Celebrity Edge Cruise Review by Host Anne
- Sail Date: January 2019
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Sky Suite
January 6 – 13, 2019
Cabin 7275 – Infinite Veranda switched to Cabin 9209 – Sky Suite
As you read through this, please remember I’m relating my experiences on Edge last week. I always try to write fair and honest reviews of our cruise experiences that may help others.
The days leading up to a cruise are always like Christmas Eve for me. Filled with excitement and anticipation. Given that we were heading to a new class of ship – Celebrity Edge – the anticipation was even greater. Of course, I’d been following the reports and reviews on Edge since she began sailing last month. I believed there were things we were really going to like about the ship and then there were likely some things we wouldn’t care for. But I’ve long been a believer that we must actually experience something for ourselves before making a real determination on how we feel about this new ship.
I did download the app as many suggested and easily found our boarding passes on the app once I finished on-line check-in. I also printed out our luggage tags and immediately felt like we were ready to go!
JANUARY 5, Ft. Lauderdale
Since we almost missed a ship 20 years ago, we have always arrived in our embarkation city a day early. We still do that even though we live in Florida now and could easily make the drive the morning of the cruise. It’s fun to arrive the day before, watch ships sail out the evening before and enjoy a relaxing dinner before the “big” day arrives.
We’ve typically stayed in the 17th St. area of Ft. Lauderdale over the years, but this year we stayed south of the port at the Marriott Hollywood Beach because we were able to use loyalty points for the stay. We were pleasantly surprised at how friendly and helpful the hotel staff was. Our room looked like the soft goods (beds, towels, etc) were relatively new. Elevators were fast (important to people like me that don’t like being in an elevator). Latitudes restaurant and tiki bar were great. We had drinks at the tiki bar at night and breakfast there before heading to the ship. I was particularly impressed that the friendly staff was continuously cleaning the buffet area and ensuring that all food was promptly replaced when things were running low. The egg station provided made-to-order eggs and omelets. Plenty of restaurants were within walking distance of the Marriott for dinner the night before. We would definitely stay here again before a cruise.
After spending a week on Edge, instead of giving you a day by day review, I’ve decided to break my review down as follows:
EXCEPTIONAL – these are things that far and away exceeded our expectations and there were several of them.
• Service from the crew – I’ve always loved the Celebrity crew, but I have to tell you that the crew on Edge is fantastic. They were pleasant, helpful, always smiling and willing to go out of their way for guests. I’m sure others may have experienced some exceptions to this, but for us, this was one of the best overall crew we’ve had on a ship – any ship! The best example is that we were traveling with our daughter who has a dairy allergy and our son-in-law who has a gluten intolerance. Our dining room staff and chefs were SO good to them that we actually tipped the chefs at the end of the cruise. That was a first! Typically, in the past, our daughter would receive a plain piece of meat with no sauce, plain baked potato and sorbet for dessert. That was a typical dining room meal for her. This cruise, the chefs were willing to make almost everything on the menu dairy free including sauces and wonderfully delicious different desserts every night. It was nothing short of amazing! Truly above and beyond anything we’ve ever experienced on a ship. Thank-you Jobita and Edrial!
• Food – Right up there with the service was the food throughout the ship. This was twofold. The variety and quality! We ate dinner every evening in The Normandie dining room. We did this partially because of the allergies the kids had and that the dining room food was so good that it was difficult to spend the extra money for the extremely expensive specialty restaurants. I often had difficulty deciding what to order each evening. The Normandie specialty food items were outstanding….the beef en croute (beef wellington) and the Alsatian tart were favorites of mine.
• We did try Le Grand Bistro for lunch one day and Raw on Five another. Both were good. Our daughter said her burger at Le Grand Bistro was one of the best she ever had. The steak with the steak frites wasn’t the best but the French onion soup and frites were great. At Raw on Five, the guys said the sushi was good as was my stir fry but the fish and chips my daughter had were just OK.
• We found the Oceanview to be one of the highlights of the ship. The slightly new design (much higher ceilings; wide variety of tables and chairs including high tops; better marked stations) was very nice. The handwashing stations as you enter either side of the Oceanview is an awesome addition. PLEASE use them. We tried a wide variety of options throughout the cruise and everything was very good. The rotisserie meats were outstanding and the new pizza dough was much better than Celebrity’s pizza of the past and they’ve added calzones – a nice touch. They also made gluten free pizza crust for our son-in-law. The pizza station in now located at the very back of the Oceanview. One important note….the waffle station (a long time breakfast favorite) now has it’s own spot on the starboard side of the ship instead of being with the pancakes and French toast. Don’t miss them….they are as good as ever!
• Embarkation – We had the xpress pass in the app on our phone and it made it simple to embark. While three different people scanned the xpress pass along the way, it was a quick and easy procedure. Even going through security was quick and easy.
• The Retreat – We were not planning on being able to use the Retreat (the private deck/pool/bar for suite guests) but after spending some time in our original infinite veranda (more on that later) we decided to upgrade. Several hours after asking about an upgrade, guest relations called to say they had a Sky Suite available. We decided to take it and that gave us access to the Retreat. I completely understand that many feel too much space on the ship has been devoted to the Retreat. This is the space that the Sky Lounge and Solstice deck occupied on the S-class ships. But they’ve done a marvelous job with the space. GREAT lounge chairs, rocking chairs, plunge pool, bar area serving burgers and hot dogs as well as drinks. Plenty of shaded corners with comfy couches. The Retreat Lounge on the level below is also available to suite guests. It’s a large space with an outdoor seating area as well. If you are fortunate enough to sail in a suite, this is a wonderful place to enjoy.
• Disembarkation – I don’t know if the government shutdown had anything to do with it, but we got off the ship when our number was called, walked up to one of four scanners with facial recognition that instantly said “Approved” and the person at the scanner said you’re free to go. We walked into the luggage area, picked up our bags and walked to the curb. It didn’t take us five minutes from the time we walked off the ship to be standing at the curb to pack our car!
HITS – Edge has plenty of “hits” that we felt were worth noting
• Décor – there are lots of different and comfortable furniture around the ship. The cabins are pleasant with neutral colors. There are lots of special touches like the wooden staircases near the main restaurants and going from deck 5 to 4 in the Grand Foyer. There are some funky things (wooden people; the metal forest leading to Eden; the horse) but overall the ship décor is modern and pleasant.
• 4 Main Dining Rooms – My feeling is that breaking the main dining rooms into four was a great idea. They are more intimate and quiet; they are beautifully decorated to fit each restaurant theme and I don’t think there were bad tables like there often were in the bigger main dining room.
• The App – The app was very easy to use although it wasn’t always correct.
• Little Nooks and Crannies to sit throughout the ship – I couldn’t name all the locations of the various places you could find to sit and get away from it all but there were quite a few. My favorite was the spot on deck five aft just off Eden. It’s a little difficult to find the door to get outside but it’s an awesome spot. The Rooftop Garden has lots of great seating, too, as does Eden itself.
• Entertainers were all very good – there were a variety of entertainers on our ship and all were pretty good. Troy Thirdgrill, a comedian, was extremely funny both early and late. The Edenists performing in Revelation at Eden were terrific (more on them separately)
• Grand Foyer area seating is very nice – the multi-tiered Grand foyer featuring the martini bar is a very nice area. Seating is great; music here was mostly good (except when it was very loud….like during the “light show”). While it is spacious, this and Eden are really your two pre-dinner lounges. A third, more intimate lounge would be great.
• The Solarium – I didn’t count but there seems to be more lounge chairs and the solarium seems bigger than the S-class ships. It’s a beautiful area with very comfortable lounge chairs that can be lifted to sit straight (unlike the main pool).
• Larger showers – the showers in all classes of cabins are larger. Our daughter and her husband were in an inside; we had the infinite veranda for a while and then the Sky Suite. Bathrooms in all were roomy!
• Port disembarkation – quick and easy with just a tap of your seapass; same thing for getting back on the ship.
• Revelations Show in Eden – I’m going to address this separately since it’s such a hot topic. But contrary to what I thought before I saw the show, I actually truly enjoyed it.
• Sound in “the Club” was great…not too loud
• Riedel glassware – this is a WOW….adding Riedel glassware throughout the ship is a very nice upgrade!
• Main pool - great for swimming laps early in the morning. I don’t think I’ve seen a pool this long on a cruise ship. It’s great!
• Mast Grill seating – much improved over the S-class ships with shade and more seating
• Running/walking track – love that it isn’t just a circle and has varying elevation.
• Cloth laundry bags – why did it take this long to switch to cloth laundry bags? They are easier to fill and prevents throwing away multiple bags!
• Eden – this is a beautiful area of the ship and the secluded outdoor area off of Eden is a gem!
MISSES – These items weren’t quite up to par for a new ship. Some are minor but some can probably be improved upon.
• Forcing people to use electronic devices – At least it seems like that is what is going on. Trivia on your mobile device; pay-to-play game time on your mobile device; Celebrity activities, dining, etc. on your mobile device. I go on cruises to disconnect. I do not want to use my phone on a cruise. I don’t want to have carry it to see what time it is. I don’t want to chat or text with others on my cruise. Our millennial daughter and her husband felt the same way and our son-in-law is a techie.
• Forcing people to walk through the starboard smoking area at the Sunset Bar if you are walking up the stairs from the Oceanview. If you want to head to the Sunset Bar or Rooftop Garden from the aft part of the Oceanview, you have to walk through the smoking area. Wish they had flipped this to the port side (not something that can be done now).
• Lack of any type of foot stool on verandas.
• Lack of any small tables on pool deck for drinks, etc.
• Sunset bar area too narrow with limited seating; the best seating is a smoking area
• Lack of an intimate bar/lounge. Eden and the Grand Foyer are lovely but both are very large with lots of people.
• Elevators slow to come and often didn’t even stop at a floor; perhaps they were full? This was odd as they seemed pretty fast once you were on them.
• High end shopping – just how much Tiffany, Bulgari, etc. can they sell on a ship? While it doesn’t bother me, it does take up a lot of space where a nice intimate bar/lounge could have been placed.
• Lack of shade on Rooftop Garden. Another lovely area that would be even better if there was some shading.
• The incense smell in Eden. Most of the time it smelled like beef jerky. It just wasn’t a pleasant smell.
• Pool deck chairs won’t allow you to sit up straight. Most of the deck chairs on the ship were this way. Only the Solarium and Retreat actually had loungers that you could sit up straight.
• Bathroom doors at Sunset Bar are unmarked (no Gents or Ladies signs), but cleaning staff were telling passengers that the left was men’s and the right was women’s.
• Can’t tell when public restrooms are in use and nothing to explain that a vertical bolt means open and a horizontal bolt means occupied.
• Cabanas for rent have a walkway through them making them have little privacy
• Activities – we didn’t find one to participate in. Many either had a fee or were trying to sell you something.
• Many of the fixtures (door handles to restrooms, for example) are already coming loose and were crooked. Other items are not level when attached to walls.
• Wooden stairs are beautiful but already show lots of scratches and scuff marks
• No clocks – ANYWHERE. The only place on the entire ship I found that indicated the time was on the electronic reader board in the elevators. I try not to use the elevators very much, so it was difficult to have a sense of what time it was. Again, I don’t want to carry a mobile device or a watch when I’m on a cruise. No clock on your phone; no clocks in the hallways; no clock at the pools.
• Pillows – The cabins are filled with too many decorative pillows and they are all hard as a rock. There isn’t anywhere to put them, either, when you want to go to bed.
• Bathroom door magnet is very strong so there is no way to quietly close the bathroom door. If you use it at night, it wakes up the other person in your cabin.
• Metal water bottles – Bottled water now comes in private labeled Celebrity metal bottles. I’m not a fan of water tasting like metal.
• Deadends – these are hard to explain but there are a variety of “deadends” on the ship. Too many to try and describe here but know they exist.
• Rocking chair in Sky Suites – sounds like a great idea but it doesn’t really fit in the room and it’s a very deep chair.
FAILURES – a handful of things were simply failures in my opinion (and remember….this is my opinion)
• The infinite veranda is not a veranda at all. It’s an ocean view cabin with a window that opens. The portion of the room where the two chairs are located is far smaller than a normal veranda on previous ships. It doesn’t feel like a veranda and I think it’s going to be a very difficult sell for Celebrity if they continue to call these rooms “verandas.” For us, there was a big difference between the IV and the actual veranda we had on the Sky Suite…or on any of our previous S-class regular verandas. If you’ve never had a veranda before, I think you might find the IVs OK and I spoke to some folks that liked them. But I think there will be far more people who do not care for them and won’t sail in them. I can say that I won’t sail in one.
• Almost all of the music is WAY too loud! When the sound level is such that you cannot understand someone when they are speaking because the high sound level starts to muffle words, there is a problem. We walked out of two shows in the theater because they were so loud. We walked out of the Grand Foyer one evening when the sound was too loud. We never sat at the main pool because the music was so loud. The first morning, the piped in music coming from the Grand Foyer was so loud we could hear it in our cabin on deck 9 at 7:00 AM (we were four decks directly above the Fine Cut Steakhouse which has outdoor seating with sound that just carries). The sound in Eden and the Club was better. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go deaf from loud music….and I love music!
• Lack of activities…..not entertainment but activities. This is the first time in my more than 70 cruises that we didn’t participate in a single onboard activity. There was actually a class on learning how to get more likes and followers on Instagram. REALLY???? I’ll post the dailies and you’ll see what I mean.
• Cruise Critic Party ~ We had a GREAT number sign up for the party (103 was the count I last saw before heading to the ship). Got my invitation that the party was at 10:15 on Tuesday morning in Eden. There was a nice sign welcoming Cruise Critic at the entrance to Eden and lots of people coming in and milling around. At 10:15 the cruise director, Maarten, welcomed everyone to the “Cruise Connections” party and stated that now it was time to play officers versus passengers trivia. He turned it over to someone else who told everyone to get out their electronic devices and get ready to play. When a Cruise Critic member asked about the Cruise Critic party he stated that we could go over in the cover if we wanted to talk or we could wait till trivia was over! We were all kind of dumbfounded and it kind of defeated the entire purpose of the Cruise Critic gathering.
• You’ll find a series of bright white lights in cabin hallways to indicate where the elevators are located
• The elevator buttons are “blue.” When you hit up arrow, the up arrow turns green and when your elevator arrives, a green light will flash all the way around your elevator. When you hit down arrow, the down arrow turns red and when your elevator arrives, a red light will flash all the way around your elevator.
• Take some time to “play” with your room light and temperature controller. It’s pretty cool and does lots of things for you!
• Please don’t stand in front of the bacon station and pick up bacon with your hands and stand there and eat it one piece after another. It’s unhealthy (to others) and just plain gross. Yes, we witnessed this.
• There are tons of deck lounge chairs everywhere. There is no need to be a chair hog on this ship.
• The bathroom doors have a very strong magnet to close the door, making it impossible to close the door without waking others in the room at night. Open the door and turn the lock and the door will not slam shut with the magnet. It will not quite close but it’s better than having it slam all the time.
• Bring a watch if you want to know what time it is and you don’t want to carry a mobile device.
• Be nice to your fellow passengers…..and crew!
REVELATION AT EDEN
There was so much talk about Eden and Edenites before we cruised that I had to check it out. First of all, it is a “show!” It’s not just strange people in crazy costumes walking around annoying people. Before we actually watched it, I didn’t really have an idea of just what it was. While the overall story line is tough to figure out, the show is entertaining. It is filled with a talented cast that has hints of Cirque acts, singing, a hand bell section (this was one of my favorites because the cast was in different locations around Eden), gymnastics, a touch of craziness, and fun.
I’m going to start by saying this to hopefully put it in some perspective. Think CATS….the Broadway show. That’s the best way I can describe this. You have “unique” characters playing parts dressed in funky outfits. Each has a unique personality they convey. Yes, they do interact with the audience, but your interaction is not required. There were plenty of people who enjoyed the simple interactions (no one had to do anything difficult or embarrass themselves) so if you prefer not to, say no thanks.
The great thing is the cast hangs around after the show and is more than happy to chat with guests. We thought they were great kids and we enjoyed talking to them and learning more about the show.
I think Celebrity could help themselves and the show by creating a short of “Playbill” like you get at a Broadway show that gives you a synopsis of show along with the cast and their characters. Each character has a name and a purpose, but you wouldn’t easily know that. A ton of work and money has gone into creating Eden and the show. I think Celebrity could help it along by providing more information on the show and the cast instead of just listing it in the daily events as Revelations at Eden.
By the way, onboard the cast is called Edenists. And no, they didn’t roam outside of Eden during our cruise. Bottom line for me is that I thought they were terrific.
Here’s a link to a selection of photos from our cruise. They are in random order, but I did include a caption with most photos. You’ll find them just below each photo. Enjoy!
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Both cabins were nicely appointed and we found plenty of storage in both of them.
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