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Just of Apex-Is This the Golden Age of Cruising?


zamgwar
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There is nothing that can compare to spending time with friends. Everything else is icing on the cake. We spent three days in Athens and seven nights on the Apex with longtime friends.

 

On this adventure, however, the icing on the cake was delicious. 

 

For us at least, The ship and service were unmatched compared to all previous cruises. Traveling with only 900 guests on a ship that normally carries 3000, meant empty poolside chairs on sea days, elegantly prepared dishes, seats at the martini bar and incomparable attention from the staff.


Having nearly 20 cruises under our belts, Apex is possibly the best designed ship we’ve ever been on, as well as one of the most beautiful. It’s public spaces are full of artistic eye candy. The cabins are not claustrophobic and have plenty of storage. We chose an aft sunset balcony cabin. These are the only ACTUAL balconies on the ship. The majority of balconies are similar to river cruise balconies, with full drop down windows.

 

We found the the food and service in the main dining rooms to be exceptionally good. The specialty restaurants were outstanding. While the steakhouse was great, Eden is possibly the best meal we have ever eaten in on a ship, and one of the best we’ve eaten anywhere.

 

The Celebrity Apex entertainment sets a high bar for the industry. Incredibly Creative production shows take place in an amazing theater. They perform mostly to a live orchestra rather than a backing track. The house band is amazing, and we particularly enjoyed them on Jazz Night and Motown night. Additionally there is live music everywhere, and I mean everywhere. 

In general things “Back in the Day” were back again on Apex

 

We booked private shore excursions with Viator which kept us ahead of any crowds and took us to places we might have missed. We have used them before and would not hesitate to use them again. The exception was Mykonos, where we were required to book a ship’s excursion, due to Covid restrictions. We chose the beach excursion, which while pricey exceeded our expectations. 


We did upgrade to a premium beverage package and found it well worth it. It came with a $300 shipboard credit which paid for our shore excursion. Topshelf liquor and a free shore excursion was a no brainer.

 

Finally, in all my life, I have never gotten in and out of JFK airport so effortlessly. 

 

I believe for all its complications, the pandemic has brought about the golden age of cruising. For the brave and the careful, who are not put off by needing to be vaccinated or wear a mask, it doesn’t get better than this.

 

John

office of perfect Martinis

the zamgwar institute 

 

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Glad you had a great time. I just canceled our January 2022 cruise on MSC, but I debated all the way up to final payment day because of exactly what you describe. Sailing on one of these ships at half capacity sounds like heaven! MSC's vaccination policy is changing too frequently for my comfort but perhaps we will consider a trip on X this winter. Otherwise, we'll have to wait for our Edge 2023 trip. 😪

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On 9/14/2021 at 2:50 PM, zamgwar said:

 

 

We booked private shore excursions with Viator which kept us ahead of any crowds and took us to places we might have missed. We have used them before and would not hesitate to use them again.

 

 

Could you share some details on your Viator excursions?  Which sights on which Islands?  Anything a newbie to Greece should know about them?  (planning for Edge Italy, Greece and Turkey next year) - thanks!!

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On 9/14/2021 at 2:50 PM, zamgwar said:

 


Having nearly 20 cruises under our belts, Apex is possibly the best designed ship we’ve ever been on, as well as one of the most beautiful. It’s public spaces are full of artistic eye candy. The cabins are not claustrophobic and have plenty of storage. We chose an aft sunset balcony cabin. These are the only ACTUAL balconies on the ship. The majority of balconies are similar to river cruise balconies, with full drop down windows.

 

 

 

This is not correct. Just to clarify all of the suites have actual balconies as well. 

Edited by WNcruiser
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13 hours ago, AndyB said:

 

Could you share some details on your Viator excursions?  Which sights on which Islands?  Anything a newbie to Greece should know about them?  (planning for Edge Italy, Greece and Turkey next year) - thanks!!

Love to. Pre Cruise In Athens 8 of us booked a private tour thru viator, with a customized agenda. 
 

We were picked up at 7:30am, and driven to the Acropolis, where we met our private guide (for Acropolis only). We had the place to ourselves and spent about an hour and a half to two hours there. It was spectacular without crowds.
 

We returned to the bus where our driver took us around to all the sites in Athens proper ( the Olympic Stadium, temple of Zeus, Hadrian’s Gate, the changing of the guards). We then were taken 45 minutes down the coast to the temple of Poseidon and lunch by the ocean. It was about a 7-8 hour tour- the cost came to $168.00 PP (lunch was included) with an additional 25 Euros each for entrance and a private guide for the Acropolis. It was an excellent day.

 

Santorini was the same thing. We chose a private customized tour. We were picked up at the top of the cable car stop. Brought to a few scenic spots and then Driven across a spectacular cliff side road to Oia. There we had coffee while our driver parked the bus. He walked us around Oia for about two hours to all the hot picture spots. He was extremely patient as people were drawn to stores. We never felt rushed.

 

We were then driven to the black beach for a great lunch at beautiful ocean side restaurant where we drank way too much local wine (lunch was our expense)

 

After lunch he arranged for private cabanas for us to swim and sun for about an hour (it was included)

 

Following lunch he took us to the highest point on the Island for a scenic wow moment and brought us back to Fira for coffee and shopping, making sure we knew exactly how to get back to the cable car.

 

The tour was 7 hours and ran $110.00 pp.

 
We tipped each driver 50 Euro (total) which we were told was a good tip. 
 

Both tours were highlights of our trip and well worth it. Both buses were Late Model Mercedes Mini Buses. Moving as a small group, with an itinerary we choose, was worth its weight in Gold.

 

John

Office of Satisfied Customers

The Zamgwar Institute 

 

 

Edited by zamgwar
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13 hours ago, WNcruiser said:

This is not correct. Just to clarify all of the suites have actual balconies as well. 


 

Thanks! I stand corrected then, lol.
 

I was judging by the visual appearance of the sides of the ship, which all appear to all be “infinite Verandas”.  These were not your traditional balcony, but rather large drop down windows which create a balcony out of your cabin. We did see a suite with an infinite veranda rather than a traditional balcony 

 

The only traditional balconies I saw (from ports or tendering) were aft and labeled “sunset verandas” These you could actually walk out on, and had chairs, a small table, and in the case of one of our party with an aft suite, two lounge chairs.

 

I am certain the upper most suites closest to the retreat must also have traditional balconies. As far a standard traditional balcony cabins however, the only ones seem to be extreme aft

 

john

office of always a wake facing balcony 

the zamgwar institute 

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On 9/14/2021 at 4:46 PM, CalTexCruiser said:

Glad to hear you enjoyed the Apex and Viator excursions.

 

We'll be sailing in 11 days on the Apex and also are doing Viator excursions. 

 

Can't wait.

You will love it!

 

john

office of complete contentment 

the zamgwar institute 

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3 minutes ago, TeeRick said:

I don't think 2020-2021 qualifies for the Golden Age of anything.  Sorry.🙃

Maybe he was referring to the time actually spent on a cruise ship, but I certainly understand your point; it’s been such a downer.

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Just now, Lastdance said:

Maybe he was referring to the time actually spent on a cruise ship, but I certainly understand your point; it’s been such a downer.

Yes I understood the point from @zamgwar about cruising at reduced capacity being more pleasurable and how that can be a real advantage.    But it is still cruising with risks, restrictions, port closures, itinerary changes, testing, limited excursions, etc.  Not a Golden Age to me even if there are fewer passengers on board. Probably not a Golden Age for the crew not able to get off the ship for months.  

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Traveling at this time certainly not for everyone.  For us, however, the time on board the ship was the best of our 20 plus cruises. It was as good as it gets. Having private shore excursions was much more enjoyable (to us) than traveling in large groups on buses. 
 

Everyone we met at poolside or at the bars seem to feel the same way about the experience on this ship.

 

Was it a pain to have all the proper forms and tests to get aboard?  Yes . Was it riskier to travel? Yes. Was 2020 the worst year ever, yes.

 
Did celebrity do everything possible to keep passengers and crew safe? I believe so.

 

Do we wish everything would go back to like it was pre-pandemic? Who wouldn’t???

 

Would everyone in my group (all mid 60s-70) do it again for another experience like this? In a heartbeat. I was a bright spot in what has been some bleak years. We are already booked again.

 

One of the performers on the ship was actually a former student of mine and ate with us three times. The crew is allowed off everywhere but Mykonos. They all 100% vaxed and tested weekly.

 

The week we were on the ship, there was even crew private excursion to the beach on Rhodes and once a week spa night for different portions of crew, depending on ship capacity.

 

I have to again stress there are many who wouldn’t and shouldn’t cruise at this time. For those who do however, (in my opinion) the on board cruise experience will never be matched again.

 
John

office of Next Cruise Already Booked

The Zamgwar Institute 

Edited by zamgwar
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51 minutes ago, TeeRick said:

I don't think 2020-2021 qualifies for the Golden Age of anything.  Sorry.🙃

I absolutely understand 

 

John

Office of Put it back the way it was

the zamgwar institute 

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16 hours ago, mac_tlc said:

We felt very much like the Edge last month. So much so that we booked it again for 10/30, Hoping for reduced passenger counts and smooth seas.

You have to remember that the cruise lines are not generating sufficient - if any - profits on low passenger counts

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1 hour ago, zamgwar said:

Traveling at this time certainly not for everyone.  For us, however, the time on board the ship was the best of our 20 plus cruises. It was as good as it gets. Having private shore excursions was much more enjoyable (to us) than traveling in large groups on buses. 
 

Everyone we met at poolside or at the bars seem to feel the same way about the experience on this ship.

 

Was it a pain to have all the proper forms and tests to get aboard?  Yes . Was it riskier to travel? Yes. Was 2020 the worst year ever, yes.

 
Did celebrity do everything possible to keep passengers and crew safe? I believe so.

 

Do we wish everything would go back to like it was pre-pandemic? Who wouldn’t???

 

Would everyone in my group (all mid 60s-70) do it again for another experience like this? In a heartbeat. I was a bright spot in what has been some bleak years. We are already booked again.

 

One of the performers on the ship was actually a former student of mine and ate with us three times. The crew is allowed off everywhere but Mykonos. They all 100% vaxed and tested weekly.

 

The week we were on the ship, there was even crew private excursion to the beach on Rhodes and once a week spa night for different portions of crew, depending on ship capacity.

 

I have to again stress there are many who wouldn’t and shouldn’t cruise at this time. For those who do however, (in my opinion) the on board cruise experience will never be matched again.

 
John

office of Next Cruise Already Booked

The Zamgwar Institute 

Well said thanks.

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1 hour ago, BigAl94 said:

You have to remember that the cruise lines are not generating sufficient - if any - profits on low passenger counts

Whole bunch of debate as to what they need yo turn a profit. Short term —- not my concern. I’ll enjoy the lack of crowds as long as the cruise lines sail they way. 
 

mac_tlc

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To the OP, glad you had such a good time.  We are sailing her in late November and very much looking forward to trying a new ship.

 

At the same time, reading all the info really brought to my mind how this new class of ship really fits into the marketing strategy since LLP took over - really putting all their $$ into attracting the well-to-do younger crowd while marginalizing the loyal customers.  The shows on the other ships have been around for quite some time and leave a lot to be desired IMHO.  Guest entertainment consists of magic and juggling.  The live entertainment tends to be much more sparse (albeit usually of good quality).  Money continues to be spent on bringing a new Edge class ship to sail, while older ships like Connie continue to have their refurbishments on hold with not even an estimated date in sight.  And some people wonder why those of us long loyal to Celebrity feel a bit pushed to the background.  

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For us , the golden age  on X has passed.  The smaller ships(, Mercury, Century,) elevated  dining...perfectly trained staff  who you saw over and over, Elite lounge,  cozy get togethers ,  excellent music, island bands, seeing frequent X cruisers several times a yr.  For us,it was like a small country club at sea at great prices!

 

Still a nice experience on M and S Class and especially EDGE!

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14 hours ago, phoenix_dream said:

To the OP, glad you had such a good time.  We are sailing her in late November and very much looking forward to trying a new ship.

 

At the same time, reading all the info really brought to my mind how this new class of ship really fits into the marketing strategy since LLP took over - really putting all their $$ into attracting the well-to-do younger crowd while marginalizing the loyal customers.  The shows on the other ships have been around for quite some time and leave a lot to be desired IMHO.  Guest entertainment consists of magic and juggling.  The live entertainment tends to be much more sparse (albeit usually of good quality).  Money continues to be spent on bringing a new Edge class ship to sail, while older ships like Connie continue to have their refurbishments on hold with not even an estimated date in sight.  And some people wonder why those of us long loyal to Celebrity feel a bit pushed to the background.  

Or you just need to accept the new direction and sail EDGE, APEX and BEYOND.  Or another line.

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To the OP, so glad you enjoyed your cruise, and thank you for sharing your thoughts.  We've booked the Apex for a Scandinavia-Russia cruise in July 2022 and are very much looking forward to it. Not sure what the passenger "load" will be like then, but are selfishly hoping it's not at full capacity either.  I would also note that, like you it seems, one of the few things we didn't like about the Edge/Apex design was those "infinity balconies" but, fortunately, we also found a set of Sky Suites with traditional balconies on the side "bump out" just aft of midships on decks 10 and 11. I mention this only for future reference, in case you're ever looking for another option in the future. We've found we quite like the Sky Suites as cabins, and they come with all the perks of the larger suites. 😉 Oh, and with respect to the crew, we were on the Summit in August and the crew was also permitted off the ship in some ports (depending on port rules) and they offered crew "bubble" excursions in most ports.  In our conversations with the crew, they were very happy to be sailing again, and enjoyed their port time, even with the restrictions. Welcome home, and happy sailing in the future.  

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On 9/14/2021 at 2:50 PM, zamgwar said:

There is nothing that can compare to spending time with friends. Everything else is icing on the cake. We spent three days in Athens and seven nights on the Apex with longtime friends.

 

On this adventure, however, the icing on the cake was delicious. 

 

For us at least, The ship and service were unmatched compared to all previous cruises. Traveling with only 900 guests on a ship that normally carries 3000, meant empty poolside chairs on sea days, elegantly prepared dishes, seats at the martini bar and incomparable attention from the staff.


Having nearly 20 cruises under our belts, Apex is possibly the best designed ship we’ve ever been on, as well as one of the most beautiful. It’s public spaces are full of artistic eye candy. The cabins are not claustrophobic and have plenty of storage. We chose an aft sunset balcony cabin. These are the only ACTUAL balconies on the ship. The majority of balconies are similar to river cruise balconies, with full drop down windows.

 

We found the the food and service in the main dining rooms to be exceptionally good. The specialty restaurants were outstanding. While the steakhouse was great, Eden is possibly the best meal we have ever eaten in on a ship, and one of the best we’ve eaten anywhere.

 

The Celebrity Apex entertainment sets a high bar for the industry. Incredibly Creative production shows take place in an amazing theater. They perform mostly to a live orchestra rather than a backing track. The house band is amazing, and we particularly enjoyed them on Jazz Night and Motown night. Additionally there is live music everywhere, and I mean everywhere. 

In general things “Back in the Day” were back again on Apex

 

We booked private shore excursions with Viator which kept us ahead of any crowds and took us to places we might have missed. We have used them before and would not hesitate to use them again. The exception was Mykonos, where we were required to book a ship’s excursion, due to Covid restrictions. We chose the beach excursion, which while pricey exceeded our expectations. 


We did upgrade to a premium beverage package and found it well worth it. It came with a $300 shipboard credit which paid for our shore excursion. Topshelf liquor and a free shore excursion was a no brainer.

 

Finally, in all my life, I have never gotten in and out of JFK airport so effortlessly. 

 

I believe for all its complications, the pandemic has brought about the golden age of cruising. For the brave and the careful, who are not put off by needing to be vaccinated or wear a mask, it doesn’t get better than this.

 

John

office of perfect Martinis

the zamgwar institute 

 

Sounds wonderful.   We saw the beautiful new Apex in Pireaus (it would be more beautiful if they lost that erector set magic carpet thing hanging on the side) and would have been happy to extend our Greece trip to join the Apex.   That being said, when reading your post I think you did a good job of describing what it is like on most of the small ship luxury lines (i.e. Seabourn, Silverseas, etc).  This is the norm on those ships in that there is no crowding, no lines, great service, etc.  What you experienced is essentially a "mass market cruise ship" without the masses.  Fruit for thought.

 

Hank

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2 hours ago, Hlitner said:

  That being said, when reading your post I think you did a good job of describing what it is like on most of the small ship luxury lines (i.e. Seabourn, Silverseas, etc).  This is the norm on those ships in that there is no crowding, no lines, great service, etc.  What you experienced is essentially a "mass market cruise ship" without the masses.  Fruit for thought.

 

Hank


true, but also with all the offers and options which come with a ship like Apex!

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