Special by Jackie Sheckler Finch
For all you dedicated travelers and cruise ship lovers, here’s a new ship question. Inaugurated December 2018 in Florida’s Port Everglades, the Celebrity Edge is definitely cutting edge in design.
But some people are puzzled about that strange tangerine-colored thing on the side of the Celebrity Edge. Do you know what it is?
I’ll admit that it looks like a piece of construction equipment accidentally left behind on the ship. However, the colorful object actually has a purpose other than being an eye-catching design feature.
A hint – its name is the “Magic Carpet.”
That bright tangerine structure about the size of a tennis court is the world’s first cantilevered floating platform. It moves up and down the exterior of the ship to reach heights of 13 stories above sea level. When it’s up on Deck 5, the Magic Carpet is a restaurant offering unforgettable al fresco dining as the ship glides over the glistening water below. When it is on Deck 14, it serves as a late-night bar.
When it’s down close to sea level on Deck 2, that’s when the structure shows its real magical function. Instead of the usual “cattle call” that passengers must endure on other cruise ships to board a small boat for a shore excursion when the ship must anchor offshore, the Edge’s Magic Carpet makes getting on and getting off a tender boat a fun and comfortable experience. The Magic Carpet becomes a luxurious lounge where passengers can relax, sip a cold cocktail, enjoy hors d oeuvres, listen to music and admire the beautiful scenery.
For those who thought the Magic Carpet may be a fancy elevator that passengers ride up and down – no way. Passengers will never be on the Magic Carpet when it moves. Nor will the ship move when the Magic Carpet is down functioning as a boarding area for the ship’s tenders. The Magic Carpet is not constructed to be seaworthy when the ship is moving.
By the way, those Celebrity Edge tenders are large and comfy. No cramped hard wooden benches to sit on like some other cruise ships offer as the tender bobs from ship to shore. The large Celebrity Edge tenders have upholstered chairs, TV screens and big windows to watch the seascape coming and going.
When we returned from my short tender trip in Nassau, we stepped off the tender onto the Magic Carpet where we were greeted with cold drinks and snacks. Hope other ships follow the Edge’s lead and make the necessary tender cruises for shore excursions a more leisurely and happy experience rather than the unpleasant one that many passengers dread.