Celebrity Edge, the newest ship from Celebrity Cruises, recently started its first European season offering cruises around the Med and Greek Islands from Rome and Barcelona.
Celebrity has been a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises, a brand that has introduced many ground-breaking cruise innovations, since 1997. By comparison Celebrity, a more traditionally adult-focussed brand, has concentrated on style and luxury and until recently, the cruise line’s major innovation was the laying of a grass lawn on the top deck of the Solstice-class ships. The lawn provides a unique place for passengers to relax, have picnics, play games and even get married.
However, Celebrity Edge, the first of four Edge-class ships, has a new trick of its own – the Magic Carpet. Designed in collaboration with British architect Tom Wright, it’s a platform around the size of a tennis court slung outside the ship that moves up and down to provide additional deck space as and when required. Up on deck sixteen it acts as a spectacular speciality restaurant hosting dinner under the stars. On deck fourteen it becomes an extension to the main pool area where guests can relax and enjoy cool music and cool drinks.
On deck five the Magic Carpet adds space to the ship’s restaurants, creating unique al fresco open-air seating for up to 100 guests. However, perhaps most guests will appreciate its use on deck two where it sits just above sea level and, with the Destination Gateway, provides luxury access for boarding tenders at ports where the ship cannot dock. This sometimes tricky passenger manoeuvre is made simple by the large and stable platform provided by the Magic Carpet and the ship’s ability to position itself in a way that shelters the platform from any sea breezes.
The passenger accommodation has also been given a complete overhaul. Renowned interior designed Kelly Hoppen MBE has focussed her skills on creating the exact balance between the excitement of travel and the need for a comfortable and luxurious personal space.
Passenger staterooms feature ‘infinity balconies’. Unlike traditional balconies that are outside the bedroom, Edge’s balconies are incorporated in the same space, although guests can open and close bi-fold glass doors to separate the balcony from the bedroom if they wish. Instead of the usual balcony rail, the end of each stateroom has a floor to ceiling window which is divided in two horizontally. At the press of a button the top half of the window slides down to provide something similar to that of a traditional balcony, but when closed, allows it to be incorporated in the living space.
Those who prefer – and can afford – to push the boat out so to speak, could opt for a Penthouse Suite, where the latest technology allows guests to choose settings to lull them to sleep and wake them up if they wish, while the ship’s enormous three bedroom Iconic Suites are ideal for hosting in-suite cocktail parties, offer king-of-the-world views and a private pool.
The ship has four main dining rooms, each with two sittings. However, guests can also choose from a number of speciality restaurants. For seafood lovers there’s Raw On 5, deck five that is, where sushi chefs create stunning delicacies from oysters, crab, lobsters and more. Eden features a lively open-air kitchen where chefs prepare unique experiential dishes and Fine Cut Steakhouse speaks for itself.
At Le Grand Bistro guests can enjoy a breakfast-time baguette and at lunch-time bread, cheeses and macaroons. In the evening it transforms into the innovative Le Petit Chef where overhead technology creates a series of animation displays on the plate and on the table showing how each of the courses is made – a unique and entertaining experience.
For casual eating the Mast Grill specialises in burgers, salads and sandwiches and there is one of the best buffet restaurants I have seen offering an amazing choice of food including Indian, Mexican, Italian and a large carvery.
With all this tempting food on offer guests may well feel the need to check out the large and comprehensively-equipped gym and the jogging track, whilst the spa offers over 120 treatments to meet all requirements.
Of course there’s a wide range of bars as you would expect, both inside and out on deck, a large theatre offering great entertainment, and ‘The Club’ which provides a more intimate bar and entertainment area. However, due to the traditional two-sitting dinner, the theatre stages two shows a night. This means it doesn’t put on the type of full-length west-end productions you will find on some sister brand Royal Caribbean ships.
During the summer season, Celebrity Edge is offering a range of cruises allowing guests to explore destinations in France, Spain, Italy and Monaco. The ship’s itinerary is designed to allow longer stays in port, including some overnights, so guests can get under the skin of the destination. After its European season, Celebrity Edge leaves on 1st November and heads off on a fourteen-night repositioning cruise to Fort Lauderdale where it will cruise the Caribbean before returning in 2020.
For more information please visit www.celebritycruises.co.uk or call 0800 953 5821 / +44 (0)845 163 8869.
Mike Pickup is an award-winning travel writer and photographer who has over one hundred features a year published in newspapers, magazines and travel trade titles. He previously spent several years working in the cruise industry.
Photographs by Mike Pickup and Celebrity Cruises
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