My husband and I were on the 10-night Iberian Peninsula sailing 15 May 2019. We are in our early 50s, foodies, and very active.
We stayed in London 5 nights prior to the cruise. Happily we were able to share a private transport with another couple. NOTE: because of the high tax imposed on drivers into the city of London, our share of the transport was an additional 40£. The other couple was picked up at Heathrow.
The trip from London to Southampton is quick, especially when you’ve just met nice people! We had a great time on the way to the port. Check in was a piece of cake. Suite guests were provided an area with coffee, tea, water, and pastries.
There is free Wi-Fi at the port of Southampton HOWEVER…it was very slow because everyone sitting in the terminal was trying to use it. I highly recommend you download the Celebrity app at home with a faster connection.
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! Our trip next year includes several ports that require tendering and I’m actually looking forward to it.
The Magic Carpet: One thing we regret not doing is sitting and relaxing on the MC while we were at sea. We typically go to the Solarium for a quick splash and a nap, and I wish we would have visited the MC. I’ve read some negativity about the MC and I just don’t get it. The MC is just quietly there; I don’t understand what’s not to like. It’s such a unique concept.
The Edge Cabanas: We didn’t book an Edge cabana and I didn’t see them get much use overall. They look very comfortable however when the MC is on deck 14 it blocks the views one would have sitting in the cabana. I suppose the best time to rent one would be on a day where the ship requires use of its tenders because the MC would be on deck 2. Add to that most people would be off the ship and thus there wouldn’t be nearly as many passengers walking past the area. A main passenger thoroughfare is routed directly in front of the Edge cabanas so we weren’t certain how private they would truly be.
Rooftop Garden: Overall it’s a lovely area. 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. My husband dearly misses the grass on the Solstice class ships. He loves the feel of it and the ability to lay in the sun without the clamor of pool noise.
Solarium: We spent a sea day or two here and the day the Edge was put in at Gibraltar (we’ve already toured Gibraltar and decided to enjoy an empty ship). I’m not a sun-worshipper but I do enjoy a pool so having a covered area for adults only like the Solarium is such a bonus. The Spa Café is within the confines of the Solarium.
Grand Plaza: This is a main hub, i.e., it seemed to be a very popular spot for people to meet before and after dinner. At any time of day there were people in the Grand Plaza but especially so starting from 1600 on. The Flair Bartenders didn’t disappoint and put on an amazing show with lots of juggling and multiple martini pours. There was a band playing most nights and while they were very good the music was WAY too loud. I appreciate a party atmosphere but conversation was no way possible when the band started to play. Eventually we opted to take our after-dinner nightcaps in Eden.
Ocean View Café: This was one of the spaces that impressed us most. We loved 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. The food was generally very good, particularly the Indian cuisine selections. There is a Secondo Bacio within the OVC; outside the main dining hall area there is a selection of gelato, ice cream, sorbet, and frozen yogurt. There isn’t a dedicated Gelateria near Café al Bacio on the Edge. Out of sight, out of mind.
Eden: Absolutely gorgeous and such a fresh concept! There are plenty of niches where one can curl up with a book. Happily for those who enjoy hardcover books, there is a tiered cart just inside Eden where one may borrow a book. The trolley is kind of a mini-library, and I appreciate Celebrity making the effort to provide hardcover books. Eden is a great space for socializing, having a cocktail, or just enjoying the view out the back of the ship, which is beautiful. It is a much quieter space than the Grand Plaza but still has a festive atmosphere in the evenings. During the day a quiet nook in Eden is like being a library. The Eden Bar has craft cocktails with a menu that is a cross between the now-defunct Molecular Bar and the World Class Bar on the S-Class ships. Some of the cocktails were priced above the PBP limit to include the $45 cocktail intended to be shared by four people. We are curious to know if it’s 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 (thankfully the Revolutionizing across all the ships will address the 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. Oddly, no matter if one has a beverage package or not, cocktails, water, etc. are NOT free is they are ordered on the Retreat Sun Deck. We just don’t understand this policy. 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 were three Retreat Concierges (Shauna, Calli, and Isabella) and they were busy every time we visited the Retreat.
Shopping: I am curious to know what the desired sales quotas are for Tiffany & Co, Cartier, and BVLGARI on the Edge. We never saw many passengers in them, but maybe it’s more about presenting an image rather than truly having function? There were a few sensibly-priced (
This was my favorite port. Note to runners: there is an amazing, large sidewalk that you can use as a running trail (with lots of other runners) and you'll have the most fabulous views as it's along the water! There are some inclines but surface is flat. Enjoy!