MIAMI - Celebrity Cruises announced its return to cruising in Europe, 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 June 19.
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 March 30.
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 30 th 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 travelers 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 honor 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.
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 breathtaking 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 accommodations, 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 vacation.
- Transformational accommodations, from modern two-story 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.
- The Magic Carpet, soaring cantilevered above the sea and offering guests uninterrupted vistas while sipping cocktails or having dinner.
- An unrivaled 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 flavors 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 neighbors, 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 vacations 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 traveling 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 Included SM ’ approach, simplifying the new luxury vacation experience to include Wi-Fi, drinks, and gratuities. And, Celebrity’s Cruise with Confidence program 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, multilayered 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.
Cyprus welcomes Royal Caribbean to the Mediterranean this Summer
This summer, Royal Caribbean International guests can soak up the Mediterranean sun and explore the captivating coastlines of Greece and Cyprus on all-new 7-night cruises departing from Limassol, Cyprus. Starting July 10, Jewel of the Seas will call Cyprus home for the first time and sail to the picturesque shores and ancient ruins in Cyprus, Greece and the Greek Isles through October. Travelers can visit a combination of culture-rich cities and idyllic islands, including Limassol, Athens, Greece and the Greek islands of Rhodes, Crete, Mykonos and Santorini.
The new 2021 summer itineraries from Cyprus will open for bookings on April 7. Sailing with vaccinated crew, the cruises – at this time – will be available to adult guests who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and those under the age of 18 with negative test results. These current health and safety measures, like others, may evolve as they are evaluated on an ongoing basis.
“I’m delighted to announce our safe and gradual return to Europe. We know how eager our guests are to enjoy a getaway this summer, and these sailings, which include a mix of fantastic destinations and must-visit islands, make for the perfect getaway,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Cyprus is a beautiful island, and we are thankful to the Cypriot government for their support and enthusiasm in making these incredible itineraries possible.”
Travelers on board Jewel of the Seas can enjoy the perfect balance of culture and relaxation, exploring destinations seeped in history, relaxing in small peaceful coves and sampling delicious local cuisine. Guests can immerse themselves in Greek and Roman history at preserved ancient sites, such as Kourion in Limassol and the Parthenon temple in Athens, then take in the multihued waters and beaches of Mykonos and the waterfront tavernas of Santorini.
Savvas Perdios, the Deputy Minister of Tourism for Cyprus, said, “We are delighted that Royal Caribbean will call Limassol its homeport for the first time ever. This has been an ambition of ours for many years, and we are thrilled that, finally, this dream has come to fruition. We have every confidence that Royal Caribbean’s presence in Limassol will be beneficial to Cyprus and, similarly, we are very confident that as a homeport and as a country, Cyprus will live up to the expectations of Royal Caribbean and its guests.”
On board Jewel, travelers can cool off in the pools and whirlpools, recharge at the Vitality Spa and Fitness Center and dine at their pick of numerous complimentary and specialty bars and restaurants, including guest-favorites Chops Grille and Izumi. Spanning 13 decks, the ship comes complete with a rock-climbing wall, casino, sports court, nine-hole miniature golf course, an outdoor movie screen and more.
The Minister of Tourism of Greece, Mr. Harry Theoharis, adds, “We warmly welcome the announcement of this new itinerary that will give the opportunity to even more visitors to create unique experiences in the Greek destinations this summer. Our history, culture and
famous gastronomy, together with our philoxenia, will make memories to last a lifetime.”
Guests can rest assured their well-being and that of the crew members and communities visited are Royal Caribbean’s top priorities. Details on the health and safety measures to be implemented will be announced at a later date. The comprehensive, multilayered health and safety measures to come will continue to be led by science and leverage expert guidance from the Healthy Sail Panel, Royal Caribbean Group’s Head of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer, and local government and health authorities.
In addition, travelers must meet the travel requirements of their home country and Cyprus. The most up-to-date policies can be found on Cyprus’ tourism website. Royal Caribbean’s new 7-night sailings from Cyprus continue the cruise line’s measured and safe return to cruising the world once again. It follows months of successful cruises in Singapore, with more than 50,000 guests to date who have sailed aboard Quantum of the Seas, as well as the recently announced plans for the highly anticipated Odyssey of the Seas to cruise from Haifa, Israel, and cruises from The Bahamas with Adventure of the Seas and Bermuda with Vision of the Seas.