The 5 best destinations you can visit on a Celebrity Cruises ship

Apr 25, 2021

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Like many of the seven big lines that account for the majority of cruises taken by North Americans, Celebrity Cruises offers a wide range of itineraries. You’ll find Celebrity ships in almost every corner of the world at some point during the year.

Still, the line’s heaviest presence by far is in the Caribbean, Europe and Alaska. In a typical summer, the line will deploy six of its 11 main vessels to Europe while sending another three to Alaska. That leaves just two vessels Celebrity typically will assign to Bermuda and Caribbean sailings.

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During the winter, the line will move most of these ships to the Caribbean but also send a few to Asia, Australia and South America.

For the coming winter, eight of the line’s 11 main ships are scheduled to sail in the Caribbean, and there will be one ship a piece in Asia, Australia and South America.

Celebrity also is a major player in Galápagos sailings, using three additional, very small vessels based in the destination year-round.

In all, Celebrity ships sail to nearly 80 countries in a typical year, hitting all seven continents. They visit more than 300 different ports and destinations. Those are large numbers, but they’re not quite as large as what you’ll find at some of Celebrity’s biggest competitors. Celebrity doesn’t offer quite as big a range of itineraries as Princess Cruises and Holland America, for instance.

Among the line’s itineraries, you’ll find everything from two-night sampler cruises to the Bahamas to 18-night voyages to Hawaii and the South Pacific. But Celebrity isn’t known for the sort of longer, multimonth voyages and around-the-world sailings that are a hallmark of the Princess and Holland America schedules. Most of the line’s itineraries are in the one- to two-week range.

Europe

The Celebrity Cruises ship Celebrity Edge sails in Europe during summers. (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

Some of Celebrity’s most exciting itineraries are in Europe, where the line is a significant player. It typically will deploy more than half of its 11 big ships to the continent from spring to fall, making Europe its biggest focus for more than half the year.

The itineraries that Celebrity offers in Europe are wide-ranging, with a diverse set of routings in both the Mediterranean as well as across Northern Europe.

In the Mediterranean, the line offers everything from six- to 14-night voyages that offer the chance to see such iconic destinations as Barcelona, Spain; Rome, Florence and Venice, Italy; and Dubrovnik, Croatia, in a single cruise.

Or, you can sign up for a Mediterranean cruise that focuses on the Greek Islands. Some Eastern Mediterranean cruises that Celebrity offers include stops in Israel and Turkey.

In Northern Europe, Celebrity will take you to such famed Baltic cities as Stockholm, Sweden; Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Finland; and St. Petersburg, Russia, in a single sailing. Itineraries that zero in on Iceland, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the Norwegian fjords also are available.

Among the longest sailings Celebrity offers in Europe is an unusual 14-night “Iceland and Ireland” trip that brings stops at St. Peter Port in the Channel Islands; Cork and Waterford, Ireland; Glasgow, Scotland; Liverpool, England; Akureyri and Reykjavík in Iceland; and Belfast, Northern Ireland.

In Northern Europe, Celebrity ships mostly sail out of Southampton in the U.K. and Amsterdam.

In the Mediterranean, the line’s hubs are Barcelona; Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) and Venice, Italy; and Piraeus (the port for Athens).

The line also offers some sailings out of Lisbon, Portugal.

The Caribbean and the Bahamas

Celebrity Edge entering Port Everglades Fort Lauderdale Florida
Celebrity Cruises ships often use Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades as a base for sailings to the Caribbean. (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

Come winter, Celebrity turns its focus to Caribbean and Bahamas sailings. While the line typically only deploys one vessel to the Caribbean and Bahamas during the summer, it moves nearly all its ships to the regions during the winter.

For the coming winter, for instance, the line will have eight of its 11 big ships sailing to the Caribbean and the Bahamas — including its two newest and biggest ships, the 2,910-passenger Celebrity Apex and 2,918-passenger Celebrity Edge.

Celebrity offers a broad range of Caribbean and Bahamas itineraries from three main home ports, all in Florida — Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades; PortMiami and the Port of Tampa.

If you’re looking for something short, the line has you covered in the form of quick, four- and five-night trips to ports in the Bahamas, Mexico and Belize. But it also offers an abundance of seven-night sailings to Caribbean and Bahamian ports as well as a large number of longer trips in the region that range from 10 to 14 nights.

At the core of the line’s Caribbean and Bahamas program are a diverse collection of six- to nine-night sailings, which break down into three broad categories:

  • Eastern Caribbean voyages
  • Western Caribbean voyages
  • Southern Caribbean voyages

A typical seven-night Celebrity sailing to the Eastern Caribbean includes stops in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; and Nassau in the Bahamas.

A typical seven-night Celebrity sailing in the Western Caribbean might include stops at Key West, Florida; Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Falmouth, Jamaica.

The line’s Southern Caribbean itineraries, which often are nine nights in length, will bring visits to such Southern Caribbean destinations as Aruba and Curaçao while also mixing some more northerly destinations such as Grand Cayman ad the Bahamas.

Alaska

Celebrity Millennium is one of three ships that Celebrity Cruises normally deploys to Alaska each summer. (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

Celebrity isn’t the biggest player in Alaska cruises. The giants of cruising to Alaska are Princess Cruises and Holland America, which are sister lines that control a large percentage of the market.

Still, Celebrity typically sends three of its 11 big ships to Alaska every summer, making it a not-insignificant operator in the area.

The Alaska cruise season is a short one, lasting roughly from May to September. And this year, the Alaska cruise season is entirely in doubt, due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions. As of now, Celebrity isn’t selling any Alaska sailings for 2021. But its 2022 sailings to The Last Frontier already are available for bookings.

For 2022, Celebrity plans to deploy these three ships to the Alaska market:

  • Celebrity Eclipse: The 2,850-passenger vessel will operate seven-night voyages to Alaska round-trip out of Vancouver, British Columbia. It’ll call at the Alaska towns of Juneau, Ketchikan and Icy Strait Point. It’ll also visit Hubbard Glacier for glacier viewing. On some sailings, the Alaskan town of Sitka will replace the call at Icy Strait Point.
  • Celebrity Solstice: The 2,850-passenger vessel will operate seven-night voyages to Alaska round-trip out of Seattle. It’ll call at the Alaska towns of Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan; and Victoria, British Columbia. It’ll also visit Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier for glacier viewing.
  • Celebrity Millennium: The 2,218-passenger ship will operate one-way voyages to Alaska between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seward, Alaska. It’ll feature calls at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Icy Strait Point in Alaska. It’ll also visit Hubbard Glacier for glacier viewing.

The appeal of the one-way sailings on Celebrity Millennium is that they can be combined with Celebrity-organized land tours of Alaska lasting from three to six days to create 10- to 13-night “cruisetours.”

The land tour portion of such trips brings visits to such well-known interior Alaska locations as Denali National Park and the town of Fairbanks.

Galápagos

The Galápagos-based Celebrity Flora sails with its own landing craft for exploring. (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

Celebrity is one of the biggest operators of cruises around the Galápagos, the wildlife-filled archipelago in the Pacific Ocean made famous by Charles Darwin.

Almost no major cruise lines offer voyages around the Galápagos due to local regulations that limit the number and size of vessels operating in the destination. But Celebrity in recent years has jumped into the market in a huge way with first one, then two and now three very small vessels dedicated to the destination full time.

The first thing you need to know about these three vessels is that the cruise experience they offer is very different than what you’ll experience on Celebrity’s other vessels. Just because you love cruising with Celebrity in Europe or the Caribbean doesn’t mean you’ll automatically love sailing on with the line in the Galápagos — or vice versa.

For starters, the three Galápagos vessels are significantly smaller than Celebrity’s traditional ships. They hold just 16 to 100 passengers, compared to the 2,000 to 3,000 passengers that typically will be aboard Celebrity’s larger ships. This is in keeping with local regulations that say cruise vessels can’t carry more than 100 passengers.

Because of their small size, these three Galápagos vessels have far fewer onboard amenities than the bigger Celebrity ships.

The 100-passenger Celebrity Flora operates year-round in the Galápagos. (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

But cruising in the Galápagos isn’t about the onboard experience. It’s about seeing the incredible wildlife that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

To that end, all three of Celebrity’s Galápagos vessels are expedition cruise vessels — the kind that carry landing craft on board for exploring in remote areas and sail with specialized guides.

Voyages on the three vessels (they’re really too small to call ships) revolve around daily landings with these guides — all Galápagos National Park-certified naturalists — to view the destination’s famous land iguanas, tortoises, blue-footed boobies and Darwin’s finches.

The most recently built of the vessels, the 100-passenger Celebrity Flora, is one of the newest and most luxurious vessels in the Galápagos. It boasts two penthouse suites spanning the entire width of the ship. Each measures 1,300 square feet. All other accommodations are suites, too.

Bermuda

Celebrity has a long history of offering voyages to Bermuda, and it usually deploys at least one ship on Bermuda runs every year out of Cape Liberty, New Jersey (one of the ports in the New York City area).

For this year and next, the line has scheduled its 2,158-passenger Celebrity Summit to sail to Bermuda out of Cape Liberty, with seven-, nine- and 10-night voyages to the destination.

The shortest, seven-night Bermuda sailings only include a single extended stop in Bermuda. During these trips, Celebrity Summit spends the better part of three days at the destination, with the rest of the seven days taken up with the long open-water sailings to and from Bermuda.

Celebrity’s longer nine- and 10-night Bermuda sailings add in a stop at Charleston, South Carolina, and sometimes Newport, Rhode Island. That’s an unusual differentiator from the Bermuda cruises offered by other lines.

All of Celebrity’s Bermuda trips take place in May, June and July.

Bottom line

Celebrity offers a wide range of itineraries in destinations around the world, from the Caribbean to Asia. But you’ll find the most choices among Celebrity itineraries in the Caribbean, Europe and Alaska. The line also is well-known for voyages to the Galápagos and Bermuda. Its significant focus on Galápagos sailings, in particular, is something that sets it apart from other big lines.

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Featured image of courtesy of Celebrity Cruises.

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