Much hype and anticipation regarding a new class of ship, but overall a big disappointment.
We are Elite Captains Club members and have sailed on all of Celebrity's ships. We were always impressed with the layout of the ships on which we sailed. Millennium class are great and Solstice class even better. We were also impressed with Edge, but sadly in a negative vain. The common areas available to all guests compared to Millennium and Solstice class ships have been reduced in number and are "jam packed"! The much appreciated Sky Lounge is gone as is the Grand Foyer, the Passport Bar, the Ensemble Lounge and the far more intimate Martini Bar. What is now referred to as the Martini Bar is a large open area with an inadequate number of chairs and tables to accommodate guests. There is significant foot traffic moving through the multi-level lounge throughout the day and certainly during late afternoon and evening hours. It is difficult to find a seat and the wait staff are slow to serve. Similarly, Eden Bar guests typically hover and wait for one of the limited number of seats to open up.
The pools are located on Deck 14, but the whirlpool hot tubs are two decks above on Deck 16. The forward portion of the ship's top deck (Deck 16) is gated and accessible to only suite class passengers. Unlike Millennium and Solstice class ships one does not have access to a sauna, shower or changing room unless you purchase a spa pass. The Flying Carpet has a functional purpose; that is to act as a dock for tenders and for passengers getting off and on at ports of call. Other than that, its a "gimmick". Its simply a place to have a drink while hanging over the side of the ship.
Decor and furnishings look cheap and have been compared to that available at IKEA. (Sorry IKEA).
We had an ocean view cabin. There was very little room between our bed and the closet doors. Accordingly, only one of us could access the closet at a time. We noted that some ocean view cabins had the bed closer to the window which allowed for much better closet access. Storage space was adequate. The bathroom was very good.
We ate in the main dining room for both breakfast and lunch when possible. Food and service was good. The buffet was good as well; however, as anticipated it was at times difficult to find a seat.
For the first time ever we purchased a seven night Specialty Restaurant dining package. Never again! We had a difficult time getting reservations at an acceptable hour. After five nights we cancelled the remaining two nights and ate in the main dining rooms. The main dining room food was good and the concept of four smaller dining rooms in lieu of one large one allowed for a quieter, more intimate atmosphere.
Raw on Five - Good service. OK atmosphere. Small portions.
Eden - Food was OK. Felt sorry for the performers who's job it was to interact with the customers. We tried to get into the experience. Overall, not very enjoyable as mostly the performers disrupted the meal and conversations with table mates.
Fine Cut Steakhouse - Very disappointing. Dining room decor was mediocre. So was the food.
Le Petite Chef - Cute idea of cartoon character videos being projected on your table, but you only got a choice of two set menus. Only one of which would allow you to experience the video. Food was OK.
Rooftop Garden Grill - Surprisingly, the best food and service we experienced in specialty dining. As anticipated it was a bit cool and windy up top.
Entertainment and Activities:
Frankly not much to do aboard ship on sea days. Trivia appeared to be the highlight.
Martini Bar entertainers were unremarkable.
The theater is technically advanced with lighting, video screens and sound. It seems as though the productions relied too much on the technology and not enough on substance. The entertainers work very hard, but the production numbers are pretty strange. The stage juts out and the audience views it from three sides. Sadly, close to the stage on both the left and right sides are less than comfortable movable chairs.
Captains Club reception in the Eden Bar was a flop. The place is far to small to accommodate the crowd. People were standing elbow to elbow to the door. Like many others we turned and left.
Overall service was just OK. Nothing remarkable anywhere with the exception of great service for dinner at the Rooftop Garden Grill.
Ports and Shore Excursions:
Only took one excursion booked through the ship. i.e. Escape to Jost Van Dyke out of Tortola, $99.00 per person. A rip off! Horrible crowded beach cluttered with beach chairs, lousy food and boats anchored within yards of the water's edge.
Edge is the first of three ships in this class. Bad news! Adding insult to injury, Celebrity is "Revolutionizing" other ships in her fleet to mimic many of the same features of Edge Class ships. For example, taking previously accessible areas of the ship and gating them off for the exclusive use of suite class passengers.
Captain Club membership used to be significant. Certainly by the time one attained Elite status you were made to feel appreciated for your loyalty. The nightly Elite cocktail reception in the Sky Lounge was but one example of that appreciation. Sadly, it appears as though the company has decided that loyalty is not that important and new business model has been adopted.
We think we'll be considering other cruise lines outside the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line family.