Celebrity Edge is a bit different than the other vessels we’ve covered in this newsletter. Among our oceanic reports, we’ve taken you aboard Symphony of the Seas – the world’s largest cruise ship, Regent Seven Seas Explorer – proclaimed as the most luxurious, and even Crystal Esprit – a yacht like ship ideal for full charters with just 64 guests. A couple times a year we also highlight beautiful megayachts available for charter. Celebrity Edge is different than anything we’ve written about so far.
She’s not uber luxury like Crystal, Seabourn, Silversea or Regent, but she’s more luxury than the mega-ships. She’s smaller with a capacity of around 3,000 guests instead of 6,000. The result is lots of choice like the big ships, but more upscale.
In terms of vibe, Celebrity Edge channels a bit of Four Seasons – service without stuffiness and family friendly – mixed with the clean design of the Setai in Miami and the adult, sexy vibe of W Hotels or SLS.
Edge is the newest ship in the fast growing cruise market (over 26 million guests last year and more than $45 billion in revenues, including nearly $9 billion for Celebrity parent Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.). I was on a two-night preview earlier this month. She has 1,467 staterooms across 14 passenger decks and weighs in at 129,100 GRT so about 40% smaller than Symphony of the Seas. At 1,000 feet long, she is longer than three football fields. Currently Edge is sailing one-week Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Ft. Lauderdale and next summer she will offer 11-day cruises from Barcelona and Rome.
Celebrity Cruises wants to use Edge to attract non-cruisers who enjoy staying at 5-star land-based resorts. There are some spectacular suites (more on that below) that should give you a reason to make this your first cruise if you’ve never been before. The first things you will notice driving up is Edge’s Parabolic bow, which is designed to provide a smoother ride in rough seas, and a tangerine colored platform the size of a tennis court dubbed the Magic Carpet, which slides on tracks up and down the side of the ship.
Designed originally to provide a more comfortable way to get into tenders for the ports where Edge can’t dock, when the Magic Carpet is raised to the Resort Deck, it becomes a sunset bar and lounge with spectacular views as you literally float over the edge of the ship high above the ocean. On Deck 5 it becomes an al fresco dining extension to seafood restaurant Raw on 5. At sea level, it becomes a Nikki Beach style lounge with daybeds, loungers and couches where you can wait in comfort for the tenders, which were designed by French yacht designer Marc Lombard.
Throughout the ship you will find modern design broken up by numerous pieces of installment art, some beautiful modern light fixtures and numerous spaces with uniquely designed (and comfortable) seating. Celebrity Edge wants to appeal to those of you who like modern boutique and lifestyle hotels, and to achieve that the company enlisted top designers Kelly Hoppen (private residences in Switzerland and France – all the accommodations) and Tom Wright (the iconic Burj al Arab in Dubai – most of the public spaces) to lead the way.
Instead of waterslides and zip lines on the top decks, you will find daybeds and cabana areas, a rooftop garden, a large pool area and more of an outward focus, with more spectacular, unobstructed views out to the oceans. While there are no consumer reviews yet, travel advisors who were on my voyage were impressed, and several said it would be the ship they would recommend to those clients who weren’t sure they would like a cruise. Cruise Critic was glowing, writing, “Celebrity Edge is unquestioningly jaw-dropping when it comes to design. You’ll catch yourself in awe as you explore the various venues.”
I used to take my kids on Celebrity Cruises when they were young. I always thought it was a good family vacation – luxury touches I liked but not where I would have to worry about them running around and bothering other guests. I also like cruising for family vacations, as the partially inclusive nature means I didn’t have to think about it each time one of them ordered and then didn’t eat their third breakfast of the morning, no offense to folks who don’t care about $40 you get charged for pancakes at some 5-star hotels but it goes against my Scottish heritage.
Celebrity today is much different – with many more options – but I still think it fits the bill particularly if you have children of multiple age ranges – and especially if you are doing one of those multi-generation family groups. There is also space for meetings on the ship as well. I’ve used cruises for meetings in the past, and the response was very positive.
Kelly Hoppen designed all accommodations, including the suites, which feature Matermoll mattresses, Luminae, a restaurant exclusively for suite guests (you can bring guests but they need to pay a cover), The Retreat Sun Deck, exclusively for suite guests (a beautiful space with pool, hot tub, cabanas, daybeds, and bar at the top forward area of the ship), and The Retreat, a private lounge for suite guests. In-room automation allows guests to control and personalize everything via a touch screen, including lighting, shades, temperature and service. While there are lots of nice accommodations, my recommendation is to hold out for a voyage where you can grab either Iconic, Penthouse or Edge Villas, which are a cut above any other category.
Iconic Suites (2)
The two one-bedroom Iconic Suites are located above the bridge on Deck 12 forward and include 1,892 sq. ft. of interior space with a 689 sq. ft. veranda which is located on the roof of the bridge’s wind and is furnished with lounge chairs, a daybed and seating areas. You’ll have a better view than the captain, looking forward from floor to ceiling windows in the bedroom and living room, and then al fresco on your bridge wing balcony giving you a nearly 270 degree perspective.
The Iconic Suite is ideal for entertaining or to use as a gathering point for your group. There is a dining table that seats eight and a living room seating area with couch and comfortable chairs. You have views forward and out to the deck. On the deck you can comfortably accommodate a half dozen people to get some sun. You can probably accommodate up to about 20 people for cocktails.
The bedroom includes a forward facing king bed so you wake up with a view straight ahead. There is an oversize marble bathroom with bathtub and walk-in shower, separate toilet and dressing area. The only difference between the two Iconic Suites is 12101 has a hot tub, while 12100 does not, although it offers the option to connect to 12202, a one-bedroom 687 sq. ft. Royal Suite creating a two-bedroom compound. If you are traveling as a family, I highly recommend the Iconic – Royal Suite combo.
Penthouse Suites (2)
The two-bedroom, two-bathroom 1,397 sq. ft. Penthouse Suites are located on the Starboard side of Deck 12, so just down the hallway. The 235 sq. ft. master bath (about the size of your typical cruise ship cabin) has a bathtub with floor to ceiling ocean views, walk-in shower, separate toilet, expansive walk-in closet and dressing area. There is also a small separate sitting area that can either be an extension of the bedroom area or the living room. There is a soaking tub on the 197 sq. ft. veranda with sea views.
Edge Villas (6)
If you like sexy, this is an ideal choice. Six 950 sq. ft. duplex Edge Villas feel like a modern residence in Malibu, featuring a main entry from Deck 15 and then a second door on Deck 16 that opens to The Retreat private sundeck reserved for suite passengers.
There are bathrooms on both floors, and the main floor includes a living area with couch and comfortable chairs leading to a 211 sq. ft. deck with more seating, lounge chairs and hot tub with picture postcard views from its elevated perch. The bed faces out providing ocean views when you wake up through floor to ceiling windows as well as a view down to your veranda. The large bathroom includes walk-in shower.
Guests in the top suites get complimentary dining at all restaurants, including adult beverages. I note the complimentary restaurants for two reasons. First, they are really well done, and secondly, if you are hosting a large group, there are plenty of good options to eat without paying surcharges.
Luminae at The Retreat
While this restaurant is reserved for suite guests, you can invite others who aren’t staying in suites, you just have to pay the surcharge, so if you are traveling with a group, it’s a nice policy. There is a daily changing menu, so you won’t get bored. Think burrata and prosciutto with arugula pesto, seared duck breast with parsnip, trumpet mushroom, Swiss chard and sour cherry jus or turbot with fennel croquette, Pernod velouete and baby leeks.
Dinner on the Edge
Dine high above the ocean on the Magic Carpet with light bites, sushi and seafood platters, crab cakes and salads.
Fine Cut Steakhouse
If you don’t fancy meat, try the split roasted Maine lobster with English pea puree, morel mushrooms, roasted baby potatoes and creamy lemon sauce. Of course, beef is the star with a 16 ounce. USDA 30-day dry aged prime bone-in New York steak or Australian Wagyu tomahawk at 50 ounces. Top your favorite steak with lump crab Oscar, a half lobster tail or Alaskan crab leg.
Raw on 5
For seafood lovers, order the seafood towers laden with lobster, crab, shrimp, mussels and oysters or go for caviar, or channel your inner Japanese with sashimi and sushi or maybe the sea bass ceviche or perhaps the coconut mile octopus carpaccio with carrot and ginger emulsion.
Le Petit Chef
Created by Skullmapping and presented by TableMation, Le Petit Chef is a Disney-esque experience as four animated chefs stroll across your table, creating the courses you’ll experience. After they’re done, you get to eat the real thing. Definitely worth it if you are with kids, although adults seem to enjoy it too.
Cosmopolitan Restaurant (complimentary)
The beautiful Cosmopolitan Restaurant with its very pretty ceiling and wall wine displays is included in your cruise fare and serves the likes of smoked trout with fresh herbs, lobster, crayfish and smoked haddock fish cakes with Meyer lemon emulsion or try pan roasted salmon with sautéed ruby chard, clams, navy beans in a garlic broth.
Normandie Restaurant (complimentary)
Wooden panels from the historic ocean liner Normandie are featured and cuisine is French modern with treats like baked brie cheese wither caramelized apples, port wine syrup and grilled baguette. For your main, try the beef tenderloin en croute, with Roquefort fondue and a bordelaise mushroom sauce.
Cyprus Restaurant (complimentary)
Representing the Greek heritage of Celebrity (it began life as Chandris Lines) another visually pleasing dining room, Cyprus Restaurant was designed by Patricia Urquiola with a main focus on seafood and features simple, clean dishes that celebrate the food and beverages of the Mediterranean region. Try the lamb shank tangine with root vegetables, potato puree and aromatic spices.
Tuscan Restaurant (complimentary)
Tuscan Restaurant offers Italian favorites like strozzapreti carbonara with guanciale, egg, parmesian and black pepper or slow roasted porchetta with creamy polenta, citrus gremolata and arugula.
Outdoor for casual BBQ, flatbread pizzas, burgers, kebabs, bratwurst or sides like the train wreck fries with bacon, scallions, four cheeses, hot peppers and ranch dressing. Rooftop Garden is also the venue for outdoor movies and features pop-up musicyal performances.
Spa Café and Juice Bar
Keep it healthy with calorie counts on each menu item or juice your way to a happy day.
Oceanview Café (complimentary)
A multitude of stations from Latin to Italian, Indian, salad bar, Asian and freshly tossed and baked pizza, including salads and an ice cream standard make up your typical cruise ship buffet. There’s a nice open air deck on the back, howeve, unless you are in a rush, I would recommend staying with your VIP dining options in The Retreat or the multitude of memorable dining options.
Bars, Lounges and Entertainment
As with most cruise ships, there is no shortage of activities onboard from live music and movies or shore excursions that are offered. I always recommend booking your own private shore excursions through a travel agent. You’ll get a more personalized experience and the ability to customize it to what you want.
For Royal Suite guests, the Retreat Lounge is an all day lounge with breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and open bar. The Retreat Pool Bar is one deck up and located adjacent to your 12,701 sq. ft. private pool and sundeck with expansive views to the front and sides of the ship.
Of course, there’s a plethora of options for an adult beverages from The Club, Edge’s multi-level disco to The Martini Bar is midship in a five-story atrium with a stunning modern interpretation of a chandelier, The Sunset Bar high on the aft of the ship, and there’s also a bar in Eden, the casino and by the main pool.
There are also a number of shows – in fact five different productions shows during a one week cruise, including lots of pop and contemporary music, from Bruno Mars to Britney Spears favorites. There’s also lots of acrobatics and performances. Eden is interactive entertainment where you are part of the show, and might be called on to participate. The three story set with floor to ceiling windows aft is stunning. There were three reactions to Eden that I saw: love, hate or laughter, as in what the heck was that? Either way, it’s worth checking out as the way the room is set up you can walk in and leave on your schedule – there is no set schedule like a typical show. There is also a restaurant menu in Eden.
Fitness and Spa
There is a gym that runs the width of the ship forward on Deck xx providing panoramic views from the various aerobic machines that face the floor to ceiling windows. There’s also the adults-only Solarium, a covered pool which is useful when the weather isn’t ideal. There is an extensive spa with eight different therapeutic experiences including a Hammam, Salt Room, Steam Room, Rainfall Water Therapy Room, Sauna, plus various treatments, plus dedicated pre-and post relaxation areas.
Private Pool and Sun Deck
If you book a in the Suite Class on Edge you have access to a private lounge, restaurant (Luminae), sundeck, pool, bar and outdoor cafe. Forward atop the ship, the views are stunning with an 180 degrees perspective.
Youth and Teen Programs
Celebrity’s Camp at Sea program offers a selection of 500 activities, including the largest Xbox One X experience at sea, and enriching daily programming at some of the various contemporary spaces aboard Celebrity Edge.
Meetings and Incentives
The 1,970-square-foot facility is completely multi-functional—transforming as needed courtesy of soundproof dividers—allowing for two to three concurrent events when the entire ballroom or conference center is not in use. A fully equipped pantry with bar makes it easy to host events with food and beverages, and the space transforms seamlessly from day into night, with high-top bar tables or comfortable lounge seating for mixing and mingling. Top of the line AV comes standard, from wireless microphones to a mini soundboard and 98- and 75-inch plasma screens.
It’s always best to book a cruise via a travel agent as they can coordinate everything from transfers and shore arrangements to helping pre-book shipboard activities so you don’t have to. If you are looking to take a group or have a meeting or incentive, call Celebrity at (800) 722-5934