The Celebrity Edge launched in December 2018 and is a gorgeous new take on the traditional cruise liner. Gone are the usual solutions for providing thousands of passengers with convenient amenities. Instead, new thinking has prevailed and almost every aspect of the ship has been reimagined to take the brand into a new era of luxury cruising.
Design is central to the first of this Celebrity Cruises ‘Edge Class’ ships. They’ve gone out and employed a raft of prominent designers with a pedigree in their fields, but no previous experience of cruise-ship design. They included renowned architect Tom Wright, of WKK, and interior designer Kelly Hoppen, who both worked extensively on the project.
The ship’s overriding aesthetic is a combination of swooping curves and playful theatricality, most clearly evident in its inspired external features. A half-mile looped exercise track snakes around the upper decks, passing two hot tubs perched on elegant 20ft-high Martini-glass-shaped structures. But perhaps the boldest of them all is Tom Wright’s Magic Carpet, a multi-purpose entertainment space attached to the side of the ship which moves from one deck to another, reaching a height of 13 storeys above sea level. The novelty of dining while suspended off the side of an enormous boat is a huge draw and the evenings the Magic Carpet becomes a restaurant sell out quickly, so our advice is to get in there early.
Our Sky Suite was the size of a substantial five-star hotel room, with all the features you’d expect of one: a comfortable king-size bed with hidden storage for suitcases, a full-size wardrobe and a chest of drawers. The living area had a two-seater sofa and, in the space between the end of the bed and the balcony, a flip-out TV. Alongside a separate loo was a sizeable bathroom, complete with combination shower and a bath large enough for two (we tested it). A nice touch was the large bathroom mirror, which opened to reveal a window overlooking the bed and out to the sea view beyond. Amenities included umbrellas, comfy quality-cotton bathrobes and slippers, C.O. Bigelow shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion in eco-conscious refillable bottles, together with a powerful hairdryer – not that we needed it.
Like most things on board the Celebrity Edge, you can book excursions via the Celebrity app or in person with the knowledgeable guest-services team. Suite Class guests have access to the expert concierges in the Retreat, who can offer advice and book trips on your behalf. But it pays to plan well ahead – before you step foot on the boat even – as many excursions sell out fast. It’s also worth finding out what each trip entails – we were surprised by some of the distances between the ports and the advertised destinations; some were several hours’ bus journey apart.
In its 27 eateries, the Celebrity Edge boasts a wide variety of food, from the seemingly endless buffet in the glittering main dining hall with its dazzling 1800-bottle wine tower, to a poolside burger bar and seven speciality restaurants.
Suite Class guests have the use of the flagship dining experience Luminae, where the attentive staff quickly learnt our names and clocked our preference for sitting next to one another rather than on opposite sides of the table. In fact, from just day two our table was set up like that. The chef surprised us daily with a new menu created from his early-morning trips to the local markets at each port.
Luminae aside, our favourite place to eat was Raw on 5, a seafood and sushi restaurant that blew us away with its super-fresh, delicious crustaceans served on a three-tier seafood tower. If there was anything that could top that, it was the exceptional, friendly yet professional service. Undoubtedly, though, the most striking dining experience to be had on board was at Eden, a concept restaurant with an elaborate ‘choreographed series of culinary temptations’, accompanied by a somewhat bemusing performance that had something to do with Adam and Eve and involved a group of acrobats lingering around the tables between stints on a crescent-shaped climbing frame suspended from the ceiling. Interesting, but we much preferred the relaxed, down-to-earth dining experience at Luminae.
In the mood for after-dinner drinks, we had 11 bars and lounges to choose between. The star of the show was the Martini Bar & Crush, at the heart of the ship in the triple-height Grand Plaza, where the impressive chandelier cost a whopping $1 million. Twice every evening, it transforms into a light show, complete with a dramatic soundtrack and a juggling display by some of the cocktail waiters. It’s not all flashing lights though – the Martinis themselves were equally spectacular and we found ourselves gravitating towards the bar for lavender Martinis on more than a few occasions.