On The Edge Of Glory Celebrity’s Transformational Cruise Ship
by Vanessa Lee
A 3-hour reveal by Celebrity Cruises on Monday in Miami was a powerful and remarkable visual assault on the senses as, detail by detail, we learned about the line’s new class of ship, which will be heralded by Celebrity Edge in its DEC 2018 debut.
I am an unabashed, long-time Celebrity fan, but this unveiling blew me and my press colleagues away. I have seen nothing like it in my 35 years of cruise industry immersion.
It has taken a few days to completely digest and absorb all that this new ship will offer, much of which is truly transformational as well as simply gorgeous.
Indeed, the Celebrity Edge class will be another game-changer in oceangoing vessels in our industry. I applaud the design and architectural teams (Kelly Hoppen for interior design from the UK and visionary architect Tom Wright) and, of course, the executives at Celebrity and parent RCCL, like Celebrity President Lisa Lutoff Perlo and Richard Fain for turning aspects of ship design on their head and giving us a vessel that will be a superlative all by itself.
The charismatic Nate Berkus is the Design Ambassador for the Edge class and he offered great insight into how the ship has been imagined and created. To quote this design icon: “Where passion and invention, creativity and drive meet,” – that is Celebrity Edge. The same goes for Celebrity Beyond, the sister ship which will launch in 2020.
The Innovation Lab at the Royal Caribbean campus in Miami was the venue for the reveal of all things edgy.
Celebrity led us through a 3-D visual display of the outside of the ship and what will be called the Resort Deck (renamed from the Pool Deck). This alone encompasses many exciting elements and one big change – giving guests views of the ocean from their chaise longues, with extra high space surrounding them.
This whole deck space, which also includes the adults-only Solarium and the newly named Rooftop Garden, is sexy – think two-level martini-glass shaped Jacuzzis, 20-foot high soaring cabanas, a massive mosaic art piece. It’s all vibrant and innovative. Another novelty: musicians sitting in a “tree” while they entertain you in the Garden. The Resort Deck will also be the space for the huge movie screen and Celebrity’s “A Taste of Film,” dinner-and-flick.
Celebrity has a 5 pillar focus at the core of all it does: design, destinations, accommodations, cuisine and service. The reveal of Edge was very much focused on the first three. More will be unveiled at a later date re the dining elements on the new ship as well as Celebrity’s renowned onboard service.
The ship design is spectacular, with The ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ being almost beyond imagination – until we saw it in 3-D.
A platform attached to the side of the ship which started life as a concept for a tender platform will now take the form of a massive, covered area of about 90 tons in weight, attached as an extension of the ship.
The space, slightly larger than a tennis court, will be used for cocktails, al-fresco dining, coffee and just plain sitting and watching the world go by. Over the course of the day it will rise from Deck 2 to Deck 5 and then to the Deck 14 Resort Deck. It will then go even above that for a view like no other for specialty dining.
The genesis of this space is yet another great story of transformational design. Celebrity is intent on having its guests truly connect with the sea and with each destination -- it’s innovation all the way.
Then there’s the larger staterooms with the creative concept of bringing the balcony into the room and taking the room outside. There are 918 ‘Infinite Veranda’ staterooms (with 16 assigned to solo travellers).
The design of these rooms is both clever and logical and as we saw actual models of various rooms and suites on our tour it is clear that these rooms are not just bigger in every way -- bathroom, bed (King size) living and storage space – they are also incredibly gorgeous.
In the Sky Suites guest will enjoy a bathroom with a view from behind the bed right out to the balcony and beyond.
Celebrity has brought the veranda into the room and created a sleek design in the process – much like a modern river ship balcony. Glass French doors open to the veranda and these can be closed back to the sides thus extending the room into the veranda space.
The superstructure has now been brought into the spine of the ship, affording true open space for each guest. There are two windows on the edge of each veranda which can be opened or closed as preferred, again ensuring the guests get closer to the sea. The French doors can be closed but I suspect most people will leave them open to really enjoy the sense of space and the proximity to the ocean.
To quote Richard Fain “We wanted to get much closer to the sea.” Mission accomplished.
And then there are the Iconic suites that sit above the Bridge – yes above the Bridge - as well as the Villas and Penthouse Suites. All incredibly gorgeous with beautiful design and furnishings. A private deck space called the Retreat is reserved for suite guests as is the beautiful restaurant Luminae. And on this ship, suites make up 12% of the capacity as opposed to only 5% on Solstice Class.
Celebrity – you are to be commended. You are brave and bold and certainly transformational – indeed, you are sailing beyond borders. I can’t wait to see this ship in living colour as it is truly inspirational and innovative.