But for anyone who wants to choose when and where they dine, there's Celebrity Select. Cruisers with Celebrity Select can eat at any of the four main dining rooms for dinner whenever they want, either by showing up at the door or making reservations ahead of time.
We thought the food in the main dining rooms punched above its weight, with Celebrity Signatures appetizers such as lobster ravioli and salmon tartar, as well as more traditional options such as Caesar salad and French onion soup. The lobster ravioli was delicious, though we thought the soup could have been thicker. Entrees were outstanding -- seared duck, roasted Colorado rack of lamb and beef tournedos.
We were also impressed with the quality and variety in Oceanview Cafe. But with all that said, we still found the food in the upcharge dining venues to be better than what was included.
Service in all of the restaurants was excellent and we were especially impressed by the intuitive sommelier service when we ate in Cosmopolitan -- spotting we had opted for duck, he swapped out our cabernet sauvignon for a much better pairing of pinot noir.
Items on the dinner menus in the main dining rooms (not specialty restaurants) are clearly marked as gluten-free, vegetarian, no sugar added or lactose free. There are also items marked as “fit fare.” (We never saw a single item that didn't have at least one designation.) Additionally, there's a gluten-free dessert and baked goods counter in the buffet, and you'll find a sugar-free item or two at the regular dessert counter. You'll also find a sugar-free item at Cafe al Bacio, but there are no gluten-free items at any of the quick bite eateries.
Main Dining Rooms (Decks 3 & 4, see below for specifics): Celebrity Edge has four complimentary main dining rooms: Normandie, Tuscan, Cosmopolitan and Cyprus. Each has its own decor and atmosphere, as well as a small section of the dinner menu, called “Exclusives,” that you can find only there. These will always be found on the left-hand side of the menu, and do not vary from night to night.
On the right side of the menu are the “Celebrity Signatures” and the “Classic” menu, both of which are available in all main dining rooms. Like the Exclusives items, Classic menu options also do not change from night to night. Classic choices are a Caesar salad, grilled shrimp cocktail, escargots and French Onion soup as starters; and broiled salmon, grilled chicken breast and grilled New York sirloin as main dishes.
The Signatures menu does change every night and makes up the bulk of each restaurant's offerings. Options might include starter options such as tomato and watermelon salad, crispy Thai beef spring rolls, yellow corn soup, salmon tartare and lobster ravioli. The five entree options could include grilled cobia, seared duck, roasted Colorado rack of lamb and stuffed portobello mushrooms.
You can order a starter from one section of the menu, and a main course from the other, or order both from just one side. The wait staff is also open to customizing dishes; for example, we craved the marshmallow sweet potatoes that came with another dish, and were able to order it as a side dish separately.
There's also a special menu for vegetarians; it's the same in each restaurant, but changes daily, and features items like organic roasted red beets, chilled pear and honey soup, Belgian endive and arugula salad, porcini mushroom orecchiette pasta, stuffed portobello mushroom, and vegetable tart with herb pesto.
Desserts in all main dining restaurants include a variety of pies, cakes, sorbet, low-fat yogurt and ice creams, though each venue also has one exclusive dessert option.
All main dining rooms also offer a kids menu with crudite, tomato soup, mac and cheese, mini-Margherita pizza, cheeseburger, a small grilled filet mignon, spaghetti Bolognese and grilled cheese sandwich.
Normandie Restaurant (Deck 3): Inspired by Murano, Celebrity's French fine dining venue found on its Solstice-class ships, Normandie's featured menu includes contemporary French cuisine. Of particular note to Celebrity Cruises enthusiasts, the restaurant's design features authentic panels from the original S.S. Normandie that used to be on display onboard Celebrity Summit.
Normandie's Exclusives menu features countryside chicken pate, a potato and Gruyere tart (that's more tart and potato than Gruyere, but was yummy) and baked Brie as appetizers; and a beef tenderloin puff pastry, lavender-roasted salmon and slow-roasted rack of pork as entrees. The exclusive dessert is a raspberry coulis with layers of chocolate.
Tuscan Restaurant (Deck 3): This restaurant is inspired by another of Celebrity's signature specialty dining venues, Tuscan Grille. The featured menu here offers up cuisine straight from Southern Italy, while the black-and-white decor reflects the fashion-forward chicness of Milan.
Tuscan exclusives menu items are Tuscan bean soup with sausage, octopus carpaccio and an Asiago cheese flan as appetizers, and rosemary roasted chicken, strozzapreti carbonara and slow-roasted porchetta as main entrees. We had the rosemary roasted chicken, which was fine, but we actually preferred our previous night's classic grilled chicken better.
The exclusive dessert is tiramisu.
Cosmopolitan Restaurant (Deck 4): Cosmopolitan is a nod to Celebrity's traditional main dining rooms. There may not be a grand, sweeping staircase and a double-height room as on the other ships, but you do enter the space via a backlit wine cellar, with bottles either side and above you.
The room itself has a glamorous feel, with on-trend scallop-back chairs, a contemporary carpet and a champagne color scheme. There are lots of different-sized tables and intimate spaces, should you wish to dine a deux. If you're unlucky enough to be seated at one of the six-person tables that use banquette seating on one side, try to avoid the bench as it's straight but the table is elliptical, putting an uncomfortable distance between you and the table with no way to scoot in.
Cosmopolitan is the only main restaurant onboard open for breakfast, every day, and lunch, only on sea days.
The breakfast menu in Cosmopolitan offers everything you could want: yogurt, fruit, pastries, hot and cold cereals, smoked salmon, eggs Benedict, omelets and griddle favorites including pancakes, waffles and French toast. You'll also find an assortment of sides including bacon (American or English-style), sausages (pork, chicken or turkey), hash browns, baked beans and more. For those in a rush, the express breakfast comes with scrambled eggs, bacon and toast.
Cosmopolitan is open for lunch on sea days, and on embarkation day for Concierge passengers only. Choices might include mozzarella sticks, carrot cumin gazpacho and fresh salad on the appetizer menu, while main courses might include sauteed turkey medallions, whole wheat orecchiette, grilled New York steak, teriyaki duck breast and a Cobb salad. A variety of desserts are available on the lunch menu as well.
For dinner, the Cosmopolitan Exclusives menu is as follows: grilled carrot and mozzarella salad with trout, barbecue-glazed short ribs and seared scallops as appetizers; and pan-roasted salmon, herb-marinated chicken breast and Manhattan cut New York strip steak as main dishes. The exclusive dessert is a carrot cake.
Cyprus Restaurant (Deck 4): Celebrity Edge's fourth main dining room is an homage to the line's Greek heritage -- Celebrity Cruises was found in 1989 by Greece-based Chandris Group. As the name also implies, Cyprus is the ship's Mediterranean-themed main restaurant serving dinner only. Seafood is the focus, but the menu includes other options for those who aren't in the mood for fish.
Cyprus Exclusives starters include a Greek-style salad, saganaki (fried cheese) and sea bass ceviche (which was delicious!), while entrees are lamb shank tagine, Greek-style grilled sea bass and lemon dill chicken souvlaki. The exclusive dessert is Giaourti Me Meli, a whipped Greek yogurt dish drizzled with honey and toasted walnuts.
Luminae (Deck 12): Luminae is available exclusively to suite passengers and is located next to the suites-only The Retreat section of the ship. Anyone who books a suite can dine there as they wish for breakfast, lunch or dinner (reservations are not required). In line with the rest of the Retreat, Luminae's design is elegant yet understated, and boasts a neutral color scheme with pops of color; it also has generous seating in a variety of arrangements -- ranging from cozy corner booths to round tables.
The breakfast menu is the same every morning and includes all the usual: griddle choices (pancakes, waffles, French toast and crepes); smoothies; eggs (your way, omelet, Benedict, rancheros, wrap); and continental offerings (fruit, smoked salmon, muesli, parfait, cereals, pastries). A variety of breakfast sides is also available.
The lunch menu is on a seven-day rotation (a new menu every day for seven days) and might include salad, prawn ceviche or cream of parsnip soup as appetizers, and crabcake sandwiches, creamy lobster rolls, grilled petit filet mignon, grilled salmon, a vegetable stir-fry and Luminae signature burger as main courses.
The dinner menu, which rotates daily over the course of 14 days, includes items such as Maine lobster salad, beef tartar and artichoke soup for starters; venison ragout, Alaskan halibut, grilled guinea hen, roasted spiced eggplant and cauliflower "steak" for main courses; and a handful of sides and desserts.
We ate there for dinner and were not hugely impressed. It's a small menu, with a choice of four apps and five entrees. It starts with an amuse-bouche, in this case burrata with pesto, which was a bit watery. We opted for the chilled lobster salad with artichoke and pineapple. This really worked as a combo, and the lobster was just the right side of sweet.
Some of the mains are designated as a “Chef's Signature” dish, including the grilled ribeye steak. If it's a signature dish, and a steak, it should be almost impossible to get wrong, but this was tough, almost rubbery in texture, and tasteless. Other dishes included a rack of lamb, which was rare, with a real depth of flavor; and Alaskan halibut on a tiny portion of rice, that was rather dry. Desserts redeemed the meal slightly -- a vanilla panna cotta was delicious, and the cheese selection was different and varied and included Manchego.
The kids menu at Luminae is the same one you'll find in the four main dining rooms.
Blu (Deck 5): This spa-centric restaurant, decked out in pretty blue-and-white decor and found on all Celebrity cruise ships, is for the exclusive use of passengers staying in AquaClass cabins, as well as suites; it's open for breakfast and dinner only.
Breakfast choices include juices and smoothies; egg options (Benedict, frittata, scrambled, omelet); fresh fruit, berries, muesli and cereals, parfaits and yogurts; pancakes and French toast; and smoked salmon or cold cuts and cheese.
The dinner menu, which changes every night, might feature tomato salad, pickled beet salad, roasted red beet bisque or sesame-crusted tuna salad as appetizers; and grilled octopus salad, pan-seared Pacific salmon, herb-crusted rack of lamb and truffle ricotta gnocchi as entrees. A small menu of “timeless classics” is always available and includes a broiled Atlantic salmon filet, roasted chicken breast and New York strip steak.
Oceanview Cafe (Deck 14): Celebrity Cruises' signature buffet restaurant has been completely reimagined for Edge. Located at the back of the ship on Deck 14, the restaurant features high ceilings and windows all around. The double-height of the room is noticeable from the second you walk in; it feels brighter and more spacious than other buffet restaurants at sea. Food is arranged into stations in the center, with seating options for two people on up to room for big groups. In keeping with the ship's theme of connecting to the sea, several tall bars (with high stools) are set up facing the windows. These were a favorite among passengers and filled quickly each day. At the back of the restaurant is an open-air seating area overlooking the ship's wake.
Oceanview Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant offers a wide variety of options at all meals, and we were happy to find healthier options alongside some great indulgences no matter the time of day. At breakfast, you can expect a variety of hot items like scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, bacon, hash browns and French toast, along with British standards like beans, grilled mushrooms, tomatoes and bangers. Cold options include cereal, cheese, lox, pastries, muesli and fruit. (All bread is made onboard, and you can watch as pastry chefs make carby treats out in the open in Oceanview Cafe.) There's also an egg station, where you can order your eggs made the way you like; across from that station is a spot where the chef makes nothing but poached and boiled eggs. A second location of Cafe al Bacio here is busy at breakfast.
Like breakfast, lunch is a busy time in Oceanview Cafe. A wide variety of cold options are available, including salads (both make-your-own and premade), cold cuts, cheese and bread. A sandwich bar is available so you can order from a chef, who will make it exactly the way you want it. A carving station serves up items like roasted chicken or duck, and a daily feature spot offers a rotating selection of deliciousness -- one day, chefs might prepare Vietnamese-style pho, the next, paella. This was one of our favorites, as many items are made a la minute and are both creative and delicious. Other hot items are served, falling under themes like Latin American (fajitas, nacho chips, beans) and Indian (chicken korma, naan and papadum). Themes change each day. American standards are available every day, too; head to the back of the restaurant for freshly made pizza, calzones and breadsticks.
Dinner is quieter in the Oceanview Cafe, when many passengers elect to visit other restaurants. The mood (and dress code) is relaxed in the evening. The menu is similar to what is offered at lunch, but entrees are more robust, with carving station items like roast beef and appetizers such as ceviche. A large dessert bar serves up a variety of goodies -- small enough so that you can sample a couple -- at both lunch and dinner. Passengers craving ice cream can visit Scoops, tucked into the corner at the front of the restaurant on the port side. The selection of ice cream changes each day.
Mast Grill (Deck 14): Tucked into a corner behind the main pool is Celebrity's signature poolside grill. We were surprised at the lack of seating (about 50 spots, including 26 at shared eight-person high tops), but we loved the offerings, which include beef burgers and cheeseburgers, as well as veggie and turkey burgers, hot dogs and, of course, French fries. All items are available made-to-order, so can take 10 to 15 minutes (especially for the veggie and turkey burgers). The toppings bar features sauteed onions, sauerkraut, sauteed mushroom and bacon, along with the usual suspects (cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion).
Eden Cafe (Deck 5): The Eden Cafe is a bit hidden, off to the side of the Eden bar but it's a great spot for grabbing a complimentary breakfast and lunch bite. There's not much seating inside -- maybe six chairs by the windows, but there is a small outdoor area with tables and chairs.
The breakfast selection is impressive for what's mostly a grab-and-go spot with muesli, yogurt parfait, fruit, hot oatmeal, a cold cut and cheese platter, steak and egg on a bagel, egg and cheese with your choice of either bacon or sausage, a turkey and egg white panini, and two types of wraps. And, of course, no cafe would be complete without some tempting pastries. On the day we went, there was banana nut bread and freshly baked cinnamon rolls.
Lunch is as impressive with five salad choices including chicken and ancient grains, Southwestern beef, lentil quinoa and spinach and Roquefort; soups that might include cream of tomato or chicken noodle; and sandwiches such as a chicken BLT, roasted turkey and cranberry ciabatta, curry grilled chicken wrap, vegetarian avocado, Reuben panini, roasted squash pita and chicken pesto, among others. There's also a daily carving station for freshly carved sandwiches, and an array of pastries including cookies, blueberry muffins, nut breads and brownies.
You can also pour your own tea (12 tea choices) and coffee, or fill up a glass with orange juice, lemonade, fruit punch or iced tea for free.
Grand Plaza Cafe (Deck 3): This is a slightly misleading title for what consists of a small counter just below the Martini Bar in a corner of the Grand Plaza, offering casual daytime nibbles -- mostly indulgent pastries. At lunch you will find a couple of finger sandwiches on offer. We particularly liked the cucumber and cream cheese on a baguette option. Pour-your-own coffee is also available from two coffee machines. At night it is subsumed into the Martini Bar.
Room Service: Hot and cold breakfast items are available between 6 and 9:30 a.m.; just make your selections on the placard and hang it over your doorknob by 2 a.m. the night before. Options include fruit, cereal, scrambled eggs, baked goods and griddle side selections (bacon, breakfast ham, corned beef hash, hash browns and link sausage). A selection of juices are also available.
The all-day menu is available from 11 a.m. (except on the first day of the cruise when it's not available until 5 p.m.) and features items like chicken noodle soup, chicken skewers, fruit plate, Caesar or mixed green salad, hamburger with fries, turkey club sandwich, penne primavera and seared salmon. For kids, you can get a roasted chicken sandwich with fries, grilled hot dog, cheese pizza or pepperoni pizza. Those craving something sweet can order a dark chocolate ganache cake, cheesecake or assorted cookies with milk.
A $4.95 service charge applies to orders placed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Eden Restaurant (Deck 4); $65: Part theatrical experience, part fine dining venue, Eden Restaurant offers five courses of "experiential” dishes served by a combination of waiters and "Edenists," a troupe of eight performing artists, each with a unique name (Bloom, Gloom, Flit, Wit, Coy) that represents some aspect of the Garden of Eden. Edenists can be playful, waving hello or asking you to describe yourself with hand movements, or mysterious, not speaking and simply staring or walking around you. From what we observed, only the playful Edenists spend time in the restaurant.
As for the menu, diners can select from two items for each course, with dishes that have such ethereal names, such as raindrops (lobster with a gribiche sauce), tidal pool (black cod with almonds and white asparagus), ashes (tuna toro with mango) or life after death (aged rib eye).
Dinner slots are available every 15 to 30 minutes between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., which is also when Eve at Eden starts one deck up and some of the Edenists come out to play. A few are positioned in the Eden Restaurant and may or may not interact with diners during their meal. (There is no guarantee you'll be visited by an Edenist, but if you let someone know when you're being seated -- or tell your waiter -- it can almost assuredly be arranged.)
In addition to stopping by to talk to diners, Edenists might simply stop to dance in front of your table, or stare at something that catches their attention or perhaps even help waiters serve a dish. However, we often saw the Edenists simply standing there with a lost look on their face, not sure of what to do with themselves. (This may have been part of the act; honestly, it was hard to tell.)
There's also a cocktail menu with items like garden (Woodford Reserve bourbon, honey syrup, lemon juice, aromatic bitters), clouds (Novo Fogo Silver cachaças, Earl Grey tea, lemon juice, rose water), planter (Del Maguey Vida mezcal, cardamom, lime, curacao) and the $45 village (Plymouth gin, Fino sherry, Earl Grey tea, lemon juice, demerara syrup, allspice dram, Tiki bitters, soda), which serves four people.
Le Grand Bistro (Deck 4); $10 for breakfast, $20 for lunch, $55 for dinner, or a la carte to go: Not content to only offer a small selection of French dishes at Normandie Restaurant, Celebrity Edge also offers Le Grand Bistro. Inspired by classic French bistros, seating options range from tables on a planter-edged "sidewalk" to the inner cafe with sea views.
At breakfast and lunch, you can snag individual pastries and freshly baked breads for free, order a la carte crepes and baguette sandwiches from the sidewalk counter or have a seat at the sidewalk tables and order from a set menu.
The breakfast menu consists of a variety of croissants, Danishes and muffins; countryside breakfast with eggs and your choice of side meat, cinnamon French toast, Parisian eggs Benedict, an omelet your way or a breakfast croissant sandwich; a variety of sweet crepes (gluten-free available on request) with a large selection of fillings, sauces and toppings; plus fruit salad, yogurt parfait and a gourmet cheese and charcuterie board.
The large lunch menu features starters (pork pate, steamed mussels, escargot), soups and salads (lobster bisque, French onion, baby arugula salad), daily platters (seared sea bass, slow-cooked duck breast, coq au vin, short rib bourguignon), baked goods, entrees (steak frites, trout, wild mushroom tart), various baguette sandwiches, and cheese and charcuterie boards.
At dinner, the entire restaurant transforms into Le Petit Chef at Le Grand Bistro. The TableMations Studio Experience features the Le Petit Chef experience, which centers on a 4D animated story starring tiny characters who prepare your dish on your table, course by course, before real waiters or waitresses serve you the actual dish. The dish looks just the animated one, and each course is a charming surprise. One chef might create pasta from scratch using fresh-harvest wheat ground by a mini-pig, while another might go for an unintended ride when his icing canister gets out of hand. It's a delightful experience for families, though the relatively high price tag might restrict you to just one seating. The Le Petit Chef experience offers two set menus to choose from, but the animated characters will act out the creation of only the main menu; the other menu is for vegetarians.
Both Le Grand Bistro and Le Petit Chef feature extensive wine lists.
Fine Cut Steakhouse (Deck 5); $55: Fine Cut is the ship's steakhouse. The restaurant is decked out in deep shades of burgundy, amber and gray, and while the space is open to the Grand Plaza, it's surprisingly quiet, even when the evening's entertainment is in full swing. The steakhouse offers a menu for carnivores -- meat lovers will be in heaven, but if you are a vegetarian, Edge offers better options for you. If you want to start off light(er), you can choose from appetizers such as ahi tuna tartare, seared scallops or an incredible heirloom tomato salad oozing with burrata. Another popular option is the tangy, melt-in-your-mouth Berkshire pork belly. The menu features a hearty number of steaks, ranging from the petite 6-ounce filet mignon to the 14-ounce ribeye. If you've got a bigger party, try the Butcher's Block, a family-style platter of the chef's favorite meats, served with four sides and four sauces. This serves four. If steak isn't your thing, the menu also features pan-roasted chicken, Maine lobster or grilled sea bass. Save room for the sides -- we loved the bacon mac ‘n' cheese and mushroom fricassee, but you can get steakhouse standards like a loaded baked potato or truffle fries as well. For dessert, choose from items like a chocolate sundae, strawberry cheesecake, apple cobbler or brownies. Fine Cut offers a kids menu, as well, with entrees such as spaghetti Bolognese, cheeseburgers, mini pizzas and fish sticks.
Raw on 5 (Deck 5); a la carte: This simple, yet elegant raw bar features golden accents in an otherwise white-and-cream space, and is so popular that despite its large size, usually requires reservations to get into. The menu, which offers up hot and cold items, includes everything from oysters, crab and lobster to shrimp salad, sushi and sashimi, lobster rolls, Japanese noodles, New England clam chowder, caviar, edamame, three choices of seafood towers ($75 for the Imperial Tower!) and more. Prices start at about $8; the Raw Bar is open for lunch and dinner.
Magic Carpet on 5 (Deck 5); a la carte: On afternoons on which the Magic Carpet is not being used for tendering, it is positioned on Deck 5, where it serves as an al fresco eatery. Originally slated to be simply an extension of Raw on 5, its menu is actually more varied, with only three sushi rolls available (spicy tuna, sunset maki, Alaskan California maki), as well as shrimp cocktail, East and West Coast oysters, crabcake, New England clam chowder, and fish and chips. Also on the menu are a variety of non-seafood sandwiches and salads. It's a lovely spot to dine with great views and a comfortable, living room feel.
Similarly, in the evening Magic Carpet returns to Deck 5 (if not being used for tendering), where it serves up drinks and a limited menu of small bites that includes a garden salad, five sushi rolls, shrimp cocktail, a raw bar selection of the day and a dessert of the day.
Considering how popular the Raw Bar is in general, and how great a space the Magic Carpet is, we're guessing you'll want to make a reservation for lunch, and get there nice and early in the evening.
Rooftop Garden Grill (Deck 15); $25 for lunch; $45 for dinner: Just because you're at sea doesn't mean you have to forgo the outdoor barbecue. At this venue, located in a corner of the Rooftop Garden, you can enjoy gourmet versions of your favorite backyard barbecue standards for lunch and dinner.
Lunch options include appetizers of pulled pork sliders, braised beef short rib chili, smoked chicken wings and train wreck fries (with bacon, four cheeses and ranch dressing); Caesar salad, caprese salad or a build-your-own chop salad; and entrees that include house-smoked turkey club sandwich, sourdough patty melt, a BLT, Rooftop beer burger, crispy catfish sandwich and a Southwestern veggie burger.
The dinner menu is slightly more expansive though the appetizer and salad choices stay the same. Grilled options include seafood kabobs, the Rooftop beer burger, grilled skirt pepper steak and grilled bratwurst. Smoked choices are hickory smoked brisket, mesquite baby back ribs, barbecue grilled half-chicken and grilled branzino. Delicious sides you can choose from include mac 'n' cheese, gourmet baked beans, baked potato, dirty rice and cream corn.
Brunch or Dinner on the Edge (Deck 16); $25 for brunch, $75 for dinner: On select days, the Magic Carpet will ascend all the way to Deck 16 for an exclusive brunch or dinner. There are no set menus for these experiences, as menus will be determined by the chef and might include items sourced at a port along the ship's sailing. Reservations will be required.
Cafe Al Bacio (Deck 4); a la carte: Part lounge, part eatery, this Celebrity signature offers up an extensive menu of specialty coffees and teas for a fee and complimentary sweet treats. Pick your poison and then choose one of the many comfy seats in the sizable accompanying lounge, laid out in a serene color palette of gray and taupe -- except for smack-dab in the middle of the lounge, which pops with cranberry-colored, high-backed chairs and a round carpet, also in cranberry.
Spa Cafe & Juice Bar (Deck 14); a la carte: Anyone looking for healthy food options at breakfast or lunch will want to check out this small cafe located off to one side of the Solarium.
Breakfast items might include peanut-butter-and-banana-topped bagels, energy bites, fruit or muffins.
Pre-plated lunch items might include tuna, chicken, quinoa or spinach salad; vegetable wraps and club sandwiches; kale pasta with pesto sauce; sweet potato bisque; and a fruit plate. There's also a juice and smoothie bar; fresh-squeezed juices cost $5, while smoothies are $6.