Celebrity Cruises has begun to notify passengers booked aboard certain sailings of Celebrity Apex that their Norwegian fjords cruise will no longer be a round-trip sailing from Amsterdam, but will instead be a one-way voyage between Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
While the two ports are relatively close to one another, this can present some travel complications for guests. Fortunately, the impacted sailings are several months away, giving passengers plenty of time to alter their arrangements.
Embarkation Port Change
Celebrity Cruises has reached out to guests aboard the July 31, 2023 sailing of Celebrity Apex to notify them of a modification to the embarkation port. Rather than setting sail from Amsterdam as originally planned, the cruise will now be embarking from Rotterdam.
Both port cities are along the eastern coast of Netherlands, approximately 49 miles (78 kilometers) apart. Schiphol airport in Amsterdam is convenient to both cities, but guests will need to plan extra travel time to reach Rotterdam for an on time embarkation.
“Rotterdam is approximately 27 minutes further away from the airport,” the email from Celebrity Cruises explains. “If you are flying into Schiphol on July 31, please do ensure you have enough time to commute from the airport.”
All pre-purchased transfers arranged through the cruise line will be automatically updated to ensure guests reach the ship appropriately, and passengers using other types of transportation, such as ride shares, trains, or independent shuttles, are advised to adjust their plans as needed.
It must be noted that the embarkation time remains at 5 p.m. in Rotterdam, just as it was originally scheduled for Amsterdam.
Why Change Embarkation Ports?
The reasoning for the change in embarkation port is stated as “changing operating hours at the Port of Amsterdam,” with no further explanation.
This, however, may be related to other cruise ship changes in recent months at Port of Amsterdam due to local salinity levels. As salinity has risen in local waters due to drought and a shortage of meltwater, lock schedules have been changed to better regulate the water quality, which has meant a variety of port diversions for other vessels scheduled for Amsterdam since mid-July 2023.
Holland America Line’s Rotterdam has had a number of sailings impacted by this change, which is also influenced by the need for Amsterdam to accommodate other marine traffic in addition to passenger cruise vessels. Likewise, Disney Magic had a sailing impacted in late July, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn skipped a port of call in late August due to the Amsterdam lock schedules.
No Other Itinerary Changes
Other than the change in embarkation port, there have been no other changes made to the July 31 Celebrity Apex sailing at this time. The 9-night cruise will visit a variety of ports in Norway before returning to Netherlands and debarking in Amsterdam on August 9, 2023.
The Edge-class Celebrity Apex is the second largest vessel in Celebrity Cruises’ fleet (slightly smaller than the line’s new flagship, Celebrity Beyond), weighing in at 130,818 gross tons. The ship can welcome 3,405 guests at double occupancy, and is staffed by an international team of 1,320 crew members who provide the line’s signature distinctive service.
Celebrity Apex is currently homeported in Fort Lauderdale through early spring, but will reposition to Amsterdam via a 15-night transatlantic crossing in late April. The ship will remain in Amsterdam through mid-September, and any guests booked on summer sailings should stay in close contact with the cruise line for the possibility of embarkation or debarkation port changes.
Similarly, other ships embarking, debarking, or simply visiting Amsterdam may experience similar itinerary alterations, and guests should keep in touch with their cruise line for updated information as their sailing date approaches.
In the coming months, in addition to Celebrity Cruises, ships from P&O Cruises, Holland America Line, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International, Costa Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Azamara Cruises, and more are all scheduled to visit Port of Amsterdam.