Celebrity Edge's theater is one of the most high-tech spaces you'll find at sea. It has four stage areas, though three are hidden behind massive 120-foot-wide projection screens (with 18 state-of-the-art mapping laser projectors). The screens comprise several panels, which can be opened to reveal the stages behind them. These stage areas can be lowered and raised for dramatic effect and two feature spiral staircases. The main stage is "in the round" and juts out into the audience to blend the line between the performers and the audience. In the middle of the stage is a dual-direction platform that can be raised as high as 7 feet above the rest of the stage and custom-designed props help to round out each show.
Several production shows are on offer in a one-week cruise. One thing they have in common is loud contemporary music. You'll hear songs from everyone from Rihanna, Walk the Moon, Prince and Owl City to Bruno Mars, George Michael, Justin Timberlake and Shawn Mendes.
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Our favorite show was "Hype," which showed off the talents of one of the ship's resident talents, Marcus Terrell. It's basically a concert -- think a Las Vegas headline show from Cher or Britney Spears -- during which Terrell walks the audience through the musical decades with songs from Bowie, Prince, Santana and many others. It's high energy, Terrell's voice is amazing, the live band is fantastic and by the end, half the audience is up and dancing. We loved it.
Other shows include "Kaleidoscope," which we heard the cast rehearsing. We don't know if there will be a story to tie it all together, but what we saw and heard sounded like a fun, high-energy song-and-dance revue that we'd enjoy. "The Purpose" is similar to "Hype" in that it shows off the vocal prowess of a second resident singer, Ashlie-Amber Harris. The final show is called "A Hot Summer Night's Dream," which Celebrity describes as combining "light-hearted theater and acrobatics."
The Club does double duty as the ship's late-night disco and as the venue for some more intimate, high-energy shows.
"Mirage" is an immersive, circus-style show, which has a loose theme of a dream world into which the performers fly. It's basically an acrobatics show, but done on a smaller scale and the good thing is with the double-height club, you can watch their amazing contortions at eye-level rather than having to look up.
"Undercover" is Celebrity's interpretation of a 1920's Jazz Club, so in other words, it's nothing like a 1920s jazz club. There is a live band and there are some dancers dressed in a vague 1920s way, but the dancing and acrobatics is about as contemporary as you can get, and the music does not even nod to the 20s.
We've never seen anything like Eden before, on land or sea, and we're willing to bet you haven't either. Design-wise, the space is based on the Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical equation that is found throughout the natural world and is best visualized in a snail's shell. Eden spirals up and down (just follow the figure-eight ramp way) through three decks at the back of the ship. An esoteric and overly intellectual concept to be sure, but what matters is that it translates to a stunning space filled with light and dark, living plants and an atmosphere that moves from playful during the day to sensual at night.
Eden has several distinct spaces. On the bottom of the spiral is the Eden Restaurant; only those who pay to dine there visit this space. The middle is where most of the action takes place, both as a lounge and entertainment venue; it's also where the bar is. Additionally, Eden Cafe is on the middle level, and it serves as a gourmet deli during lunchtime. On the upper level and ramp way, you'll find lots of places to sit and chat. Some of the areas overlook the central space so you can watch the show with less risk of getting pulled into it.
Add into the mix a group of performance artists called Edenists, who perform a version of avant-garde interactive theater while decked out in hippie "Mad Max"-esque costumes. We're told the entire experience was inspired by the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden -- innocence lost and all of that.
It's important to note, when we say the Edenists are interactive, we're being literal. While the majority of the focus of the show is on the "nucleus," a small stage-like pedestal structure in the middle of the space, which hosts dancing, singing and acrobatic acts, Edenists do venture out into the crowd while performing. They may try to touch you. They will almost certainly try to speak with you, and there's a good chance you'll find them writhing on the ground at your feet or just standing and staring at you at some point. There are also impressive aerial acts that take place throughout the venue.
If you want to be part of the show, which runs for about 90 minutes, you'll want to stay close to the nucleus, where it is assumed you're OK with the interaction; plenty of people did just that on our sailing. If you just want to be a spectator, try to find spots off to the side or on the spiraling ramp. It's perfectly OK to shake your head no if you see an Edenist approaching you.
Chances are you'll either love or hate Eden but, no matter what, it will leave an impression -- even if it's just one of befuddlement.
A third entertainment spot on the ship is the Rooftop Garden on Deck 15, a large outdoor park with lots of alcoves, bench seating and an overall pleasantly chill feel. There's real greenery and funky metallic tree sculptures, many of which have small round stages inside of them, for individual musicians to perch. During the day it's a nice place to relax or participate in garden games, but it's very exposed. (We have it on good authority that Celebrity will be introducing some shade awnings.) At night, the space perks up with live music on the main stage or movies on the big screen.
There is always a variety of activities to do during the day on Celebrity Edge, but a good majority of passengers prefer to just relax. There are lots of spots on the ship dedicated to relaxation, from the Solarium to the Rooftop Garden and even Eden during the day, when the vibe is chill (and the Edenists aren't around).
You'll find the full list of activities in the Daily Planner, which is printed out each night and delivered to your stateroom. Early in the morning, the schedule is dominated by fitness and wellness, with options like group meditation and extra-fee fitness classes.
In the Rooftop Garden, you'll find garden games, like ring toss and Jenga, throughout the day, though there will usually be one or two hosted sessions, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
Other activities could include trivia, spa and shop seminars, hosted board games, iLounge computer classes and a funky laser maze experience in The Club. Also look for an activity called Table Maze, which essentially boils down an escape room experience into a tabletop group of puzzles that you have to solve in order to open up a series of trunks. If you like escape rooms, you'll love it.
Nighttime on Celebrity Edge is all about entertainment, whether in the theater, Eden, the Rooftop Garden or The Club.
You won't find too much live music at night, though there will usually be at least one live set on the stage at the Rooftop Garden, running opposite the second theater show. Before and after these shows, there's usually a movie shown up here. Options on our preview sailing included "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" and "Dirty Dancing."
You'll also find live music in the early evening at the Sunset Bar and in the Grand Plaza before and after dinner.
There's usually also a live band in The Club, generally at pre-show times to get everyone pumped up for the theater shows.
All that is not to say there's no music -- there's plenty of that -- it's just more likely to be provided by DJs or pumped out from speakers around the ship, adding to Edge's general contemporary vibe.
The Club usually turns into a disco around midnight, after the two shows and "Revelation at Eden" have ended. Music is typically house and loud; this is paired with digital imagery on the giant LED screen lining the back wall including selfies of people in The Club taken by crew members carrying a Hypno camera.
A popular spot at night is the Casino, located midship on Deck 4. It's pushed to the side of the main indoor promenade, in its own separate space, so you don't have to walk through it to get anywhere. There are a large number of slots on both side of the walls and gaming tables for craps, roulette, poker (three card and Texas Hold'em) and blackjack. There are regular tournaments that take place -- look out for them in your daily planner. The entire casino and next-door bar are nonsmoking.
Destination Gateway (Deck 2): One of the most oddly placed bars we've ever come across, the Destination Gateway bar is located all the way down on Deck 2 in a corner of the waiting area for those getting on a tender boat (called "launches" by Celebrity Cruises). There's a full range of drinks available and you are welcome to carry your drink onto the Magic Carpet, before you get onto your launch, but drinks are not permitted on the launch boats themselves.
Martini Bar (Deck 3): A Celebrity staple, the Martini Bar on Edge sits underneath the giant chandelier in the Grand Plaza. The circular bar has loads of seating at small tables. Martinis are the drink here, and you'll find a lot of variety, with interesting options such as the must-try lavender lemon drop or the dill pickle. Skilled bartenders put on a show when they can, tossing bottles and pouring a mind-boggling number of martinis at once. They even step out from behind the bar to interact with the crowds. Not sure which drink to pick? Try a martini flight.
The bar heats up just before dinner. Stick around for the light show, when the chandelier moves in time to music, a fun choreographed experience that sees people stop in their tracks and pull out their cameras to record everything. Live music also takes place here, either at the white, baby grand piano or with roving saxophonists, guitar players or bands. The bar is open during the day, and passengers congregate here in part because of its great central location. It's a popular spillover area for Cafe al Bacio in the morning, when the nearby coffee bar is busiest.
Casino Bar (Deck 4): Unlike most casino bars, this is not deep in the middle of the Casino but in its own spot accessible from a walkway running past the Grand Plaza. It has more of the feel of a sports bar, with slots against one wall and games on the bar itself. There are barstools so you can sit up at the bar to watch TVs showing sports, as well high tables and chairs to sit down and have a drink. On Sundays during NFL season, it's an especially popular spot.
Eden Bar (Deck 5): The Eden Bar is part of the Eden complex, which includes a lounge area and a daytime grab-and-go deli. The bar is near the central stage, and it's a little small for the size of the room it is serving. During the day, this is a quiet spot when most people sit around having coffee, but at night it gets very crowded, with people two or three deep at the bar. The bar itself is ensconced by trailing plants and herbs, many of which end up in the specialty cocktails served there. There's plenty of seating in, around and above the bar in little alcoves and raised sections of the room, as well as outside. However, the main action centers on the stage, where Edenists come and go, encouraging the audience to get involved. Edenists will try to get you to participate, so if you don't want to, stay away from the stage area, and you should be OK to watch as a passive observer.
Magic Carpet (Decks 2, 5, 14): While the Magic Carpet serves different purposes depending on where it's positioned on the ship, it always has one thing in common -- the bar is always open! Even when positioned on Deck 2 to help with the loading and unloading of launches, cruisers can stop to have a drink and relax in one of the comfy outdoor couches. At lunchtime on Deck 5 it's primarily an eatery, but at night when it's stationed there, it's mostly a lounge with drinks and light bites. One of the specialty drinks here is the Magic Carpet, which has Tito's vodka, vermouth, allspice dram, homemade grenadine and fresh grapefruit. In the late afternoon, the Magic Carpet shifts to Deck 14, where it serves drinks and a gorgeous view out over the ocean.
Prism Bar (Deck 14): The Prism Bar is the main pool bar.
Il Secondo Bacio (Deck 14): Located just inside the Oceanview cafe, this is a spot to grab a drink to go with your buffet meal. While you can order just about anything, it specializes in "sunrise" cocktails, including the Celebrity bloody mary, Julio's greyhound and Paris screwdriver. You can also get some zero-proof cocktails, as well as Vitamin Waters, Arizona ice teas and premium orange or grapefruit juices.
Sunset Bar (Deck 15): Located all the way at the back of the ship, the Sunset Bar is hopping before dinner. As in, good-luck-finding-a-seat busy. But if you're lucky enough to grab a seat, it's a brilliant spot for watching the ship's wake and having a casual conversation. The bar itself is fairly long, taking up a solid chunk of space. You'll find a narrow seating area behind the bar and more seating around the sides. Smoking is allowed on the starboard side, and smoke carries, so if you're sensitive to it, stay to the port side. Be warned that this area lives up to its name; it's open to the beating sun and offers no shade (although we're told shade will be added).
The Retreat Pool Bar (Deck 16): Located on Deck 16, The Retreat Pool Bar is part of the private enclave for suite passengers only. The bar serves a variety of cocktails, beer and wine, while waiters circulate to make sure passengers don't go thirsty while hanging poolside.
Celebrity Edge has one long all-access pool, located smack-dab in the middle of Deck 14. The pool is flanked by hundreds of lounge chairs, with many facing out toward the ocean. (This is a theme on Celebrity Edge, which aims to connect its cruisers with the sea.) There's also a limited number of hot-ticket loungers sticking out over the shallow lip of water around the pool. A huge pair of white butterfly wings -- a sculpture -- sits at the foot of the pool and might be the most Instagrammed spot on the ship. At the forward end of the pool, you'll find some couches and cushioned chairs surrounding tables, as well as barstools around part of the pool.
A deck up, on what Celebrity has dubbed the Resort Deck, passengers can relax in one of Edge's two martini-glass shaped hot tubs. These tower over the pool deck and are covered in white tiling and LED lights, which change color at night. In fact, the whole of the pool and the Resort Deck are awash in colored LED lights, which could have been tacky but instead is vibrant, tasteful and exciting.
The design of the pool deck and the way it integrates with the Resort Deck above is unique, as there's actually a ramp between the two decks, around the back of the ship and back. The ramp doubles as a walking/running track but also is a visually interesting feature.
Also on Deck 14 are the ship's cabanas. Located on the starboard side, just a few steps from the pool, the ship's six cabanas are available to rent for a per-day charge (several hundred dollars per day). These accommodate up to six people for a flat fee. Your rental includes a day in the cabana, four bottles of water, six beers, unlimited soft drinks, fresh fruit skewers, a limited food selection, facial spray and cold towels. Renters also get a choice of either a bottle of wine, vodka or Champagne.
The cabanas are visually stunning, with rich wood walls dividing one from the next, two-deck high ceilings, plenty of shade and unlimited views of the oceans. There is, however, a total lack of privacy, as other passengers can walk right through the middle of the cabana area, separating paying customers from those coveted views.
For adults only, the solarium offers serene pool time under a unique geodesic dome. The area has a wonderfully large pool flanked by a giant hot tub. It's a quiet space designed for those 18 and older, though it's also a passageway for passengers getting from the back of the ship to the Oceanview Cafe, so there's a lot of walk-through traffic.
Finally, The Retreat area has its own pool, located on Deck 16. This area is open exclusively to passengers staying in the ship's suites. The large pool is the centerpiece of the outdoor space; several swinging chairs hang above the pool, so passengers can dip their toes in the water while reading a book or chatting. A large hot tub is mixed in here, along with lots of seating around the pool on benches, sunbeds, at tables and on lounge chairs.
When it comes to recreation, the ship actually is fairly quiet. Edge features two funky-looking black Ping-Pong tables, located above the pool deck. It also hosts "garden games" in the Rooftop Garden, where passengers can play Jenga or toss rope rings over the necks of glass bottles.
The Resort Deck is sweeping and massive, and you'll find lounge chairs virtually everywhere. We love that there are both full sun and shaded options throughout. The ramp makes for some interesting architecture, but consequently, it can be difficult to navigate from one end of the ship to the other. Lounge chairs are positioned each day to face outward, toward the water.
You'll find the guest services desk and shore excursion area buried down on Deck 3 in a quiet spot that's just down a hall from the Grand Plaza. Shore excursions can be browsed and purchased on tablets, but there's usually someone there to answer questions as well, though there's no proper desk with someone standing behind it.
One deck up on Deck 4 you'll find a slew of small shops spread out throughout the deck -- each one selling a distinct selection of items like Edge-branded clothing and souvenirs, liquor and cigarettes, perfume, watches, high-end jewelry and designer handbags.
Also on Deck 4 is the Future Cruise space and photo gallery and Portrait Studio. The gallery is entirely digital; just tap your cruise card on one of the touch screens and get started browsing your photos. You can also book a session at the Portrait Studio (for photos in black and white, or color) or arrange to have a private session done around the ship. One other difference from other ships: On chic nights instead of the cheesy backdrops most cruise lines set out, you'll find green screens on Edge. Have your photo taken in front of that and then the photographers will insert a variety of digital backdrops and you can pick which ones you like.
Nearby is the iLounge and Internet Cafe. You need to purchase a Wi-Fi package regardless of if you're checking email in the iLounge or on your personal device.
At the forward end of Deck 4 is the Meeting Place, with conference rooms.
One more deck up, on Deck 5 is the Park West art gallery, which includes a tiny museum section with ceramic works and sculpture, as well as a long corridor with Park West's typical fare of Peter Max and other contemporary artists.
Also on Deck 5 are Celebrity Edge's most high-end shops: Cartier, Bulgari and Tiffany.
There are no self-service laundrettes onboard; you can pay to have your clothing cleaned for you.
A medical center is on Deck 2.
Celebrity Edge's spa is gorgeous and features some of the most high-tech treatments available at sea -- it's also one of the most expensive we've ever come across. Facials (of which there are only a few options) start at $140 and massages start at $170, though all the more interesting options are well into the $200s. An 18 percent gratuity is automatically applied to the price of all treatments. You can find select spa specials on port days; always keep your eye on the daily program for options.
Among the unique treatments is the Ocean Spa Wave massage, which takes place on a waterbed-based massage table. The treatment includes an algae wrap, foot and scalp reflexology, color and aromatherapy and a half- or full-body massage.
Another interesting option is the Hot Mineral Body Boost, which makes use of a massage table that basically looks like a large rectangular sandbox. It's filled with warmed quartz crystals. A towel is placed over the crystals and you lie on top of that; it's kind of like lying on a towel on the beach. This treatment also includes a full-body massage and a mini-facial. You can also choose to have a poultice massage on this massage table.
A third option, exclusive to Celebrity Edge, is a zero-gravity wellness massage, which uses a table that has eight positions to give massage therapists the ability to offer precise massages, while taking any pressure off the body.
A selection of traditional massages is also available, as are several body therapies (wraps, ionithermie, acupuncture). Medi-spa treatments include Dysport wrinkle treatments, Restylane facial fillers, CoolSculpting nonsurgical fat reduction and Thermage skin tightening.
Some of the treatment rooms, including the anti-gravity room, are located directly below the aerobic room in the fitness center. If there is a class going on in the fitness center, you very well might hear it when you're getting your treatment. If getting your Zen on requires silence and tranquility, look to schedule when classes aren't in session.
Across the way are the hair and nail salons, teeth whitening room, Kerastase Institute (where you'll find treatments like the Chronologiste Caviar treatment), men's barber and elegant SEA thermal suite.
The extra-fee SEA thermal suite features several warm ceramic loungers looking out to the ocean, as well as a variety of experience rooms, including a salt therapy room, water and color therapy rainfall corridor, hammam, aroma steam mist room, crystalarium and infrared desert. Our favorite room is designed for swinging meditation and features five half bird's nest swing chairs that you can sink into and just relax as they rock with the motion of the ship.
Extra-fee passes to the SEA thermal suite are available for entire sailings; there are no day-only passes.
The spa is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Celebrity Edge offers one of the best and most comprehensive gyms we've ever seen on a cruise ship. The space, located on Deck 15 forward, has much of the same equipment you'd find at your land-based health club. It's loaded with Technogym cardio and resistance machines, and it's also got a solid area for free weights, with dumbbells up to 100 pounds available. It also has plyometric boxes, kettlebells and six Peloton bikes, for those really looking to crank it up. (To use a Peleton bike, you have to see the receptionist, who will log you in with a temporary account.)
The array of classes are aimed at both mind and body, with options like meditation, yoga and barre, along with high-intensity interval training, bungee class, boxing and Ryde fitness. Meditation and the workout of the day are free, while other classes will cost extra, starting around $20 per class. You can sign up using your app or one of the tablets in the gym. Personal training also is offered, for a fee. The fitness center is open 24 hours a day. The minimum age to work out is 13, though parents must be present and must sign a waiver on behalf of their child. You must be at least 18 to work out without an adult present.
One of our favorite fitness features actually is the jogging track, located on Decks 15 and 16. The two-lane track is surprisingly long (4.5 laps equals a mile), meandering around the Resort Deck, around the Rooftop Garden and past The Retreat. The sloping ramp makes it a fun challenge, and you'll spend a long, gradual period working your way downhill, with a short but steep uphill challenge. Plus, there are few deck chairs to get in your way as you're getting in your workout.
Sadly, with so many superlatives being thrown about to describe Edge, we can't use any to describe the kids' club: Camp at Sea. Moved from high up on Deck 15 on the line's last class of ships, to a small, windowless space on Deck 3, it's almost as if the line wants kids neither to be seen or heard (the teenagers' room is even further down -- on Deck 2, just beside Destination Gateway).
For a ship this size, the space is small. When we asked what happens during holiday time when there are lots of kids on board, we were reassured they never turn a child away.
Having said that, the programing is solid, with lots of age-appropriate games and activities on offer, and the counselors are a delight -- dedicated and enthusiastic.
Celebrity Edge does not have any specific family cabins, but it does have many interconnecting cabins and suites which can accommodate more than two people. Additionally, most standard cabins can accommodate three people, and many have a sofa that can convert into a sofa bed so rooms can accommodate up to four. Also, such is the design of the Infinite Veranda cabins that you effectively get a second room when you close the bi-fold doors. While there's no privacy, the bi-fold doors are see-through, it can serve as a spot to sit and read quietly until the kids fall asleep.
There is no in-cabin babysitting, but you can leave your child at Camp at Sea from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for $6 per hour, per child.
You cannot pre-order baby food or diapers, but the kids club has diapers should you run out on a sea day. Kids need to be potty trained to use water play areas, pools and attend drop-off kids programming.
The minimum sail age is 6 months. The minimum age for the kids' club is 36 months, but you can bring your under-3 to the Stay and Play area.
There are also family-friendly excursions, which are annotated in the shore excursions guide or you can leave your child onboard while you go exploring (the only exception being if he or she has severe special needs).
Camp at Sea provides a packed program of entertainment for little ones with the fun kicking off at 9 a.m. every day and going on till 10 p.m. Interestingly, every day starts off with a meditation session to calm kids down, followed by scheduled activities.
Anturus Explorer Academy (created by Welsh explorer company Anturus) is exclusive to Celebrity Cruises and provides a mix of education and entertainment with science experiences, live demonstrations and fun challenges.
The schedule of activities changes on every sailing based on the interests of the participants (never the same class twice). Through Celebrity's collaboration with well-known companies, including Anturus, Xbox, Fat Brain Toys and Lonely Planet, activities are divided into Art, Recreation, Culinary and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). And there are more than 500 activities overall.
Camp at Sea closes for lunch for two hours from noon to 2 p.m. and for dinner from 5 to 7 p.m., but kids can stay during these times and be escorted to and from meals at the Oceanview Cafe by counselors. A lunchtime escort on port days costs $6 per child as does dinner; this service is not available on sea days. The dinner escort service is complimentary on sea days.
The space is divided into four areas: Stay and Play for the under 3s, Shipmates (3 to 5), Cadets (6 to 9) and Captains (10 to 12).
The Stay and Play spot is for parents to spend time with their kids under 3 (you can't drop off your under 3s there and then leave). It features lots of little soft chairs and cushions, a large screen for showing movies and one of a number of porthole windows, backlit with light (not natural light).
The main feature in the Shipmates area for kids 3 to 5 is a slide in the center of the space. There are also age-appropriate games, a large screen and a toilet off the main room. Activities might include a treasure hunt, an obstacle course game, face painting, playing with the LiteBrite Wall (see below), dressing up, crafts, painting and drawing.
On the opposite side of the same room, you'll find the Cadets space for kids 6 to 9 years old. Located here are a foosball table, board games and the centerpiece -- a LiteBrite Wall. This is a fun interactive wall, which glows different colors depending on what colored piece of plastic you place in it. It allows the kids' imagination to run riot -- we loved this feature. Other activities might include an Xbox challenge, what the line claims is the first coding at sea, an obstacle course and taking part in culinary-related activities with play food.
Just steps from the Cadets space, is the Captains area -- they're nominally divided by accordion doors. This area for 10 to 12 year olds has board games, Connect 4, video screens for gaming, a large TV screen and tables and chairs. Captains get to practice taking videos with GoPros, learn about ship navigation, participate in scavenger hunts and get involved in film making.
Aptly-named, The Basement is the dedicated space for teens onboard Edge Class, deep down on Deck 2, right before Destination Gateway, the indoor area for passengers waiting for a launch (tender). It's a large, bright space with a circular sofa as the centerpiece, a large TV and smaller TVs for gaming. Teens have a selection of 500 activities to work with, including the largest Xbox One X experience at sea. The programing is light touch and teens can come and go as they please.
It's worth noting that during the day The Club (Decks 4 and 5) is turned over to teen activities including experiences such as the Funovation Laser Maze Challenge and the very cool Drone Hunting laser obstacle course.