A Look at the Celebrity EDGE from an Experienced Cruiser
This past week I had the pleasure of sailing on the new Celebrity EDGE which launched just months ago. As an experienced cruiser who has been on more than 45 ships, I was excited to see this new class of ship which promised unique and interesting upgrades and a new type of sailing experience. In a nutshell, I was certainly not disappointed in this travel adventure and want to share some of the new aspects of these sailings for those looking for a new cruise vacation!
Celebrity built a new terminal for its new EDGE ship and you start noticing the differences the second you pull up to it. It is not only spacious and beautiful but one of the most efficient check-in processes I have experienced. Suite guests have a separate lounge/check in area which is huge and a nice perk. Prior to the cruise, you can preprint the sea pass or use the Celebrity app to check-in and then you just board the ship. You will then find your keys at your room which is a simple and efficient process. It allows you to board quickly and begin your vacation!
I think the most notable difference an experienced cruiser will feel onboard EDGE is in the public spaces. Overall, they seem to be designed to deliver a more independant experience, with lots of conversational areas and less open spaces. The large, main atrium found in most ships is gone with no space more than 3 floors in height. The Grand Plaza Martini Bar is the heart of the midship with a very cool light installation and show each night. I loved this space (not just for the martinis ;)…)
Probably the most unique space to EDGE (and honestly on any ship I have ever been on) is the new Eden. This lounge/bar area has a beautiful, relaxing decor and is the perfect place to read, have one of their specialty cocktails, or enjoy lunch with their salad/sandwich area. (Note: the cookies are amazing!) At night, they create an interactive experience with characters and special moments that is fun and playful. Treat yourself to one of the specialty cocktails which have the oddest assortment of ingredients but actually tastes delicious!
The pool deck has seen a refresh with a larger pool and smaller bar area. The burger cafe is tucked away to the side as well. The Magic Carpet lives near the pool most of the daytime hours which is a great place to grab a drink. The Magic Carpet garnered a lot of press for Celebrity as the ship was being built due to its uniqueness. In my opinion, it is fine but nothing all that interesting. You can grab a drink or enjoy the dinner there but I think they are still figuring out how to really utilize the space.
For suite guests, The Retreat is a huge step up and one that will be really appreciated. It is comprised of two floors of space for those booking a suite and it was done outstandingly well. The lower area has a large sitting area, food and drink options, and a concierge that can take care of reservations, etc. Upstairs is a great pool area and hot tub, bar, and tons of seating options. It is relaxing and the service was phenomenal. It is a great perk for booking at the suite level and and a huge value add.
A lot of thought went into the staterooms and it is obvious with some significant improvements throughout the spaces. The decor is light and fresh - a stark contrast to the dark woods of most cruise ships. This makes the spaces seem larger and the new balconies fill the room with light. The balconies, called infinity verandahs are a unique change not found on any other ship. Essentially the wall of glass can be lowered halfway to create a balcony experience in the room. This means the balcony real estate is actually in the room - giving you more space at all times. I thought it was a nice addition and I liked the extra space in the room although the indoor/outdoor furniture in the area was not great and felt cheap/odd in the space. I could see people going both ways on this feature.
They added USB ports and plugs in the space although not as many as some competitors. The storage has slightly increased as well and is certainly enough for two passengers. Overall, the living space feels open and airy with its color scheme and amount of light which is a refreshing change. The bathroom area was great - with tons of storage, a larger shower with large glass door and C.O. Bigelow products (in Concierge class). Suites featured a closable window between the bathroom and living area which allowed light in the bathroom space.
Celebrity made some interesting and positive changes to the dining experiences onboard, with some beautiful specialty dining options. They also reorganized the main dining experience by essentially dividing the main dining room into four different culinary experiences. Each features a specific type of cuisine (French, Italian, etc.) alongside a “classics” menu that is available in each of these. The spaces are well designed and the food was a good blend of unique and traditional dishes.
On the specialty dining side, Celebrity took their restaurants to the next level with not only the food but the entire experience. Their new space, Eden, has an exciting immersive dining experience that has a theatrical component that shouldn’t be missed. Raw on 5 is a beautiful space and everyone onboard raved about the sushi. La Petite Chef at Le Grand Bistro also has an interactive dining experience twice a night that includes an interactive show that would keep the entire family entertained. The a la carte lunch is also a great option if you want a finer lunch experience. There is also a special dinner on the Magic Carpet during the sailing that I did not experience but would be an interesting dining experience. Pricing for specialty dining has seen a bit of a jump averaging $55 per person. But, the ambiance, food, and service were definitely A+.
The theater has been reconceived on EDGE with a large circular stage and less seating than some other ships. The result is a more immersive experience and the shows are developed with this in mind. The screen behind the stage is gigantic and the onboard shows take advantage of this with beautiful visuals. The show, Hype, developed for Marcus Terell is one of the most fun shows I have seen on a cruise ship. It is high energy and a great blend of music and dancing. The other shows have very strong visuals as well and would entertain kids with all the colors and sounds.
Overall, I was so pleased with the experience and the stunning new class of ship. (3 more are slated over the next 3 years starting with APEX in 2020.) Being only a few months on the water, there are certainly some kinks to work out but Celebrity is one of the best and they will certainly do so. If you are an experienced cruiser, you will certainly have a different vacation experience onboard. If you have not sailed prior, why not make your first one of the most unique ships on the water?!