If you never thought you would go on a cruise, a new ship has just started its inaugural sailings which may well change your mind – Celebrity Edge.
Celebrity Cruises ripped up their ship-building rulebook as they created Celebrity Edge. From the keel up, they imagined a ship that showcases world-class destinations, delivers fantastic design, creates great dining experiences and – more surprisingly – celebrates diversity.
We stepped aboard Edge to explore how it delivers the Celebrity promise of ‘modern luxury’.
Staterooms and suites bring the outside world in
From guest feedback, Celebrity Cruises knew people wanted bigger staterooms with bigger bathrooms.
In response, they came up with a truly original idea. Edge combines the balcony with the room itself. Press a button, and the huge window drops down to create a balcony. Press it again and you can enjoy the space in all weathers as a large living room. The Infinite Balcony has arrived.
The ship’s architects had to move the entire structural skeleton of Edge further in to create this little bit of magic. But the results are staterooms that are 27% larger and bathrooms that are also roomier than on a standard ship.
What is more, they’ve finessed this with interior design by the world-famous Kelly Hoppen. With her touch, the rooms blur indoor and outdoor space. And their sophistication helps you enjoy both the sea and the destinations you visit.
For even more luxury, Celebrity has also redesigned all the onboard suites for its Edge class ships.
The duplex Edge Villas are created for up to four guests. The double floor design means even better views and, again, helps bring the outside in.
But the Iconic Suites are the most eye-widening. With an incredible 2,500sq ft of space, they are positioned on top of the ship’s bridge, so the guests have an even better view than the captain.
Suite class cruisers get access to The Retreat – a sundeck, pool and hot tub area alongside a private lounge, also designed by Kelly Hoppen.
Relax by the pool or treat yourself at The Spa
Nearby, the Resort Deck boasts a large main pool and luxurious cabanas. The butterfly sculpture at the pool’s edge is becoming Edge’s most Instagramable feature. The idea is that you stand between the wings and wish for your dreams.
Next door, the Solarium is an adult area for poolside relaxation, whatever the weather outside.
For further pampering, Edge has a luxurious Spa where you can steam and sauna and take treatments ranging from massage to Botox.
Travel to Eden with a cocktail in hand
The same light, airy style runs across the ship, where Celebrity has created stunning new public spaces.
Right at the top of the ship you’ll find the Rooftop Garden. It’s a stylish desert island with sculpted trees for relaxing and soaking up the aroma and color of exotic flowers, cocktail in hand. The entertainment team puts on music performances during the day, as well as movies and dancing at night.
In the heart of the ship you’ll find the Grand Plaza. This three-storey piazza is the bustling ‘town square’ of Edge. It’s dominated by a Martini Bar, serving excellent cocktails under the twinkling lights of a postmodern chandelier.
My favorite new area, however, is Eden. At the stern of the ship (the back, to non-seafarers), this indoor garden emphasises Edge’s shift to luxurious, modern, organic design.
Eden’s three levels interweave with each other to create a mix of intimate and dramatic spaces. And the triple-height glass walls frame the seascape as it recedes behind you. Naturally, it has become my top spot to watch the sunset, while sipping a speciality herb-inspired cocktail.
Before I went on my first Celebrity Cruise, I imagined the nightclub experience would be a dreary school disco. In fact, I couldn’t have been more wrong. And on Edge, The Club, with its copper-toned walls and furnishings, provides a stylish backdrop to interactive performances and parties.
Climb aboard the Magic Carpet
The specialist cruise press described Edge as the most anticipated launch of 2018. And its most anticipated feature is surely the Magic Carpet.
As you arrive for you cruise, it’s the first thing you’ll notice about Edge. It’s bright orange design has already become iconic.
But once on board, you’ll discover that there are many ways to take a Magic Carpet ride.
When it’s set at the very top of the ship, it’s used as a bar, offering stunning views of the ocean or your destinations. Alternatively, you can enjoy dinner on the edge of the ship for a unique dining experience.
And when you arrive at destinations where the harbours are too small for Edge to tie up by the dockside, the Magic Carpet takes on a new role.
It is lowered to sea level to provide a comfortable embarkation point for the tender boats that take you to shore.
Previously this ‘tendering’ has been a rushed experience. But the Magic Carpet is an elegant solution. Rather than getting on and off via a wobbly pontoon, you proceed through a spacious Destination Gateway. In fact, you can even pause to sip a drink at the Magic Carpet bar while you wait for your friends to join you for your adventure.
Classic cuisine and animated feasts
Celebrity Cruises has long offered award-winning dining and wine. Now, on Edge, they have elevated the experience further.
The previous main dining restaurant has been done away with and split into four smaller restaurants, each with a unique cuisine and atmosphere.
You can enjoy globally-influenced American cuisine (Cosmopolitan Restaurant), French classics (Normandie Restaurant), Southern Italy (Tuscan Restaurant) or the food of Greece (Cyprus Restaurant).
If you have upgraded to AquaClass, you can dine at Blu. And Suite Class guests have their own private restaurant, Luminae at The Retreat.
For a particularly memorable meal, Edge also has a range of speciality restaurants. You can choose from a French bistro, a ‘raw’ specialist with the freshest seafood or the Rooftop Garden Grill, which gives barbecue favorites a gourmet twist.
For something completely different, try Le Petit Chef where stunning projection mapping tells a comical story on your plate before the food magically arrives at the table.
Elsewhere on the ship, there are plenty of places to pick up a snack, a coffee and some patisserie, an ice cream or a burger. And Celebrity’s ever-popular Oceanview Café runs a delicious, expansive, ever-changing buffet, to ensure you are never short of a treat day or night.
Incidentally, a common fear of cruise virgins is that you will be forced to share a table with strangers in an awkward dinner party from hell. In fact, it’s just like being at a regular restaurant. You can make conversation across the table with your fellow diners, but there’s no compulsion to do so.
Technology, from 3D design to touch-screen comfort
The latest technology is intrinsic to Edge. Uniquely, the ship architects designed it using a large 3D room, so they can see every angle from a future guest’s eye view. That incredible tech is one of the reasons the spaces on Edge, from keel to funnel, are so well delivered.
But their imagination didn’t end there. They’ve also used tech to deliver easy, intuitive experiences to make your holiday go more smoothly.
So when you arrive for your cruise, facial recognition systems speed your check-in. And when you get to your stateroom door, you can use your phone to open it. Inside the room, a touch-screen operating system allows you to control the light level temperature, blinds and window.
You can use the Celebrity Cruises app to stay in touch with friends who are holidaying with you and to plan your day. It will guide you around the ship and the vast array of events on offer, from yoga to cocktail making and from a guided meditation session to a silent disco.
That’s the pocket-version. But technology goes giant-size in the ship’s Theatre. An enormous projection screen provides a stunning backdrop to a new theatrical experience designed to bring the performance closer to the audience.
Diversity in the DNA
Of course, that’s one version of the future. But Celebrity Cruises has tried to weave some other forward-thinking views into Edge’s DNA.
As an industry, cruise lines are poor on gender diversity. So Edge is already nautical miles ahead with over 30% female crew. They’re working to get more women in at all levels, right up to senior officers and captains across their fleet.
In this spirit, they made Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai the honorary godmother of Edge. And they plan to continue to work with her to help the 130 million girls around the world who currently can’t access education.
Meanwhile, the Celebrity fleet has long been a welcoming environment for LGBTI travellers. If you are a first-timer, make sure you check out the get-together drinks for LGBTI guests on your first night. It’s a good way to get to make a few friends over a cocktail.
And alongside diversity, Celebrity Cruises is trying to make progress on that other big issue of the day, the environment.
Edge is 20% more fuel efficient than previous ships. They’ve also improved their emissions filtering to help air quality. And they’ve moved from single-use plastic bottles – replacing them with cool, re-usable and recyclable metal versions – and straws.
Whether it’s a little step or a big one, the designers recognized that improving the environment can give guests a better experience. So the innovative parabolic bow cuts through the waves in a way that saves fuel but also ensures guests get an even smoother ride.
Sailing into the future with Celebrity Edge and Apex
As if that wasn’t enough, there are even more highlights to Edge. Like lounging with a Long Island Ice Tea at the Sunset Bar on the top deck, or stumbling across one of the musical performances which seem to magically pop up around the ship.
Your favorite Edge experience may having a flutter in the casino, a cappuccino in Café al Bacio or a workout in the gym with an ever changing view. After all, Edge helps you get closer to some of the world’s best destinations – and what happens on board is only half the experience.
But for me, the lasting memory of the Celebrity Cruises experience is the incredibly high-quality, friendly service from a happy crew. And how warm, fun – not to mention LGBTI friendly – the other guests are.
Edge is a luxury product. After all, prices for seven nights on board exploring the Norwegian Fjords start from £1,939 per person in a stateroom with balcony.
But it is every bit as exciting a ship as that price point demands. In fact, cruise-lovers and critics alike have given Edge such a warm welcome, that Celebrity Cruises are building four more.
Apex – the next ship in the new Edge class – will launch in 10 months. It will operating out of the UK for a good chunk of next year. You’ll be able to tour Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean on either Edge or Apex in 2020. And three more Edge style ships are on order.
Meanwhile, Celebrity Cruises is updating its other ships to bring the best features and style of the Edge class to them.
You can discover more about Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Apex and trips on the whole Celebrity Cruises fleet here.