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Celebrity Cruises’ latest ship, Celebrity Edge, is fast approaching its December launch. During the recent Virtuoso Travel Week, held in August in Las Vegas, Kenneth Shapiro, editor-in-chief of TravelAge West, sat down with Brian Abel, senior vice president of hotel operations for Celebrity, to discuss what’s to come.
Have Celebrity guests been asking for more entertainment and dining options?We have been getting feedback from our guests, but it’s also just understanding how people live, travel and vacation today — it’s not as formal as it used to be, but I think people still think of cruising as traditional. We want to break out of that mold. We want cruising to be more experiential but still have high-quality, great entertainment, food and beverage.
How would you describe the theatrical entertainment that will be onboard Edge?We wanted to reimagine the whole main theater experience and make it more immersive. I think with the video screens and aerials that we have, plus extending the theater out into the crowd, it’s going to be a great experience. Everything on Edge will immerse our guests into the different experiences. We combine design with technology to make it have a “wow” factor; make it different for our guests; and make passengers feel like they’re part of the show.
What can you tell us about The Club?The Club is a two-deck-high multifunctional space where, during the day, we can have a lot of different immersive experiences, whether for families, teens or youth. Then, at nighttime, it becomes more a high-energy club, but we’ll also have production shows.
There will be five shows in the theater, two shows in The Club, a show in Eden, the Garden Cinema Series and the Rooftop Concert Series. This is the most entertainment we’ve ever put on a ship.
Can you tell us more about The Retreat?The Retreat is the more exclusive area for our suite guests. When Edge launches, for the first time, we’ll have a restaurant for suites, a lounge and a resort deck. But then, over the next four or five years, we’re going to roll that out on the rest of the ships.What will The Magic Carpet experience look like?The Magic Carpet is a platform that is out on the edge of the ship and moves between different decks. When it’s on Deck 2, we use it for tendering when in port. On Deck 5, it becomes an extension of one of our restaurants for alfresco dining. On Deck 14, where our resort deck and pool are, it will be more of a VIP area. We’ll put a DJ onboard and have specialty cocktails.At the top of Deck 16, we can do “Dinner on the Edge” events for different themed dinners. When it’s there and on the edge of the ship, you’re literally over the ocean. It’s unbelievable.How does Eden work throughout the day?In the morning, there’s Eden Cafe, a small grab-and-go spot with high-quality items such as cappuccinos and breakfast sandwiches — paired with great views. During the day, we’ll have more educational programming going on; we have an open kitchen in the restaurant, so we can do demonstrations. There will also be wine tastings, meditation and games; or you can go and read the newspaper. It’s a beautiful space to enjoy views of the ocean or of the port we’re in.At night, Eden turns more energetic. We have what we’re calling “Eve at Eden,” which is an experience we’re doing with Variety Worldwide that fuses great food and beverage from the kitchen with great entertainment. It’s a progressive show, so there’s not really a start or a stop. It runs from 6 to 10 p.m., so if you eat in the restaurant, you get the full impact, but you can go to the bar and have a cocktail and see part of it. And it changes a little bit every time. — Kenneth Shapiro
I recently sailed onboard Celebrity Reflection (Celebrity Cruises’ latest vessel ahead of Celebrity Edge), where I had the chance to try out a few features that will also be onboard Edge.One standout was Le Petit Chef, Edge’s fresh Qsine culinary experience. According to Arjan Scheepers, hotel director for Reflection, it’s also onboard Celebrity Constellation and Celebrity Eclipse. The previous menu was always a favorite, but the new one continues the theme of dinner and a show. Now, video projections display a small animated chef as he playfully “prepares” each of four set courses right at your table.
Some cruisers may miss the large breadth of choices originally available at this venue, but the new approach is a very amusing replacement. Besides, there is one alternative dish per course that diners can opt for. (It’s just not a perfect match to the presented animation.) Scheepers also says the team is hard at work on additional animations in order to create a better repeat experience for guests. — Jason Leppert
The DetailsCelebrity Cruiseswww.celebritycruises.com