Michael Edwards is tempted by the life aboard a Celebrity Apex Cruise to Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Belize, Cozumel and Grand Cayman.
Once there were urban legends. Now there are maritime legends of enviable people whose lives are a succession of luxurious ocean-going cruises.
After sailing on the Celebrity Apex Cruise many guests were complaining that seven nights wasn’t enough. “We were only just getting warmed up …” said one cruiser as he headed towards the Future Cruises desk to book a longer Caribbean Cruise for later in the year.
Perhaps Celebrity’s biggest challenge is communicating to guests just how much is actually happening on board. Begin the day with a sunrise morning stretch. Tackle the day’s sudoku. Feel the energy flow with a taster Tai Chi session. Sin on a gut-health seminar. Marvel at the sharp-knifed precision of a sushi demonstration. Leap to the basketball challenge. Start to wind down with a spa treatment. Then complete the job with Martini-tasting before getting ready for the evening’s entertainment.
Every evening is a big night out on Apex. With The Cardinals, the Apex’s house-band drumming and strumming from around 5 pm deciding when to eat is a challenge. Many guests opt for a pre-theatre timing, heading towards a restaurant around 5.30 pm.
In the theatre, Broadway-style spectacular shows take place in front of a 20-foot-tall 4K LED screen comprised of seventeen million pixels. It curves 110 feet behind the stage. The week begins with Divas3 jetting in for one night only to belt-out powerhouse vocal tributes to the likes of Aretha Franklin, Carole King, Bonnie Tyler and Whitney Houston. While the Tree of Life show superbly demonstrates both the theatre’s and the cast’s capabilities.
Jared Freiburg and The Vagabonds relive Fifties music, Elvis et al, with a rollicking dynamic performance. Similarly, Roy Tan at the keyboard, supported by the Apex orchestra, provides a homage to the best of Movie Music. Taking a break from music, Jessica Jane puts on a magic show. Then there are performances in The Club too.
Apex delivers a daily newsletter listing the day’s events, but the Celebrity App is the best way of scheduling your day. Transfer events into your Daily Planner. Fifteen minutes before each event, you receive a reminder on your phone screen.
Virtually tour Apex’s restaurants with the App too. As there are 29 bars, cafes and restaurants, browsing on the App for opening times and menus can save time. All-inclusive dining is catered for at the Cosmopolitan, Cyprus, Normandie and Tuscan restaurants. Then there are the speciality restaurants including Raw on Five, specialising in Japanese seafood, and the innovative Magic Carpet where guests dine on a platform high above the ocean. Many guests opt for the amazing variety of the Ocean View Cafe buffet for breakfast, but Cosmopolitan’s rapid service cooks breakfasts to order and continuously tops up coffee cups.
Before boarding the Celebrity Apex cruise, the App is the place to go to research excursions. Booking early also brings discounts on trips. The Conch Train, with commentary from the local driver, is a star excursion for Key West. The driver’s commentary reveals that in 1982, the self-proclaimed Conch Republic declared independence from the USA, and attacked US officials with stale bread rolls.
The USA reacted by easing its heavy-handed policing, which had damaged tourism, but the secession document was never withdrawn. So theoretically, Key West is an independent republic. Alongside excursions visiting Ernest Hemingway’s house and President Harry Truman’s Little White House, there are opportunities to sail, snorkel and see dolphins.
Sailing nearly 600 nautical miles, with a day at sea, Belize offers even more high-adrenaline options alongside the chance to explore Mayan ruins. Guests can drive alternative terrain vehicles through the jungle or zip-line over the jungle. More sedately there are coach tours of Belize City, featuring a stop at the rum distillery, where the dollars still feature Queen Elizabeth’s head, as Belize was formerly British Honduras.
Docking the next day at Cozumel, a paradise island off Mexico’s Mayan Riviera, many guests are keen to select tours that include a stop at a beach club to take a dip in the Caribbean and relax on a sun-lounger. Again, though, there are plenty more adrenaline-inducing excursions on offer.
The final port of call is Grand Cayman. When George lll’s son was rescued after 10 ships were blown on to the island’s rocks and wrecked in 1794, the grateful monarch granted tax-free status to the island. In the 1970s, the island remembered this gift and brought affluence, plus 280 banks, to Grand Cayman. This is one of the facts revealed on island tours which also take guests to Hell, a bleak landscape of jagged rocks on an otherwise verdant tropical island.
Back to Fort Lauderdale
Finally, as the ship sails back to Fort Lauderdale, there is one more day aboard a state-of-the-art cruise ship that only made its maiden voyage in 2021. If they are not occupied with activities, guests relax on the Resort Deck by the pool, up on the roof garden or in their cabins. On a ship hosting 2,910 passengers, there are 500 Edge Infinite Veranda Staterooms, with styling by Kelly Hoppen CBE. Here guests can relax, by pressing a switch or using the app, to open a window admitting cooling sea breezes.
The evening’s entertainment finishes the cruise in style with a spectacular Rockumentary show celebrating rock ‘n roll hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s. In toe-tapping mood, many guests are inspired to head to the club for one last evening of dancing.
No surprise then, that as we disembarked, some guests took the channel guiding them straight onto their next Celebrity Cruise. This perpetual cruising isn’t just a maritime legend, it is becoming a reality.
Tell Me More About this Celebrity Apex Cruise
Celebrity Apex Cruise, The Heights, 3 Brooklands Rd, Weybridge, KT13 0NY
T: 0344 493 2043
Celebrity Apex Cruise departs on a 7-night sailing on 25th November from Fort Lauderdale, calling into Key West, Belize and Grand Cayman. With Celebrity biggest offer of the year with 75% off the second guest, prices start at £1,309 for guest one and £396 for guest two, based on two people sharing an Oceanview stateroom, and includes $100 per person onboard spending money.
Celebrity Edge, sister ship of Celebrity Apex, departs on 13th May from Rome (Civitavecchia), calling into Corsica, Portofino, La Spezia, Cannes and Palma de Mallorca. With Celebrity biggest offer of the year with 75% off the second guest, prices start at £1,594 for guest one and £404 for guest two, based on two people sharing an inside stateroom, and includes $100 per person onboard spending money. Plus, for an extra £99 per person, flights from London Gatwick can be added (transfers are an additional cost).