First Look: World's newest cruise ship Celebrity Edge complete with 'magic carpet' and ocean-edge balconies
'Real estate porn'
A ship-climbing magic carpet that ascends a whopping 16 storeys, edge-of-the-ocean balconies and an app that knows when you’d like another drink - it's all part of Celebrity Cruises' newest class of ships, Edge.
Imagine a luxurious, architect-designed New York penthouse floating on the sea, complete with outside plunge pool, butler service and exclusive pool and bar area, and you’re looking at one of the luxurious suites on board Edge.
Described as “real estate porn” by the class’ design ambassador, award-winning interior designer Nate Berkus, at the recent launch in Miami, Edge is Celebrity’s first new ship class in almost a decade.
Construction began on the ship last November. It is currently being built in a shipyard in France and is expected to take to the Caribbean in Autumn 2018.
Other ships in the class are set to include Celebrity Beyond, which is scheduled for delivery in Spring 2020, and two as-yet-unnamed ships - which are scheduled for in Autumn 2021 and Autumn 2022, respectively.
Hosted by CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo and Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Richard D. Fain, the big reveal took place at the company's Innovation Laboratory in Miami, Florida and was attended by the ship’s Design Ambassador Nate Berkus, interior designer Kelly Hoppen and architect Tom Wright.
"Passengers said they wanted a bigger bathroom, a bigger bed, more living space, more storage and to be closer to the sea," Richard D. Fain told the crowd.
Describing the ocean-edge balconies, he said; "With the Edge Class, we moved the ship’s spine from an exoskeleton to an indoskeleton.
"When you move the spin, you get the opportunity to do something. We’re not talking about new technologies or new ways of putting a ship together. We've used existing technology and improved it."
The 2,918-guest ship has 1,467 staterooms on board, including the interior staterooms (ie. those with no sea views), ocean-view staterooms, balcony staterooms, concierge class staterooms, aquaclass staterooms and luxury suites.
All rooms have access to the ship’s sundeck and 75-foot swimming pool.
Each stateroom is 23pc larger than Celebrity’s Solstice class ships.
On balcony suites, the touch of a button opens the window down to transform it into a balcony at the water’s edge, dubbed the ‘Infinite Veranda’. With the touch of another button, guests can control the lighting and temperature in their room, choosing settings to wake them up in the morning or to settle down and watch a movie.
All designed by South African interior designer and former ‘Dragon’s Den’ Dragon Kelly Hoppen, the modern-style rooms are in stark contrast to the bold and sometimes brash design of the ship’s exterior areas.
Muted, relaxing colours and a selection of textures are an invitation to chill and would almost encourage guests to take note for their own home improvements.
If you can go bigger and better on the Edge class, you probably should, although it might be tough to find a reason to leave the room.
The suites include six two-storey Edge Villas with windows wherever possible and private plunge pools. Each of these six villas has direct access to the Retreat Sundeck.
And if you’ve cash to splash on the top-of-the-line suites, the two Iconic Suites situated above the ship’s bridge are 3,600 sq.ft, two-bedroom, two-bathroom suites surrounded by windows.
Already bigger than your average Dublin flat, an additional 700 sq.ft veranda offers 270-degree views of the ocean and “have a better view than the captain”, according to Lutoff-Perlo.
The Retreat Sundeck
If you’re lucky enough to be staying in one of the suites, you can walk out of any of the rooms onto the Retreat Sundeck with a private sundeck, pool, lounge and Luminae restaurant.
This is luxury at its finest. The deck has a hot-tub and shaded cabanas to enjoy the 240-degree views of the ocean on the forward end of the ship, while the lounge has around-the-clock personal butler service.
The exclusive Suite-class Luminae restaurant, which also features on Celebrity's other classes, is also located at the Retreat.
The Rooftop Garden
Available to all, the Rooftop Garden hosts guests for games and activities during the day and music and meal-and-movie pairings at night.
Designed by architect Tom Wright, the garden has a full-time horticulturist for each cruise. The area is a brash, Disney-like set-up of red, orange and green plants and tall, artificial trees used to shelter the outdoor area from the elements.
Although tough to imagine it being a relaxing spot for daytime chilling, the garden would be ideal for cocktails, music and parties in the evening.
The Magic Carpet
This is the wow factor. The size of a tennis court, the Magic Carpet is cantilevered from the side of the ship and scales the 16-decks throughout the day and evening, transforming from launch pad and loading deck to exclusive restaurant and bar.
The Magic Carpet on Deck 2 acts as an embarkation station where guests arrive and leave the ship. Swooshing up to Deck 5, it extends one of the restaurants off the side of the ship. On Deck 14, the Magic Carpet is an open-air extension of the ship’s pool area. And, finally, whisking up to Deck 16, the Magic Carpet becomes a speciality restaurant, offering ‘Dinner on the Edge’ for up to 90 guests at a time.
All guests have access to the pool-deck which includes a 75-foot swimming pool, shaded cabanas, bar area, running track and raised hot-tubs.
The all-access area also includes a pool solarium.
The Celebrity Edge App
Each guest has access to the Celebrity Edge app before their trip begins. Think Siri… combined with a personal travel agent, butler and accountant.
The app will remind you of events on board, tell you if tables are filling up in any restaurant and inform you about upcoming destinations. Depending on your location services, it will also prepare your room for your arrival with lights, air conditioning and music as you please.
You can order drinks from your app as you chill by the pool – not only will the drinks be delivered to your sunbed, but the app will also remember what your cruise friend beside you was drinking as well… and whose round it is next.
The app will also give you x-ray vision into some areas of interest on the ship, including the bridge. No captain will be able to sit back in peace anymore.
Factbox: The Cruises
Celebrity Edge will home-port in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and make her first sailing on December 16, 2018. Two seven-night itineraries are now open for bookings on the Celebrity Cruises website (celebritycruises.ie) or through travel agents.
An eastern Caribbean cruise visits San Juan, Puerto Rico; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten.
The western Caribbean calls on Key West, Florida; Costa Maya, Mexico; Cozumel, Mexico; and George Town, Grand Cayman. Holidaymakers will also have the option to book back-to-back sailings for a 14-night journey.
Prices for either of the above cruise packages start at €1,013pp for an interior stateroom, not including flights. As we publish, Cruise Escapes (cruiseescapes.ie) has the Western Caribbean itinerary with flights, transfers and one night's pre-cruise accommodation from €2,529pp, based on two adults sharing an ocean-view stateroom.
Tour America (touramerica.ie) has a similar package based on two sharing an interior stateroom from €1,679pp, departing January 12 in 2019.
A massive coup for the cruise industry, Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) will fly Dublin-Miami direct, three times a week from €299, from September 2017.
NB: All prices subject to availability and change.
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