It's time to stop procrastinating and write the review I promised I'd write. But how do you review a cruise that was so far from ordinary that you'll never experience it again. I'll start with some demographics and a bit of the back story. My wife and I are avid cruisers and have settled on Celebrity as our favorite line for the past 8 years or so. We're in our 50's - 60's and this was our 35th cruise in the past 20 years. We usually cruise in a balcony or veranda cabin and our previous two cruises were on the Edge which we enjoyed. We had three cruises in 2020 & 2021 cancelled due to Covid and we were excited when Celebrity announced they were going to sail the Apex from Greece this summer. We decided to take a chance and booked the second cruise figuring they would have a week to work out any minor bugs they might encounter on a brand new ship. Despite being vaccinated we decided to get a PCR test prior to flying to Greece just as a back up to the vax cards we were given. They didn't have the CDC logo and look kind of sketchy. Turns out the immigration in Athens barely looked at the cards. American Airlines however has an app that you have to download and use to upload pictures of your vax card before you can board. If you don't want to use the app you will need to check in at the counter and show them your card or negative test.
The flight to Athens and immigration went without a hitch. We spent the first night in the Intercontinental and used the Uber app to schedule a cab to take us to the port in the morning. At the embarkation tent they checked our passports, vax cards and cruise paperwork and then sent us directly to have an antigen test. It all went fine and after about 15 minutes we were on the ship. The Apex is a beautiful ship. Very similar to the Edge if you've sailed her. The staff were over the top delighted to have guests on board. This was the case for the entire cruise. I swear that every crew member knew our names. Our veranda faced the gangway and as we were having a drink and waiting to sail we noticed that there were very few people getting on the ship. I mean, VERY few people. There would occasionally be a couple getting on and then after 10 or 15 minutes another couple would embark. At this point we realized that this was going to be a very different experience than we were used to. In all, there were less than 500 passengers on this sailing. Closer to 400 is what I heard.
So as you can imagine, nothing about this cruise was ordinary. With around a 15% capacity, we never waited for anything. If we saw two people on an elevator the entire cruise I would be surprised. No lines at the bars, no people in the casino, no over crowded pool deck. You can get the picture. On one hand this was fabulous as a passenger but at some point, you begin to feel a bit sorry for the crew. Not having anyone to serve must have been disappointing for them. We saw numerous venues where musicians were playing to an empty room. With so few guests, the service which we have always found to be stellar on Celebrity, was unbelievable. Even though the crew were always masked, you could see the smiles in their eyes whenever they saw you.