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December 2, 2018
Inaugural & Naming Ceremony
PLEASE NOTE: THIS REVIEW IS INTENDED TO PROMOTE SALES AS A TRAVEL ADVISOR, I WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR BUSINESS IF YOU DECIDE THIS VACATION IS FOR YOU.
I had the pleasure of being invited to the Celebrity EDGE Inaugural & Naming Ceremony. They really planned this well as they had a series of Industry events and then they also had a few "revenue" sailings for sale prior to the true Inagural Sailing. In our case, the naming ceremony cruise was a 3 day sailing, but there was a 2 day sailing prior to ours that we could book turning our cross country trip into a 5 day cruise. Definitely worth it! I've been on plenty of new ship "industry inaugural" cruises to nowhere..but this was extra special as it was also the naming ceremony. I really did not know what to expect, it was incredibly moving to be a part of such an amazing event. My sister joined me on this trip because so late in the year, Bill was out of vacation days! We were also joined by my Independent Contractor Mandi and friend Pat. We had a great time exploring this beautiful ship.
Traveling to Florida.
We flew out on United and used mileage to upgrade, so we had a comfortable flight. For our 1 night in Miami, we stayed at the W Fort Lauderdale and it was a FUN hotel. Great vibe, comfortable room, we were tired so we ordered room service and dined on our balcony listening to the sound of the crashing waves. But there was lively music being played down in the lobby area, getting the Saturday night party started! The next day we took an Uber to the brand new cruise terminal. This terminal was built for Celebrity Edge in Fort Lauderdale and it's beautiuful. It really sets the stage for "Modern Luxury" the moment you arrive.
About the Naming Ceremony:
We were given color coded pins based on where our cabins were located and according to those pins, would determine which public space we'd be gathing in to view the Naming Ceremony that was taking place inside of the Theatre & outside by the Bow of the ship with the large bottle of champagne! The National Anthem was sung by the very talented Ashlie Amber Harris. We've seen her perform earlier this year on Celebrity Equinox and she is amazing. Lucky for you, I took a video of her performance!
National Anthem-Ashlie Amber Harris
Several people spoke and then Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, Godmother of the Celebrity Edge gave her short but to the point speech. Following this, a few more dignitaries spoke. Then another musical performance, this time by the very talented Ms Andra Day, singing "Rise Up". This is one of my favorite songs, so it was an honor to hear her perform it live!!
"Rise Up" by Andra Day
All of the Celebrity Cruise Line executives were present for this event and also present was the future Captain for Celebrity Edge, our favorite, Captain Kate McCue. Captain Kate takes the helm of Celebrity Edge in the fall of 2019. Celebrity Cruise Lines makes a point to make sure that women are being given equal opportunity to grow and to be promoted within the company & they actively seek qualified women to hire from Maritime Academies worldwide so that there are more and more female Captains and Bridge Officers. CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo is the first woman to run a publicly traded cruise line & this ship. And as stated in my Celebrity Equinox review, Captain Kate is the first American Female Cruise Ship Captain. The Cruise Line industry has been a very male-dominated industry in these high level positions, so it is refreshing to see that times are changing.
Of course, Captain Kate was on board for the festivities and to also check out the ship as a passenger! Mandi was lucky to have run into her while checking out the Magic Carpet "Launch Pad"- more details on that later when we actually discuss the ship and all of her lovely features!
Ok, so this ship is GORGEOUS!! Celebrity Cruise Line puts themselves in a class by themselves as "Modern Luxury". We have always put them into a "Premium" class, but with Celebrity EDGE, they are definitely carving out a space a step above the Premium Cruise Line Class. They are also in the process of renovating all the other ships in the fleet to bring them to par with "Modern Luxury". The decor and design is sleek and "edgy". Lots of plant life around the ship, unique but modern works of art & a gorgeous Martini Bar in the Atrium.
There are a lot of unique features on this ship and since we already "touched" on the Magic Carpet, I will explain a bit more. As you see from the ship picture at the top of this review, there is an Orange structure that sticks out on the side of the ship. This is the Magic Carpet. It has several purposes and can park on 4 decks. When the ship is "tendering" to port, the Magic Carpet is parked on Deck 2. Passengers come down and walk through the Destination Gateway, which is a lovely & large area that allows people to wait for the next "tender" or "Launch" as they are being re-named on this ship. You can also wait on the Magic Carpet as there is seating at a bar if you want to get a drink while you wait. Speaking of the "launches"- they are so modern and large. You do not feel cramped or clausterphobic at all. They are pretty smooth on the water as well. Now when the Magic Carpet is not being used for Launch Services, it can be parked on Deck 5 next to the Sushi Bar and just extends the lounge/bar area near to that restauant. It can be parked on Deck 14, which is the pool deck or on Deck 16 where you can purchase "dinner on the Edge" and it serves as a unique dining experience. We did take some time out of our cruise to sit and enjoy the beautiful night "on the Edge" on Deck 14 with cocktails! One thing to note: The Magic Carpet does not move up and down with passengers on the Carpet and it will pass by cabins as it goes up and down, so no concerns of anyone being able to look into your cabins if you happen to have a cabin in that area of the ship.
Eden- named and decorated to mimic "The Garden of Eden". This is a part of the ship that is located Aft on Decks 4-6. A bar, a cafe, a restaurant and an observation area to look out at the sea. The cafe offers complimentary food throughout the day and is closed in the evening. The Restaurant is a Specialty dining restaurant requiring reservations and offers a fixed multi-course menu. There are lots of different areas to sit, different couches & chairs. The bar has its own menu of unique cocktails, we tried a few and they were good but pricey. (We did not have to pay on the Inaugural event). During the day, they will offer some of their small group activites/lectures in the corners of the room. Also during the day they have their "Edenists" strolling about making conversation with guests. At night their perfomances become a bit more "edgy"- I don't want to give too much away, but it is definitely a UNIQUE venue and not necessarily for everyone, but something to try at least once.
The Theatre on EDGE is in the round, but not in the middle of the room. The stage is still front and center, but because it's in the round there is the ability to sit on the sides and have a much better view of what is going on. There is also a large movie screen behind and to the sides of the stage, so you have complimentary videos playing with the show. Performers can come from anywhere, down the aisles, from behind the screens, etc. We saw a Cirque type show and it was very good and another Song/Dance production show- also very good.
The Martini Bar is a site to see, it is the equivalent of the "Atrium" on other ships. It's quite the focal point and offers a beautiful light & music show that is quite impressive!
Celebrity Edge- Martini Bar Music Show
The new innovation on this ship is the Infinite Verandah! I was assigned one of these cabins and I loved it! You have the ability to open up bi-fold doors so that the verandah becomes part of your cabin. There is also a window that you can move half way up or down to have fresh air & essentially an open balcony. It will only go down half way so that it is then like your traditional balcony. In this picture, we have the bbi-fold doors open so that we can use the balcony as part of the cabin space. Where you see that line midway in the window, when the window is down, that is your rail. It's really a cool concept. We had very calm waters on our cruise, so we slept most nights with the window down a little bit so that we could hear the ocean.
Something to note, the Captain can shut down the Infinite Balcony windows at anytime if needed, so if your button to move the window up or down is not working, it's probably locked by the Captain for a good reason.
The bathroom actually has a drawar under the sink, which was a nice surprise. That is also where the hairdryer is located, which is suprising as usually it's kept in the "dressing area" in the cabin.
Also, unique to Celebrity Edge is the single occupancy cabins. There are 51 of them on the ship & they are called the Single Stateroom with Infinite Veranda. They are smaller, but it solves the problem of the 200% fare increase for someone who is cruising solo.
The ship is gorgeous and service is impeccable. I was able to spend some time by the pool a few of the days, in between scheduled events and touring the cabins. I didn't get many photos of the cabins because they were just too crowded & I don't like people in my cabin photos! By the pool, they did come by periodically with "treats", like fruit skewers, etc. Also, the cruise staff did an entertaining fashion show walking around the pool one of the days. Some cruise lines have belly flop contests, but Modern Luxury has a Fashion Show!
We did eat in the Main Dining Room for most dinners & everything was wonderful. Lunch at the grill or buffet and I usually miss breakfast, though did catch the tail end of the buffet a few times to grab a hard boiled egg and some bacon. We did dine one evening in The Petit Chef and it was an experience like no other! I really can't explain & I don't want to ruin it for you--just know that if you are going to sail on Celebrity Edge, you must dine at The Petit Chef at least once! The food was delicous and the presentation & show was amazing and hilarious! (there is a video of part of the experience at the bottom of this review if you really want to see it now)
We really wished we had more time on this ship and hope to sail her again soon. Even more so with Captain Kate at the helm, so perhaps we'll have another sailing sometime in 2020 or 2021 on this beautiful ship OR her sister ship coming soon- Celebrity APEX.
I do have a few more photos that you can scroll through by visiting my CELEBRITY EDGE 2018 ALBUM HERE.
For the return home, we really did not want to spend all day waiting for an evening flight home, so knowing that we'd be walking off the ship early with our luggage (no porters on these short inaugural events) & we would not need to clear customss given that it was a cruise "to nowhere", we booked ourselves a 940am flight on Jet Blue to return home. I would normally not suggest this on any normal cruise. We made it to the airport with plenty of time to check out bags, get through security, grab a bagel for breakfast and shortly after we were boarding our flight. We did something else that was a nice alternative if you can't upgrade! We purchased 3 seats for the 2 of us. This gave us extra room to spread out, a table between us to put drinks and such while we used our own tray table for tablets, etc. We paid about $300 each, one way for this configuration, so it is something to consider for future flights.
The Petit Chef Experience- Celebrity Edge