Our Celebrity Edge review details all of the key things you should know about this fabulous ship before booking a sailing with your kids.
The Celebrity Edge is the newest ship to join the fleet of Celebrity Cruises. Debuting near the end of 2018, the ship splits time between the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. We sailed one of the Mediterranean itineraries near the end of the summer. Not surprisingly, we had a fabulous time!
Our Celebrity Edge review in a nutshell: The Edge is a beautiful ship with many innovative and forward-thinking touches. It has many features that are family-oriented or family-friendly. That said, the youth programming was somewhat less structured and predictable than what we have seen on other ships. So, this may be better suited for families who have more independent older kids, or who aren’t looking for a full program of pre-defined activities, or lots of child-oriented bells & whistles.
Celebrity Edge Review: Embarkation
1. The Amazing & Efficient Check-In Process.
Check-in process was amazing. Hopefully, this carries over to the Caribbean sailings.
The Edge offered a very streamlined and efficient embarkation process. Guests had options to download the Celebrity App to speed up embarkation. Or, during the advanced online check-in, you could also upload scanned versions of your passports and individual photos that reportedly would help speed up the process as well.
We did none of those. We did the basic online reservation and then showed up at the appointed time at the pier. Even without doing the optional advanced footwork, we completed the entire process in less than 15 minutes.
When we walked into the registration area, after security, there was a long desk area with several agents. But notably, there weren’t any lines. Just a handful of people scattered across the stations. But it turned out that wasn’t actually the primary way to check-in.
As we started walking towards that area, we were intercepted by a woman carrying a tablet. And looking around, she had several other colleagues walking around with tablets. She asked for our boarding passes and passports. Scanned them with her tablet, and then took our photos with our tablet. Then she told us we were done, and could board the ship. That was it. Seriously.
We proceeded to our stateroom, and our keys were waiting for us.
2. Probably The Best Muster Drill We’ve Ever Experienced.
The mandatory safety drill on embarkation day can often be tedious. But, the Celebrity Edge muster drill was one of the most painless we have experienced to date.
As an initial matter, ours occurred in one of the main air-conditioned restaurants. So everyone had the opportunity to sit down on an actual chair and be comfortable. And, as for the actual safety presentation, it came in the form of an entertaining video that was built around a spy-theme storyline. Much more engaging than the typical video.
Celebrity Edge Review: Our Cabin
The staterooms on Celebrity Edge are absolutely beautiful. Since the ship had only been sailing for a few months, the cabins still had a very fresh and new feeling, as well as beautiful decor. The website photos provided an accurate representation of what you’ll find onboard.
3. Main Cabin Storage More Limited Than Expected
Although the cabin was beautiful, it, unfortunately, had a limited amount of useful storage for a party of four. Definitely less than what we have typically seen in a balcony cabin. The closet space was insufficient and offered less flexibility than the prior ships. The space to hang full-length hanging clothes was reduced. It had a bar that ran horizontally halfway down the closet so that you could double hang clothes on two rows. Usually, a bar like that is optional, in that you can fold it up out of the way and use the entire closet for full-sized clothes. But in these closets, the bar was fixed.
There were no storage shelves or cabinets over the bed or the sofa. And, while there were shelves next to the closet, they curved around a wall. Making them oddly shaped and not that functional.
This was definitely a cabin that needed some creative applications of our cozy cabin hacks.
Tip: There’s a desk next to the dresser that’s actually attached to the dresser on one side. The legs on the unattached side fold up, allowing you to slide it into a special slot in the dresser. Revealing a full length mirror and more floor space. This feature was not immediately apparent to us.
4. The Staterooms Are Tech-Friendly.
Typically, cruise cabins have a limited number of electric outlets. This is why we consider an outlet expander a must have cruise accessory. The Edge staterooms have outlets that allow you to plug in more than two devices at a time, including a handy bedside USB port. But even, with these additional options, we still needed the outlet expander.
Also, if you download the Celebrity App, you’re able to use it to control several features in the stateroom, such as the lights, the temperature, and the television.
5. Infinite Veranda vs Traditional Balcony: A Toss-Up of Mixed Reviews.
One of the most promoted novel features for Celebrity Edge has been the new Infinite Veranda. And, it’s a very interesting concept.
Rather than the traditional sliding door leading from the main room to the balcony, the doors have ceiling to floor glass, open in the middle, and fold back against the wall accordion style. When the doors are open, the balcony area acts as an extension of the stateroom itself. The walls of the balcony run from floor to ceiling without any gaps. The third “wall” at the end of the balcony is made of floor-to-ceiling glass divided horizontally about halfway down. The top half is a window that slides down by pushing a button to access the outside air.
If you kept the window portion of the balcony closed most of the time, it would seem like the balcony portion of the room was part of the regular living space. And, it increases the room size by more than 20%. But, when you are “on the balcony” you aren’t actually outside. It’s more like being in a sunroom with a large picture window.
Interestingly, the ship personnel have the ability to close the infinite veranda remotely. According to the notice printed in the newsletter, the Captain may decide to do that in the case of inclement weather, or for cleaning.
This setup will appeal to some folks but not all. If you are looking for the opportunity for extra floor space, you will love it. If you are seeking a true balcony experience, not so much.
6. Fantastic Bathroom
The balcony staterooms on Celebrity Edge have fantastic bathrooms. They are noticeably larger with a generous shower. And, unlike the main cabin, they have lots of useable shelf space. There are sets of shelves on either side of the long vanity, and there are two lower shelves below that run the entire length of the vanity.
Celebrity Edge Review: Kids’ Club & Youth Program
For this sailing, our travel party included three kids who were ages 6, 11, and 13. So we had interactions and child feedback on both the main youth club (for kids ages 3 through 12) and the teen club.
7. Physical Facilities Smaller Than Expected
The first thing we noticed when walking into the kids’ club was its size and location. The club resides on one of the lowest levels of the ship – Deck 3, directly beneath the Theater (which can be convenient at pick-up time). And, it has no access to natural light. The actual physical space for the kids’ club facilities is rather small. Particularly for the older age groups. When standing at the front reception desk, you can basically see the entire club. Or, at least, all of the areas open to children.
The Teens space was also somewhat on the smaller side, and it was not located near the main club. Rather, it was tucked away on Deck 2 and not obvious. It’s aptly named “The Basement.” Although the interior itself was not particularly large, it was adjacent to a large open area (the Destination Lounge) that was available to be used for overflow activities at certain times of the day. (Typically, the Destination Lounge was the area used for entering and exiting the ship on port days.) Some daytime teen activities were also scheduled for The Club on decks 4 and 5.
8. Published Activities Often Not Track What Actually Happened
At the beginning of the cruise, families could pick up a schedule of the planned activities for the week when they when registered on embarkation day. Although the schedule provided detailed information about the various activities for each of the different age groups for each day, it was often not followed. This led to some frustration when kids would show up for an announced activity (such as an Xbox tournament), but nothing resembling that was actually happening.
According to the program brochure, the youth club staff have a basic menu of core activities that they supplement each sailing based on the interests of the kids. This may have been part of the reason that daily activities frequently departed from the printed materials. But, ideally, there would be some way of informing guests of changes in advance.
A sample of some of the general activities:
- Shipmates (ages 3-5) – Fat Brain Toys, paper plane competition, finger painting, beading bonanza, pizza making, face painting, obstacle course, food relay, Legos, balloon volleyball, superhero night.
- Cadets (ages 6-9) – foosball challenges, finger painting, robotics, movie night, dance party.
- Captains (ages 10-12) – dodgeball vs Teens, Xbox challenges, Pictionary, card games, ping pong tournament, gaga ball.
9. Family-Friendly Program Hours
The regular program hours for the club were consistent with those on other Celebrity ships. Complimentary hours ran from 9 a.m.-12 p.m., 2 p.m. – 5 p.m., and 7 p.m.-10 p.m. For $6 per hour per child, kids could also attend a lunch session, Dinner session, and/or the late hours Slumber Party (lunch party on port days from 12-2; dinner party from 5-7; slumber party from 10-1 am). Dinner party free if ship departs port before 5.
In addition to that regular schedule, you could arrange for early morning hours on port days where the ship arrived before 9 a.m. This was not a regular service we had seen before. Given that ours was a very port-heavy itinerary with long port days that often started at 7 a.m., it was very handy to have this option. The club would open 30 minutes prior to port arrival if the staff was notified at least 24 hours in advance.
We ended up using this service twice for my younger child. On days that we had long excursions that required extended bus or van travel and included activities that were not ideal for smaller kids.
Related Post: 5 Best Reasons Families Leave Kids On The Cruise Ship
Celebrity Edge Review: Recreation, Entertainment & Other Activities
10. Pool Area Very Low Key and Functional
The main pool area consists of one large pool with adjacent hot tubs. No water slides or other water attractions. The focus is on natural beauty and relaxation. The overall pool deck is quite nice with conveniently located bathrooms that are several steps above the typical pool bathroom and were well maintained.
On the same deck, you’ll find the enclosed adults-only solarium which has another pool. And, there’s a third pool on a higher deck that’s for the exclusive use of suite guests.
11. Different Interpretation of a Cabana
The pool deck also features several cabanas that can be reserved for a fee. And the fee includes a certain amount of premium food and drinks and cabana service. But these aren’t exactly like typical cabanas we’re used to seeing. Most notably, they are near the pool, but they don’t actually open out into the pool area. You can’t see or access the pool directly from the cabana. So, it’s more of a designated lounge space with perks that you could visit for breaks from the pool.
Supposedly, the cabanas have access to stunning ocean views (rather than direct access to the pool), but this was not apparent during the times that we walked through. The Magic Carpet docks on the side of the cabanas that would presumably face the ocean. So, when the Magic Carpet slides down to reside on Deck 14, it blocked any potential views from the cabanas. The views from the Magic Carpet, however, were stunning.
12. Magic Carpet Area Is Delightful & Novel
The Magic Carpet generated a fair amount of hype when the ship launched, and we were eager to check it out once our sailing rolled around. While the space was not quite what I had imagined, it is quite delightful.
The Magic Carpet is a large open-air platform structure attached to the side of the ship that moves from Deck 2 all the way up to Deck 14 at various points of the day. When you get on the ship’s elevators, there’s a special button for “Magic Carpet” so you don’t have to keep track or wonder where it might be at any given point.
Depending on the time of day, it serves many functions. During port days when passengers take the tender launches to shore, the Magic Carpet incorporated into the Destination Gateway on Deck 2. At other times, it floated to Deck 5 to become an outdoor eating extension to Raw on 5. Or, it rose to Deck 14 adjacent to the pool area and served as a beautiful, restful daytime lounging space. In the evenings, it floated to Deck 16 and transforms into a specialty restaurant.
This was a great lounging spot during the late afternoons. It had beautiful views, a nice ambiance, and attentive service. It was also steps away from the Mast Grill, so you could grab food and bring it into the lounge space if you wanted.
Passenger views from the Magic Carpet on Celebrity Edge
13. Port Day Embarkation/Disembarkation Process Deserves High Review Marks
Disembarking and embarking the ship on port days occurred through the Destination Gateway on Deck 2. It’s a large, attractive multi-purpose area that could be used for a variety of other functions when embarkation services weren’t taking place.
The embarkation area on port days was spacious and well organized. While there were often long lines when returning to ship, as expected, the process was extremely quick and efficient. During peak periods, they were able to have three or four lines running at once. Interestingly, they were not really confiscating purchases as people re-boarded (e.g, alcohol). This likely contributed to the speed. Unclear whether this will continue on future sailings.
The addition of the Magic Carpet on tender days greatly enhanced the tendering experience. The whole process felt safer and more stable. Oftentimes, the tendering process involves maneuvering from a small metal landing at the bottom of outside stairs while gripping onto two crew members as you stepped across an obvious and unavoidable gap that opened down onto the ocean below. Swaying the entire time.
In contrast, on Celebrity Edge, the tender vessels were able to align even with the side of the Magic Carpet. It seemed almost flush with no obvious large gaps. And tendering was a simple matter of walking through a beautiful lounge and stepping into an adjacent lounge. One that happened to be floating on the water and could sail away once it was full.
14. Features You Won’t Find on the Edge
There were several features or amenities that you often find on the newer family-friendly Mega ships that you won’t find on Celebrity Edge.
- No water slides, splash parks, or options of any kind for non-potty trained kids.
- No arcade. But there were extensive Xbox offerings in the regular kids’ club, the Teen Club, and several public events held at The Club.
- No sports deck. But there is a multi-level jogging track and a couple of ping pong tables (which were very popular on our sailing).
15. Beautiful Spa Worth A Visit
The Spa was gorgeous. Go attend one of the tours on embarkation day. Some one-day specials were available that could be great deals for certain travelers.
Generally, the spa services were on the expensive side, but there were several opportunities for additional savings. The spa advertised daily specials that were featured in the ship’s newsletters. For instance, the spa offered a 75-minute package that included a hot stone or bamboo massage, full-body exfoliation, foot/ankle massage, and a health assessment for a $60 savings. The spa offered different versions of this 75-minute combo throughout the cruise.
The spa also offered a twilight massage special with special pricing between 4:00 and 8:00 on a 50-minute massage or facial.
And, on a couple of occasions, the spa sponsored a Ladies Pamper Party promotion in one of the ship’s restaurants. The promotion included a complimentary DIY eye, face, and neck skin treatment and a California Sunglow makeover. And, special offers were provided to those who attend.
Related Post: 15 Things You’ll Really Want To Know About The Cruise Spa
16. Unique Venues: Eden & The Rooftop Garden
The Celebrity Edge offers two other unique public areas that warrant special mention: The Rooftop Garden and Eden. We had heard quite a bit about both spaces before boarding the ship.
The Rooftop Garden is a large open-air park-like area at the top of the ship that features an array of metal sculptures, living plants, and comfortable seating. It features oversized games such as Jenga and chess, and other lawn games and puzzles. It plays host to a variety of activities throughout the day and evening. Including organized hosted tournaments, movies and music, and dancing.
An intensely stylized designed space that spans multiple decks with panoramic windows. It also includes a variety of living plants. The space features a variety of seating options, a bar, and a restaurant. And, it hosts various entertainment acts and performances, including aerialists, many of which are interactive.
17. Modern Casino That’s Well Integrated Into Main Activity Areas
The casino on Celebrity Edge has a somewhat unusual layout. It’s very long and narrow with multiple entrances from several directions. This allowed for guests to flow in and out easily. But, at the same time, no guests were forced to walk through the casino itself to get to points A or B.
The casino had a great selection of table games and slots. Not a lot of tables, but generally sufficient.
And, the casino enjoys a great location on Deck 4. It is a few steps away from the main complimentary restaurants, and it’s adjacent to the Grand Atrium and other fun high traffic areas.
18. Updated and Novel Approach to Ship Photography
The Photography department on Celebrity Edge has a different approach that will be interesting to see if it’s carried over to other ships. Guests have the opportunity to download pictures throughout the sailing for those who want to do social media along the way. You didn’t have to wait to receive a download link after you returned home. There was a package available for purchase online pre-sailing for all-inclusive digital photos + top-tier internet for one device. And, this included the onboard downloading options.
Also, many of the interior photo stations incorporated a special effects green screen. This allowed for a variety of backgrounds and effects to be applied to a single shot. When the photos were published, they were automatically made available with all of the different individual backgrounds. And, all versions of the shot were included in the all-inclusive package.
19. Nice Mix of Family Friendly Entertainment Options
Overall, the ship offered a nicely varied mix of entertainment options throughout the day and evening sufficient to avoid boredom, but not so numerous as to be overwhelming. It was easy to quickly figure out what was going on at any point in time using either the app or the paper newsletter.
During the daytime, the cruise director’s staff hosted a range of educational and recreational activities such as a session on how to cook a perfect steak, an archery challenge, origami, knitting, and a giant Jenga challenge.
Notably, traditional bingo was not offered. Instead, the ship offered a version of Deal or No Deal with cash prizes. (We saw a similar offering during our sailing on Norwegian Bliss.)
The ship also hosted daytime movie screenings in The Club and/or the Rooftop Garden. During our sailing, the choices included Aquaman, Nancy Drew, and the Hidden Staircase; Mama Mia; The Upside; A Star is Born; and the family classic Wizard of Oz.
There were also various iterations of trivia games. Including an interactive game show style trivia that required the use of a smartphone or tablet.
The Main Theater generally had showings at 7:30 and 9:30. Featuring a mix of different types of musical acts, acrobats, and the occasional magician or comedian. While some of the featured musical acts would perform songs from several popular Broadway shows, this ship did not feature actual stand-alone shows that you often find these days on other ships.
During our sailing, the Main Theater featured:
- The Barricade Boys – featuring music from Les Miserables, Jersey Boys, Queen, West Side Story, Motown, Beatles, Bruno Mars, and more.
- The Other Guys – “the Four Sea Sons” from London’s West End Stage offered a combination of vocals and dancing.
- Hype with Marcus Terrell – vocalist with dancers
- Mike Votano’s American Jukebox – Australian vocalist and instrumentalist. One-man musical jukebox
- Magician – Joe Enock
- A Hot Summer Night’s Dream – Shakespeare with acrobats and music.
- Colors of Life – Musical journey with acrobats.
- Kaleidoscope – Described as a “powerful mash-up of music and emotion.”
- Ashlie-Amber Harris – A former American Idol contestant who performed a powerful Whitney Houston retrospective. Passengers were buzzing afterward.
Music & Dancing
Several venues also offered different options for music and dancing.
Eden offered a rotating menu of musical performances at 10:15. This included several stagings of “Revelations at Eden.” This was described as “A one-of-a-kind immersive experience that expresses the true spirit of Eden. Traversing through chillful environments, playful interactions and enticing performances.” And, Eden also featured various styles of musical performances from several different house acts.
On several different nights, the ship also offered a version of Silent Disco or karaoke with a live band. Late evenings also featured a DJ and dancing at The Club. And, the Grand Plaza (the central atrium area) was always very lively at night with music and dancing. The bartenders would often get into the act as well.
For those who wanted an alternative to music and dancing, the nightly program options also included a game show option and movie options. The Club featured a daily game show with rotating themes at 8:15 p.m. And the Rooftop Garden hosted evening movies (such as Captain Marvel and John Wicke 3).
Celebrity Edge Review: The Food
20. Terrific New Approach To Main Dining Room
Overall, the food was standout.
Celebrity Edge offers an interesting re-interpretation of the main dining room. Instead of one or two large dining areas, the ship has four different complimentary restaurants, each with its own theme and slightly different menu options. If you have fixed seating, like we did, you will be assigned to one of the four restaurants for the duration of your cruise. But, you always have the option to make a reservation at any of the other three venues.
All four restaurants shared some common menu items, some of which changed nightly and some of which were always available. But each restaurant also had a unique portion of the menu that was based on its particular theme:
- Cyprus – Mediterranean food with a focus on seafood.
- Cosmopolitan – Celebrity describes this as “New American with global influences.”
- Normandie – Contemporary French cuisine.
- Tuscan – Italian fare.
Our home restaurant was Cyprus. Every meal was excellent, and our assigned table staff was fantastic. We also had meals at the other options but ended up preferring Cyprus.
Note that Cosmopolitan opened every morning for a sit-down breakfast. A much more relaxing option than trying to navigate the buffet. Service was generally efficient, so we were able to get in and out quickly.
21. Specialty Restaurants Get Mixed Reviews
Overall, the ship’s specialty restaurants received mixed reviews among our travel party.
A Fine Cut
A Fine Cut is the ship’s steakhouse. This is a lovely venue overlooking the Grand Plaza, and the staff provided excellent service. Perhaps the most attentive service we had all trip.
As for the food, the appetizers, bread basket and an array of interesting sides received uniformly rave reviews. Views on the different steak offerings, however, significantly diverged. Everyone who had the aged NY strip (which included myself) was disappointed. And it pains me greatly to write that. Initially, neither of the steaks was cooked to the right temperature. Nor were they well seasoned. They simply weren’t tasty, and much of it was left on the plate.
In contrast, the folks who had the filet were extremely happy. Including one notoriously young picky eater. All of those plates were just shy of licked clean.
Raw On 5
The sushi bar was fine. It was a great place to have lunch with large windows and lots of natural light. Unfortunately, the day that we dined there, the Magic Carpet was not in residence.
The Grand Bistro/Le Petit Chef
Le Petit Chef dining involves a dinner spanning several courses that are interspersed with various animated vignettes that are displayed on the individual tables and plates. The animation relates to the various dishes that are about to be served, and it fun and entertaining. We had enjoyed a different version of this on a prior sailing on a different ship.
For this sailing, while the animated performance built around the menu theme was obviously intended to appeal to kids, the menu offerings themselves really weren’t. So, be sure to check out the menu in advance to make sure you can find something your kids will eat.
22. As to the Buffet: A Cautionary Review
As with the rest of the ship, the physical space for the Oceanview Cafe was visually striking and appealing. Overall, there was plenty of natural light streaming through the oversized windows, and an abundance of comfortably arranged seating options. The menu options were diverse and tasty.
But, there was a very troubling incident that soured us on the buffet experience.
I was standing in line at one of the breakfast stations waiting to get some bacon and breakfast potatoes. The woman in front of me was struggling with the bacon. When she tried to pick up a slice with tongs, she inevitably ended up with many pieces stuck together. She couldn’t quite manage to separate the pieces using the tongs. So she finally abandoned the tongs and used her bare hands to separate out the pieces that she wanted and returned the remaining unwanted pieces to the serving dish for someone else to have. The unwanted slices that she had handled with her bare hands were simply mixed in with the other slices to await some other unsuspecting passenger to grab them.
This appalling observation underscored another troubling issue. Usually when you visit the buffet on a cruise ship, staff members are stationed at the entrances reminding people to wash and sanitize their hands. We rarely saw anyone doing that on our sailing. And on the day of the incident noted above, we didn’t see anyone at the entrance at all.
23. Ship Offered Interesting Options for Disembarkation Day
Overall, the disembarkation process was orderly and well-managed. While not quite as speedy as the embarkation process, it still moved relatively fast once your group was called.
Departures For True Early Birds
On this sailing, the ship offered two interesting disembarkation options that we had not previously seen. First, they offered a “pre-authorized early departure” option.
Regular disembarkation started at 7:00 a.m. And the self-assist walk-off option started at 6:30 a.m. In addition to these typical options, the ship had arranged with local authorities (in Civitavecchia) to pre-authorize a special 5:15 a.m. departure for people with early travel arrangements. Interested guests could sign up at guest relations. But there was a strict deadline to sign up no later than 5 days before disembarkation day. Only people who pre-registered were allowed to exit during the early time.
Unfortunately, this option was not particularly well advertised. There was a note about it in one of the daily newsletters early in the trip. Part of our group would have loved that option but didn’t learn about it until too late.
Option For Delayed Departures
The ship also offers an “Extend Your Stay” option for people who had late travel arrangements. For a fee, the ship would store your luggage while you continued to enjoy use of the ship’s amenities. You could grab food with an included dining credit at Raw on 5. You could relax by the pool. Or, book spa appointments. And, you had the continued use of your beverage package, if you had one.
Although we had previously seen something like this on another cruise line, this was our first time seeing it on Celebrity.
Overall, we had a very favorable review of Celebrity Edge. It’s a beautiful ship that’s staffed with genuinely service-oriented people. And, it offers several features that will appeal to many families seeking a low-key, relaxing vacation.