentation, plus the security screening, and just like that we were heading onboard. Even better, we went directly to our room, which was already ready and waiting.

On this cruise we’re traveling Aqua Class, which comes with exclusive use of Blu, a specialty restaurant, access to the Spa’s thermal spaces, as well as special food items delivered to your room daily and yoga mats.

Our veranda room has a virtual balcony. with windows and screens that move at the touch of a button. You can adjust the lighting and AC from a touchpad control, and there’s a connection box for plugging in your electronics. We managed to unpack two large suitcases and still had some room to spare.

Lunch was available in the Oceanview Cafe on deck 14. There’s a buffet there for every taste, from Italian and Asian to Indian and American, as well as pizza until 1 am. We actually prefer it at times over other dining options because of its variety of choices, and the food is excellent.

Of course, the first day of the cruise includes the dreaded muster drill. But fear not — Apex makes that a breeze, too. If you have the app — and by all means get it — you are prompted beforehand to complete the health questionnaire, upload your vax cards and watch the safety videos online. Once onboard, it’s just going to your assigned muster station and showing your seapass card. Done!

In the afternoon, we head for Eden, the amazing, multi-level, entertainment, dining and drinking venue behind wall-to-wall glass windows. With its whimsical decor, hanging plants and fabulous artwork, it truly is a garden of delights. Here we enjoy a welcome aboard drink and listen to live music that really sets the right vibe.

For dinner, we are trying out Blu, where the seating is first-come, first-serve. It’s early evening but the restaurant is already very full. We do get a table and are able to exhale after a full day, as first days usually are.

Afterwards, Pam wanted to check out the casino. It turned out luck was on her side: She left with more than she started with.

Tomorrow we’ll be at our first port of call — Bimini. In all our many years of cruising, this is one island we haven’t visited, and it’s only 50 miles or so from where we live. No figure.

For now, we are just happy to be back on the water.

PHOTOS: credit Gerry & Pam Barker

Our veranda stateroom (cover photo)

Pam enjoys the sunset from our balcony

Eden — the multi-level entertainment and dining venue

Aqua Class includes daily food deliveries


Ed. Note:

Celebrity Cruises | Celebrity Cruise Lines (cruisecompete.com)

Celebrity Apex Cruises (cruisecompete.com)

Celebrity Cruise Tours (Expedition)

 

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