We are long time Celebrity cruisers and booked the Transatlantic Trade Winds cruise shortly after the Edge was announced. To start this review off I will readily admit that the Edge is polarizing-people either like it or they don't. For us it was a middle-of-the-road experience, but there are aspects of the Edge that devalue the experience and thus I've rated the experience as poor.
Here are the highlights of the pros and cons....
The Infinite Balcony Rooms: one of the most polarizing of aspects of the Edge are these rooms. I liked them for the fact that the room is bigger because the 'balcony' area exists as part of the overall room. There is also storage everywhere. Yes, the closets are a bit smaller, but there is loads of shelves for folding and storing items. And...the best part is that there is a full sized dresser that truly took the entire contents of my two suitcases. It was a pleasure to be able to pull items from the dresser without being squeezed into a corner or not being able to see what was going on. The bathroom is enormous and the shower is well designed with massive amounts of storage. We did put our balcony window down a fair amount and were not bothered by the fact that the AC turns off when the window is open. As for the overall performance of the AC, we found it to be much better than the systems on the Solstice class ships.
Variety of Seating in the Ocean View Cafe: expanding on the theme of the 4 different 'dining rooms', they have added variety to the seating for the Ocean View Cafe. This was a good idea and gives the area a nice feeling of being open and modern-lots of ability to do the Goldilocks thing and find a chair that suits you.
Handwash Stations: Yahoo!!! What a great idea although likely borrowed from other ships (like the QM2), you actually have the option of washing your hands before you eat.
Theatre: the design of the theatre makes it a more intimate experience and truly, I don't think there is a bad seat in the house.
Cafe Baccio: They've made this area larger and it is quite nice. Staff were excellent and it is the place to meet people.
Jogging Track: If there was on aspect of the Edge that I loved, this was it. They've beautifully executed a jogging track that is an experience in itself. Undulating between two decks it gives you loads of different things to see, challenges you with a hill and before you know it, you've done a couple of miles.
-The beds: I've always slept well on Celebrity but this time it was not so. They've done something to the beds, with either a plastic cover or have used memory foam, but whatever they've done it's a hot experience and not in a good way.
-Specialty Dining: I'm not entirely sure what Celebrities process for booking specialty dining is, but it seems to be a work in progress. We were not given the option prior to boarding of purchasing a 3 pack of dining, only an option of 9, but once on board there seemed to be a limited number of 3 packs suddenly available. The cost of these has also gone up significantly and to be brutally honest, it's not worth it. We booked the Steakhouse for our anniversary dinner and treated our friends to it as well. The charge came to $225 US for the 4 of us with no alcohol. The food was good but not good enough to warrant the cost-the value just isn't there. The biggest complaint however is with the blended environment. The Edge has an amalgamated central plaza design that is capped off on deck 6 and both the Steakhouse and Raw on 5 have open concept designs that is supposed to allow patrons to enjoy the ambiance of the plaza while eating. Problem is that the ambiance created by the Martini Bar is a complete, utter and unwelcome intrusion in the restaurants. Five minutes into a Martini Bar demonstration complete with loud music, hand clapping and shouting, I asked the maitre d if it was going to end soon. He indicated that it would stop in another 5 minutes or so. When I asked him how he stands it, he told me that if it was a continuous thing, he'd leave his job. Bottom line-there is no value with specialty dining anymore and it was a less than special experience, just not worth it.
No Quiet Areas: As above, the redesign of the central plaza area has allowed for the all the different environments to be blended, which is compounded by the plaza being capped off at deck 6. Sound reverberates and echoes...it was impossible to find a quiet area.
Eden: I love the colour green, but the shade they've used in Eden is reminiscent of the Cold War/Healthcare in the 50's....just ugly...and it's a weird space. They've taken the best part of the ship and tried to morph it into something for a younger crowd. This is fine, but the crowd sailing wasn't younger and it showed in Eden with the area being more popular with the crew than guests. The bar staff were surly, the chairs so low (you have been warned) that you have to roll yourself onto the floor to get out of them.
Shops: As others have related, the shops are not for ordinary cruisers and are all high end.
Dining: We were assigned to Tuscan and we okay with this as we were traveling with friends, but be forewarned if you are not, that the new dining arrangements make for an isolating experience. The large tables where you can meet new people are gone and this seems to be part of Celebrities grand design for attracting a new generation of travelers, but I missed the opportunity to meet new people over a meal. Food was okay with portion sizes all over the place and a weird familiarity with the serving staff that left me reeling when our server told me over dinner one night (in front of everyone) that I wouldn't be so fat if I didn't eat bread at night. Wow, just wow and please pass the bread sticks...
Are the Scrubbers Working? A universal observation by a significant amount of passengers was that the Edge is blowing blue and visibly polluted a number of ports. It was so bad in a few ports that the upper outside decks had to be avoided. We've never seen this before with a ship and chalked it up to the fact that she is new and that her engines still might be breaking in, but the amount of pollution she produced was profound.
Enrichment Lectures: The overall entertainment on this sailing was not good. To many singers who think that holding a single long note is talent, but the enrichment lectures were bad. One presenter had to be told to stop giving his lectures while in his bathrobe and slippers. We caught him on a day when he got dressed and I was left wondering what the hell Celebrity is thinking. A lecture on the Azores was filled with slides of the guys ex-girlfriends in bikinis (with his wife and co-presenter sitting in the front row) and shots of his vomit on his sailboat. I am not exaggerating with this account. He followed this with a 6 minute (I timed it) discussion on vomit and how to tell which kids will do it and when. It was astonishingly inappropriate and unprofessional. Does Celebrity actually listen to what is being presented to their guests? Awful, awful, awful.
Bottom line....While we didn't hate the Edge, we didn't really like her either and at the end of the day, we'd avoid booking on her unless she offered an itinerary that no one else offered. To be honest, I've think we've had it with Celebrity-they just seem to be going in a direction that is aimed more at trying to squeeze as much out of their guests as they can and not even trying to provide value for the experience. Try the Edge, but beware that she is a very different and not always positive experience.
Be careful! The folks who sell the tickets from Kings Wharf to Hamilton don't give you the full details on the costs for the tickets. They will push to sell you the full day package which carries a cost of $20, but if you are looking to take a ferry into Hamilton and back, the cost is $9.00. It's a bit of a scam.
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