Special by Jackie Sheckler Finch
I could write a book about what has been called the “most anticipated new ship of the year” but let me share just four – besides the Magic Carpet – of my favorite discoveries aboard the Celebrity Edge. Those are my stateroom, the theatre, the unusual Eden and a restaurant named Le Petit Chef.
First the fast facts: the 14-deck Edge is the first ship designed entirely in 3-D. The Edge can carry 2,918 passengers and has a crew of 1,320 from 60 countries.
The ship’s godmother is Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani activist supporting female education who was shot on the left side of her head in October 2012 by a masked gunman who had boarded her school bus. After months of surgery and rehabilitation, Malala continued her fight for female education and established the Malala Fund. In recognition of her work, she received the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2014, becoming the youngest ever Noble laureate at age 17.
My Cabin’s Infinite Veranda on the Celebrity Edge
Billed as a first for an ocean-going vessel, the Edge’s Infinite Verandas are designed to bring passengers closer to the ocean and to ports. Walking into my cabin, it looked like the far ocean wall had one big window that went from side to side and ceiling to floor. No curtains. No worries. With the push of a button, I could roll down an adjustable shade that blocked out sunlight.
Or, with the push of a button, I could lower the top of the window to provide an unobstructed view of the ocean along with the sound of the waves. My cabin had bi-fold doors that could be completely closed to create a traditional room separated from the balcony area. Or left open, the bi-fold doors could create a wide-open indoor space that was about 23 percent larger than traditional balcony cabins. Of the ship’s 1,467 rooms, 916 are Infinite Verandas.
Another plus in my cabin was what looked like a jewelry box on the desk. Really it is a hideaway for electric plugs and USB chargers. The ship’s cabins also feature new technology that lets passengers control room lighting, shades, temperature and television from an app on their phone.
As part of Celebrity’s commitment to environmental protection, the ship’s bottled water in my room was served in reusable recycled aluminum bottles. To me, it also seemed to taste better and colder in aluminum rather than wasteful plastic containers.
Ship’s Eden Features Many Scantily-Clad Eves – Celebrity Edge
I entered Eden several times and each time it looked different. In the morning, it was a good place to sit quietly, sip a Coke and go over my cruise notes. In the afternoon, two dancers were offering interpretive movements, an aerialist twirled overhead and a sitar player created some mood music.
When dusk fell, Eden changed entirely. The three-level structure now offered what Celebrity described as a “sinful” mix of art, theater, dance, craft cocktails, innovative eats and audience participation. Eden is designed, Celebrity says, “to excite guests’ every sense.” As part of that, a scantily-clad dancer sprayed perfume onto the wrists of willing guests.
What I liked best was the 18-foot-tall Library of Plants living wall in Eden Bar. Bartenders snipped ingredients straight off the wall for custom cocktails. Definitely the freshest mint in that tasty margarita.
Le Petit Chef Dining Experience on Celebrity Edge
Certainly the most talked-about dining experience on the new Edge is Le Petit Chef. Sort of like a movie that you eat. The basic theme is that four teeny chefs are competing to create the best culinary treat for a meal that I actually get to eat.
It’s all done in 4K technology which shows the adorable animated characters appearing beside my plate to prepare each course. Then a waiter serves the actual dish for my enjoyment.
The four competing chefs are from France, Spain, Italy and Japan. For his part, the Spanish chef plays a bullfighter who enlists the help of a bull to make a tomato salad with creamy pesto sauce. The Italian chef uses a pig to power a millstone to make ravioli. The Japanese chef constructs a green tea cake roll.
One of the most memorable courses is when Le Petit Chef journeys to the North Pole on a sleigh to roll a snowball and toss it on my plate. Then the cartoon chef sprays chocolate sauce over the snowball with a firehose nozzle. A real-life server then delivers the ice cream treat for me to eat.
The Theatre – Celebrity Edge
“The stage has no curtain,” the woman seated next to me whispered. She was right. Not only does the new Celebrity Edge Theatre not have a curtain, the stage itself extends into the audience.
“This is a very different theatre than you are used to on a ship,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Celebrity’s parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “The in-the-round design puts everyone closer to the stage.”
Among the super high-tech features are an incredible sound system with 154 speakers that allows sound to come from every direction, four stage areas, three gigantic moving projection screens, 16-state-of-the-art video mapping laser projectors, aerial performance rigging and two rotating spiral staircases.
Just for the heck of it, I sat in three different seats in the theater – front, back and middle – and they all were great. The two shows I saw were very different. The first was “Hype,” which was described as “a musical journey” and featured musicians and singers doing just that. I wasn’t a great fan of the newer songs they sang but other audience members seemed quite happy.
The second show called “The Jewelry Box” had a plot that seemed to be about good versus evil with the triumphant end being a world that lives in peace. That show had far more technology and amazing acrobatics than “Hype.” The second show was fast paced, used more of the unusual stage and was very impressive, much more to my liking than “Hype.” But I was happy to see such diverse shows that appeal to different audiences.
Celebrity Edge should take a bow for that entertainment and for the other exciting innovations on the new ship. I’m sure the Celebrity Edge will find many loyal fans and dedicated repeat passengers.
Photos and reporting by Jackie Sheckler Finch