Celebrity Cruises’ new ship Celebrity Apex will make its world debut in Greece this summer, beginning seven-night sailings from June 19, it has been announced.
It came as sister line Royal Caribbean said Jewel of the Seas would start week-long cruises from Cyprus on July 10.
Both companies will require all adult passengers to be vaccinated and under-18s to present a negative test taken within 72 hours before sailing. All crew will also be vaccinated.
Celebrity Apex will cruise from Athens to destinations including Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini in the Greek islands, Limassol in Cyprus, and Haifa and Jerusalem in Israel until the end of September. Bookings open on March 30.
The line’s return to the Aegean is poignant given Celebrity Cruises’ Greek heritage. Founded in 1988 by the Chandris family, the company later became a part of the Royal Caribbean Group.
Celebrity Cruises remains rooted in its origins today, with 70 per cent of marine officers across the fleet hailing from Greece – more than 40 of these are Captains and Chief Engineers, including the Captain of Celebrity Apex, Dimitrios Kafetzis.
The announcement also came on the day that Greece celebrated 200 years of independence.
Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Celebrity’s president and CEO, said: ‘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 can’t wait to finally experience Apex and the Greek Isles this September during my rescheduled 30th wedding anniversary cruise.’
Jo Rzymowska, vice president and CEO, EMEA, added: ‘Whilst British holidaymakers will have to wait a while longer to experience our flagship until international travel opens back up, we hope to welcome them on board later in the season. I for one will be first in the queue as soon as that day arrives!’
Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean said Jewel of the Seas would call Cyprus home for the first time and travel to many of the same Greek islands as Celebrity Apex, as well as Crete. Bookings open on April 7.
Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said: ‘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.’