Cruise Industry

6 great features aboard Celebrity Edge, and one disappointment

There is much to love about Celebrity Edge, the newest cruise ship of 2018 and the first new launch for Celebrity Cruises in more than half a decade, but she’s not perfect.

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Celebrity Cruises’ first new ship in six years is finally in service, setting new cruise standards and ushering in a new era in on-board experiences in the same way that the line’s Solstice class did back in 2008 (Celebrity Solstice was launched in 2008, but the sixth ship in the class, Celebrity Reflection, was launched in 2012).

With 29 restaurants, cafes and bars, several lounges (including one that moves vertically up and down the side of the ship) and a plethora of cabins (from single-occupancy balcony staterooms to the two 1,892-square-foot Iconic Suites), Celebrity Edge was a fantastic finish to the spate of cruise ship launches in 2018.

During a series of 3-night roundtrip cruises out of Fort Lauderdale intended to give journalists, bloggers and travel agents a feel for the new ship, six key features of Celebrity Edge became apparent as her standout attributes:

  1. The Magic Carpet

This is the most talked about feature of the new ship, so it makes sense as a starting point. This platform the size of a tennis court sits on the starboard side of the ship and moves vertically up and down like an elevator, serving a different purpose based on its position.

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At the lowest level, it is a tender platform for guests to board the ship’s ‘launches’ to go ashore. Higher up, it is a chic dinner venue or outdoor addition to the Raw on 5 restaurant, while during the day it serves as an open lounge.

  1. Infinite Verandahs

It’s so obvious it’s a wonder no one has thought to do it before now aboard ocean-going cruise ships (the feature has been a part of the river cruise scene for years). Instead of having a separate balcony outside the cabin, the Infinite Verandah staterooms have balconies that are actually a part of the inside of the cabin. With the push of a button, the windows drop down to create a glass-walled balcony, letting fresh sea breezes into the room.

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The Infinite Verandas make Celebrity Edge’s balcony cabins 30% larger.

But what if you want to sit on the balcony in warm weather, while keeping the stateroom air-conditioned? Simply close the two folding glass doors behind you. There’s also balcony furniture here that sits in the sunlight to enable sunbathing in privacy. Most of the balcony cabins on Celebrity Edge are designated as Infinite Verandahs and because they get an additional 30 square feet of space with the windows closed, they feel much larger and brighter thanks to the floor to ceiling glass.

  1. Spa, Gym & Jogging

The Spa on Celebrity Edge (that’s its actual name) was designed by Kelly Hoppen and has a wonderful outward facing design. While most cruise ships are now putting their spa and gyms up top forward, with ocean views through floor-to-ceiling windows, Edge takes the concept a step further with SEA thermal suites, salt rooms and ceramic lounge chairs that all feature sweeping sea views.

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The colour palette matches that of the rest of the ship, with soothing greys interspersed with splashes of black and white and artistic tile work. All passengers staying in suites and AquaClass cabins get unlimited usage of the spa, while everyone else can do so with a daily or cruise-long pass. In the free-to-use gym, there’s TechnoGym equipment and a wide variety of classes like on all modern cruise ships, but Edge also offers Peloton bikes for use by those who are staying in suites or who have existing Peloton accounts (everyone else can purchase a pass).

The classes offered include RYDE and bungee. While not part of the fitness centre, Celebrity Edge’s jogging track is also worth a mention, because it spans two decks and therefore features a steep incline and a gentle, meandering decline.

  1. Innovative Design

Celebrity Cruises is perhaps one of the most interesting cruise ships in recent years from a design perspective. Her exterior styling is unique in the industry, and this is carried over wonderfully into her interior architecture and décor. The Grand Plaza, which features an enormous LED chandelier that puts on a series of light shows at night, for example, is magnificent, but not unique aboard the ship.

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The Grand Plaza aboard Celebrity Edge (Image courtesy Ship Parade)

Almost every public space features statement furniture and art pieces, bold use of natural lighting and technology akin to a hotel rather than cruise ship. This is a direct result of Celebrity Cruises engaging Kelly Hoppen and Tom Wright to bring the ship to life – both designers are accomplished when it comes to hotels and resorts, but had never designed a cruise ship.

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Eden aboard Celebrity Edge

There’s no open main dining room, no photo gallery, and few exterior staircases. Instead, there are ramp designs that combine the pool deck and sun decks and the multi-level restaurant and entertainment complex Eden.

  1. Environmentally-friendly

Every new cruise ship in recent years, and every modern cruise ship refurbishment has an environmentally-friendly focus, but aboard Celebrity Edge its been taken one step further, largely as a result of parent company Royal Caribbean’s commitment to sustainability. Their partnership with the World Wildlife Fund is just one example.

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Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises by default has joined other major cruise lines in cutting down on single-use plastics and this is most apparent aboard Edge, where drinking straws are paper, and water-for-purchase is served in glass or aluminum bottles. At the fitness center, cups for water are paper, rather than plastic.

Energy saving is another focus. The AC in cabins wont run if windows are open and deep within the ship’s engineering areas, improvements have been made to the ship’s waste-purification and emissions purification systems, which make the ship more efficient and environmentally friendly. Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President, Celebrity Cruises, says the Edge-class is 20% more efficient than the Solstice-class.

  1. Super Stable

Celebrity Edge is super stable at sea, first of all because of her size, but also thanks to her innovative reverse rake bow, which has only been used on a handful of other cruise ships, such as AIDAnova and the up-coming Leonardo-class from Norwegian Cruise Line. While Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady cruise ship won’t have a reverse-rake bow, it will be a similar vertical design.

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While it may seem that this is a new naval design, it’s actually the trend that is new rather than the design. The reverse bow or inverted bow has been used in nautical architecture since the Roman times, and was particularly popular for the Dreadnought battle ships of the early 20th century. It provides a longer waterline and less drag through the water, while also increasing stability as the ship cuts through waves rather than ploughing over them. However, it also makes for a wetter ship, which is why they fell out of favour. Celebrity Edge’s inverted bow, with a dramatic flare up top, gives her the best of both worlds.

BUT

Nothing is perfect and while there is so much to love about Celebrity Edge, the one thing we don’t like is just how futuristic she is. There’s no appeal to the timeless elegance of ocean travel aboard the ship. For instance, there is no piano bar, no main dining room, no photo gallery and no traditional show lounge with a live band or nightly entertainment line-up.

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That soothing grey palette we mentioned working so well in spa is also apparent throughout much of the ship’s interiors, giving her a very modern, clean, almost Scandinavian atmosphere, but it also makes her seem a bit cold and might not go down well with traditional cruise passengers.

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