Cruise Ship: Celebrity Edge
Sail Date: 9-9-2019 to 9-20-2019
Cruise: 11 Night Amalfi Coast & Greece
Original Ports: Civitavecchia,Italy, Catania, Sicily, Valetta Malta, at sea, Santorini, Greece, Piraeus, Greece(Athens), Mykonos, Greece, Nafpilion, Greece, Katakolon, Greece(Olympia), at sea, Naples, Italy, Civetavecchia.
Revised Itinerary: Civitavecchia,Italy, Catania, Sicily, Valetta Malta, at sea, Piraeus, Greece(Athens), Rhodes,Greece, Crete,Greece, Mykonos, Greece, Santorini, Greece, at sea, Naples, Italy, Civetavecchia.
Pre-cruise hotel: Marriott Grand Flora Rome
Pre-cruise: Tours by locals (Fabio) Rome and Vatican
Sicily: Castlemora wine tasting and canoli
Malta: no tour
Athens: Highlights of Athens
Rhodes: Tsambika beach
Crete: no tour
Mykonos: Sailing around Mykonos' famous beaches
Santorini: Tour of Santorini and Oia village
Naples: Breathtaking landscapes of Amalfi coast, Positano and Capri tour.
Room: Sky Suite 10193
Purchased weekly pass to sea thermal suite
Now for the review:
The reason why Celebrity Cruises is the best cruise line is because of the following:
During our cruise, Greece experienced some very bad weather with high winds that would have prevented us from visiting Mykonos and Santorini since these are "tender ports". The majority of cruise lines or captains would have simply made the decision to cancel both of these ports and simply add "days at sea". Since these ports were the highlights of the itinerary, this would have been greatly disappointing for all passengers. The Captain (Kate McCue) and her crew decided to reschedule the whole itinerary so we would not miss these ports. She took the ship all the way across the Aegian sea to Rhodes and then to Crete in search of perfect weather and wonderful ports. The amount of cost and work hours required to do this is unimaginable. From the cost of fuel, to rescheduling and adding all excursions, to securing port access, to rescheduling guest entertainers, etc... shows an incredible amount of commitment by Celebrity Cruise Lines to keep their passengers happy. (AND WE WERE VERY APPRECIATIVE!). Everything turned out perfect, we had the chance to visit two great ports Rhodes and Crete, and kept Mykonos and Santorini on the itinerary with great weather throughout the cruise. Bravo to Captain Kate and her crew.
Now the details:
Pre-cruise hotel: Marriott Grand Flora was an exceptional hotel. Great central location. Clean rooms. Amazing rooftop breakfast buffet overlooking all of Rome and the Vatican, across the street is Harry's Bar (iconic venue in Rome for movie stars). Highly recommend this.
Pre-cruise tour: Booked a private tour with Fabio by tours by locals. This was somewhat expensive but worth every penny if you don't speak Italian and you don't have a lot of free time. He picked us up at the airport, dropped our luggage off at the hotel, we had a 2-3 hour tour of the Trevi fountain, Collesium, Spanish steps, Patheon in a private bus just the two of us. We returned to the hotel and had a skip the lines Vatican tour in the morning pre-cruise. He took us back to the hotel, collected our luggage and dropped us off at the cruiseport. Cost was a little over $1000 for the two half days.
Embarkation: Since we were suite guests, we were sent to a special embarkation lounge provided with snacks and drinks (well appreciated since we missed lunch) and boarded the ship within a few minutes at our own pace. We noticed the other lines for non-suite guest did not appear to be long but we arrived in the mid afternoon. Champagne on arrival.
The Ship: The ship is amazing, can't believe the negative reviews on this. The decor is modern and tasteful. I agree that in some places they sacrificed some comfort in seating for more pleasing aesthetics, but it was really well done and never an issue. The layout was great with two banks of elevators that worked very well and we rarely ever waited more than a few seconds.
The Room: Immediately upon arriving we met our Butler (Costin) and our room attendant (Bart). Both were exceptional throughout the cruise. The room was impeccably clean, quiet and spacious. The bed was facing the balcony which we loved. The balcony was huge and we requested loungers that were place on our balcony for the remainder of the cruise the following morning. The bathroom is huge and the storage is massive. We travel quite heavy and still had empty drawers and room int he closet. There were enough outlets both 110 and 240. The electronic climate and light controls are amazing. Touch a button and the shades close and the light dim to off. Various touch setting based on the situation. Separate toilet area in the bathroom and largest shower and tub we have seen. Double sinks, separate vanity area in the bathroom and also a desk area in the main cabin. This room was definitely worth the upgrade to suite class.
The Butler: Extremely helpful, especially when our itinerary changed and he coordinated all excursions, did special decorations and treats for my wife's birthday, took care of our laundry(there is an extra charge) (24 hour return). He got coffee at cafe Baccio for my wife, and coordinated many other activities and reservations. A really great service that kept us from needing to go down to guest relations multiple times. We did give him an extra tip at the end of the cruise for exceptional service above pre-paid gratuties.
The Food: We ate at Luminae every night but one. This is the specialty restaurant for suite guests. We normally sail Aqua class so we had been used to Blu as our primary restaurant. The food and selection was exceptional. Natasha, Yasin and Roder ensured that we never had to wait and did an incredible job at coordinating the open seating. Our waiter Jonathan along with his assistant Tracie and wine steward Kimberling provided the best service of any cruise we have ever been on and we only went to one outside restaurant once. For cocktail, try the Return from Tokyo, The Ultraviolet or the Peach Bourbon all very good. The outside restaurant was Eden and was "different". Food was very good there also and the entertainment reminded us of a "toned down" cirque de soleil. We had breakfast every morning in Luminae and that was excellent. We also had lunch a few times in Luminae but found that to be too much right after having a big breakfast. We preferred the spa cafe with its smoothies and healthier options for a light lunch. We rarely ate at the oceanview cafe, but the selection and quality appeared the same or superior to other Celebrity ships we had been on.
The Bars: Multiple venues available. Celebrity got it right by placing the martini bar in the central plaza. You can now sit or dance while enjoying entertainment and martini's best service and great drinks (special call out to Derwin). We also enjoyed listening to Bryan James the acoustic guitarist in the bar at Eden. He was amazing, tributes to the Beatles, James Taylor, Elvis, Ed Sheeran, etc... The bar served great cocktails "the Fig" was my favorite and the "Forbidden" for my wife. (Shout out to Jovana). Sunset bar and rooftop bar were also favorites that we visited. Each place seemed to have their own cocktail lists.
Bryan James: Awesome acoustic guitarist.
Main Show: We saw one show and it was fantastic. One of the singers sounded and looked just like Prince. The dancing and choreography was of Broadway quality and we usually don't like these type of shows on other ships. The new theater is AMAZING. The visual effects and acoustics are stunning. Impossible to describe in writing, you have to experience it.
Elton John tribute and Whitney Houston tribute was incredible. Too short, I would have loved another two or three hours it was that good. The comedian was very funny. The only show we did not like was the violinist who did the weirdest combination of classical, hard rock and somewhat burlesque show. We left the theater on that one. I believe that was a trial and was the only disappointment of the cruise.
House bands: There were multiple, but one brazilian singer was really good, can't remember her name.
Eden: Great show, different, a mixed of rhythmic gymnastics, ariels and Cirque de Soleil with great vocals.
The Retreat Lounge and Pool: Celebrity got it right. Never appreciated Michael's lounge, but having a separate area for suite guest was well appreciated. Great bar, enough seating, nice plunge pool with a hot tub that never seemed overly crowded. Best views on the ship. Worth the extra money if you can afford it.
The main pool and solarium. As suite guests, we only went to the main pool once and never went to the solarium pool. The main pool was great when the crowds were low in the morning and you could even do laps. Putting the "Champagne" hot tubs on a different level actually made sense and gave great views. Most people probably would not make the two story trek to get to them making them less crowded. The running track is the best especially with the incline.
Unfortunately never used the fitness center, but I should have.
The Thermal Suite: We always love this part usually sailing Aqua Class. Nicest of any Celebrity ship. There are 8 different venues. A Turkish bath steam room, an aromatheray room, a sea salt room (???) (I would convert this to something else), a crystallarium (cool concept), an infrared sauna, hanging basket chairs and ceramic loungers. I felt it was worth the extra cost for this service. My wife did get a massage and acupuncture and loved both.
Photo package: We did get the photo package and loved the improved service of getting access to your digital images while on the shift within a day or two. We left with over 300 photos by the end of the cruise. The photographers Lazar, Kravitch, Wanda, Rodrigo were really fun. I'm glad they got rid of the prints. Never used them and often added several pounds to our suitcase. The value for the package is great since the memories are priceless. My wife loves the memories of what dresses she wore on different cruises.
Sicily: Castlemora wine tasting and canoli: Excellent tour scary bus ride but great wine.
Athens: Highlights of Athens. Average the guide gave a good review of the Acropolis dropped off in Athens for lunch and shopping on your own for 3 hours.
Rhodes: Tsambika beach (great beach, would recommend)
Mykonos: Sailing around Mykonos' famous beaches (great excursion, great beach)
Santorini: Tour of Santorini and Oia village Loved this excursion. Great wine, great village.
Naples: Breathtaking landscapes of Amalfi coast, Positano and Capri tour. Too much to do in one day, I would suggest choosing either Capri, Sorrento or Positano and doing just one.
Miscellaneaous: Cafe Baccio great, Gelato is limited and part of the oceanview cafe, but at a cost, ice cream is free. They had a great guy giving port information and a history of the Mediterranean. Older gentleman, he was very good. The conference center was very good. Attended some medical lectures there.
Very quick, no issues.
Finally, I would like to comment on Captain Kate. This was her inaugural cruise as the Captain of the Edge. We had sailed with her on the Summit twice previously and she is amazing. The best Captain ever. She truly cares about her passengers. Her daily messages are informative filled with both funny riddles and quotes. She gets her photo taken with all the passengers and most importantly shake everyone's hand on disembarkation and asks how was your cruise. I have never seen that done before. We truly appreciate that. Unfortunately she is on vacation for the next few months, so some of you won't be blessed to have her as your Captain. In conclusion: Lisa Lutoff-Pelo CEO, Kelly Hoppen, Scott Butler, Patricia Urquiola,, Tom Wright , Nate Berkus and Jouin Manku, you got this right when you designed this ship. I hope all the other Edge class ships are as beautiful as this one and paying extra for suite class was definitely worth the money.
Immediately upon arriving we met our Butler (Costin) and our room attendant (Bart). Both were exceptional throughout the cruise. The room was impeccably clean, quiet and spacious. The bed was facing the balcony which we loved. The balcony was huge and we requested loungers that were place on our balcony for the remainder of the cruise the following morning. The bathroom is huge and the storage is massive. We travel quite heavy and still had empty drawers and room int he closet. There were enough outlets both 110 and 240. The electronic climate and light controls are amazing. Touch a button and the shades close and the light dim to off. Various touch setting based on the situation. Separate toilet area in the bathroom and largest shower and tub we have seen. Double sinks, separate vanity area in the bathroom and also a desk area in the main cabin. This room was definitely worth the upgrade to suite class. The bed was super comfortable.