PHOTO: Celebrity Edge's unique Magic Carpet area. (photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)
What happens when you give design ambassador Nate Berkus, architect Tom Wright and interior designer Kelly Hoppen carte blanche to design a cruise ship for Celebrity Cruises?
You get the Celebrity Edge and a unique set of features that are being revealed a little at a time, beginning at the Seatrade Cruise Global convention currently taking place in Florida.
After being whisked away from Fort Lauderdale to parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited’s Innovation Lab in Miami, media were given a preview of what to expect from the new ship. Berkus was joined by Lisa Lutoff-Perlo (President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises) and Richard D. Fain (Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.) on stage for an introductory presentation.
Lutoff-Perlo outlined Celebrity’s five main pillars: Design, accommodations, designations, culinary and service.
As of yet, there still is no full exterior rendering of the ship, but it’s expected to feature a blunt vertical bow and similarly shaped stern if the silhouette unveiled at its initial construction is to be considered final. (Typically, some designs and innovations displayed on-site are still in flux.)
The ship will showcase a very unique design thanks to approaching it in three dimensions from early on. This has allowed for far more expansive spaces and an asymmetry of layout that is less common in the industry.
Take for instance the quarter-mile jogging track that actually slopes up and down, meandering around the resort deck. It’s not called a pool deck because the focus is not inwards towards the pool but rather outwards towards the sea as is the ship as a whole.
The result are unique features like the Magic Carpet, which actually began life as a transformative tendering platform to better open up the ship at sea level.
As it became necessary to tuck it away when not in port, the structure began as an al fresco platform that can extend several decks worth of venues cantilevered over the ocean, making it a sort of hybrid between the Rising Tide Bar and North Star attraction on corporate cousin Royal Caribbean International’s ships.
However, it does not act as an elevator, accommodating guests only once locked in place. Once set onto deck 16, up to 90 guests can enjoy “Dinner on the Edge.”
Also among the public venues to be enjoyed, The Rooftop Garden is a cross between Celebrity’s Rooftop Terrace and Lawn Club experiences on other ships. Here too "A Taste of Film” event and live music will be hosted all while surrounded by plant life. More privately, The Retreat will be exclusively available to suite guests, complete with its own pool. Beyond the outdoor area will be Luminae @ The Retreat, a private restaurant.
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As for the accommodations themselves, balconies will no longer be entirely outside. Taking cues from river cruising, the interior will be capable of extending all the way to the edge of the ship via a window that opens down to become a railing.
The veranda space can then be divided from the rest of the stateroom with sectional French doors or remain fully open. The cabin category, named Edge Stateroom with Infinite Veranda, makes for 23 percent more square footage while freeing up 10 percent larger bathrooms. Lighting, shades, temperature and service will also be fully customizable via in-room controls or a smartphone app.
Currently, suites comprise 5 percent of accommodations aboard Celebrity, but the Edge will tout 12 percent. Two new categories include a pair of Iconic Suites with nearly 2,600 square feet of space across two bedrooms and two bathrooms each. They will sit above the navigational bridge with 700-square-foot verandas and 270-degree forward-facing views. The second, Edge Villas, will be two-deck loft cabins with plunge pools and immediate access to The Retreat Sundeck.
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We still have yet to fully see what the 2,918-guest Celebrity Edge will look like from the outside as well as what it will bring to the table with entertainment and dining. The ship is open for bookings in the meantime, including its inaugural December 16, 2018, sailing, when it will home-port from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
In the future, the Edge will welcome three additional sister-ships during 2020, 2021 and 2022.