Setting sail in style on Celebrity Cruises’ newest ship
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A dinner out to
sea, a lush garden and floating art gallery are some of the surprises that
await passengers on Celebrity Apex.
through the curving silver corridor, I am surrounded by sculptures resembling
glistening pebbles and coral. I emerge to pass ‘trees’ with pink ostrich
feather branches, a huge brass pendulum suspended over a stairwell and then
find a row of chairs resembling flowers.
all intents and purposes I could be in a cutting-edge art gallery, especially
given the fact that the passageway installation was created by leading
contemporary Japanese multidisciplinary artist Kohei Nawa and the hundreds of
other works I have yet to discover include pieces by renowned painters and
sculptors from around world including the UK’s Paul Emsley, Alexandra
Gallagher, Marc Quinn, Gary Webb and more.
reality is that I’m aboard Celebrity Apex, the latest ship to join the Celebrity
Cruises’ fleet. If there was ever a vessel to dispel some of the preconceptions
about cruising, then this has to be it. Even from the outside, the vessel looks
very different. Along with her sibling, Celebrity Edge launched in 2019, Apex
has a distinguishing inverted bow that reduces drag and is energy efficient and
also makes for smooth sailing.
was the line’s first new ship in six years and the first new vessel series,
Edge-class, in more than a decade. Dubbed one of the most expensive ships ever
built, with a price tag of $1 billion, it’s clear that Celebrity didn’t want to
cut any corners on this stunningly beautiful ship where there’s a ‘wow’ factor
around every corner.
of the artwork is wonderfully idiosyncratic, such as an area where the outer
hull of the ship is exposed and you can step inside onto a mirrored floor and
gaze at reflective panels that give a sense of a perpetual view. It’s proved so
thought-provoking that some passengers have even asked crew members if the ship
is completely finished. Rest assured; it is.
deliberately engaged some designers who had never worked on ships before so
they would come into the project with fresh eyes and not be influenced by any
previous vessels or limitations on what might or might not be possible. The
result is an ultra-stylish 2,910-passenger ship that’s like an upmarket
boutique resort with more than enough to tempt
any reluctant cruisers to a life on the ocean wave.
the ship is very tasteful, it’s certainly not stuffy. On one of his daily
updates we smile when we hear Captain Dimitrios Kafetzis start his daily briefing with
the time-honoured words “this is your captain speaking” followed up with the
fact that he was on the jogging track and it was a wonderful day for a few
In a large nod to
Celebrity’s roots, the Greek-born captain is among the 70% of officers across
the fleet hailing from Greece. The line was founded in 1988 by the Greece-based
Chandris group and it’s interesting to learn Celebrity’s signature X logo is
the Greek letter chi.
you go there are clever and imaginative details. What would normally be
functional spaces on other vessels have been turned into something different,
such as the arched walkway on the pool deck.
outstanding feature of all is the Magic Carpet, a cantilevered platform with
glass walls on three sides, that juts out from the side of the ship. On the
drawing table it was originally intended to be used on the sea-level deck to
enable guests to step easily from the ship into tenders for shore excursions,
leaving it redundant at all other times.
brains behind the Edge-class vessels then had a eureka moment and realised it
could be moved up and down the side of the ship and utilised at other times. Now
it variously serves as a bar, extension to the sushi restaurant Raw on 5 and, most notably, the setting
for Dinner on the Edge. These extra-special evening meals are usually held once
per cruise when weather conditions allow, which means you need to keep your eye
out as they are not advertised very far in advance. The chef decides on the
menu, depending what fresh ingredients he has to hand on the day, and you need
to get in quickly to make a reservation. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience and
well worth the supplementary fee.
knockout spot is Eden, an airy multi-purpose entertainment, dining, bar and
lounge space covering three levels right at the back of the ship. The
presentation of the signature hand-crafted cocktails is a real talking point,
such as the Veldt in a miniature cauldron complete with ‘smoking’ dry ice and
Forbidden in a glass apple. There’s a curving walkway along the panoramic
floor-to-ceiling window, which is the lovely spot for an indoor sundowner
overlooking the wake of the ship.
and the young at heart, will love the novel Le Petit Chef where a charming, animated film is
beamed down onto the plates and tablecloth in between courses showcasing the
dishes shown in the film. Alternatively, for something more grown-up there’s
the Craft Social speciality beer and ale bar, which is an all-new feature on
Apex, and the classy Martini Bar where the huge modern chandelier is the
centrepiece of a colourful light and music show each night.
there are plenty of outdoor spots to make the most of good weather. The Sunset
Bar comes into its own at the namesake time of day and is a great place for an
aperitif before heading to the al fresco Rooftop Garden Grill serving barbecued food in a verdant setting under the
time to turn in, Celebrity Apex offers the widest range of cabins in the fleet.
There are single staterooms, which are perfect for silver travellers who want
to explore the world on their own, to swish suites that
come with butler service and connecting cabins for families and groups of
friends. The stylish rooms were conceived by award-winning British designer
Kelly Hoppen and feature sophisticated muted colour schemes and
Even at the end of the
week-long sailing, I am finding new things, such as a secluded corner of the
deck for an afternoon snooze next to Spanish artist Joaquin Vila’s striking
blue sculpture of
a giant crouching man or a tucked away painting I haven’t seen before. It’s
testimony to the fact that this beautiful ship really stands out from the crowd
and is enough to catch the eye of both seasoned cruisers and turn the heads of
landlubbers who might think they ‘don’t do’ cruises.
Apex will spend the winter 2021/22 season in the Caribbean before repositioning
in May 2022 to sail on a variety of British Isles, Scandinavia and Russia,
Iceland and Ireland, Norwegian Fjords and Mediterranean cruises. A seven-night
Norwegian Fjords cruise starts from £1,136 including flights, transfers, meals,
drinks, Wi-Fi package and gratuities.
Travel Advisor recommends Celebrity
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