Sailing on Celebrity Apex in the Caribbean (Day 6): Grand Cayman

Day six finds us in Grand Cayman, anchored just offshore from George Town, the capital city. Beside us is Carnival Glory. This is another tender port, and we’ll be using the island tenders rather than our own. We’re a little disappointed, only because the tenders on Celebrity Apex are the nicest we’ve ever used.

We have visited the Caymans on a previous trip, but that was 20 years ago, so it’s nice to be back.

The weather is partly sunny and warm, and we’ll start our day with the “All-Island” driving excursion. On our previous trip, we did the popular Stingray City tour, where you go by boat into the open sea and arrive at a sand bar in waist-deep water, surrounded by literally thousands of sting rays, anxious to feed off the bits of octopus placed on your thumb. You can even hold them for a photo op. Pretty cool.

Of course, the Caymans are famous as a banking center, and we learn there are 550 banks on this island of 70,000 people. But I can’t recommend this tour: The bus was crammed and outdated, we encountered lots of traffic and it’s a long time between stops. Next time we’ll go back and feed the stingrays.

The good news was once we were back at the terminal, Pam found some great jewelry buys in the shops nearby, so she was a happy camper.

Back onboard, we did a late lunch at Oceanview just before they closed up shop. Time to check the app for what’s going on this afternoon and evening, which means connecting to the ship’s WiFi, which let’s talk about.

When you book a cruise with Celebrity, the price includes what they call Surf WiFi (very basic, for messaging mostly), drinks up to $9 and gratuities. You can pay extra for various WiFi packages that upgrade your connection. We had the upgrade, obviously.

While it probably doesn’t match our land service, it’s been very good for the most part (evidenced by why you can read about our cruise as we go along). My main complaint is that every time my iPhone’s screensaver kicks in, I lose the connection and have to reconnect. Minor point, but still an annoyance.

As has become our custom onboard, we start the evening with drinks in Eden. From there we head to The Theatre for tonight’s show, “Rockumentary.” It tells the story of rock music through the decades, and as a former rock music writer, I have high expectations for this one. I wasn’t disappointed.

The show in a word is fantastic. Fast-paced, with impressive graphics and visuals, talented singers, dancers and musicians go from the Beatles to Woodstock and beyond, highlighting artists like Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Joe Cocker, Led Zeppelin, Tina Turner and Bob Seger.

Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a nod to Queen, and they wrapped it up with “We Are the Champions” — even prompted us to turn on our phone’s flashlights and wave them at the end — just like the concerts we remember.

Sadly, we learn tonight’s shows will be the last time “Rockumentary” will be performed on Apex. Their six-month contract is up. But if you get the chance. don’t miss it.

Time for dinner, and one of the restaurants we haven’t tried yet is Luminae, on Deck 12. Luminae and The Retreat, a lounge and sundeck area, are for the exclusive use of guests who book suites, but we have special access during our cruise as part of writing about what Apex has to offer. Like Blu, Luminae is first come, first served. While it’s later in the evening, it’s still crowded, but we are seated promptly.

The first thing to say is, like all the dining venues on this ship, it’s beautifully designed in dark woods with stunning lighting. Famed chef Daniel Boulud, Celebrity’s Global Culinary Brand Ambassador, contributes signature dishes to the menu.

Following an amuse-bouche of tomato and fish (delicious), we both start with the Tuscan soup, followed by lobster prepared fancy and complimented with an amazing sauce. Dessert was the best Baked Alaska we’ve ever had.

Our waitperson also said they were bringing us “a surprise.” It turned out to be a chocolate sphere, served flambe. Once melted, it revealed ice cream in a decadent chocolate sauce. Kudos to the chef, and the wait staff, who made it a most memorable culinary experience.

Checking back with the app, we see our favorite band on this sailing, Next Stage, is playing a late set at the Martini Bar in the Grand Plaza. We get there in time for the nightly martini shaker juggling show, capped by a bartender skillfully pouring a dozen or more martinis at the same time from a chain of shakers. Let’s get this party started.

And start it did. Led by their talented singer from the Philippines, Next Stage had everybody dancing — including us — for the next hour. Admit it: When you hear “Dancing Queen,” how can anyone not get on their feet? When their set ended, the crowd begged for more, so they stuck around for two more songs.

At this point, it was later than you think, literally, since tonight we give back the hour we gained a few days ago. So it is getting on to 1 am. Keeping track of the time has been something of a challenge. Our iPhones say one thing, the ship has the official ship time, and some of the ports were different from both. Your best bet: Go with the ship time, which is always displayed on the app and your room TV.

Tomorrow is a sea day as we make our way back to Ft. Lauderdale. They have already delivered our luggage tags and disembark instructions, which makes us sad. It means of course it’s almost over. But we won’t think about packing up just yet. We want to savor the next 24 hours.

So signing off for now. Check this space after we get back for a complete summary and wrap-up. Thanks for coming along with us our Celebrity Apex cruise!

PHOTOS by Gerry & Pam Barker

A beach stop in Grand Cayman (Cover photo)

The “Rockumentary” show in the Theatre

Chocolate sphere flambe in Luminae

The Next Stage band entertains in the Grand Plaza

 


Ed. Note:

Celebrity Cruises | Celebrity Cruise Lines (cruisecompete.com)

Celebrity Apex Cruises (cruisecompete.com)

Celebrity Cruise Tours (Expedition)

 

 

 

 

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