Two Gay Expats - Celebrity Apex - Sunset

Are you interested in cruising on Celebrity’s newest ship, the Celebrity Apex? Is it gay friendly? Keep reading as we’re going to tell you everything you need to know!

As first time large ship cruisers, we were excited and somewhat apprehensive to join the growing number of cruisers who set sail on  massive floating cities each year, especially during the pandemic. After researching going it alone in Greece, we quickly realized we could not resist the incredible value offered by Celebrity to try their newest ship, Celebrity Apex. This $1B+ luxury cruise ship provides fantastic accommodations, food, drink, and of course, entertainment, for up to 2,900 passengers. Luckily for us, there were more crew than passengers on our sailing–just the 8th on Apex. It felt like our own personal yacht which our fabulous Italian cruise director, Giuseppe, reminded us nightly! Our experience was truly spectacular, and as of this post, we have already booked two additional cruises with Celebrity in 2022!

For our cruise to Croatia and the Greek Islands, destination highlights include ancient Athens, Greece; Game of Thrones lovers’ favorite, Dubrovnik, Croatia; gay icon, Mykonos, Greece; medieval Rhodes, Greece; and romantic Santorini, Greece. We were initially scheduled to sail to Cyprus, however with ever changing coronavirus restrictions, there was a last minute and welcome update to Dubrovnik instead. As we were initially debating between cruises in Croatia and Greece, this was great news for us! 

Two Gay Expats - Celebrity Apex - Porthole View With Veranda Staterooms
Deluxe Porthole View With Veranda Staterooms (Note: Look For Circles Above APEX Name)

Now let’s discuss stateroom choices. Most of the cabins on the Edge class of ships offer an Infinite Veranda which is basically an air conditioned “balcony” area with a window that lowers. Basically, your entire living space becomes the veranda. If you’re like us, we opted for a more unique option and chose the Deluxe Porthole View with Veranda Stateroom located on either end of the ship. We wanted to be FULLY outside, and this selection has a floor to ceiling sliding door that opens to a 40 square foot outdoor veranda. To be fair, we said we would be happy with any stateroom on this ship as we spent very little time there! In fact, we are opting for an inside stateroom on the next in series Edge class ship, Celebrity Beyond, launching in Europe early in 2022. 

Moving to the inside of our stateroom, the space felt luxurious and well…spacious for 202 square feet. The room included high quality bedding, plentiful storage, multiple charging stations, a desk, a day bed/couch, modern artwork, electronic temperature and lighting controls, and an all white bathroom with glass shower that could easily accommodate two! We were very pleased. And our amazing stateroom attendant kept it immaculately clean when we left for breakfast and always provided fresh towels and turn down service nightly as well.

After cabin selection, you’ll need to think about food and drinks as well as wifi. We highly recommend booking early enough for Celebrity Anytime to be included with your cruise. At the time of this writing, Celebrity Anytime includes anytime dining in one of the four main dining rooms, the classic drink package, wifi for surfing not streaming, and gratuities. The four main dining rooms are Tuscan (our favorite), Normandie, Cosmopolitan (also open for breakfast), and Cyprus. Regardless of choice, if you like a particular item (Ahem! Tiramisu!), the team will no doubt run across and bring it back for you!

Also, Celebrity Apex offers 29 distinct food and beverage experiences on board, so you will never feel tired of the same old thing. Although we did not try the food at any of the 7 specialty restaurants, we did like to enjoy the drinks and atmosphere after dinner at Eden for example. For us, Celebrity Anytime provided more than enough options for us ‘as is’ without any upgrades. We were also happy that we didn’t have to constantly pay for things and could just relax with everything included!

Pro tip – If you love fizzy water as much as we do, then order club soda with a lemon or lime and ice in lieu of San Pellegrino to avoid having to upgrade to the premium drinks package. 

We were also confused where our classic drinks package would be honored? So let’s start with the bad news: the mini bar in your room is not included with the classic drinks package. Now for the good news: you can order drinks that are included with the classic package anywhere on the ship from the main dining rooms, to all the bars including the pool and sunset bars, and even the specialty restaurants like Eden. It is true, we could sadly not order a martini from the Martini Bar, but we could from The Club next door, and then bring it over OR enjoy one of the delicious Malbec wines offered at the Martini Bar. Each bar had a different menu but once you learned the menus, you could bounce around and even take your preferred beverage wherever you preferred or even your room. Celebrity has a side by side drinks package comparison on their website to help you make the final decision whether an upgrade is right for you. We felt there were enough options for us with the included classic drinks package, but then again, we are long term travelers and our decision might have changed if this was one of just a few weeks vacation each year!

Pro tip – Bring one or two allowed bottles of your favorite wine or champagne on board to treat yourself while saving! An ice bucket can be ordered to your room free of charge!

Speaking of vacation, the best part of days at sea are to relax and be pampered! From the spa and fitness center to the adults only solarium to the pool deck, there are so many places on the Celebrity Apex to make your own. 

When it comes to entertainment, you are yet again spoiled for choice. There are live musicians throughout the day performing sets at various venues, and a few times, we were the whole audience which felt super special! Also, we highly recommend attending the nightly production shows which are Vegas quality! Caravan felt like Absinthe in Vegas to us which is one of our favorite shows we’ve seen ountless times. And Crystallize felt like Cirque du Soleil. For our sailing, we did not need to book in advance, we simply showed up 10-20 minutes ahead of time which was more than enough to pick our favorite seats. To confirm for your cruise, simply check the Celebrity App before your sailing for all planning options, including making dining reservations and excursion choices in advance if preferred.

Two Gay Expats - Celebrity Apex - Caravan At The Club
Caravan Production Show At The Club

Regarding the production shows, please don’t miss Caravan in The Club. It was super hot with jaw dropping acts. Crystallize was perhaps our favorite show in The Theater, and it was full of high energy musical acts, acrobats, aerialists, and of course brilliantly executed sound and light using Celebrity Apex’s giant LED screen. We also really enjoyed the campy rendition of Caravan in Eden which also had our favorite bartender who made the absolute perfect Negronis! 

At this point, you’ve seen enough for us to cover the fact that both Celebrity Cruises and the Celebrity Apex are super gay friendly. We quickly realized that Celebrity acknowledges the gay community in pretty much everything they do from hiring to advertising to the content of the production shows! And with crew from all over the world, the ship felt incredibly diverse and inclusive!

Two Gay Expats - Celebrity Apex - Destination Gateway

Overall, our fears cruising–of lines and being herded on and off the boat like cattle–were quickly put to rest. Celebrity does an amazing job of scheduling and having so many activities, you will be spoiled for choice.

Two Gay Expats - Celebrity Apex - Ship View From Tender
Celebrity Apex From Tender - Santorini, Greece

As far as the tenders go at ports where we anchored, we were always able to take the next one and never waited more than 5-10mins. In addition, when we we returned to the ship, the crew provided us with ice cold towels and fresh water as well! Celebrity has thought of everything!

Two Gay Expats - Celebrity Apex - Eden
Our Andy On The Keys At Eden!

To wrap this up, one final quick story. On our last night on the Celebrity Apex, we returned to Eden at the back of the ship. We were pleasantly surprised to have the entire venue overlooking Santorini all to ourselves, complete with two bartenders and a four piece band! The band came over to introduce themselves, ask for song requests, and even invited Andy up to play on the keys with them! It was a spectacular ending to our cruise!

For more visuals of our cruise, be sure to check out our YouTube video posted above as well as our YouTube videos documenting our adventures in each port! They’re packed with helpful ideas and tips! Bon Voyage!