My parents and I were on the 3-night Pre-inaugural sailing December 1-4. I am 53; they are 76 and 77. I wasn’t part of the original plan but they asked me to join them and I enthusiastically said “yes!” My husband and I will be on the Edge May 2019 for the Iberian Peninsula itinerary so this trip afforded me a sneak preview. The three of us were in 11200, an S1 mid-ship.
We flew down the night before and stayed at the Marriott Courtyard on the beach. No complaints. It was clean, well-staffed, and close to Terminal 25.
Terminal 25 is gorgeous! Suite guests enter to the left and after having carry-ons scanned you are met by a Celebrity Rep who escorts you to the lounge. The lounge is spacious and well-tended. There is a wide variety of beverages like tea, coffee, water, and sparkling wine. Light finger food was available. It was an excellent precursor to what was awaiting us on board.
Check-in was an absolute breeze! They’ve made it as paperless as possible. We didn’t need physical copies of our boarding passes: I had them accessible for all three of us on my cellular phone in the Celebrity app, and it worked well. We showed them our passports and were checked in! We didn’t wait long at all before we were allowed to board. I think the time we waited was less than an hour. Stateroom keys were awaiting passengers at their respective cabins.
Port disembarkation area: What an improvement! The space is much nicer, i.e., you don’t feel like you’re in this dark, make-shift space in the bowels of the ship. That’s not to say everything needs a designer’s touch, but typically this space just isn’t representative of the rest of the ship. Edge has changed that. There was plenty of light to review a map or tour information before exiting the ship, and space to do so before queueing up to exit the ship. Well done!
The Magic Carpet: My mom and I happened to be walking by the MC one evening after dinner had been served. The staff was cleaning up so we asked if we might have a quick look around. They happily obliged. The view and the ambience was amazing! What was left of the food looked delicious! My husband and I plan on getting a reservation when we sail in May. And I’d love for us to just sit on the MC and enjoy a cocktail during sunset. The MC is just quietly there; I don’t understand what’s not to like.
The Edge Cabanas: We met a couple who had booked a cabana for all-day use ($400) while the ship was in Nassau, and a group of two couples who had booked a cabana for all-day use while the ship was at sea the following day. Each had a different experience. The duo who used it in Nassau saw the pool stewards place stanchions with velvet ropes at both entry points of the pedestrian pass-through. Some passengers moved a stanchion aside to walk through, and because it didn’t seem as if a pool steward was nearby to monitor the area the husband or the wife would get up and return the stanchion to its original place. The next day when the group of four rented the cabana they had a different experience: no barriers were placed so there was a constant stream of pedestrian traffic interfering with the view and privacy of the cabana. Celebrity needs to figure out its policy, implement, and graciously enforce.
Rooftop Garden: Overall it’s a lovely area though my husband will be disappointed the lawn is gone. My recommendation is to erect a wind guard for diners and some shade for those who may want to enjoy the space without sitting in direct sunlight. One evening there was a football game broadcasted on the big screen and that was fun to watch. The wooden bench that winds through the space is attractive but not altogether comfortable. We didn’t take any meals there so I can’t comment on the food.
Solarium: We didn’t use it but it’s a beautiful space. I thought I would be disappointed with the size of the pool but it was just right. Floor to ceiling windows are on either side of the space with deck chairs facing outward (deck chairs around the pool face the pool). The Spa Café is within the confines of the Solarium.
Outdoor Pool Area: It has a lot of LED color-changing lights at night. I wondered about the logic of having the hot tubs two decks up. In my opinion the martini glass shaped hot tubs (or are they Champagne coupes?) are akin to something one would find in a cheesy honeymoon suite, and detract from the intended high end resort style of the pool area.
Grand Plaza: Simply put, a beautiful area. There are what appear to be sound-absorbing pieces of fabric in the structural mesh that surrounds the space. This is where the Martini Bar is located. I wish Celebrity would have kept the frozen bar top at the Martini Bar. It was tough to get a seat at the bar but there is plenty of seating in the multi-level area, which avails itself well to people watching. I missed the intimacy of the Solstice and Millennium class Martini Bars. Maybe a few more martinis would have helped.
Ocean View Café: This was one of the spaces that impressed me the most. I love the hand-washing station, the aft pizza area, the helpful signage above the kiosks, the large windows, and the absence of step-ups and ramps in the seating area. There is a Secondo Bacio within the OVC and outside the main dining hall area a selection of gelato, ice cream, sorbet, and frozen yogurt. There isn’t a dedicated Gelateria near Café al Bacio on the Edge.
Eden: Absolutely gorgeous and such a fresh concept! There are plenty of niches where one can curl up with a book, i.e., Kindle or iPad since there’s no library on board. It’s also a great space for socializing, having a cocktail, or just enjoying the view out the back of the ship. I think it is a quieter space than the Grand Plaza. The Eden Bar has craft cocktails with a menu that is a blend between the Molecular Bar and the World Class Bar. Some of the cocktails were priced above the PBP limit to include the $45 cocktail intended to be shared by four people. Will it be permitted to share the cost between parties for this special libation?
The Retreat: We always appreciated the intent of Michael’s Club but it seemed to be an afterthought in terms of space, service, and décor. The Retreat on Edge is a breath of fresh air. The layout makes sense and it feels like a comfortable lounge rather than a stuffy club. The color scheme is light and bright with large windows at one end and an outdoor patio at the other. Water, coffee, tea, and other cold refreshments were self-serve. Small nibbles were offered at certain times of the day. Basic cocktails were free for those without a beverage package, but only within the Retreat Lounge (not if they were ordered on the Retreat Sun Deck). The small pool on the Retreat Sun Deck seemed to be just the right size and there were plenty of deck chairs. I think this is another space that may benefit from a small sun shade. There are two Retreat Concierges (João and Denise) and both were exceptional! We witnessed their amazing diplomatic skills multiple times as they diffused several passengers’ temper tantrums and unrealistic demands.
Shopping: While I’ve never been a fan of the bargain tables outside the stores on Solstice and Millennium class ships that serve to clog main walkway arteries, I don’t know that I’m entirely pleased with the approach the Edge has either. There’s Tiffany & Co, Cartier, BVLGARI, and a few generic shops containing pretty things decorated with hefty price tags. The prices in this ship’s shops have taken a dramatic pendulum swing from the others’. Somewhere there should be a happy medium. There are plenty of frugal, wealthy people who cruise Celebrity and would appreciate high quality items at reasonable prices.
We ate lunch at the Retreat Pool Bar Café on the day we were docked at Nassau. There was an appropriate of selections and the portion was size just right. Thankfully this area was under a sun shade. The food was tasty and served promptly.
The Eden Café has a delicious and healthy made-to-order menu at breakfast and lunch. We ate lunch there on our sea day and were not disappointed. There wasn’t any table style seating so it was a little awkward having to balance a plate or bowl with a beverage. We were able to find a few empty chairs around a coffee table out in the main area of Eden but a few bar height tables set out at service times would help tremendously. Eden has an outdoor seating area; a tray to carry food and beverage would be welcomed.
Luminae has the same delicious food and outstanding service we’ve experienced on prior sailings. When Luminae was conceived and the area carved out of the Main Dining Room on the Millennium and Solstice class ships, it turned out beautifully. It doesn’t feel like an afterthought even though it really was in the sense it wasn’t in the original plan. Conversely, Luminae on the Edge was in the plan from the beginning. On the Edge deck plans Luminae is an oblong rectangle and upon entry the interior feels like the shape on the deck plan; as if it had to go somewhere and that was the last available square footage. Luminae on the earlier classes of ships is awash in warm, neutral tones, and feels intimate and organic. Luminae on the Edge is decorated in cool tones of grey and burgundy, and lacks intimacy. Against the wall opposite the large windows is a row of banquettes placed against a wall that doesn’t reach up to the ceiling. Behind the 3/4 wall with the row of banquettes is prep space for the waitstaff that can’t help but be noisy. It wouldn’t take a lot of effort to design sound dampening panels, and to create them in a way that would provide some subtle privacy throughout the room and bring a more organic feel to the oblong rectangle (a.k.a. Luminae).
I can’t say this with 100% certainty, but I think the square footage for this version of the side-facing S1 was smaller than one on the Reflection. This isn’t a complaint, just an observation. However the bathroom seemed larger and made much better use of space. The veranda was very small with room only for two small chairs and table (no lounge chairs). Within the bathroom there is a separate WC, and though there is one sink there is a spigot at each end and it is large enough for two people to use at one time. The shower was nice and large, and had the feature where a passenger could open the mirror/window above the sink for a view while he or she showered. (NOTE: the S1s in the aft corner do not have this feature (I saw one during our Cabin Crawl). The aft corner S1s are larger overall with larger verandas and bathrooms.) There was plenty of storage space for three adults. As the third in the cabin I slept on a pull-out trundle. The discrete charging box with cord canals was a very welcome touch! If I could change a few things they would be as follows: 1) Add a coffee table, or some kind of collapsible table for use by room service. There was no place to put a tray if we had ordered room service. There is a small end table for the couch (nicknamed the “Bongo” because that’s what it looks like) and a small table on the veranda but that’s it. The lack of a table was a common complaint among fellow cruisers I talked to. 2) Replace the oversized rocking chair with a more sensibly sized chair. The oversized rocking chair is aesthetically pleasing and very comfortable. However when the room was turned down in the evening the trundle and the oversized rocking chair created an obstacle course if one wanted to access the veranda. 3) Cut the number of decorative throw pillows in half. Yes, they look nice and I’m certain a team of highly skilled interior designers agonized over the fabric selection and insert shapes for weeks. There are simply too many of them; they are contrary to the otherwise clean design of the room. Further, it is an additional burden for Housekeeping to remove and rearrange all those pillows twice daily.
The new theater is beautiful and it really affords everyone a view of the stage. Sadly, and this is just my opinion, the production we saw was as abysmal as those we’ve tried to watch on other Celebrity ships. We walked out of the show. I feel badly saying that because the dancers and singers are consistently wonderful, and it’s clear they are consummate professionals who love their craft. Honestly I’ve wondered if the person who selects the production numbers is the same one in charge of Celebrity’s website. My husband and I have enjoyed many of the comedians and other entertainers so we hope to see some on our longer sailing in May in the new and improved theater.
With regard to Eden, my mom and I thought it was innovative and fun. Like the performers in the production numbers, the cast in Eden took their job seriously and did it well. We really didn’t care about the storyline; it was entertaining to watch the actors walk around and interact with willing guests. My recommendation to Celebrity would be to alternate the Edenist performances with instrumental entertainment, or to limit the Edenists’ performances to after 10 PM. Having the Edenists perform nightly will lose its novelty in a hurry. Additionally, I don’t think I would care for them to interact with me while dining in Eden’s restaurant.
The three of us peeked into The Club when we initially familiarized ourselves with the ship. It is a 2-story venue with the ability to handle myriad events. On our 10-day sailing I will have a better understanding of how this area will function. There was a Silent Disco held in The Club; normally this event is out in the open so you can see it ad hoc and join in. But because it was within the closed confines of The Club (and we didn’t consult our Celebrity app, Tsk! Tsk!) we missed out. I am curious to see which additional events will be transferred to The Club from where they are normally held on Solstice and Millennium classes.
The Casino is quite an improvement from the Solstice and Millennium ships. It felt a lot more open and inviting. Even the Casino bar was classy. The whole space was in step with the intended high end look and feel of the Edge.
The Fitness Center was large and had a large variety of machines. I was so, so happy to see Peloton bikes! Reservations are recommended for their use, but if one is empty you can just jump on. Suite guests can have one brought to their cabin. I opted to use the Peloton in the gym. I took a spin class, and it’s such an improvement having the rpms and resistance projected on the wall. The non-Peloton spin bikes (Technogym) are used in the class. The instructor (Tom) was fantastic! I only walked around the Spa; it looked spacious and relaxing. We will consider using some OBC there on our trip in May. Two recommendations for Celebrity: first, require all guests using the Peloton bikes to wear headsets. There was a man using the Peloton with the volume so loud I couldn’t hear my own workout through my headset. Second, install sun shades on the windows. When we were docked in Nassau the sun was so intense that it made machines against the windows unusable. Several of us looked for sun shades that might be attached to the windows but there weren’t any.
I can’t say enough about the crew. Everyone worked very hard to make this a fabulous cruise. It was great to see familiar faces from past cruises (like Jose and Vishnu!); we enjoy taking a vacation and seeing our Celebrity family. We were told this Edge entire team will transfer to Apex for its inaugural sailings. As to be expected there were maintenance issues; we observed maintenance staff working non-stop, literally running from one call to another. None of them stopped smiling. The entire crew should be lauded by Celebrity for their amazing attitude and effort.
Approach the Edge is with an open mind. Every ship is going to have things we really, really like and really, really don’t like. Edge is no different. As I mentioned earlier, I am 53 and my parents are 76 and 77. None of us felt like our respective generations weren’t welcome, however with regard to musical playlists Celebrity needs to appeal to a more diverse audience and not become stagnant playing just one decade. There are dramatic changes to the Edge class from the Solstice and Millennium classes, most notably the layout of the ship, open space public areas, and updated color schemes. Conversely there were things that hadn’t changed: the food was outstanding, the service was exceptional, and we walked away feeling like we had an amazing vacation on a beautiful cruise ship. Even with the minor areas for improvement the experience was a positive one and we will be back.