Celebrity Cruises are bringing their own – unique – ‘New Luxury’ to the seas, but how does it compare the six stars? Longtime ultra-luxury cruise lover, Katie Wilson, finds out…
After a long year off from cruising, you would think it a difficult decision to pick your first cruise back. This was not the case for me; I knew it had to be Celebrity Apex.
I have tried many cruise lines and I love the big ships. The concept of having seemingly limitless options in a day is something I enjoy, and I also enjoy being able to dine in multiple restaurants, which the big ships offer choices of in abundance. However, I also love a small luxury ship. The extra attention-to-detail and the service onboard a small luxury cruise cannot be beaten, and recently I have been favouring the small six-star cruise ships.
This brings me to Apex, and I had very high expectations before travelling. Celebrity’s Edge-class ships promise the premium experience on a large scale, and I can say very confidently that they have perfected this market. Celebrity Apex is a premium-luxury large ship hybrid and she was my perfect ship, bringing together the qualities I love from both the large and small, mass-market and luxury.
I sampled every single restaurant onboard Celebrity Apex, and I was very impressed with the quality. I was asked upon my return how the food compared to the small luxury ships; In my opinion, the food onboard the small luxury ships is comparable to that in the top on land restaurants around the world, so I had very high expectations when undertaking my comparison. The food on Apex did come very close indeed and I was very satisfied, but the food in one restaurant stood out above the rest. Eden, a flagship restaurant with huge windows on the back of the ship, was just incredible. The food and the service in Eden were equal to that of the top restaurants across all luxury cruise brands – it was so good I went back twice! If you sail onboard Celebrity Apex, this is a must-make reservation.
Before travelling I upgraded from a balcony cabin to The Retreat Class, which are the suites onboard Apex. The Retreat Class gives you an upgraded cabin design and exclusive access to a private lounge with a concierge, a private main dining room called Luminae, and the private Retreat pool and sundeck. The Retreat sundeck is what encouraged my upgrade; I was concerned with the size of the ship that the main pool would be busy and having not had any sun for months, I wanted a guaranteed sunbed in prime sun position. The Retreat sundeck did not disappoint and is very comparable to the main sundeck on a small luxury ship, the beds all laid out with pillows and luxury towels. The service was impeccable too, the same waiters on hand daily and who quickly learnt my drink preference. Even though I spent most of my time hidden away in the private retreat, I did venture to the main pool most days too. Looking back now, in hindsight, I can say that I would have been more than happy with my balcony cabin, as the pool deck is well designed to feel spacious and still luxurious.
In summary, Celebrity Apex can only be described as a hybrid. She sits perfectly as a premium large ship, yet she has all the luxury you might expect to find on a smaller six-star ship, with uncompromised quality. She also has the range of options onboard you would expect with a large ship, promising to keep you entertained all cruise long. There is something for everybody onboard Apex, from a nightclub, theatre and live entertainment spaces to the casino and Rooftop Garden, you are truly spoilt for choice. Celebrity’s Edge-class ships perfectly provide me with everything I need from a cruise in a practical sense, whilst also providing me with everything I love from a cruise in terms of quality and service. Celebrity Cruises is a newfound favourite for me, and I will certainly be getting myself a booking on the Celebrity Edge-class very soon again in the future!