For many years, the Celebrity Cruises fleet was comprised of two ship classes -- Millennium and Solstice (plus their expedition ships in the Galapagos). In 2018, the line introduced Edge class, debuting with the game-changing Celebrity Edge.
The designers of Edge class took the best features of the Millennium and Solstice classes and created new innovative spaces and enhanced experiences that have wowed Celebrity guests from the day it was introduced. Edge-class ships also elevate the contemporary styling of the previous classes to a new level with even more thought-evoking art, funky sculptures, and numerous Instagram-worthy photo op spots.
How is Edge class different from Solstice class, and what are the reasons to choose one over the other? Here is a closer look at their features to help you with your decision in choosing your next Celebrity vacation. (You can also read ).
The Solstice class comprises Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Silhouette, and Celebrity Reflection. Between 120,000 and 126,000 Gross Registered Tons (GRT), these ships carry 2,852 to 3,046 guests.
The Edge-Class ships include Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Apex, Celebrity Beyond, and, coming in fall 2023, Celebrity Ascent. These ships are slightly larger - between 129,500 and 140,600 GRT and carry 2,918 to 3,260 guests.
With Edge class being larger, it has room to offer more of what Celebrity is famous for, which is exquisite dining experiences and luxurious accommodations. Yet, the ships are so well designed and laid out that they don’t feel crowded at all.
Since there are five cruise ships in the Solstice class, cruisers have more choices in terms of itineraries. You can choose from sailings to Alaska, the Bahamas, Europe, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Asia, South America, and Australia & New Zealand. Solstice-class ships also sail longer, more exotic voyages.
With three ships in the Edge class (so far), the destination offerings aren’t as diverse as Solstice class. Celebrity (as with most cruise lines) also tend to deploy their newest vessels to 7- to 10-day cruises to capture first-time cruisers, so you’ll see the Edge-class ships offering shorter itineraries to the most sought-after destinations such as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean whereas the Solstice-class ships will sail longer cruises and to more exotic locales.
Both Solstice- and Edge-class vessels feature many signature Celebrity Cruises experiences. All have The Retreat enclave for guests staying in the top-end suites. This beautiful space has a dedicated concierge desk, a private lounge, a sundeck (all Edge-class ships, Celebrity Equinox, and Celebrity Silhouette), and exclusive dining in the exquisite Luminae restaurant. Both classes also feature expansive spa facilities along with the AquaSpa accommodation category with unlimited access to the spa’s thermal suites, and a dedicated spa-cuisine-focused Blu restaurant. Other identical venues include the Oceanview Café, Mast Grill, Martini Bar and Sunset Bar, Café al Bacio, and Le Petit Chef specialty restaurant.
**Solstice Class: Classic Celebrity as You’ve Come to Expect **
Solstice-class ships are beautifully designed to carry all the classic elements you’ve come to expect on a cruise ship. Main dining rooms, specialty restaurants, observation lounges, traditional show theaters, swimming pools, and hot tubs are the norm.
Edge Class: Cruising Reimagined
Edge-class ships are designed to connect guests with the sea, and hence they boast numerous outward-facing elements such as vast open decks with outdoor venues, hot tubs perched high in the sky, and staterooms and suites with endless ocean views. The layout of Edge class is also slightly different - there are no observation lounges, and the entire pool deck has been reimagined to maximize exposure to the sun and sea.
Going ashore has also been made easy onboard Edge class. Instead of using steep gangways, guests disembark through the Destination Gateway on Deck 2, a spacious area with separate lines for disembarking and embarking guests. And at tendering ports, instead of using lifeboats, Edge-class ships are outfitted with custom-made launches with bucket seats and air conditioning, perfectly aligned with the ship for guests to easily step on and off. These launches feel more like upscale ferries than tenders and transport guests in much higher comfort. This entire set-up provides a much more efficient flow and better facilitates wheelchairs and mobility-challenged guests.
Cabins are fairly uniform across both classes, particularly when it comes to standard rooms. But the big difference between the two classes is found in the suites as well as new accommodation types in Edge class.
Solstice Class: Standard Cabin Category Selection
Cabin categories onboard the Solstice-class ships are your typical interior, oceanview, balcony, and suites. All are nicely appointed and offer all the creature comforts you may need while at sea. There are six suite categories, with guests having private access to The Retreat area and specialty restaurant Luminae.
Edge Class: Infinite Verandas, Solo Cabins, and New-to-Celebrity Suites
The Edge-class ships include several brand-new room categories with features that connect guests closer to the ocean. The most innovative - and an industry first - is the Edge Stateroom with Infinite Veranda, which has a floor-to-ceiling window spanning the entire width of the cabin. Two bi-fold doors separate the cabin and the “balcony area”, which has two chairs and a small table. At the touch of a button, the window slides down to bring in fresh air and sea breezes (you can adjust how much you want it open). In colder climes, the bi-fold doors and the window can be closed to create a lovely sunlit nook. This open-air balcony concept allows constant use of the balcony space even in inclement weather. And solo travelers can rejoice – a large number of these Edge Staterooms with Infinite Verandahs are designed for one (16 on Celebrity Edge, 24 on Celebrity Apex, and 32 on Celebrity Beyond and Ascent).
Edge-class ships have three more suite categories than Solstice class and all are stunning. Our top pick is the two-level Edge Villa with a loft bedroom, two full marble baths, a living room with a dining area, and a balcony that features an oversized private plunge pool. And for the ultimate splurge, book the two-bedroom Iconic Suites, each located above the bridge and measuring more than 5,000 square feet.
Because the Suite Class on Edge-class ships is larger, so is The Retreat. There is a much larger sun deck area (it even spans two levels on the Beyond and Ascent), and there is also a pool in addition to the hot tubs.
Celebrity has upped the game on entertainment over the past few years. Ships now feature innovative and creative production shows (two to three per cruise), complemented by aerialists, comedians, magicians, and guest musicians. Although both Solstice and Edge classes feature spectacular entertainment, the way they are seen is different.
Solstice Class: Standard Theater Stage
The main theater in the Solstice-class ships is of typical design – a proscenium stage facing the audience with a curtain backdrop.
Edge Class: Immersive Stage and LED screens
With Edge class, the theater has been redesigned to bring the audience closer to the performance. The curtain is gone, replaced by massive LED screens that wrap around the back wall. Four stage areas create entertainment in the round, and moving projections add special effects and enhance the story-telling aspects during performances.
Edge class also features an additional multi-use venue called Eden. Located aft and surrounded by glass and greenery, Eden spans two levels and is designed to be a tranquil environment to chill during the day and come alive with entertainment at night with music, acrobats, and dance.
Both Solstice- and Edge-class ships offer a sophisticated outdoor experience, with appealing pool decks and open spaces that incorporate greenery and ocean views. But each has its unique offerings not found on the other.
Solstice Class: A Deck with Real Grass and Hot Glass
All Solstice-class ships feature the Lawn Club, a real grass lawn on the top deck, where cruisers can enjoy a picnic, play bocce, or simply lie on the grass, chill in a nearby hammock or Adirondack chair. Onboard Celebrity Solstice, Eclipse, and Equinox, you will also find a glass-blowing pavilion where demos and hands-on classes are held. (Celebrity Silhouette and Reflection feature the specialty restaurant Lawn Club Grill in that space.)
**Edge Class: **Magic Carpet, Upscale Resort Pool, and a Rooftop Terrace
To bring cruisers even closer to the ocean, Edge-class designers created one of the most revolutionary and never-before-seen innovations on any cruise ship. The Magic Carpet is a tennis-court-sized platform that hangs off the side of the ship and can move between floors to serve as temporary deck extensions. On Deck 2, the Magic Carpet is an embarkation platform for guests boarding launches to shore. On Deck 5, it provides outdoor seating for a specialty restaurant. It also stops on Decks 14 and 16 and becomes a cocktail bar to complement the pool and resort decks.
Like so many of the spaces onboard Edge-class ships, the outdoor spots are more reminiscent of land-based resorts than other cruise ships. The two-level "resort" deck features a ramp that seamlessly blends the lower level and pool area with the upper sun deck. Also tying the two spaces together are two-deck-high martini-glass-shaped hot tubs. There are plenty of loungers in the sun, shade, and poolside, and there are also cabanas available for rent.
Higher up on the ship is the new Rooftop Garden, which combines the concept of Solstice Class’ Lawn Club (minus the grass) with the lounge vibe of the Rooftop Terrace found onboard Millennium-class ships. The Rooftop Garden evokes the feel of an urban New York City hotel with lounge seating, a large movie screen, and floor space for special events and fitness classes.
Dining is perhaps the one area in which the two classes of ships differ the most, as both feature unique restaurants not found onboard the other. As well, since the Edge-class ships are larger, there is more room for new venues not found onboard Solstice class.
Solstice Class: One Main Dining Room plus Signature Specialty Restaurants
Solstice-class ships boast one bi-level main dining room and a handful of specialty restaurants. Murano and Tuscan Grille are found across the fleet, serving French continental and Italian cuisine, respectively. All ships also feature an à la carte Sushi on 5 restaurant, and Le Petit Chef specialty dinner which uses creative 3D animations to bring your meal to life.
Edge Class: More Dining Options plus Dinner on the Magic Carpet
Edge-class ships offer four main dining rooms: Normandie, Tuscan, Cosmopolitan, and Cyprus. Each has a different atmosphere, décor, and a list of starters and entrees found only in that restaurant (French in Normandie, Italian in Tuscan, Continental in Cosmopolitan, and Mediterranean in Cyprus). All have a fresh sheet of signature menu items that change daily, as well as the “always available” options such as steak, chicken, and salmon.
Edge class also features a wide array of specialty restaurants, including Fine Cut Steakhouse and Le Grand Bistro (a lunch venue during the day and Le Petit Chef experience in the evenings). Eden also features a specialty restaurant with an open kitchen, offering international fine dining in a casual setting. The Rooftop Garden Grill is a new al-fresco venue located next to – you guessed it - the Rooftop Garden. It is open for lunch on certain days serving burgers, sandwiches, flatbread pizzas, and American BBQ items at dinner.
Once a cruise, a five-course Chef’s Table dinner complete with a galley tour is offered, designed by Celebrity’s Global Culinary Ambassador and Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Boulud. Onboard Celebrity Beyond and Ascent, Chef Boulud even has his own dedicated specialty restaurant - Le Voyage by Daniel Boulud.
The à la carte sushi restaurant Raw on 5 is similar to Sushi on 5 onboard Solstice class, except on certain days, the Magic Carpet is parked outside, extending the dining venue to include al-fresco dining.
On a designated evening, guests can also reserve to experience Dinner on the Edge, where the Magic Carpet is transformed into a specialty restaurant serving a delightful multi-course dinner under the stars. Where else can you enjoy fine dining cantilevered 14 stories over the water while at sea?
With every new ship class, Celebrity Cruises continues to raise the bar in offering amazing cruise experiences. No matter which class of ship you choose for your next cruise, you can expect exciting worldwide itineraries, elegant accommodations to ensconce you in relaxed luxury, delectable cuisine to satisfy all your cravings, and the same level of superb service by an efficient and courteous international crew. Bon Voyage!