The second Celebrity’s Edge class ship has added upgrades.
Celebrity apex is the second in Edge class of stardomand younger sister of Celebrity benefitwhich debuted in 2018. Edge caused a stir when it hit the market, but Mountain peak is nearly identical, so what’s there to argue?
A lot, as it turns out. The good thing about introducing new ships in the same class is that it gives cruise lines the flexibility to make changes to the original designs. The ships are also full of original artwork, which gives them their own artistic “personality”. So there is a lot to unpack there.
But first, it’s important to talk about the quality of the cruise experience these days – pretty much everything is done through the Celebrity app. I scanned my passport, uploaded a copy of my vaccination card and negative COVID test results, took a selfie and got a boarding pass, all through the app. Once I arrived at Port Everglades Terminal 25 in Fort Lauderdale, the agents there scanned my boarding pass about six times, and I was boarding the ship less than ten minutes after being dropped off curbside.
Once on board, customers can view bar and restaurant opening times and menus, and make table reservations for restaurants that require it. Once restaurants are booked, spa treatments booked or activities selected, they all appear on a personalized calendar. It even sends reminders when a reservation is coming up.
Scott Laird; Celebrity Cruises
One of the ways the ship differs the most from her sister is in the art collection. Many pieces were directly commissioned by Celebrity for the ship, so some of the artistic touches in the public areas differ slightly, giving Apex a similar but distinct voice through its works.
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At the edge of the pool, there is a pair of giant aluminum hands in the shape of a heart by the Spanish artist Lorenzo Quinn. At Edge, there is a giant white butterfly in this space. They’re both pretty much made for Insta selfies, but the heart hands seem to work best on their own as a piece of art without a passenger posing for a photo.
Near Eden’s entrance, guests might encounter Rubem Robierb’s Empower Flower, a fiberglass throne believed to represent female empowerment. Up close, the panels seem to strip away to reveal the steel interior of the ship’s outer hull, complete with tire marks and builder’s scribbles, almost to bring guests back to the reality that they’re on board a ship at sea.
There are other tributes to maritime history. At Restaurant Normandie, one of the four main restaurants, there are vintage crystal pieces from the French liner Normandy, which regularly crossed the Atlantic between the two wars. These items in turn came from the Normandy specialty restaurant on celebrity constellation (which has since been redirected to another restaurant concept).
The other main restaurants—Tuscan, Cosmopolitanand Cyprus– have meals included in the cruise fare, and slightly different atmospheres and specialty dishes each evening, although the menus remain broadly the same between each (and specialty dishes are often offered on the menus of the four restaurants ). One evening we dined on sorrel seafood cakes with lemon sauce and a lovely beef wellington with an abundance of earthy morels hidden under the pastry crust.
A new introduction to Mountain peak East social craftsmanship, a new concept of craft beer that replaces the old casino bar. Patrons can gather here for draft cocktails and a selection of extraordinary beers from around the world, in addition to a specially curated menu of bar bites. There is also a large screen to broadcast the sports match of the moment.
Shopping is also high, with outposts of Montblanc, Bulgari, and Cartier in the mall, as well as the iLounge, an authorized Apple retailer. Onboard retail purchases are tax and duty free (especially beneficial for big-ticket items like some of these Apple products), but keep import duties in mind when returning to the US .
Celebrity also made sure to provide a distinct experience for suite guests, in a way reminiscent of the split-class days of ocean liner travel. Guests booking suite categories also have access to Retirementwith its own terrace with pool, bar and hot tubs, and The Retreat Lounge, where you can go all day and night for drinks, snacks and breakfast.
INSIDER TIPGuests who enjoy the seclusion of Retreat Sundeck can book the Edge Villa suite category for direct access from the second floor of their townhouse-style accommodation.
The Retreat also has its own restaurant, called Retired Luminaewhere Celebrity is fishing for a Michelin-star-like experience (a spokesperson confirmed having preliminary conversations with Michelin about rating cruise lines or cruise ships) with signature dishes created by chef Daniel Boulud.
Should interest in the menus in the main dining areas run out at any point during the trip, there are specialty restaurants which can be booked for lunch or dinner at an additional charge, including Thin Cut Steakhouse (premium aged steaks the size of your arm), The Big Bistro (French bistro style), The Little Chef (an immersive animation experience), Gross out of 5 (sushi and raw vegetables bar), Roof garden grill (think of the barbecue in the roof garden) and Eden Restaurant (themed kitchen with a nice view from the glazed atrium of the fantail).
The Spa Cafe in the atrium has low-calorie snacks (meal say those with the least appetite) and juices, while Mast grid serves burgers, dogs, salads and sandwiches in a rather cozy spot wedged between the pool cabanas and the atrium. The ocean view cafethe ship’s main buffet all day and most night (think more upscale Las Vegas-style buffet than your local manger).
Another feature introduced on Edge which is also common to Mountain peak and the next sister ships are the Magic Carpet, a Tang-colored cantilevered exterior deck on the side of the ship that can be positioned on different decks. Find him on deck 14 outside the pool cabanas for drinks and occasional specialty meals. On deck 5 it increases the space in Raw to 5, and on deck 2 it can be used as a tender dock.
The tender dock feature was demonstrated off Nassau on our preview cruise, and it certainly makes for a much improved tendering experience. Rather than waiting in a public room or in a companionway to be disembarked from the ship, guests can wait in the bright and airy area of the destination walkway before stepping onto the magic carpet to board their tender. Although an improvement to the experience, rough seas that morning required guests to be relatively brisk to embark and disembark from the tender. In short, tenders are still far from ideal, especially for customers with reduced mobility.
The in-flight entertainment program for Mountain peak is brand new – another distinction of Edge. While this is a typical roster of performers throughout the ship in public areas for much of the voyage (DJs and live entertainment abound in the Club, the Martini bar in the impressive atrium, or the Roof garden), there are two notable ones.
VSelebrity cruises; Scott Laird
The impressive theater has a circular stage, allowing for an almost theatrical experience, with an LED screen and moving panels to reveal singers and musicians as focal points throughout the shows. There is still a feeling of “jukebox review” in some performances, but they are made quite different by outstanding acrobatic dance performances. The production values, to put it mildly, are exorbitant.
At Eden (as in “Garden of”), the glass-encased three-deck restaurant-bar-bar-entertainment area at the rear of the ship, a totally different experience awaits. It’s very much like a garden (“All the plants we can reach to water are real,” I was told.) Which comes alive in the evenings with the “Wonder at Eden” show, complete with acrobatics and more whimsical antics that are quite hard to describe as well as being quite a masterful spectacle.
Even outside of entertainment hours, the Eden bar puts on a show with inventive cocktails (often garden-themed). Bits can be poured from a watering can into a spinning crystal glass or presented in a treasure chest that spouts dry ice “smoke” when the lid is lifted. Mixology-minded guests could spend an entire cruise exploring Eden’s cocktail menu.
A cruise on board Celebrity Summit Still brimming with upgraded versions of the usual sea bread and circuses, but the innovations introduced on the Edge class of ships ooze an understated sophistication that will appeal to a class of cruisers who value luxurious touches more than brash gimmicks.