As I walk into my room I feel relaxed and at home straight away. The passenger accommodation on board Celebrity Edge is designed by Kelly Hoppen MBE. With her signature neutral palette and beautiful textures, it feels stylish and welcoming. My Aquaclass Stateroom has a kingsize bed with a cashmere mattress, an airy balcony and plenty of clever storage space. The bathroom is sleek and modern with generous mirror, sink and shower and there are some delicate lavender-scented toiletries waiting for me to use.
I’m on board Celebrity Edge cruise ship for its inaugural European sailing. The ship feels like a beautiful boutique hotel – but on a large scale. I’ve been invited to experience the ship with a group of fellow travel bloggers and journalists as well as some travel industry professionals. We set sail from Southampton for two nights at sea. I’m delighted to learn that education campaigner and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai is the ship’s godmother – the Celebrity brand is strong on inclusion and diversity, and it supports the Malala Fund.
Celebrity Edge is said to be the world’s most technologically advanced cruise ship, and it uses apps and facial recognition software to make the passenger experience as smooth as possible. The Celebrity app is free to use on board the ship, even if you don’t pay for a WiFi package. I found the app to be very intuitive to use. It acts as a digital key to unlock your door, and allows you to control the lights, blinds, TV, and temperature in your room from your phone. The app also offers free guest to guest messaging, which is very handy on board. In future, the plan is for passengers to be able to order room service via the app. Before the cruise begins, Celebrity aim to engage passengers as much as possible via the app, in order to make the boarding process as smooth and as quick as it can be. In the USA, where Celebrity Edge launched at the end of 2018, boarding is now as quick as five minutes for passengers who engage fully with the app before their cruise.
At around 20% of ports the ship needs to use smaller boats in order to transfer passengers to shore. The innovative Magic Carpet platform is designed to improve the experience of transferring to these tenders – and it’s a unique feature of the ship. Architect Tom Wright designed the cantilevered platform to travel up the side of the ship. When it’s not being used on Deck 2 as an embarkation point, the Magic Carpet is used as panoramic bar or dining area on other decks.
The passenger accommodation on board Celebrity Edge is stylish, modern and luxurious. Individual rooms are called staterooms (rather than cabins) and there are 1467 of them in total. 81% of staterooms have a verandah – my Aquaclass Stateroom has an ‘Infinite Verandah’ with electric windows which you can open up to see and hear the sea, or leave closed for just the views. There are 178 connecting rooms on Edge, which are ideal if you have kids and can’t or don’t want to all share a room. There are also some gorgeous suites and twin-level villas in an exclusive area of the ship, which is by the 22,000 square foot spa (also designed by Kelly Hoppen). Suite guests have access to a dedicated lounge, restaurant and sundeck with around-the-clock butler service.
Food and drinks
The food on board is very good, and there’s a wide range of dining options available. The ship has 29 restaurants, cafés, bars and lounges – I didn’t have time to try out all of the restaurants, but I ate in a few. The Oceanview Café is a large buffet restaurant, which is good for breakfast and lunch, and also has an ice cream counter. Café al Bacio is perfect for coffee and pastries. The Sunset Bar is ideal for cocktails on deck. Le Petit Chef & Friends at Le Grand Bistro restaurant is an amazing experience where a 3D animated story plays out on your table and four little chef characters prepare your meal. The animation pauses for you to eat each delicious course. The only dining disappointment for me was lunch at Cosmopolitan restaurant – the single vegetarian option was a very dry veggie burger. I should have gone to the Oceanview Café instead, where there were loads of tasty veggie options!
There was all sorts of professional entertainment happening all over the ship, if you wanted it. I loved the dynamic performance of ‘A Hot Summer Night’s Dream’ (inspired by Shakespeare) on the round stage at the ship’s theatre. The acrobats performing above the dance floor at The Club were also a highlight, as was the guitarist singing gentle cover tunes on a sunny afternoon by the outdoor pool. I didn’t make it to the Silent Disco, but it sounds like a brilliant experience.
All of the public areas on board are unique and are beautifully designed. One of my favourite spaces on the ship is Eden, which features the largest window to the world at sea, covering just under 7,000 square feet of glass. It has comfortable and beautiful places to sit and take in the views, and there’s a book swap trolley in a corner. Above the Eden bar is a Library of Plants, which provides ingredients for cocktails.
Antarus Sea Academy
There are more than 500 different activities on offer for kids on Celebrity Edge, and staff tailor the programme to the ages and interests of the children on board. Camp at Sea is for three to 12 year olds, Basement is for 13 to 17 year olds, and the aim is for kids to learn about the world in a fun and interesting way, without feeling like they’re at school. Broadly, activities are divided into four types: culinary (such as decorating cookies), art and craft (for example sand art), STEM (a popular activity is building boats out of recyclable materials) and active (such as dodge ball and scavenger hunts). Activities take place in different spaces around the ship, and staff encourage kids to get outside by scheduling events such as family ‘Camp Out Nights’ in pop up yurts in the ship’s beautiful Rooftop Garden (although nobody actually sleeps there) with stories, songs and s’mores.
Celebrity CEO and President Lisa Lutoff-Perlo says that Celebrity Edge is for passengers who care about design, food and travel and who probably think that ‘cruising isn’t for them.’ This statement is spot on for many of my friends – and probably would have been for me, if I hadn’t experienced cruising as a travel blogger. I really enjoyed travelling on board Celebrity Edge. It’s a beautiful, unique ship and sailing on it definitely feels like the kind of experience which would work well for my family and friends – especially the ones who think that they don’t like cruising.
Over to you
Are you a fan of cruises – or are they not for you? Does Celebrity Edge appeal to you? Do let me know if there’s anything else that you’d like to know about my experience on board Celebrity Edge – I’ll do my best to answer.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Celebrity Cruises on board Celebrity Edge for review purposes on a two-night ‘European Premiere’ sailing from Southampton. All words, images and opinions are my own and are independent, as ever.