Celebrity Edge: The future of cruising is here
If you're wondering what the future of cruising might hold, look no further than Celebrity Edge. The first of four ships in Celebrity Cruises' new Edge class does not disappoint when it comes to marrying cruise line favorites with 21st century upgrades. The 2,918-passenger ship introduces a number of new innovations that will be welcomed by most tech-savvy travelers. You can control your stateroom lighting, temperature, television and more all from your smartphone or the digital display screen.
Several of the ship's restaurants offer rotational menus and exclusives at no extra cost, so dining is fresh and different each night. Entertainment, too, has been enhanced with a theater unlike anything at sea, featuring HD LCD screens and a circular stage that puts the audience in the center of the action. With other improvements to the outdoor spaces, the ship delivers a truly refreshing and luxurious experience without breaking the bank.
Built at a cost of a billion dollars, the ship's first-at-sea inventions include a moveable deck and cabins with "balcony" spaces that can transform from outside to inside. Celebrity Edge is larger than the line's Millennium-class ships and in the same ballpark as those in the Solstice class.
The reviewer's 12-minute overview of the new Celebrity Edge's top features.
Where Celebrity Edge sails
The ship home-ports in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and makes Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings from November to April and longer Mediterranean sailings from May to October. Eastern Caribbean voyages call on San Juan, Tortola and St. Maarten, among other ports, and Western Caribbean trips stop at Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Grand Cayman.
Top highlights on this ship
The cruise line's distinctive new Magic Carpet is cantilevered from the side of the ship, ramping up the ship's distinctive profile even more. The size of a tennis court, this impressive engineering feat scales the 16-deck ship throughout the day and evening, positioning at four of the ship’s decks, transforming into a new experience at each one.
At the summit of the ship on deck 16, the Magic Carpet turns into a specialty restaurant offering an upscale dining experience called “Dinner on the Edge” for 90 guests once per cruise. When it hugs deck 14, Magic Carpet becomes an open-air expansion of the main pool area. On deck 5, Magic Carpet extends one of the ship’s specialty restaurants into an impressive-looking al fresco venue. And on deck 2, it serves as an embarkation and disembarkation platform when tendering in ports of call.
Celebrity Edge calls its pool deck the Resort Deck because the pool is only one of the focal points of deck 14. It features two-story windows, with chaise lounges positioned around them facing out to sea. The large pool is flanked by sculptural trees and two "martini glass" Jacuzzis that overlook the deck below. The deck also features six oversized private cabanas for a fee.
The Rooftop Garden is one of many spaces aboard Celebrity Edge that will lure guests out to relax and play. Imagined by celebrated architect Tom Wright, the Rooftop Garden, tended daily by a resident horticulturist, is the perfect place for guests to enjoy games (giant Jenga, ladder ball) and activities throughout the day. You'll find live greenery and stylish, fabricated tree sculptures throughout the area. At night, it is home to live music and outdoor movie-and-meal pairings.
The Retreat: The ultimate sanctuary
The Retreat, billed as the ultimate sanctuary for world travelers, is the ship's new private utopia with a private pool on the sun deck, butler service and an exclusive restaurant, Luminae.
Solarium & spa
On the Resort Deck, you'll find the adults-only Solarium, a perennial favorite of Celebrity passengers. The space offers a covered pool area where adults can unwind in relative solitude. The ship's spa is classy and beautiful and features some of the most high-tech treatments available at sea.
Top dining options on board
Celebrity Edge has taken the traditional main dining room found on most cruise ships and multiplied it by four. These separate dining venues still offer a classic menu that is standard each night, along with a signature menu that changes nightly. The bonus is a venue-specific exclusives section on the menu that offers starters, entrees and desserts that reflect the restaurant's theme. Think souvlaki for the Greek-inspired Cyprus Restaurant or carbonara in the Italian-themed Tuscan Restaurant. Even with the Celebrity Select Plus flexible dining option, service was spectacular, dinner was well paced and we never had a wait at any of the restaurants no matter what time we went to dinner.
Even the typical cruise ship buffet, the Oceanview Café, has been enhanced with a larger, more spacious design and some new food selections. The new Eden Café was also a nice addition, offering light fare for breakfast and lunch such as yogurt parfait, freshly made cinnamon buns, sandwiches and salads.
New specialty dining concepts introduced on Celebrity Edge were home runs. The Fine Cut steakhouse served perfectly seared steak with top-notch side dishes. Le Grand Bistro offered a custom breakfast and a French-inspired lunch. At night, it was home to Le Petit Chef and Friends, a digitally enhanced dinner and show that is unlike anything else at sea. The al fresco Rooftop Garden Grill offered upscale barbecue in a great location, but it missed the mark for us when it came to food and service. The new Eden Restaurant has a tasting menu that leans to seafood was a bit too daring for us so we skipped it.
For suite guests, the ship’s Luminae offered breakfast, lunch (on sea days) and dinner in a secluded spot on deck 12 overlooking the ocean. Aqua Spa passengers can enjoy breakfast and dinner at Blu, on deck 5 aft next to Eden.
Where we went and what we loved
Besides the amazing new ship, we chose this particular cruise for two of the ports of call. The first stop was Key West, Fla. We had never been to Key West before, so we opted for a hop on and off trolley, which gave us a complete view of the island and allowed us to grab photos of the famous landmarks. Of course, the day would not be complete without some Key Lime Pie from Kermit’s and a drink at Sloppy Joe’s Bar.
In Costa Maya, Mexico, we enjoyed a relaxing beach break at the all-inclusive Maya Chan Beach Resort. This remote beach club is reserved for 100 guests and includes all your beverages and food as well as use of non-motorized water activities like kayaks. Having just visited Cozumel, we opted to stay aboard the ship and spend a day in the thermal suite. Others explored local highlights, including several Mayan ruins.
Our return to Grand Cayman, after a 12-year hiatus, was bittersweet. Our island tour hit a number of delays and other issues resulting in a rushed day. In fact, we were on the second to last tender back to the ship.
Activities on board
Diverse yet low-key is how we would describe the activities on Celebrity Edge. Yes, the ship doesn’t have bells and whistles like waterslides or a ropes course. Instead, cruisers are encouraged to make their own fun.
The Club offers daytime activities from the t tabletop maze to traditional board games and even archery and a laser maze. Wooden puzzles, adult coloring and other relaxing activities could also be had at Eden throughout the day.
At night, there was a predictable series of events, including game shows (which mostly occurred in the Club) like Caption That!, True or False and Yes or No. The game shows, while short, were entertaining and another way for guests to get involved in the cruise.
Live music was found throughout the ship, with various band combinations and acts rotating from the Grand Plaza, Eden, the Rooftop Garden and the Club. Most nights, the house band, Impulse, played a few sets of rock 'n' roll in the Club. A late-night DJ could also be found for those looking to dance the night away.
Celebrity Edge even had a few themed parties, including a silent disco and Nocturnal, an outdoor pool party that also doubled as the ship’s “white party.”
Even though Celebrity Cruises doesn’t draw many families, Celebrity Edge does have some venues specifically designed just for young ones. Its Camp at Sea program boasts that it is “never the same twice” as the counselors have access to 500 different activities and experiences for children ages 3-12 from brand partners such as Lonely Planet, Fat Brain Toys and X Box.
On deck 2, the aptly named Basement is a place for teen cruisers to meet, mingle, play video games or watch movies on the large high-definition TVs. The Basement also hosts Celebrity Life activities such as dance parties, classes and even an escape room experience for teens.
Celebrity Cruises has re-envisioned entertainment on Edge with a brand-new theater boasting a circular stage surrounded by LCD screens that act as the backdrop for three new signature production shows.
The main theater had a show every night of the cruise, with both an early and a late showtime. There were also additional late night comedy performances from the two comedians on board.
These new main theater productions included "Kaleidoscope," offering a pretty standard musical revue; the somewhat odd and difficult to follow "The Jewelry Box," and our favorite, "A Hot Summer Night’s Dream." The latter is a take on the popular Shakespearean play with singing, dancing and acrobatics set to modern music.
There were also two “resident headliners.” Ashlie Amber Smith was the lead in "The Purpose," a concert-like experience with a message of hope and empowerment. The perhaps more cruise-appropriate show "Hype" featuring Marcus Tyrell was a high-energy pop performance brimming with familiar hits from the likes of Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake and others.
Additional entertainment in Eden consisted of the performance art "Revelations." This separate cast of acrobats, street performers and singers performed a two-hour interactive experience that's hard to explain and something you just need to see for yourself.
On Celebrity Edge, designers have created several twists on the traditional stateroom. The new design adds 23 percent more square footage and 10 percent larger bathrooms than Celebrity’s Solstice Class. Accommodations include:
Villas, Sky Suites and Penthouse Suites
Six Edge Villas, another new touch, span decks 14 and 15. They offer dramatic views from two stories of windows, private plunge pools and direct walk-out access to The Retreat sundeck.
The 146 large, outward-facing Sky Suites suites and double occupancy Edge Staterooms are fitted with exclusively designed plush king-size cashmere mattresses – an industry first – and offer personal butler services and access to The Retreat.
For those looking for high-end digs, at the top of the line are two new Iconic Suites situated above the ship’s bridge that span nearly 2,600 square feet and provide two-bedrooms, two bathrooms and spectacular views from panoramic windows that envelope the dining room, living room and bedrooms. They also sport 700 square-foot verandas with a 270-degree view of the ocean.
Two 1,578-square-foot Penthouse Suites feature two bedrooms, two bathrooms, large soaking tubs on the veranda, large dual walk-through showers and expansive walk-in closets. The ship also features four Royal Suites, each measuring 687 square feet, with a 72-square-foot balcony.
Staterooms with Infinite Verandas
Edge has 918 Infinite Veranda cabins, including 16 single-accommodation rooms, the first cabins Celebrity has created for solo travelers. The Staterooms with Infinite Verandas (a reference to the cabins' connection with the sea) turn guest quarters into a seamless space with windows that retract to the ceiling at the touch of button.
We booked one of these and, while the concept sounded intriguing, it was a letdown for us. Essentially, instead of having a balcony, you have a large window with an extended seating area. Despite the “balcony” disappointment, these upgraded rooms had many nice additions, including the ability to turn lights on and off, control the television and the temperature in the room from the app on your smartphone. The bathroom was also modern and roomier than your typical cruise ship bathroom. The stateroom also offered nice features like several power outlets and USB ports for all of our technology. Décor and furnishings were a clean and sleek design as well.
Download the Celebrity Cruises app. This smartphone app allows you to breeze through the check-in process at the Terminal (as long as you do the pre-cruise check-in) and has a variety of other benefits, including making reservations, displaying the daily list of activities, opening your stateroom door and controlling the lighting and temperature of your stateroom. How many cruise apps do that?
If you took advantage of a promotion that included a free Classic Beverage Package, we recommend you pay the difference ($11.80 per person per day) to upgrade to the Premium Beverage Package. You will have a large list of drinks to choose from, including all of the martinis at the Martini Lounge and specialty cocktails at The Club.
Who will like sailing on Celebrity Edge
You'll find lots of travelers who enjoy the relaxed, upscale vibe of a Celebrity sailing along with those who like to check out the latest and greatest in cruise innovations. Our particular voyage had a high proportion of Celebrity Captain’s Club members; these frequent Celebrity cruisers made up over a third of the total 2,400 passengers on board. There were also quite a few couples ranging from thirties and forties and beyond. Children were almost nowhere to be found on our trip. While the ship does have some dedicated facilities for teenagers and younger children, Celebrity does not really attract many families.
Unlike some other cruise lines, Celebrity Cruises’ passengers actually follow the suggested dress code. The main dining rooms are business casual, and there are two Evening Chic nights, Celebrity Cruises’ version of formal night. On these evenings, there were plenty of dress shirts and ties or sport coats and cocktail dresses. During the day, the ship has a casual vibe.
Tips & gratuities
Like most major cruise lines, there is a daily gratuity. Depending on your cabin category, these range from $14 to $18 per person per day. All beverages and have an additional 18 percent service charge. If you opt for a beverage package or dining package, you'll be charged the service fee on top of the daily rate. As usual, we did provide additional tips to our servers at the specialty restaurants as well as our stateroom attendant, who did an excellent job making sure our room was always tidy.
Celebrity Edge offers a refined and stylish way to see the Caribbean. You won’t find some of the cheekier things you might expect on a cruise like the belly-flop contest or even bingo. The new entertainment and upscale feel isn’t for everybody. Cruisers used to the typical cruise director staff trying to get you on the dance floor to do the Macarena or having you run around a room trying to find a woman’s bra may find the ship a bit dull or lacking in things to do. This deviation might be too stark for some cruisers who have come to love some of the more outlandish aspects of sailing in the region. Personally, we enjoyed the more subdued entertainment options!
The Edge will be joined by sister ship Celebrity Apex as well as a third ship in the line.
Interested in a cruise on this ship?
For pricing, itinerary information and to reserve your spot on Celebrity Edge, contact Cruiseable's travel experts by email or by calling 1-877-322-3773.
Top highlights on this ship
- The reimagined Resort Deck has a trendy, sophisticated vibe with a pool and bar that resemble a 5-star resort in Miami Beach
- Fun sea day activities like the tabletop maze in the Club, puzzles in Eden and outdoor options in the Rooftop Garden
- The you'll-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it Magic Carpet
- The SEA Thermal Suite offers 8 unique experiences, from the typical sauna or Turkish baths to the exotic waterfall shower, salt room and float room.