Celebrity Ascent Activities

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The New York scene in Bridges on Celebrity Ascent
The Resort Deck on Celebrity Ascent with the Magic Carpet in the background
The Resort Deck Party on Celebrity Ascent is one of the new entertainment options on the ship
Eden on Celebrity Ascent a multi use entertainment space day and night
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Adam Coulter
U.K. Executive Editor

Entertainment & Activities

Theater and Shows on Celebrity Ascent

The Theatre. The main theater on Celebrity Ascent is ranged across two decks and in a semi circle, with a rounded stage. The level of tech here is mind-blowing, with triple-deck height wraparound screens that immerse the audience fully into the action, recreating scenes and landscapes in Ultra HD 4K and utilizing strobes, light effects and kinetic lighting.

Celebrity Ascent debuts a whole raft of new shows across the ship in different venues, with three new ones in this theater: Bridges, Awaken and Residency, all of them unique to this ship (though they may be rolled out onto others in the fleet).

The talent working on these shows will give you a clue as to what to expect – between them, they’ve worked with: Dua Lipa, Disney, Cirque du Soleil, Aerosmith, Michael Jackson, SIA, Katy Perry, One Republic and on the Queen’s Jubilee and the King’s Coronation.

Bridges is possibly the best non-Broadway show we’ve seen on a ship and Awaken is close behind (we didn’t see Residency). Yes, there is singing, dancing and acrobatics (there always has to be, it seems), but the concept, creating and choreography is what sets these shows apart from all others we’ve seen. Bridges starts in a rainy London town on a Friday night, but rather than a slew of cliches with men in bowler hats in quaint Victorian-era cobbled streets, it’s contemporized, with harried commuters, a soundtrack of take That, The Clash, Adele and ELO, before we are transported to Venice and then onto New York, which in our opinion is the standout sequence – the music is incredible – before going via San Francisco to Sydney, where it ends with a burst of fireworks. We absolutely loved it, so much so we went back two nights later to watch it again.

Awaken is equally ambitious, based on a dream sequence with robots and including music from Harry Styles, Lady Gaga and The Prodigy, with a Matrix-style scene.

Eden. Eden also debuts some fun new shows, including the slightly risqué Shimmerbox, which riffs on Cabaret and is full of double entendres and sauciness. Audience participation is encouraged (don’t sit in the front row if you don’t want to be dragged on stage is all we’d advise), but not obligatory. It ends with a fun dance party, in which everyone is encouraged to take part. The two other new shows are Dreams and Allure.

The Club. More new shows here, including Smoke & Ivories, a 50’s-era big band-style show set in an old Hollywood club. There are some incredible dance sequences, including a tap off; sultry crooners and some awesome projection technology. This is another late-night show, after the main theater performance ends, and with a number of the Eden performers.

Daily Things to Do on Celebrity Ascent

There’s lots to do onboard during the day from (free) morning stretch classes, to guided meditation to aqua fun in the main pool, street curling and pickleball. You’ll also find typical cruise ship activities such as art auctions, jewelry sales, handbag offers and casino promotions, as well as wine and beer tasting, live music at various venues and cocktail masterclasses.

New entertainment experiences for Celebrity Ascent include Sketch Art Classes with step-by-step lessons from the ship’s resident artist and a new tabletop escape-style game, sands of Time, where passengers work in teams to unlock a mystery.

Celebrity’s app is one of the better cruise ships apps and gives you a comprehensive list of daily activities. Alternatively, the paper program, Celebrity Today, is left on your bed or outside your cabin every night.

Nightlife on Celebrity Ascent

Celebrity Ascent lays its cards out clearly on the table when it comes to nightlife – there’s plenty of it – starting with the aforementioned shows, and going on till late.

Most of the indoor action centers around the Grand Plaza, specifically the Martini Bar, which is in a prime spot at the bottom. As well as the bar itself, there is also a live band and a dance floor, which usually hots up later. Above you’ll find World Class Bar, another popular after-dinner drink spot; as well as other bars, both inside and outside, dotted around the ship.

The party moves to The Club after the show finishes, with two new shows: Funkified and Discotheque, as well as a new augmented reality multiplayer game called Game On, which recreates an 80s inspired retro feel where guests use their body as a controller.

Outside, you’ll find live music and movies at the Rooftop Garden. The ship also debuts a new Resort Deck Party around the main pool deck, with a live DJ, lights and podiums. You are encouraged to wear something silver/glittery and it’s a whole lot of fun.

New: The Annex. Situated just behind the Club, this is a really fun addition for Celebrity Ascent – a private, for pay interactive space. You can hire it for two hours for $250, with up to 10 people and enjoy a multi-sport simulator, movies, music – and karaoke. A selection of drinks and snacks are included in the price. Perfect for groups of friends or families traveling together.

Casino: You’ll find the Casino, kind of out of the way off a corridor on the way to Eden on Deck 4. There is a redesigned casino floor and a number of new games. Refreshingly, it's no smoking.

Celebrity Ascent Bars & Lounges

The Celebrity “All Included” pre-paid package includes a Classic Drinks package and basic WiFi. The Classic Drinks package includes liquors, wines, beers, plus drinks up to $9. Wines by the bottles are discounted by 15 percent.

To Get the Party Started: The Martini Bar is the epicenter of bar life on Celebrity Ascent (and on all Celebrity ships). This is the best place for a pre- or post-dinner Martini – and make sure you hang around for the cocktail show performed nightly by the bar crew.

For a Cocktail: In a great spot overlooking the Grand Plaza, World Class Bar is where you’ll find expert mixologists serving a selection of classics and a few unique to the ship. Go easy on the rum-based old fashioned with a twist: it may be stronger than you think. Should we note that most of the drinks here are more expensive than the package? Or maybe we put a note about that above? (some of the martinis are more expensive than the drink package covers).

For a Pint: Craft Social is on Deck 5, in the Grand Plaza. It’s the perfect spot for a more mellow vibe with, as the name suggests, and excellent selection of top-flight beers.

For Something a Little Different: We love Eden, at any time of day or night; it’s a great spot for a quieter drink in the earlier part of the evening. It’s also a lot easier to get a table here than in many of the bars onboard.

For a Sundowner: There’s only one spot, and that’s the Sunset Bar, at the aft of Deck 15. Completely redesigned by Nate Berkus, it’s across two levels and features a wonderful central bar area, which is akin to a Moorish monument. Watching the sunset here is a must-do.

For a Stylish Sailaway: The Magic Carpet is very hard to beat when it comes to views and ambience. Order something bubbly and settle in.

Pools and Hot Tubs on Celebrity Ascent

The Resort Deck, as Celebrity calls it, is one of the most photographed areas onboard, flanked on one side by the Magic Carpet, the other by martini-shaped hot tubs and at one end of the pool by an Instagram-friendly sculpture (in this case a sinuous silver octopus).

The pool itself is one of the longest at sea and it’s quite possible to do a few laps if you get here before the crowds (note there are only a few in-pool loungers, so again, get her early if your heart is set on one). There are two elevated hot tubs overlooking the main pool deck.

As on Beyond, the cabanas which line one side of the pool deck now face the pool rather than a corridor, which makes more sense. However, whether you want to lay down $499 for day use is another question. The fee does include a bottle of wine, vodka or Champagne (your choice) as well as beers and snacks.

The Solarium. Inside is the adults-only Solarium with a smaller pool, flanked by two hot tubs. It’s a great spot to relax, though note it’s also a main thoroughfare to and from the Spa and the Resort Deck.

The Rooftop Garden. You’ll find two glass-sided plunge pools situated just below the Rooftop Garden.

The Retreat on Celebrity Ascent

The Kelly Hoppen-designed space has been made even bigger on Celebrity Ascent, with an entire deck added. It now has much more the feel and vibe of a ship-within-a-ship complex, and it would be quite easy to spend the whole day relaxing here, without venturing into the rest of the ship.

The triple-height space includes: a lovely lounge area, where you can get drinks and snacks throughout the day; Luminae, the suites-only restaurant, and the top deck sun desk, which has a bar, lots of seating and loungers, and a small pool, as well as two hot tubs.

Sundecks on Celebrity Ascent

There are plenty of sun loungers on the main pool deck and above, overlooking it (on one side; the other is the jogging track). There are also lots of loungers on Deck 16 as you head toward the aft of the ship, some directly in the sun, and some set back, if you need some shade.

And if you do have access to The Retreat, you’ll find a lot of sun loungers on the main sundeck and just outside it, beyond the Edge Villas.

Services and Wi-Fi on Celebrity Ascent

Guest Services and Shore Excursions are both through the Grand Plaza on Deck 3. The Medical Center is on Deck 2. There are no self-service laundrettes, but you can send your laundry out for a fee.

The shops are along the main corridor leading from the top of the Grand Plaza toward the front of the ship (you’ll also find Future Cruise Sales here). Celebrity Ascent has a number of high-end shops selling top brand watches, designer handbags and jewelry, including a link-up with New York jeweler, Effy. You’ll also find Piaget, Cartier, Rolex, Citizen, Chanel, Michael Kors and Gucci gear onboard. There is also a brand shop, selling Celebrity merch, as well as essentials.

Basic Wi-Fi is included in the fare which you can use on two devices, and we found it did not drop once throughout our cruise. You can upgrade to a premium package if you want to stream movies, for example.

Spa & Fitness

Spa and Thermal Suite on Celebrity Ascent

The Kelly Hoppen-designed spa certainly has the wow factor – designed entirely in white with a double height entrance (the stairs lead to the gym). A corridor leads off the entrance hall past a salon and a barber toward the thermal suite and the therapy rooms.

As on all cruise ships, prices are significantly more than you would expect to pay on land, and do not include an additional 18% gratuity on top. (also be mindful of a line for a further tip). As well as massages, there are also various anti-ageing treatments, a teeth whitening room and the Kerastase Institute.
Note that there are always port day offers, two-for-one offers and acupuncture and feet clinics most days, where they will try and sell you a treatment.

SEA Thermal Suite. Celebrity’s Edge-class ships boast one of the best Thermal Suites at sea (the only thing lacking is a thalassotherapy pool), with an infrared sauna, a Himalayan salt therapy room, an aroma steam mist room, a crystal room with a water and color therapy rainfall. We could spend hours here (and did). There are also lovely, heated stone relaxation loungers, which as this is right at the front of the ship, have great views. Plus, you have access to an outdoor area, but it’s right at the front so is usually windy.

If you are sailing in AquaClass, you have free unlimited entry here; or you can buy a week-long pass.

Note that Celebrity has dropped its short-lived partnership with Gwyneth Paltrow, so don’t expect any Goop-branded products or treatments on Ascent.

Fitness and Gym on Celebrity Ascent

The gym on Celebrity Ascent is one of the best at sea, in terms of position (right at the top of the ship, and front-facing) and equipment – all the latest, and a lot of it, including Pelotons and F-45 training. There are also two studios for classes, which come with an extra fee.

We love the jogging track on Ascent (in fact on all Edge-class ships), which loops down from above the main Resort Deck at a gentle slope and goes back on itself. The fact that it is a dedicated track, not littered with loungers, is a huge plus.

For Kids

Is Celebrity Ascent Family Friendly?

Celebrity Ascent lays its cards on the tables when it comes to kids – they are welcome, but hidden away – literally, on Deck 3 in Camp at Sea. So although the line does cater for the youngest kids (from 6 months), our guidance is this ship is better for tweens and teens than tiny people. There are no water slides, kiddie splash area, bumper cars or anything else similar – head over to sister brand Royal Caribbean for the full kid experience.

You will however find a children's menu in the main dining rooms and also for room service.

Celebrity's Autism Friendly Initiative

Celebrity Cruises is certified autism-friendly and much of the programming focuses on sensory-friendly toys which can be used via a toy lending program. Celebrity Ascent also has autism-friendly film showings that are presented in a low lighting, low volume environment where children can freely talk and walk around during the film. (Note: The films are usually offered on autism group cruises and cruises with at least five children with autism aboard.)

The Social Story program is a guide describing social interactions and situations, which familes can download to help their kids better cope with social situations and prepare for the cruise.

Other autism-friendly policies include priority check-in and boarding; an exception at Camp at Sea for toilet training; flexible age grouping at Camp at Sea and depending on availability, pagers or phones for parents of autistic children who are signed into Camp at Sea.

Babies and Toddlers on Celebrity Ascent

The minimum sail age is 6 months on Celebrity Ascent, or a year on sailings with three or more consecutive sea days (including transatlantics).

The Camp at Sea kids club does have a Stay and Play area for toddlers under 3 years old, which is a dedicated space for parents to stay and play with their kids or watch family-friendly movies together. There is no drop off service.

Kids Club on Celebrity Ascent: Camp at Sea

Shipmates (3-5s): Kids attending must be potty trained to participate. Activities will include arts and crafts at the Creation Station, and age-appropriate activities.

Cadets (6 to 9): Unique to Celebrity, the line offers a special nautical program that teaches the basics of sailing, including navigation, time and weather patterns. You may also spot cadets outside of Camp at Sea as they take part in ship-wide scavenger hunts.

Tweens and Teens on Celebrity Ascent

Captains (10 to 12): Video games are in plentiful supply for this age group, thanks to a partnership with Xbox. You'll also find lots of sports activities, scavenger hunts and theme parties for this age group. Kids (with a parent waiver) are able to sign themselves in and out.

Teens have their own room on Deck 2, appropriately called The Basement, which is adjacent to Destination Gateway (the tendering space). They can drop in and out as they please.

Note: The Spa also has a dedicated teen menu, with teeth whitening, facials for teen skin, manis and pedis, and hair care on offer. You can also book in mother and daughter spa time.

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