Celebrity Cruises set out to design its newest and most technologically advanced ship, Celebrity Edge, to make a statement. Not with titles -- it's not the largest, nor the most luxurious; it doesn't have the most water slides or the biggest suite at sea. But it is one of the most unusual and appealing cruise ships we've seen in a decade, and it was very much built to appeal to the contemporary traveler. (Note we didn't say cruiser.)
Celebrity Edge's draw lies within its name: It's edgy. Entertainment in the theater is loud and influenced by today's top hits. Food venues are straight out of any big city, from a grab-and-go gourmet deli and a reservations-only sushi spot to a high-tech French bistro with an animated dining experience you have to see to believe. The cocktails you'll find in the ship's three-deck spiraling restaurant/lounge/theater called Eden are mind-bendingly one-of-a-kind. (Speaking of Eden, while it's playful and chill during the day, the complex gets pretty sensual at night.)
The experience on the ship also blends edges -- between indoor and outdoor, between stage and audience. There's so much greenery onboard and so many massive windows, it's easy to feel as though you're outside, even when sitting inside Eden or in your cabin. It's especially true if you're in one of the 918 Infinite Veranda rooms, cabins that can function as an ocean view with solarium with floor-to-ceiling views and air conditioning or as a quasi-traditional balcony with the push of button to lower the top window. (The innovation also gives you more space.)
In the theater, the stage juts out into the audience, and in Eden, performance artists wander around the lounge, drawing people into the show. The Rooftop Garden on the top deck combines the best of the Millennium-class and Solstice-class designs, with a stage for live bands and metallic trees for performers to perch in.
Celebrity Edge didn't just revolutionize cabins, dining and entertainment. The ship has turned tendering -- that often unpleasant experience where you have to board a small boat to get to a port -- into an infinitely more pleasant experience. The Magic Carpet is a tennis court-sized moveable deck, kitted out with an open-air lounge, complete with bar and comfy couches and armchairs. From there, it's a breeze to get onto the tenders, or you can stay to get a drink and watch others get on and off -- talk about people-watching. It's somewhere people actually want to go, rather than escape.
And the Magic Carpet isn't just a tender platform. It can be positioned on Decks 5 and 14, where it serves as an eatery or bar. On special days, it climbs to Deck 16 for exclusive brunches and dinners "on the Edge."
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With all these changes, there's a good chance past Celebrity cruisers, expecting the quiet sophistication that they've come to know and love from the line, are not going to be thrilled. In fact, many traditional cruisers may have a hard time with the ship. There are no quiet lounges for casual evenings of light music and a drink with friends, and for those who like to eat at the same table and time every night with the same tablemates, space is set aside in only one of the four main dining rooms.
To love this ship, you have to appreciate stylish, contemporary design, and to get the full experience, you need to be tech savvy; the ship uses facial recognition when you board for the first time, and you can control your room's lights and temperature from your phone. You'll probably know what Spotify is, enjoy craft cocktails and DJ-run Miami-style lounges. And you probably won't be traveling with your young children; this is a grown-up ship. This isn't to say that Celebrity Edge is only for those in their 20s and 30s -- in fact, the price point is probably too high for most millennials. But you'll probably have more in common with your millennial kid, niece, nephew or grandkid than you realized.
Celebrity Edge is a different ship from the rest of the Celebrity Cruises fleet and was designed to attract people who have never cruised before. Celebrity typically draws middle- and upper-class folks in their mid-40s and older. During school holidays, the line's ships usually see a number of families with children, and the same may occur on Celebrity Edge (although the ship was not designed with families in mind).
When the ship is in Europe, you can expect to find a fairly international mix of passengers.
Daytime: The dress code on Celebrity Edge is resort casual most of the time, with most people wearing whatever is comfortable to hang out by the pool or on the sun deck. Many of the indoor spaces are highly air-conditioned, so be sure to bring a sweater.
Evening: At night, people tend to dress a bit nicer; women might put on a skirt and top or a simple sundress, while men will don a pair of pants and a collared shirt. "Chic" nights are held twice per cruise, when cruisers will wear their nicest duds, but you won't see too many people in truly formal wear. Men might wear a suit or a sport jacket, but you won't see any tuxes.
Not permitted: T-shirts, swimwear, robes, bare feet, flip-flops, tank tops and baseball caps are not permitted in any of the restaurants at any time, though we're pretty sure we saw a flip-flop or two in the buffet. Shorts are not permitted in any of the dining rooms at dinner time.
For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Celebrity.