Dream cruise: Celebrity Apex
by Helen Renshaw
Yearning for some pure indulgence after two years in your trackie bottoms? Live the dream with sun, fun and fine dining aboard the luxurious Celebrity Apex
Where is it?
All over the place. We sailed from Athens, stopping off in Santorini, Sicily, Palma de Mallorca and Valencia, before docking in Barcelona. But there are many fabulous sun-drenched itineraries to choose from.
What's the accommodation like?
If you still believe cruises are a bit (whisper it) naff, think again. With interiors designed by Kelly Hoppen, the décor’s all cool sophistication - neutral colours, contemporary art, natural materials, crisp white cotton and buckets of gorgeous Mediterranean light flooding in. We go for an upscale package in The Retreat, an exclusive area that boasts all-suite accommodation, private restaurant, lounge and sundeck, and butlers trained at the British Butler Institute, so it’s extra swanky. Think boutique hotel vibes.
What did you eat and drink?
Where to start? There are enough amazing culinary treats onboard to make your head spin. Highlights include a vodka, yuzu and cucumber-based cocktail, zingy ceviche topped with coriander sorbet, and hot cheese saganaki in the all-inclusive Cyprus restaurant. And that’s before starting on the on-shore delicacies – oysters bursting with freshness in a Mallorcan food market, anyone? Cannoli stuffed with whisked ricotta and honey enjoyed while wandering the cobbled streets of ancient Taormina? That kind of thing.
What is there to do?
Tons. On sea days, you can lounge by the pool, work it off in the gym, take a yoga class, pamper yourself in the spa, see a show or get involved in one of the many organised activities. Or you can just wander round like we do, gawping at specially commissioned contemporary art until it’s time for an aperitif in the sunken martini bar.
What do I need to pack?
Goodbye sweatpants and tatty T-shirts – hello kaftans, swimwear and cocktail dresses that haven’t seen the light of day since 2019. There’s no formal dress code, but you’ll be inspired to make an effort by your elegant surroundings.
It’s sunset and we’re on the Magic Carpet, a cantilevered platform with panoramic views that floats above a sparkling ocean. Dish after dish of pure indulgence arrives – grilled lobster tails in Champagne sauce, slow-roasted Chateaubriand with roasted garlic and Bearnaise, asparagus with truffle hollandaise. It’s a banquet worthy of a Roman orgy, just without the actual orgy.
Sainsbury’s magazine insider tip
Check out @captainkatemccue on Insta. We think the winning Celebrity Cruises formula of understated luxury could be down to the fact that the company is pleasingly female dominated. The CEO and most of the top team are women. Captain Kate, who’s been known to wear Laboutins on the bridge, is breaking ground as the first American female cruise ship captain. Her Insta gives you a glimpse into her amazing world.
How to book
To book call Celebrity Cruises on 0800 441 4054 or visit celebritycruises.com/gb