Life on “the Edge” is about unforgettable experiences, top-notch service and discovering new destinations, discovers Tatyana Leonov
I’m enjoying the outdoor pool on deck 14, alternating between sluggish freestyle strokes and floating on my back gazing at the cloud-studded sky. If it weren’t for the magnificent views at all sides, I’d probably stay floating. But… Celebrity Edge is gliding into Milford Sound on a rare sunny morning. Glistening grey granite and rock cliffs and moss-covered precipices soar skywards, while misty veils of cascading water plunge into the valleys below. It rains for over 180 days of the year here, but today it’s all sunshine and puffy white clouds.
Although the pool is one of my favourite places to be on the ship, I can’t linger any longer. Guests are starting to emerge from their rooms to take in the views from the ship’s topmost decks, and I don’t want to miss out. I quickly head back to my Edge Stateroom with Infinite Verandah and slip into a dress before heading back up, this time to deck 15. I’ve kept my swimsuit on just in case, remembering there are a couple of spas up here with prime viewing opportunities.
I’ve got John Legend’s ballad Ordinary People in my head as I make my way to deck 15.
I’m an ordinary person, but right now I am very aware I’m living an extraordinary moment. Millennia of glacial activity have sculpted the landscape here, leaving behind deep gouges and fissures across the mountainsides. We cruised through Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound earlier today, but this is the Milford Sound, and it feels like stepping into a different world. Admittedly, the sense of stepping into another realm began as soon as I boarded Celebrity Edge.
Celebrity Cruises’ newest ship was completely designed in 3D, so all the spaces were optimised for efficiency, functionality, and aesthetic appeal before physical construction even began. From the outside it just looks like a huge, elegant ship, but on board, it’s all about connection to the sea.
Celebrity Edge’s unique, outward-facing design is a first, and essentially means that there are more spaces for guests to enjoy the view and feel at one with the ocean. The Magic Carpet is one such space – a moving platform that slides between decks transforming into a restaurant and bar that juts out from the ship and over the ocean. Outward indeed.
Until this moment, I’ve wondered where the people are. Sure, restaurants are full at dinner, and there are usually others in the pool, but it doesn’t feel crowded. This is the first time I’ve come across a crowd as such, and of course, with views like these right at our doorstep, the sense of awe is palpable. The Magic Carpet is busy, but there’s plenty of space at the rails for anyone who wants to be there. Others walk and talk along the jogging path, and after I’ve feasted my eyes on the magnificence of the landscape, I swing between a few activities, finishing up in the spa. It feels surreal cruising the serene sea, staring out at the cliffs half submerged in 42-degree bubbling water. I narrow my top five places onboard to three – deck 15 spa (the bubbles kind), the performance theatre, and my room.
A room with a view
My Edge Stateroom with Infinite Verandah is one of 918 such rooms onboard Celebrity Edge. The revamped stateroom concept focuses on seamlessly merging indoor and outdoor spaces, and although the “infinite verandah” aspect feels a little ambitious, the room design does allow for more flow and that lovely inside-outside feeling. Essentially, the “verandah” is an extension of the room with a large window at the end of the space, which can be opened or closed with the click of a button. This new design adds about 23 percent more space than you’ll find in any other ocean view or balcony room in the Celebrity fleet –around 22.7 square metres.
Although my room is one of my favourite spots to be, I also thoroughly enjoy exploring the ship – revisiting my favoured haunts and uncovering novel treasures. My daughter and I stumble upon the same mother and son a few times in the pool and at two different evening performances, and I bump into a lovely couple indulging in cake and coffee at the Grand Plaza Cafe, almost like a daily ritual (truth is, I visit twice most days – the cakes temptingly displayed in the cabinet are irresistible). The Grand Plaza is a stunning three-storey design extravaganza orchestrated with glitz and glam in mind. It’s home to several of the ship’s specialty restaurants, along with the Martini Bar, Cafe al Bacio, and my go-to Grand Plaza Cafe.
The other space I visit daily is Eden. With cascading shrubbery and greenery coiling its way down from the very high ceiling, it’s a lush space made all the more enchanting by the huge expansive windows. Brightly coloured and textured fabrics used in the upholstery make it aesthetically bright, light and ever so pleasing. I drink cocktails here, join a dance class when it’s too windy upstairs, attend a cooking lesson with Brendan Pang who is onboard too, and grab lunch (followed by the most delicious fruit-and-oat cookies some days). My favourite dining experience is the Eden Restaurant – beautifully executed food that tastes as good as it looks, served in sumptuous surroundings and with a smile.
Wining and dining
The variety of food on board is extensive and diverse, owing in part to the wide range and diversity of choices. I feel that the more time you spend exploring, the more adept you would become at making prudent selections, but since I’m only here for four days, I’m determined to sample as much as possible. And I don’t mean quantity as such, but also the culinary experiences.
My dinner at Le Petit Chef is hands-down the most immersive dining experience I’ve come across. The food is divine, but it’s the small, animated chef aptly named Le Petit Chef who steals the show. Dining tables are positioned under ambient lights, and a story of sorts is told through light projections onto the plates. I’m not sure who loves the experience more – me, my daughter, or the other diners, but we all are captivated.
Otherwise, my daughter and I dine at Oceanview Cafe often because it’s convenient, and with a kid in tow, not having to wait for food is a big plus. The choices are extensive, and we learn to stick with one cuisine type (or maybe two) in one sitting to avoid feeling overwhelmed and overfull.
There are four primary restaurants accessible to all guests. The Cosmopolitan Restaurant offers a fusion of new American cuisine. The Normandie Restaurant showcases modern French dishes. Cyprus specialises in Greek cuisine, while Tuscan presents Southern Italian delicacies. Cyprus stands out as my favourite, especially due to the flavourful grilled octopus legs entree that briefly transport me back to the island.
I’m perfectly fine with kicking back (meaning not doing much) while on board, but I see quite a few people on the jogging track (some running, some strolling with a drink in hand) at various times throughout the day. I pop into the gym to check it out and notice that the cardio machines are well spaced, and all positioned in such a way so that guests can enjoy encompassing views of the ocean. The gym is also one of few all-access spaces where guests can access the very bow of the ship. The other area is the sun deck located in The Retreat – one of the many upscale spaces available only to The Retreat guests.
High life on the seas
The Retreat is Celebrity Cruise’s super luxe offering – an exclusive enclave for 320 passengers staying in suites. It’s a private space comprising a private outdoor deck with its own swimming pool and jacuzzi, and the top-rated restaurant in the Celebrity fleet, Luminae, along with attendants catering to every aspect of guests’ stay. Although I’m not one of the 320 Retreat guests on board, I do manage to take a quick tour through this ship-on-a-ship and can see why it’s the pinnacle of luxury.
Celebrity’s commitment to environmental causes shines brightly across their website, showcasing their corporate values centre around sustainability and environmental consciousness, and it’s easy to recognise that it’s very much part of their company’s ethos. Celebrity Edge’s “Parabolic Ultrabow” is perhaps the most talked about innovation. This redesigned bow reduces fuel consumption and makes for a smoother journey thanks to its new shape and composition. While the technical details elude my full understanding, it’s a pleasant surprise not needing to clutch any handles or furniture while on board, despite encountering 9-metre waves at sea. I merely feel mild rocking at most… and that could well be for several reasons. After all, on board I’ve committed to living life on the edge.