EMBARKATION ~ A total breeze. Two minutes to show paperwork, walk under a metal detector then straight onto the ship. Electronics have obviously sped up this process. During our first cruise in 2011, it took at least a half hour standing in line with crowds of people in a hot terminal before boarding.
SHIP ~ Immediately impressed with the brand-new ship and innovative art.
WELCOME ~ Staff holding trays of champagne and pink bubbly make an immediate good first impression and extend the welcome atmosphere to one of “vacation”.
ROOM~ We were able to go directly to our room to drop off our carry-on bag. This is another new additional convenience from the past when people all wheeled their little bags around while they ate lunch after boarding the ship. We stayed in veranda stateroom # 7298. More details about this room further down under Cabin Review.
NORMANDIE DINING ROOM ~ We chose Early Dining at 5:45 but we often didn’t get there until 6:00 because of changing attire after our excursions before dinner. We ate each night with one other couple who went on the cruise with us. We did not try the 3 other main dining rooms even though we knew we could. We enjoyed having the same waiter each night. We also did not try any of the upscale restaurants except for lunch on one sea day. (More about that later.) The food for the most part was excellent. Certainly no complaints. The only thing we noticed about the service was that even though it was impeccable and friendly, it was slow with the 3 courses in that it was hard to get to the theater in time to find a seat for the first show at 7:30. A couple of nights, we couldn’t find a seat going at the last minute so we waited for the 2nd show. This all being said, I would rather have a slow and relaxed pace of service in the dining room rather than rushed service. It’s just that I enjoy the evening entertainment in the theater, too.
FOOD ~ My main course choices were as follows in the MDR ~ Sunday - SALMON which was excellent and mild and moist with no fishy taste. Monday - “SURF and TURF”. The “surf” was shrimp which were good but the “turf” was a thin steak which was not special at all. Tuesday ~ RACK OF LAMB which was phenomenal. Wednesday ~ SALMON - good but not as good as the Sunday salmon. Thursday ~ BEEF TENDERLOIN EN CROUTE which was absolutely delicious. Friday ~ LOBSTER tail, 2 of them which were good. Saturday ~ I chose BEEF TENDERLOIN EN CROUTE again which was just as good as the first time. An observation would be that the vegetables and potato or rice served with each main course was treated like more of a garnish on the plate rather than as a full serving. It was beautiful presentation but if I didn’t eat a roll with dinner, I would have felt like the main course didn’t give me enough to eat.
RAW ON 5 ~ We ate lunch here on our second sea day. We had a great table beside a window looking out at the water. We both ordered an appetizer of a California roll which was good and a lobster roll for main course. It was only so-so, I’m sad to say. It was small and the lobster didn’t have a lot of flavor.
OCEANVIEW CAFE ~ Good for a quick bite or for breakfast or lunch. We also used it for midnight pizza one night. I loved sitting outside on the deck there on the day of embarkation. Lots of choices of foods. They just tend to be a bit bland in my opinion.
THEATER ~ Simply a beautiful, state of the art facility. The stage itself is almost in the round ~ although it’s more like a big “C” with seating all the way around the "C". There are HUGE video screens at the back of the stage, the lighting is incredible and there doesn’t seem to be a bad seat in the audience. Here are the shows and productions as I remember them ~
UPTOWN ~ 3 male vocalists who sang Motown hits such as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson. Great vocals and good humor with involving the audience. In fact, everyone was on their feet at the end of the show even though most of us in the audience were elderly! They were so good that I went to both shows and bought their CD too!
PRODUCTIONS called “Kaleidoscope” and “A Hot Summer Night’s Dream” ~ aerolists and singers and dancers. Enthusiastic and talented performers. There was at least one other evening show which I unfortunately missed due to dinner running overtime.
RAEGAR ~ A country-rock duo, male and female who sang old classics of this genre. Great singers with engaging personalities.
LOUIS RAMEY - comedian ~ Good timely comedy without being raunchy ~ except for the late night 10:30 pm adult show which was definitely raunchy but this one was INTENDED to be adult entertainment.
OTHER ENTERTAINMENT ~ There is plenty of other live entertainment in various locations on the ship. We stopped by Eden one night for a drink and listened to a live rendition of Eagles songs. It was just one guy with a guitar but was entertaining. There were other things I would have liked to have attended ~ a group singing ABBA music, a tribute to Michael Jackson songs, Elvis Presley music and many others. They’re all listed on each day’s “Celebrity Today” newspaper left in each stateroom at night.
THE MAGIC CARPET~ We sat here and had a drink when the ship was in port on embarkation day when exploring the ship. Lots of very comfortable seating here. This space can also be used when tendering which is supposed to make the process easier. It wasn’t used as such though when we were on the ship as it wasn't needed. One thought ~ It must have cost a FORTUNE to build such an innovative idea ~ an outside room that can move (though not with people on it) to other floors where it works as either a bar or a restaurant. Can’t imagine the cost and if Celebrity feels it was cost effective for kind of a gimmick.
DISEMBARKATION ~ I was totally blown away that Captain Kate and Activities Director Guiseppe stood in the hallway gangway area shaking hands and smiling to all of the departing passengers! What a memorable final touch!!
OVERALL EXPERIENCE ~ The overall experience was so good that I would have gladly stayed another week, and I would certainly like to book another cruise specifically on the Edge. I would particularly enjoy taking the Mediterranean cruise on the Edge even though we have already done 2 Med cruises. Next time on the Edge, I guess I would try a couple of the upscale restaurants for dinner, especially if I had some OBC to spend.
PORT EXCURSIONS ~
KEY WEST ~ Overcast day in January but warm and breezy. Delightful with door open to balcony. We had planned to go on a glass bottomed boat excursion through the ship’s tours but we had to cancel at the last minute due to one of us experiencing back problems. This was disappointing and of course, we did not get reimbursed but at least part of the fees were paid for with our OBC.
COSTA MAYA ~ We walked into the port town area and looked for a place to eat lunch and get a drink. The shops area was tremendously crowded the day we were there as there were several other ships in port. We found “Latina Catina” and had a good time there. I ordered tilapia which came served fried and whole on a stone plate. (See picture.) We also ordered pina colada drinks which came in huge, tall plastic souvenir glasses. (See picture.) While eating, a wrestling match broke out in the inside ring. Fascinating and funny to us. There was also a nearby kiosk that advertised selling US pharmaceuticals such as Viagra. (See picture.)
COZUMEL ~ Again, our main objective was to simply walk around the tourist part of town. We ate lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp which was excellent. I had shrimp fettucine which rivaled every dinner I had on the ship. (See picture.) Not quite as crowded as Costa Maya so we did a little touristy shopping.
GRAND CAYMAN ~ Once again, we went for lunch and a drink only in the main tourist area. We settled on “Casanova’s” Italian restaurant where we sat beside the oceanfront and had mango mojitos and margarita pizza. (See picture.)
The idea of not venturing into the country of Mexico for us was deliberate. We are both in our mid 70’s and have limited stamina for a lot of walking anymore. We have traveled through Europe and would have been horribly disappointed to not venture further into those countries when we toured over there. However, at this time in our lives and with feeling like the country of Mexico is not the most reliable and friendly place anymore, this limited touring was right for us. If I were younger and more active, I would have wanted to see a Mayan ruin and gone to a beach.
VOW RENEWAL CEREMONY
If anyone is considering a vow renewal ceremony aboard the ship, I can highly recommend it. We scheduled one for our 25th wedding anniversary. I was initially afraid ahead of time that it might end up feeling cheesy but I didn’t feel that way about it at all afterward.
There are 2 main vow renewal packages to choose from on the Celebrity Wedding Website. https://celebrityweddings.eweddingcalendar.com/calendar/weddingPackagesEdit/optId/753/
We chose the one with the ship’s captain officiating since we knew it was Captain Kate on our sailing. The ceremonies are only held on sea days which is perfect, of course. I elected to make a salon appointment for my hair earlier in the morning which I was glad I did. The wedding coordinator, Chloe Carmel, was extremely helpful in printing out our special vows for us in big, bold type so we could read them without our glasses. She also found 2 music pieces for us that were special to us. The ceremony itself was held in “Blu” which was a lovely background with the big white rose on the wall. The ship’s photographer took an enormous amount of pictures including spending an hour with us afterward walking around the ship to photogenic locations. We elected to buy a package of photos after viewing them a day later. I love having these pictures of our special occasion.
We stayed in veranda stateroom # 7298. It gave a good first impression with relaxed colors of gray and white. A small niche with shelf holds a piece of coral. White bed linens, long beige/gray sofa, beige and white patterned carpet. Huge TV. 3 big drawers under desk. Sliding table in front of full length mirror can be pushed in to allow full view of the mirror ~ I only knew this from reading another review on Cruise Critic! Lots of wooden hangars in closet. Closet can really only be accessed by one person at a time but not a major problem. I did not miss the storage cabinets over the bed. I always found those awkward to reach anyway. Perhaps my one criticism would be that the Honor Fridge takes up a lot of room for an item we did not use. Maybe other people use the cooler for medications or for their own drinks.
Bathroom ~ Bigger in size and the glass doored shower was bigger too. Nice for those times of getting ready for chic night. There is ample storage for items on small shelves on either side of the sink. The sink itself is oversized, not sure why, but it would make washing out your undies a little easier, LOL! There is a drawer beneath the sink that holds the hair dryer that I would never have found if I hadn’t - again - read a review on here.
Balcony ~ Our room was a “port-hole” balcony room, NOT an Infinite Veranda room. (See picture.) Personally, we would have been disappointed with an IV room as we enjoy sitting outside in the fresh air to talk and read and take pictures. Some people prefer the IV rooms as they extend the feeling of the stateroom. In our case, we like sitting in the fresh air and an IV room would have felt more like a sunroom addition on a house. Each to his own. There are many more IV rooms on this ship though. There are only a few true balcony rooms and in our case, our room was almost all the way aft near the “sunset balcony” rooms so it was a long walk to the elevators. (By the way, I’m using the word “balcony” and “veranda” interchangeably here. There is no difference, at least in my review.) The “porthole” is huge and simply an architectural feature. The bottom half of the porthole was glass and the top half was open air. A person can lean on the railing to take a picture as opposed to the IV rooms where the window is too high. The other advantage to a balcony room as opposed to an IV room is that a person can be outside on the balcony and the AC can stay on in the stateroom (although you do have to lock the door). With an IV room, if you open the window, it automatically shuts off the AC in the room. The padded, mesh backed chairs located on the balcony are pretty comfortable.
Stateroom Service ~ We had one main service attendant Meri who was excellent. Our room was kept impeccably clean and neat. There were 2 days when she had a substitute (for whatever reason) but they each performed their duties just as well as she did with plenty of extra towels left for us. They also filled our ice bucket each day and refilled the bucket around a bottle of champagne that we did not open (but it was ready if we had decided to).