Mexico and Grand Cayman: Celebrity Apex sails on across the Caribbean

Michael Edwards continues his Caribbean adventure aboard Celebrity Apex with stop-offs in Mexico and Grand Cayman.
signpost at Cozumel, Mexico.
Show me the way to go home: A helpful signpost in Cozumel, Mexico

Decadently using the Celebrity App from our bed, we raise the stateroom blind to discover that, as it is Wednesday, we have docked in Mexico. Tuesday was Belize, Thursday will be Grand Cayman.

Our port-of-call is Cozumel, which translating as the land of the swallows, is designated as Mexico’s Island of Peace. A little slice of tropical island paradise, 30 miles long by 10 miles wide, sunbathing in the Caribbean. Cozumel is a dozen miles from the Mexican Riviera.

Again, Celebrity Apex presents some difficult excursion decisions. Do we snorkel with stingrays? Off-road through the jungle? Swim in the natural cenotes of the Jade Caverns? Take a chocolate-making masterclass? Or board the Ocean View Explorer and head below deck to an underwater viewing area to enjoy 360-degree views of the sea life and vibrant corals that make up Paradise Reef?

agave tequilla distillery 1
Agave waiting to be processed as an ingredient of Tequila.

No. We opt for a tour that takes in some culture, geography, history – and tequila. Forget all notions of primeval “ter-kill-yer” firewater, where salt-rimmed glasses and lime are used to mask an ethanol burn. That is a fake tradition. Instead, we are taught how to inhale yoga-style and sip slowly, to make the most of a smooth connoisseur’s vintage that has aged in barrels for many years. No bravado downed shots at this distillery.

As we continue our island tour our guide confides, “Everything in Cozumel small. Me too.” Though he tells us that around 400 crocodiles on the island, originally introduced for movie scenes, have thrived and are far from small.

Continuing, he explains how in the 16th century, the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadores and European diseases significantly reduced Cozumel’s population.

A leisurely lunch at a beach club, sun-loungers on powdery white-sand, looking out across azure and turquoise gently lapping waves, is a highlight of the day.

Craft social
Relaxed chill out space of Craft Social.

Back on board it is time for a pre-dinner beer at Craft Social, an American style sports bar featuring 50 hand-crafted beers, whose large screens also show cricket and rugby union as well as baseball and NFL.

Heading past Grand Plaza, we catch the last few songs of house band The Cardinals’ soft-rock set, and a spectacular juggling and choreography show from the bar-tenders at the Martini Bar. They seem to have ambitions to make Martini-pouring an Olympic sport. Then it’s dinner in one of Apex’s speciality restaurants, Raw on Five, a restaurant on Deck 5 that specialises in imaginatively presented sushi. Other speciality restaurants include The Fine Cut SteakHouse, Le Grand Bistro and up on the top deck, The Rooftop Garden Grill.

The Magic Carpet
The Magic Carpet: Eat alfresco while at sea.

Uniquely, The Magic Carpet, is a platform on the side of the ship whose day job is to help passengers embark and disembark. When the ship’s at sea, The Magic Carpet transforms into an open-air casual dining venue. We time our departure from dinner to catch magician Jessica Jane performing in the theatre.

Another day, another island: this time Grand Cayman. The island’s renowned affluence results from a historical accident. Way back in 1794, ten ships, that were part of a convoy sailing from Jamaica to the United States, were blown onto the rocks off the East End of Grand Cayman. When King George lll’s son was rescued from the wrecks he gave tax-exemption to the island. Fast-forward to the 1970s and the island, which has the British monarch’s head on its dollars, decided to take advantage of the gift. Today capital Georgetown’s steel and plate-glass corporate HQs house branches from over 280 banks. Throw in 7 Mile Beach and you have one of the Caribbean’s most alluring

beaches Grand Cayman - Celebrity Apex
Grand Cayman boasts some stunning beaches.

After three countries in three days, it’s time to relax with a day at sea. Or perhaps not. Fitness options include the morning stretch, indoor cycling, F45 training and the health education of an “Eat more to weigh less” seminar plus “Footprint and posture analysis.”

Alternatively, you could find a seat in the casino, indulge in a spa treatment or visit the last day of the cruise sales in the shops.

Most guests head for an early dinner before a spectacular finale of evening entertainment. The theatre’s 20-foot-tall 4K LED screen, comprised of 17 million pixels, curves 110 feet around the stage, presenting a nostalgic backdrop for the Rockumentary show. It pays tribute to Pat Benatar, Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, Elton John, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Suzi Quatro and other epic rock legends from the 60, 70s and 80s. But it’s only the beginning. In sophisticated Eden, it is the Night of Enchantment whilst DJs keep everyone dancing in The Club until late, very late.

As we disembark the next morning, after our seven nights cruise, to take the 50-minute bus transfer back to Miami airport, we feel that we might have made the wrong choice. Instead of going through US immigration, some guests are taking the left-hand channel for their next Celebrity Cruise.

Celebrity Apex fact file

See here for more Celebrity Cruises holidays.

Celebrity Apex departs on a 7-night sailing on 25th November 2023 from Fort Lauderdale, calling into Key West, Belize and Grand Cayman. With Celebrity’s biggest offer of the year with 75% off the second guest, prices start at £1,309 for guest one and £396 for guest two, based on two people sharing an ocean view stateroom, and includes $100 per person onboard spending money.

For those looking to experience Celebrity luxury in European waters, Celebrity Edge, sister ship of Celebrity Apex, departs on 13th May from Rome (Civitavecchia), calling into Corsica, Portofino, La Spezia, Cannes and Palma de Mallorca. Again, with Celebrity’s biggest offer of the year, there is 75% off the second guest.

Prices start at £1,594 for guest one and £404 for guest two, based on two people sharing an inside stateroom. This offer includes $100 per person onboard spending money. Plus, for an extra £99 per person, flights from London Gatwick can be added (transfers are an additional cost).

If you enjoyed Mexico and Grand Cayman: Celebrity Apex sails on across the Caribbean, you can find the first part of Michael’s cruise from Key West here.

Tags: , Last modified: February 27, 2023

Written by 9:21 am Cruising