My partner and I recently sailed on board the newest ship in the Celebrity Cruises fleet, Celebrity Edge. When MeetMeOnBoard asked me to write about the ship from a gay perspective I was delighted.
This has been a long time in the making, as we booked this cruise just under 2 years ago. Ever since, I have been closely following her development. She’s full of new and exciting features and surprises from the radical design, to new eateries and concepts, she really is on the edge of innovation.
Our journey took us from Fort Lauderdale in Florida to Key West, then to Mexico to visit Cozumel and Costa Maya and finally Grand Cayman. While all the destinations were amazing, this trip really was about enjoying and getting to know Celebrity Edge as much as possible and making friends along the way.
How LGBTQ friendly is Celebrity Edge?
Celebrity Cruises are known for being very LGBTQ friendly and frequently win LGBTQ awards in this area. They are also the headline sponsor of the annual Miami Pride. So, you know if you are booking a Celebrity cruise that you will be taken care of.
And Edge is no different, this ship could not be more welcoming to LGBTQ passengers. In fact, there were more LGBTQ passengers on this cruise than I have ever seen on any other (and I’ve been cruising for over 25 years). Whether that be single cruisers, couples, families, groups of friends or even charters, it was truly representative of LGBTQ society and great to see. And why not, the ship is gorgeous, the food was exceptional, the entertainment is out of this world and the staff were genuinely happy to interact with guests. In fact, many staff were looking forward to the Atlantis Cruise due to take place on board later this year. And there is also a MeetMeOnBoard gay group cruise aboard Edge in 2020.
The Edge of design
There is no two ways about it, Edge is striking both inside and out. At first, I wasn’t too sure about the asymmetric design, but coming away from a week on board, I love it. I could personally cruise on this ship again and again.
You can tell Celebrity have taken a different approach to Edge. It feels much more like a boutique hotel and somewhere to be, and to be seen. The heart of the ship is the Grand Plaza. Spread over three floors, this is a hub of activity throughout the day. The space is very chic and almost organic, taking inspiration from ocean liners of the past – put simply, it’s truly stunning. Sitting pride of place in the Grand Plaza is a reimagined martini bar (and let me tell you the martinis are good!). The bar is framed by a huge LED Chandelier that draws the whole space together.
Moving to the back of the ship be ready to be playful, or even a little sinful in Eden. Overlooking the wake of this ship, this is a multi-tier venue that includes a bar, lounge, café and speciality restaurant. It’s a place where the mood changes through the day. Start the morning by grabbing a coffee and chilling out in one of the many nooks. The venue becomes playful in the afternoon with games and other activities taking place.
As the sun sets Eden changes again as the Edenites come out the play. Bid these entertainers ‘Good Eden’ and watch as they interact with guests and turn Eden into their playground. It’s a lot of fun to watch or be involved with. This is taken even further if you eat downstairs, but more on that later.
If you want to relax and keep fit on board, Edge has you covered. With a number of treatment rooms, a hairdressers, a barbers, a state-of-the-art fitness centre with amazing views out to sea and a thermal suite – you could spend hours here pampering yourself.
I personally love the SEA thermal suite. It’s a large space with plenty of heated beds, relaxing chairs and a variety of rooms to cleanse your mind, body and soul. Whether it be the Hamman, a modern take on a Turkish bath; the infrared sauna; the mist aroma steam room; the crystalarium, a meditation aromatherapy room; the rainfall room; and the salt room.
The Resort Deck – taking things to new heights
The Resort Deck encompasses the top area of the ship. At the center is the main pool, featuring tiered seating in both the sun and shade and one of the biggest pools at sea.
Heading forward there is the reimagined solarium. I love the solarium on the solstice class, it’s one of my favourite parts of the ships, and again Edge has an evolved take on this area. With its oval transparent roof, indulgent loungers, the spa cafe and large pool framed by gorgeous artwork – it’s a great place to be mindful and chill.
The Rooftop Garden is a quaint oasis on Celebrity Edge. Taking inspiration from the Lawn Club found on Solstice Class, this space is full of comfortable seating, lush vegetation and amazing artwork in the form of the giant wooden trees. It also features patio games in the day, such as oversize Jenga (amazing!) and impromptu performances from entertainers that literally sit in the trees. Tucked away right at the back of the ship you’ll find the sunset bar. This is always a jolly and social space to find yourself in and perfect for spending sail-away with friends.
A very striking element about this deck is the great height of the ceilings, which makes the area feel open and bright due to it being double height. It makes such a difference!
Sailing on the Edge
While the Grand Plaza may be her heart, the crown jewel of Celebrity Edge has to be the innovative Magic Carpet. This unique structure is about the size of a tennis court and hangs off the starboard (right hand) side of the ship. The interesting aspect of this feature is that it moves between different decks through the course of the day, performing different tasks and acting as different venues.
During the daytime the Magic Carpet is situated at the top of the ship where it is a scenic bar. Imagine sitting in one of the many comfortable seats sailing past Cuba or through the Greek Isles. There is a definite connection with the ocean thanks to its open feel. In the evening the Magic Carpet gracefully glides down the ship to Deck 5, where it becomes an extension of Raw on Five and an upscale bar in its own right. The perfect place to enjoy a cocktail before dinner (just don’t tell the Martini Bar that!).
On days when tendering is needed, the Magic Carpet descends to sea level, becoming a tendering platform for the ultra-luxurious Edge Tenders. Unfortunately, due to high winds we were not able to experience this, but having spent time on it, I can see how it could elevate the tendering process.
Living on the Edge
Celebrity Edge throws out the rulebook when it comes to cabins and accommodation. Most balconies have been replaced with what’s called the infinite balcony, resulting in much bigger rooms compared to other ships – with 23% extra space compared to other ships. The rooms have been designed to blur the distinction between indoor and outdoor space. The best way I can describe this is that where you would expect to have the balcony, there is a wintergarden indoor space with a large panoramic window. To turn this space from indoor to outdoor all you need to is press a button and the window parts and becomes a balcony. It’s very clever.
Edge has a vast amount of cabin types. From inside rooms, to a number of oceanview rooms (some of which feature the same wintergarden, it just doesn’t open like the balcony rooms) and both standard and infinite balcony cabins. On top of this there is Aquaclass, with access to the spa and its own restaurant, and Concierge Class, which has upgraded amenities compared to a standard balcony room.
All the rooms on Edge are very smart. One control panel by the front door can control all the major functions of the room including lights (including various scenes), air conditioning and the blinds. The Celebrity App also interfaces with the room, allowing it to remotely control everything, including the TV! Each room also features its own Wi-Fi antenna, so you’ll never be without signal.
Suite guests will not be disappointed with double the number of available suites on board and with a newly updated contemporary design. The suites form part of The Retreat, a suite only area which features an exclusive sun deck, their own lounge and the updated Luminae restaurant. There are six varieties of suite on board which have all been reimagined and chic and modern spaces.
Eat and drink on the Edge
I was very excited to see and experience the new food offerings on Edge. Instead of evolving the existing concepts found on other ships in the fleet, they totally started from scratch – that’s bold!
All the food I experienced on Edge was exceptional, from the Oceanview Café buffet to the speciality restaurants, they were all of high quality and I cannot fault it. My only regret is that I didn’t have time to experience everything on board (but a good excuse to go back right?).
On Edge, Celebrity have taken the main dining room and replaced it with four more intimate restaurants, each with an individual theme. While each restaurant has a distinct theme, with about two thirds of the menu reflecting this, there are still universal offerings common to all four restaurants.
From Cosmopolitan, an evolution of the main dining room found on the rest of the fleet, serving American cuisine with international flair. To Tuscan, paying homage to the Tuscan Grill found on other Celebrity ships and serving southern Italian fare. Then there’s Normandie, with its contemporary modern French cuisine, an evolution of Murano. For me the most fascinating part of Normandie is the art, as it was taken from the famous Normandie Transatlantic Liner. Finally, the relative newcomer is Cyprus, serving fresh Mediterranean cuisine.
The Grand Bistro specialty restaurant is found off of the Grand Plaza. It’s a cute space that pays homage to the bistros of Paris, with the sights, scents and sounds of a bustling boulangerie and patisserie. In the evening the Bistro is transformed into a foodie experience called Le Petit Chef. Your table top is brought to life by petit animated characters who appear beside your plate and “prepare” each course for you. It’s such a fun experience that had me chortling the whole time. When the animation is finished your food is presented to you. The food and overall experience was really exceptional.
The Rooftop Garden Grill is an extension of the Rooftop Garden. Think of it like a gourmet backyard BBQ with smoked chicken wings, burgers and hickory smoked brisket. To finish off a meal why not try the Mason Jar S-mores. Delicious!
Raw on 5 offers a blend of St. Tropez and New England seafood, with both hot and cold offerings such as sushi, oysters and caviar. If you want to eat Al Fresco you can take advantage of the Magic Carpet which when it docks with deck 5 becomes an open-air extension, as well as a nice bar in its own right.
With views both over the Grand Plaza and the sea, Finecut Steakhouse is an upscale dining experience with a selection of premium steaks, seafood and other offerings. The service and quality of food here was really exceptional. There’s so much variety to choose from on the menu, although if you are a steak lover you have to try one of the mouth-watering offerings.
Eden: now where do I even start? I love Eden as a venue as I noted above, but the food takes Eden to a whole new level. I like to consider myself a bit of a foodie. I like to go to new restaurants and experience new things. When I say Eden was some of the best food I’ve ever tasted, I really mean it. It was by far the best food I’ve ever had on any cruise ship, and to be honest better than a lot of restaurants on land as well.
The food is fun and playful and oh so tasty, all prepared in a lively, open air kitchen and menus that deliver sensory and experiential dishes inspired by nature, all masterminded by Michelin star chef Cornelius Gallagher. It was amazing to see him, and his ever-so-talented staff work effortlessly in the kitchen to create these exceptional dishes. If I were to recommend one thing if you go on Edge, it is to experience this.
Entertainment with an Edge
You will certainly never be bored on Edge. Celebrity have really upped their game in terms of the entertainment offered on board. Headlining this is the main Theatre. Like much of the ship, this is a reimagined space that is designed to blur the lines between the audience and performance, immersing you in the experience.
There are a number of production shows found in the main Theatre, including a headline act series which will change every few months. Due to the immersive design of the theatre, guests feel right in the heart of the story playing out on stage.
Then there is The Club: another multi-faceted space. If you want to keep busy throughout the day, this is the place to be. While I was on board, this space was used for a huge variety of things from drone racing (yes you read that right), desktop puzzles, archery, an escape room, a laser maze, and an evening disco. There’s so much fun to be had here!
All in all, I loved everything about Celebrity Edge. From the look and feel of the ship, the new concepts on board and the food and drink – it was all exceptional. The cherry on top was the amazing service by staff who love what they do, and it really showed and elevated the whole experience.
Celebrity Edge will sail the Caribbean until April 2019 where she will reposition to Europe for the Summer, before returning to the Caribbean for winter 2019-20.
About the author
Marcus Adams is a UK-based travel writer and cruise influencer. He has had a passion for cruising since he was very young and in his spare time you can find him blogging about the travel industry for a number of years. His blog, sparkx.org aims to be a quick, simple and easy go-to place for information. He’s also very active on social media and can be found on twitter @sparkx and Instagram @seasparkxfly.