Celebrity Cruises announced its return to cruising in Europe today, as company President and CEO, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo confirmed that its brand-new Celebrity Apex, the second stunning ship in the brand’s transformational, multi-award-winning Edge Series, will make its long-awaited world debut in Greece this summer beginning 19th June.
With luxurious seven-night sailings roundtrip from Athens through September 2021, Celebrity Apex will visit some of the most idyllic destinations in the Mediterranean, including Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini, Greece; Limassol, Cyprus; and Haifa and Jerusalem, Israel. The sailings will open for booking on 30th March.
Celebrity Apex will sail with all crew and guests above the age of 18 vaccinated against COVID-19, and those under the age of 18 with negative PCR test results. The announcement comes just days after Celebrity Cruises announced its Caribbean comeback with seven-night summer cruises departing from St. Maarten also beginning in June.
The company’s return to the Aegean is made all the more special given Celebrity Cruises’ Greek heritage. Founded in 1988 by the Greek Chandris family, the company later became a part of the Royal Caribbean Group. Celebrity Cruises is still rooted in its Greek origins today, with 70% of marine officers across the fleet, hailing from Greece; over 40 of these are Captains and Chief Engineers, including the Captain of Celebrity Apex, Dimitrios Kafetzis.
“Celebrity Apex is such an exquisite ship and for her to finally begin sailing in the beautiful Aegean, where it all began for our fleet, and after so long away, is incredibly meaningful. I actually can’t wait to finally experience Apex and the Greek Isles this September during my rescheduled 30th wedding anniversary cruise,” said Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo. “This is a very special homecoming for Celebrity Cruises made possible with the strong collaboration of the Greek government. I extend my enduring gratitude and wish them well as they celebrate their country’s bicentennial today.”
“I am proud to be welcoming Celebrity Cruises back to its Greek roots on this special occasion of our Country’s independence bicentennial and am eager for travellers to return to the unforgettable experiences of all of our destinations on one of the world’s newest ships,” said Greek Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis. “The positive economic impact that tourism brings to our country cannot be underestimated and I am very happy Celebrity Cruises is playing an important role in rebuilding this important economic pillar.”
“It is such an honour for me to Captain the newest ship in the Celebrity fleet. I have been anxiously awaiting the day when I can welcome our first guests onboard this magnificent vessel and it will be a very proud moment for me to do this in my homeland,” said Captain Dimitrios Kafetzis.
“I can’t imagine a more perfect setting to finally launch our beautiful Celebrity Apex than the birthplace of the brand and with such stunning itineraries.” Said Jo Rzymowska, Vice President and CEO, EMEA, Celebrity Cruises. “Whilst British holidaymakers will have to wait a while longer to experience our flagship until International travel opens back up, we hope to welcome them onboard later in the season. I for one will be first in the queue as soon as that day arrives!”
The Apex of New Luxury at Sea
Like her industry-changing sister ship, Celebrity Edge, named one of TIME Magazine’s “World’s Greatest Places“ in her 2019 debut season, Celebrity Apex features innovative outward-facing design and visionary spaces from world-renowned designers, connecting guests to the breath-taking world around them like never before. The ship’s onboard experience also stands apart from anything else at sea, and feeds today’s travel wanderlust with:
The exclusive The Retreat® with its stunning accommodation, a private restaurant, and an exclusive lounge and sundeck to rival any high-end resort. In addition, a dedicated team of butlers, attendants, and concierges on-hand 24/7, ensures everything is taken care of while on holiday.
Transformational accommodation, from modern two-storey villas with plunge pools to staterooms with infinite verandas, that blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living, all carefully curated and designed by the award-winning Kelly Hoppen MBE.
The Magic Carpet®, soaring cantilevered above the sea and offering guests uninterrupted vistas while sipping cocktails or having dinner.
An unrivalled culinary repertoire of 29 distinct restaurants, bars, and lounges including the brand-new Craft Social Bar, connecting guests to the destinations they will visit like never before. Globally-inspired menus crafted by Michelin-starred chefs bring the flavours of the world straight to the plate, providing an epicurean journey unmatched at sea.
Cruising the Mediterranean
The new summer season for Celebrity Apex in the Mediterranean features bucket-list destinations on two spectacular itineraries including:
Greek Islands and Cyprus – guests will have the chance to visit the ancient city of Rhodes, with its stunning classical Acropolis and unparalleled Medieval architecture; the beaches and beauty of Mykonos; and the incredible island of Santorini, a world heritage site and bucket list destination famous for its blue and white architecture and fascinating history; along with the southern coast of Cyprus, a unique island culture influenced by both nearby neighbours, Turkey and Egypt.
Greek Islands and Israel – In addition to the history and beauty of Rhodes and Santorini, this itinerary offers the growing arts scene in Haifa, with its easy access to Tel-Aviv and the Jordan River; and Jerusalem, one of the world’s most influential cities.
With cruise holidays beginning and ending in Athens, guests also have plenty of time to experience this thriving city, brimming with its deep cultural significance.
A range of tours curated by Celebrity for all interests and price points will be available at every port of call, including Private Journeys and Small Group Discovery Tours for those guests preferring to explore the destinations with just members of their family or travelling companions.
What’s more, guests can sit back and relax in the knowledge that everything is taken care of with the company’s new ‘Always IncludedSM’ approach, simplifying the new luxury holiday experience to include Wi-Fi, drinks, and gratuities. And, Celebrity’s Cruise with Confidence programme provides flexible cancellations and best price guarantees.
Healthy at Sea
The company’s first priority is the health and safety of guests, crew, and the people in the places that Celebrity Apex will visit. The ship will sail with comprehensive, multi-layered health and safety measures leveraging expert guidance from its Healthy Sail Panel; Royal Caribbean Group’s Global Head of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer; and local Greek health and government authorities. These measures, including vaccination and testing requirements, will evolve along with public health standards.
Details on all health and safety measures across the entire Celebrity Cruises holiday experience can be found at https://www.celebritycruises.com/healthy-at-sea. In addition, guests must follow all Greece travel requirements, which currently include presenting a negative PCR test taken 72-hours prior to arrival in Greece, as well as following government restrictions on international travel in their country of residence. Details on the additional health and safety measures to be implemented by Celebrity Cruises will be announced at a later date.