“The Edge” is Celebrity Cruise Lines first of their newest class of ship, and it’s an exquisite implementation of an unfortunately deeply flawed design concept. It’s really hard to understand what happened here, and the responsibility should sit squarely with its designers. They totally missed the mark, in my opinion. If my tag line above sounds befuddling, read on, and I’ll attempt to clear up the contradictions.
A couple of introductory items first. In the interests of full transparency, I am a big fan of Celebrity, and frequently cruise with them. Writing a negative review of their latest offering in “Modern Luxury” is tough for me, especially after so many wonderful voyages aboard their absolute home run design of their Solstice class ships. One thing that still continues to be a tribute to the company, and that’s its hiring and training prowess. The crews of the Celebrity fleet are among the best in the business. This is particularly apparent in the hyper competitive, upper end segment of the five star cruise market. The line offers many opportunities for cross-training, career development, and plenty of upward mobility opportunities for crew. However, all is not well in this most essential area, and I’ll get to right to the reason for that after after addressing a few preliminaries.
I had a chance to meet with Master, Chief Engineer and Hotel Manager of Edge in “The Retreat Lounge” aboard the ship. They explained that there were four primary design goals for the “E” class: 1) reduce fuel consumption by 25%, by using a new hull design, new flexible power generation/management options (2x12MW, 2x9MW + aux on “E”, as opposed to the 4x16MW + aux on “S”); 2) improve hotel power use efficiency by incorporating really cool LED lighting technology, high efficiency climate control, application of new kitchen food preparation/storage techniques; employment of new power savings measures in the cabins; 3) building a safer, more modern class ship, that fully actualized the corporate objective to be eco-friendly, by incorporating the latest stack exhaust scrubbers technology to lower greenhouse gas emissions, improve recycling, provide better water treatment technology, revise stores sourcing to take advantage of recent innovations to reduce trash/waste (especially plastics); and 4) attract a younger demographic to Celebrity. With the very notable exception of the fourth objective, attracting a new demographic to the line, Celebrity appears to have been pretty successful by meeting those first three objectives.
I am writing this update to my review of Edge from the Sky Lounge on Equinox. The last week has re-affirmed the basis for my comments on Edge. Equinox is drop-dead gorgeous after her refit, crew is so friendly, so I cant understand why Edge turned out so badly. Makes me very sad!