Last night I was a celebrity, at least that’s what I thought. I had the opportunity to meet and take photos with an artist whose work I admire, whose music I enjoy, and whose work I have purchased in the past. This artist is the most well-known of them all. When he arrived at my table, he was so pleasant and friendly, and it was so obvious he was excited to see me. As we sat and chatted, he answered all of my questions about his art and the process of making it, which is definitely something I wish I knew more about.
Today I took a walk on the beach in my hotel in Santorini, Greece, and I also managed to stop by the airport to see the view of the island from the air. I have to say, this was probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever been when viewed from above.
Day two of the Celebrity Apex Trip (CAT) couldn’t have been more different. After a morning of sightseeing in Santorini, I woke up with only a slight hangover (well, to be fair, more of an intense sense of regret) and a bunch of surreal memories. The day started with a walk to the top of Mt. Olympos, perhaps the most famous mountain in the world. I was expecting it to be quite the climb, but I underestimated how steep the trail was. It’s probably the steepest hike I’ve been on, and it felt like I was climbing for miles upon miles. At the top I got to see the Sacred Valley, and the view was breathtaking.Editor’s comment: Our correspondent recently traveled from the United States to Athens, Greece, to prepare for the Celebrity Apex’s maiden voyage. Here’s her travelogue from day two of her trip, where she visited Santorini, Greece, and talked about some of the benefits of staying in a suite on the ship.
Upon arrival in Santorini, the ship anchors in the sea, which is typical for a visit to Santorini, where there are no moorings for cruise ships. Having visited Santorini before, I expected a cable car and donkeys leading to the town of Fira, which towers over the cliffs and is the gateway to the iconic town of Oia (pronounced EEEE-AYE), which is often packed with tourists, especially when several cruise ships arrive on the same day.
Our guide told us that on busy days up to 11,000 tourists come to the island. Fortunately, the Celebrity Apex remained the only ship to dock that day. As for the donkeys and the cable car, I didn’t see them anywhere, and I didn’t find out until later that the shore excursions leave from a different place at the base of the cliffs.
The last time I explored the island on my own, I remembered that for independent exploration, donkeys and a cable car take visitors from the old port to Fira, Santorini’s capital. From there you can take a bus or taxi to Oia.
Love me, darling
Celebrity Apex usually uses its own beautiful boats as tenders, but in Santorini we had to use local boats instead of Celebrity boats. Our ship’s launch bay is a nice space. No waiting in the middle of the ship to descend the metal ladders to the rubber boats. Access to the tenders from the Destination Gateway on deck 2 is very convenient and enhances the traditional tender experience.
I had booked a boat trip, so my dinghy went to Athenios Harbour, also known as New Harbour or Tyrus Harbour. From there I boarded a bus for a spectacular ride to the top of the cliff. The bus zigzagged down the steep road, clinging to steep rocks. Nervous people can choose an aisle seat instead of a window seat to avoid seeing steep cliffs.
This excursion included a visit to the ruins of Akrotiri and the village of Oia. Like Pompeii, buried under volcanic ash, Akrotiri preserves works of art, frescoes, remains of houses and even toilets which, judging by the enthusiasm of our guide, were by far the most remarkable discovery of the excavations.
Some believe Akrotiri could be the lost city of Atlantis. Visiting the ruins was a bit difficult with a large group because of the social distance. We did not always understand what the guide was referring to when she described something.
We left the ruins and spent some free time in Oia, where – although the Celebrity Apex was only in port – the streets were packed with tourists and the sun was shining brightly. With a lack of shade in the narrow streets, returning to the coolness of the Celebrity Apex was a real relief. Remember that flights to Greece do not normally take place during the summer months, they are special flights.
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A good reason to visit a suite is the service. My room is taken care of by a personal retreat host (PRH) who takes care of all my needs, and it seems that sometimes I have needs I’m not even aware of. After dinner, she often brought me a glass of wine and treats, usually sweet rather than savory.
Her attention to service illustrates her passion for making sure her clients get the most out of their cruise. For example, when I left my room without my mask and had to go back to get it, I ran into her in the hallway. After explaining the reason for my quick return, she reminded me that she was there to help me and that I should have called her. I didn’t have his phone number with me, and I couldn’t remember his phone. In fact, I was ashamed of my forgetfulness and I certainly didn’t expect my HRP to be my servant or to be at my command.
And speaking of personal retreat hosts, I suggest Celebrity come up with another name. Just thinking about the initials of this new job title takes too much thought.
Suite guests have exclusive access to the Retreat Lounge, Luminae Restaurant and The Retreat Terrace. The Retreat Lounge is open daily from 7am to midnight. The lounge, equipped with a full bar, is a comfortable and relaxing place to enjoy snacks, cocktails and drinks throughout the day. Morning snacks, a limited lunch (served on the sun terrace), tea time and evening snacks are served daily. The living room gives access to the outdoor area.
The exclusive Retreat Sundeck covers a large area on deck 16. A pool, hot tub and numerous lounge chairs – some even shaded – create a resort-like atmosphere in this spacious area. Lunch is served here and the bar offers refreshments for the day.
For guests who really want to take advantage of the deck, there are two-story Edge villas on this deck that open directly to the deck.
An Edge Villa (Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)
This elegant restaurant overlooks the ocean and offers an eclectic menu of Daniel Boulud specialties. The Luminae restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Suite guests also have access to the Blu restaurant. Not surprisingly, the very pleasant decor has a blue component. Celebrity describes Blu as having spa-inspired cuisine, but that doesn’t mean the portions are small or the dishes contain strange ingredients.
The Suite Life
Here are some of the benefits for suite clients:
- Premium drink package (drinks up to $15)
- Afternoon tea at The Retreat
- Daily delivery of a snack
- Free room service 24 hours a day
- Free use of umbrella and binoculars
- Wi-Fi streaming
- Preferential handling, departure and embarkation for ships/cargo in port.
- Credit on board that can be spent on almost everything
- eXhale bedding and cashmere mattress
- Reserved theatre seats for Evening Chic events
Guests who opt for a suite will, of course, always receive the Celebrity Always Included rate, which includes gratuity. When you stay in a suite, the beverage package changes from Classic to Premium and the Wi-Fi from Surfing to Streaming.
As a guest in a suite, I’ve been spoiled the last few days. Yes, it is true that the ship is sailing with a reduced cargo, so there are almost 1.5 crew members for one guest. Celebrity’s premium product, with premium service, is therefore like a luxury cruise.
Don’t miss Teresa’s other travel stories with Celebrity Apex:After enjoying another evening in my hotel suite I woke up refreshed and ready to take on what was left of my itinerary for the day. I was eager to head to one of the most famous sights in all of Greece, the Santorini sunset.. Read more about the points guy celebrity cruises and let us know what you think.
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