Celebrity Comes Close to Getting Me to Switch Loyalties...
As a regular NCL cruiser, I haven’t been on a Celebrity ship in over 15 years. But an offer my wife and I couldn’t refuse had us on the December 23rd sailing of the Celebrity Apex. We had just been on a 5 day cruise on the Norwegian Prima literally a week earlier for their December 16th sailing, so making comparisons was inevitable. And i have to say…. cheating on NCL with Celebrity feels oh so naughty!
Embarkation was such a pleasure - in fact, the most pleasant we’ve experienced in a while. Maybe it was the difference between the facilities at Port Everglades vs. Port Canaveral, but whatever the reason, the difference was night and day from the last NCL cruise. We were through security and on the boat in mere moments. Our cabin was a porthole verandah, with just enough space for us to enjoy breakfast on the balcony several times (full breakfast room service delivered free - different than NCL). Apex has a very nice sized buffet with great variety, and the quality of the food is, for the most part, excellent. Same thing for the food at the main dining rooms, although I recommend sticking to one or two so that the waiters and assistant waiters can get to know your preferences. The time spent on dinner in these dining rooms can be an hour and 50 minutes (that was the longest we experienced - this is a difference from NCL main dining). But we moved through each of the four main dining rooms because the menus differ slightly between them (but only slightly). Had we stuck with one or two, like we did at the last three nights of the cruise, things may have gone a bit more smoothly a bit sooner. We did not take advantage of specialty restaurants, but never felt we missed them. Especially since lobster tails were included on one night in the main dining room (and yes, my wife and I had 2, plus another entree, no charge). On off hours, there was really good pizza and pasta available, and really good burgers and fries at the mast grill. Even the spa cafe had healthy and tasty options for breakfast and lunch, with great tasting, freshly made juices. Their cafe al bacio had 2 locations - and because of their excellent value for their premium beverage package (only $120 more than the classic for the entire cruise), a nice variety of specialty coffees and martinis were enjoyed for free.
Altun-Ha excursion was fantastic - climbed a Mayan temple, saw a Boa Constrictor, great lunch.