In late January, Celebrity Cruises newest and perhaps most radical ship to-date, Celebrity Edge, was officially floated out at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. The 2,918-guest ship will be introduced to the world in November, becoming the newest class of ship to be launched for upscale Celebrity in a decade.
“This truly is an exciting moment for our brand,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises, at the STX France yards. “The float out process marks a milestone in the building of Celebrity Edge. With exterior construction complete, the amazing STX France team will now turn their attention to bringing all of the meticulously designed venues and transformational staterooms and suites to life.”
Celebrity is using the phrase “transformational” to describe Celebrity Edge in its marketing releases, and this doesn’t seem to be an understatement. Early renderings showcase a ship that marks a distinct departure from traditional cruise design. Then again, Celebrity has always been about pushing the envelope.
When Celebrity introduced Celebrity Century in 1995, her and her later sisters were unlike anything afloat. Celebrity Galaxy (1996) was the then-high-tech epitome of the 1990’s, with banks of television sets heralding in the multimedia age. Celebrity Mercury (1997) took the line’s interior design concepts to new heights, introducing some of the prettiest décor afloat at the time, from the ship’s two-storey dining room book-ended by a stern-facing wall of glass, and an observation lounge with 180-degree banks of windows.
It’s next class of ship wasn’t merely an evolution of the Century Class; it shattered it. Celebrity Millennium, lead vessel of the Millennium Class, entered service in the summer of 2000 and spawned three additional sisters. Bold and uncompromising, they included unique features like massive solariums with inset hydrotherapy pools; banks of glass elevators; and some of the most attractive atriums at sea: a sweeping, three-level affair that wouldn’t look out of place in a grand hotel on land.
Celebrity Solstice heralded in another shipbuilding revolution for Celebrity upon her launch in 2008. Living lawns, glassblowing demonstrations, and beautiful interior spaces made these ships instant hits on the high seas, worthy of near-universal acclaim for their amenities and features, but also for their high levels of passenger comfort and space.
Now, Celebrity is poised to radically shake things up again with Celebrity Edge.
At 1,004 feet in length and with a beam of 128 feet, Celebrity Edge is big – but not so big as to compare with the likes of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships. With under 3,000 passengers at double-occupancy, she carries fewer guests than most of Princess Cruises’ late-generation Grand Class vessels on a ship that is longer, wider and taller.
Nearly all of Celebrity Edge’s accommodations will feature private balconies, while a small selection of Oceanview and Interior staterooms will still be available. All standard-sized staterooms are fitted with king-sized cashmere mattresses part of the exclusive Celebrity Cashmere Bedding Collection, and in-room automation allows guests to control and personalize stateroom preferences like lighting, shades, temperature and service (make up room / do not disturb) by using a small touch-screen device.
Additionally, Celebrity states that its new Edge Stateroom with Infinite Veranda is 23 percent larger than comparable Veranda Staterooms aboard its Solstice Class vessels. Bathroom space is also larger aboard Celebrity Edge, with a 10 percent increase overall.
Much has been made about the Magic Carpet aboard Celebrity Edge; a reimagined tender platform that vertically ascends and descends along rails mounted to the ship’s starboard side. When not in use, the Magic Carpet becomes a cool bar venue, offering 180 degrees of the ocean from its cantilevered perch overhanging the ship’s superstructure. It’s cool, to be sure, but it is just one of many noteworthy areas aboard Celebrity Edge. Yet one of the most transformative spaces aboard may be the one you haven’t heard about.
Spanning three decks in height, Eden is located at the aft end of the ship and features nearly 7,000 square feet of glass, making it one of the most outward-facing public rooms onboard Celebrity Edge. Measuring 368,640 cubic feet, its scale is larger than the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, and Eden’s overall area, at 12,650 square feet, is larger than the Van Gogh Museum atrium in Amsterdam.
If the atrium was the social hub of ship design two decades ago, Celebrity seeks to make Eden into the social hub for the next generation. Designed to be a unique gathering space by day and night, Eden is like nothing else afloat.
By day, Eden is a quiet and contemplative venue where yoga, coffee or a good book can be enjoyed within easy view of the ocean. In the afternoon, Eden offers hands-on enrichment seminars and tastings, along with cocktail making lessons and wine classes. Entertainment includes everything from aerialists to sitar players. By night, it turns into a culinary venue unlike anything at sea, with choreographed dishes and temptations served up to guests by “Edenists.” Late in the evening, guests might want to take s stroll past the Eden Bar, with its 18-foot-tall Library of Plants, for a hand-crafted cocktail.
“Eden, like so many aspects of Celebrity Edge, represents a unique advance in cruise ship design,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “It’s an experience that’s multi-faceted and innovative. Connectivity to the ocean is one of the most exciting hallmarks of Edge Class, and with more glass than any other room at sea, Eden embodies that outward-facing concept beautifully.”
Even the ship’s Pool Deck is not immune to such bursts of creativity. A 75-foot lap pool dominates this attractive midship space, adorned with martini-glass-shaped hot tubs. A two-deck jogging track encircles the area for those looking to stay fit at sea.
Bookending the pool is a larger-than-life artistic mirror installation designed by Tom Wright – an ever-changing, abstract piece positioned above the Pool Bar. The entire pool deck is filled with dramatic pieces of art, like the unique tree sculptures that add an air of whimsy and create an intimate setting at night when lit up.
But even a mere eight months before her launch, Celebrity is still trickling down tantalizing reveals about the dining options, bars and lounges, and entertainment venues aboard Celebrity Edge. With each passing reveal, Celebrity Edge seems more and more unique – a new sort of cruise ship, to be sure; one that may just succeed in attracting folks who had never seen themselves as “cruisers” before along with Celebrity’s loyal past guests and curious travellers from around the world.