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Edging Out the Competition: Sailing on Celebrity Edge

by Matthew Wexler
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Feb 8, 2019

The cruise industry is sailing into the horizon on smooth waters. A projected 27 million passengers cruised in 2018 — a number slightly nudged by LGBTQ travelers. According to a recent study by Community Marketing & Insights, 12 percent of queer travelers spent at least one night at sea last year.

Those who are looking to open waters for their next getaway will be thrilled to discover the latest ship class launched by Celebrity Cruises.

The brand continues to define modern luxury with the launch of its 14th vessel Celebrity EDGE and its tenth ship registered in Malta, which enables the forward-thinking company to host onboard same-sex weddings.

The ship was designed using 3-D technology, an industry game-changer that enabled collaborative teams to maximize the ship's vertical space such as its girders. An increase in ceiling height (approximately 15 inches) results in a 30 percent increase in perception based on the average passenger's eye level. Engineers and designers alike went full throttle to make Celebrity Edge a contemporary oasis at sea.

Don't let all of that innovation give you a headache, though. The result is a spectacularly stunning vessel that embodies Celebrity's "modern luxury" ethos. Here are some highlights:

A New Wave of Design

Celebrity went global to curate a diverse team of designers and architects to reimagine the cruise experience. Gone are the jewel tones and metallic. Instead, expect a serene palette of neutrals and materials inspired by nature.

Staterooms were designed by Kelly Hoppen, who makes the most of Edge's infinite verandas, which blur the line between inside and outside. Most staterooms no longer have a balcony, but in its place, a floor-to-ceiling window with automated blinds that creates an added sense of space (in addition to an actual increase in footprint — they're 23 percent larger than the Celebrity Solstice Class veranda staterooms). Expect gorgeous grays and large, modern showers.

For those who want to take a luxurious plunge, Edge features a range of suites, but our favorites of the bunch are the bi-level villas. At over 950 square feet each, they each include a private sun deck, plunge pool, and access to The Retreat, the ship's exclusive access for suite guests, where you can kick back at the private lounge, sundeck, pool, and bar.

Sea and Be Seen
Edge's public spaces deliver serious wow factor and offer plenty of respite from the daily agenda (which usually involves copious amounts of eating and drinking).

The Magic Carpet is the world's first cantilevered venue at sea and can vertically traverse 13 stories along the ship's starboard side. The size of a tennis court and framed in bright orange steel, the chameleon-like space transforms depending on its location. On Deck 16, it becomes a floating restaurant; on Deck 14, it extends the main pool area and offers cocktails and live music; head down to Deck 2 where it becomes part of Destination Gangway.

The Resort Deck and Rooftop Garden offer a magical "Alice in Wonderland" experience thanks to the creativity of designer Tom Wright, where guests will discover an abundant array of foliage, plenty of cozy seating areas, and al fresco dining.

Global Eats (and Drinks)

Cruising is notorious for its over-the-top culinary options. Edge stays true to form with plenty of complimentary restaurants, specialty dining, and bars around every corner.

The ship's four main restaurants — Normandie, Tuscan, Cosmopolitan, and Cyprus — each provide a unique backdrop for experiencing some of the brand's classic dishes, along with distinctive items that represent a unique culinary viewpoint. Tuscan feels like you've stepped back to 1950s Milan, while Normandy evokes springtime in Paris. On a recent preview sailing, the staff and kitchen were still ironing out the kinks, mainly when it came to beverage service, which couldn't keep up with the precision-like delivery from the kitchen.

Even though there's plenty of variety included in a standard cruise package, consider sampling at least one of the ship's reservation-only restaurants (additional charges apply). Highlights include Fine Cut Steakhouse, where dry-aged steaks are the star. (The 14 oz. boneless New York strip was flawless, cooked medium rare and finished with a sprinkling of sea salt). Raw on 5 offers standard sushi and sashimi along with seafood plateaus and an impressive champagne list (Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque, anyone?).

There's no lack of free-flowing cocktails and lots of locales to kick back and enjoy them. Enjoy the breezy environment at The Pool Bar or The Sunset Bar; or a quirky immersive experience at Eden Bar amid the Library of Plants where the ship's entertainers will seduce you into an immersive theatrical experience. The "artisan" drink menu leans tropical and one-note, so if you're craving a classic cocktail, best to head to The Martini Bar, a glitzy, sunken lounge on Deck 3 with soaring atrium views equally stellar pours.

Check out some of the handsome crew onboard!

That's Entertainment

Edge is whisking passengers to ports throughout the Caribbean this winter, followed by Italy, France, Monaco, and Spain this spring and summer, there's plenty to do onboard. The Theatre on Edge (not the most original name, which foreshadows what happens inside) features a panoramic projection screen, which can create dynamic visual backdrops via 18 synchronized projectors.

The hard-working cast on a recent preview cruise did their best to make sense of "Land of Khalida," a hodgepodge of cliché cirque acts interspersed with a head-scratching "Avatar"-like plot. Better to scope out some of the headliner singers, such as Ashlie-Amber Harris, whose dynamic vocals could fuel the ship if it were to lose power.

The Club (a name also lacking in originality) offers a sleek backdrop for daytime activities such as art classes and interactive game shows, then turns into a pulsing nightclub when the sun sets.

Redefining the Industry

Celebrity invited Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafazai to christen the ship. She represents a long nautical tradition of naming a godmother for a newly launched vessel, but a more recent trend and commitment from Celebrity to actively encourage and find ways to employ women throughout their fleet, not just in hospitality and entertainment, but on the bridges as well.

"I'm fighting to ensure millions of girls stuck in situations of poverty or war that they didn't create can learn what they need to choose a future for themselves. But to continue making progress for girls' education, we need support from leaders in every sector," Yousafazai released a statement. "I am so grateful to Celebrity Cruises for their generous support and investment in the potential of girls everywhere."

Onboard, passengers will discover a wealth of Malala Fund swag such as her best-selling memoir. It's unclear how Celebrity will be partnering or supporting Malala Fund in the future, but on the homefront, the brand is leading the way to put more women to work, an important initiative from Celebrity's first female CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo.

Rainbow Proud

Celebrity has long been a champion of the LGBTQ community, and this plume in the company's already well-coifed cap was a significant celebration in January 2018 when it hosted the first legal same-sex marriage at sea on a major cruise line. Francisco Vargas and Benjamin Gray tied the knot aboard Celebrity Equinox and Celebrity's president and Lutoff-Perlo applauded their union.

"Words cannot express how proud I am to congratulate Francisco and Benjamin at this truly historic moment, both for them and for Celebrity," said Lutoff-Perlo. "Together we are paving the way for couples around the world to know that their love and commitment is to be celebrated equally and that everyone is welcome on board a Celebrity cruise."

Those looking for revelry rather than a ring can choose from hundreds of itineraries, and if you're looking to amp up the LGBTQ quotient, consider one of these queer-centric chartered cruises:

Atlantis Caribbean Cruise aboard the brand new Celebrity EDGE. (March 17-24, 2019, limited availability)

Olivia Caribbean to NYC Cruise aboard the newly refurbished Celebrity Summit will start in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with stops in Antigua, St. Kitts, British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda before finally arriving in Cape Liberty, New Jersey. (April 27-May 5, 2019)

VACAYA Provincetown Cruise, also aboard the Celebrity Summit, sails from Cape Liberty to New Brunswick, Canada, then Bar Harbor, Maine before arriving just in time for Provincetown's legendary Carnival. (August 11-18, 2019)

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's National Senior Editor of Travel, Lifestyle, Health & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.


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