Due to escalating tensions and dangerous situations in two different countries, Celebrity Cruises has dramatically altered the next sailing of Celebrity Apex to ensure a safer experience for everyone onboard.
This means the ship will no longer be visiting either Israel or Egypt as originally scheduled, but guests do have cancellation options because of the drastic changes.
Another Celebrity Apex Itinerary Change
Guests booked on the October 16, 2023 departure of the 130,818-gross ton, Edge-class Celebrity Apex have been notified that the original itinerary is no longer feasible due to ongoing developments in Israel and Egypt. A new itinerary visiting Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey has been arranged.
“As our global security team continues to closely monitor the evolving situation in Israel and the surrounding regions, we have been alerted to further situations unfolding in Alexandria, Egypt. Due to these developments, our experts have made the decision not to visit Alexandria, considering the safety and security of our guests and crew as our number one priority,” the letter explains.
“This in mind, our staff have worked quickly to secure an alternate itinerary we believe you will enjoy thoroughly. Your new itinerary now includes a beautiful selection of stops in Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey.”
The original itinerary for the 10-night cruise had included port visits to Ashdod and Haifa in Israel; an overnight visit in Alexandria, Egypt; and a stop in Ephesus, Turkey before the ship would return to Piraeus, Greece.
Now, the only days of the sailing that remain the same are a day at sea on Saturday, October 21 and the call to Ephesus on Wednesday, October 25.
Celebrity Apex will instead be visiting the following ports of call, with each destination offering generous in-port time for guests to explore and enjoy each stop:
- Mykonos, Greece – Tuesday, October 17, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Santorini, Greece – Wednesday, October 18, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Rhodes, Greece – Thursday, October 19, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Chania, Crete – Friday, October 20, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Limassol, Cyprus – Sunday, October 22, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Bodrum, Turkey – Tuesday, October 24, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Ephesus, Turkey – Wednesday, October 25, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (as originally scheduled)
While these are all fine ports to visit, guests will be understandably disappointed to lose the opportunity to visit either Egypt or Israel. Though the decision is made with the safety of the guests and crew in mind, it is always frustrating to miss out on such once-in-a-lifetime destinations.
“We thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we continue to navigate this unexpected situation,” the notification to guests concluded. “As we do so, our thoughts remain with everyone in the region affected by these terrible events.”
Celebrity Apex can welcome 2,918 guests when booked at double occupancy, and is also home to just over 1,300 international crew members.
The ship’s current sailing, a similar 10-night itinerary that was to have called on Egypt and Israel, has already been altered as well.
All shore excursions booked through Celebrity Cruises for Egypt and Israel are being automatically refunded to guests’ original form of payment. Tours for Ephesus remain as booked, as that port of call visit has not been changed.
The cruise line is working as quickly as possible to confirm tour options for the new ports of call, which will be available to book through the Celebrity Cruises App or onboard at the Shore Excursions desk on Deck 4, starboard, near the Celebrity Shops and the Future Cruise Vacations desk.
Guests who have booked independent tour options for the now-cancelled destinations will need to contact their tour operators or, if applicable, work through their travel agent for cancellation and refund options as available. Guests with travel insurance may also have some option for reimbursement there, depending on the exact coverage and policy terms.
Are Refunds Possible?
Guests impacted by this drastic change in itinerary are reporting some discrepancies for refund options.
While the initial notification letter does not offer any refund or future cruise credit possibilities, guests are noting that the cruise line is offering a 100% future cruise credit (FCC) for guests who choose to cancel their October 16, 2023 sailing but who rebook a new Celebrity Cruises vacation at the same time. If guests do not rebook immediately, a 90% FCC is reported to be offered.
There does appear to be differences in the offer based on how guests may have booked their cruise, as well as their nationality as applies to different terms and conditions of the cruise contract in different countries.
These reports are not confirmed, and any impacted guests should contact their travel agent or Celebrity Cruises for updated details that fit their exact situation and booking.
Cruise Hives’ thoughts are with everyone impacted by the ongoing violence in both Egypt and Israel, as well as all cruise ship crew members from those regions who are apart from their families and friends at this troubling time.