Editor’s Note: Recently, our correspondent journeyed from the United States to Athens, Greece in preparation for Celebrity Apex’s inaugural voyage. Here’s her trip report on day 1 aboard the ship, where she details the muster drill process and her Celebrity Suite.
Finally there are no more jabs, reminders, or waiting for test results.
And have I mentioned how many new passwords I had to set? Even more importantly, how about the time spent following the Forgot Your Password links for making appointments and viewing my test results?
Walking beyond the registration tent, I left the often hectic world of the the past 15 months behind me. The much anticipated pleasurable and stress-free week of cruising on Celebrity Apex lied ahead; I reached the gangway to the Apex.
Who knew how fitting the name of this new ship would be? It was definitely a high point for me, and I suspect for so many others including both passengers and crew.
Feeling like a celebrity as I walked onto the ship, I proceeded through a reception line of genuinely happy and enthusiastic crew clapping, smiling and welcoming back as I passed. It was good to be home.
As more ships return to sailing, the number of passengers carried will slowly increase from the initially reduced numbers. Celebrity Apex currently carries about 650 passengers and 900 crew, a passenger to crew ratio that rivals that of luxury cruising. Celebrity Apex when sailing full carries 2,910 passengers and 1,320 crew.
My Celebrity Suite was ready immediately after boarding, not unexpected as this was the very first revenue sailing of Celebrity Apex. I immediately found my way to the elevators. How pleasant to simply walk into the elevator with no wait, even though the personal distancing capacity allows only four guests. I exited on deck 11 and quickly reached my relaxing suite situated at the fore of the ship, right near the bridge wing.
As I approached my stateroom, I was greeted by my enthusiastic Personal Retreat Host (PRH), the new term that replaces an older one (butler) that might suggest the stereotypical image of a stodgy old guy named Giles. After all, Celebrity is all about “modern luxury.”
Katarina, my PRH, was eager to show me the features of my room along with other areas on the ship exclusively for Retreat guests. (I will address those amenities in a future post.) Katarina is responsible for nine staterooms on this cruise. In addition to my personal retreat host, I also have a stateroom attendant.
After my orientation tour, I went for lunch at Luminae, the restaurant reserved specifically for suite guests. The host at the restaurant asked my seating preference and I requested a table snugged into a corner. Guests are seated so as to maintain a proper social distance. My requested table had a sign indicating that it was too close for comfort to other tables, so I found a safer seating area.
After a satisfying lunch, I headed to my muster station to get my sticker on my SeaPass® Card.
Celebrity has a new safety briefing procedure. Remember the old days when you had to grab your life jacket and go to an outside deck and go through the muster drill? That changed so that life jackets were no longer required and passengers gathered at different venues inside the ship.
Now, you need not even leave your room to complete the mandatory safety drill. Simply be sure to download the Celebrity app and find the Safety icon. You will find a video with life jacket instructions and a short audio of the sound of the emergency horn. Once you have completed reviewing those, you are ready to go to your muster station and get that sticker.
Don’t want to add an app or don’t have a smartphone? You can also find the required video and audio on the television in your stateroom. Simply go to the Safety Information page and follow the instructions there.
The all-important, but often dreaded safety drill can be done from the privacy of your own cabin. No stressing about other passengers who arrive late. No reason to put down your drinks or food. This cyber muster drill has so many benefits during COVID times, and will certainly prevent traffic jams and inconvenience even in non-COVID times.
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The Suite Life
My Celebrity Suite, quite comfortable at about 401 square feet, provides space to spread out, yet maintain a cozy ambience. Neutral colors dominate the decorating scheme, adding to the relaxing feel of the space.
Interestingly enough, the slots that hold SeaPass cards to turn on the power have disappeared. Just inside the stateroom door, a central command center controls the main room temperature and the operation of the curtains that cover the balcony door.
In addition, there are several settings for lighting the main space. The curtains on the veranda door darken the room efficiently and can be opened and closed either manually or with the push of a button on the control panel.
One interesting piece of furniture in the suite is a rocking chair. Positioned right behind the desk chair, it takes some maneuvering to get around. I kicked the rockers on that chair so many times in just a short period of time that the rocker, at my request, has been removed from the room.
The separate bedroom holds a king bed with a cashmere mattress. There are hanging reading lights on both sides of the bed and USB ports on one side. Those complement the USB ports near the desk in the living area, so there are plenty of options for charging electronics.
Access to the bathroom is through the bedroom, but the split bathroom has two separate areas. Directly from the bedroom door is a compartment with a shower and tub combo along with a sink. The tower shower contains a rain shower head, body sprayers and a hand-held sprayer for the ultimate showering experience.
Through a second door in the bathroom is another door that leads to a separate water closet area also with a sink. This WC compartment has yet another door that leads into the entryway — perfect solution for having a bathroom for the use of visiting guests who needn’t trudge through the separate bedroom to use the facilities. The bathroom is supplied with lavender peppermint formula toiletries by C.O. Bigelow.
Both the living area and bedroom have separate temperature controls; a real bonus for people like me who prefer sleeping in a cooler space. The Celebrity Suite makes very efficient use of space with ample room for storage throughout.
Offering sleeping space for additional guests, the convertible modern-style sofa holds a plethora of pillows. With a coffee table forward, the sofa is ideal for in-room dining or as a relaxation spot for watching the television or taking in the views of the sea. The provided umbrellas and binoculars are a nice touch. I have already settled into my comfortable space with ease.
By Theresa Russell
Don’t miss Theresa’s pre-cruise trip report, all about the process of entry into Greece and getting to the ship: Celebrity Apex Trip Report, Pre-Planning: Checking All The Boxes.