Maiden On The Edge
We joined Edge, for a special birthday occasion on its maiden east and western Caribbean voyages, at Fort Lauderdale at the new Celebrity purpose built terminal. Check-in and boarding of Edge was reasonably organised, efficient and speedy and we were on-board within a short time. We did not however appreciate the officious attitude of the female security staff within the terminal. We were welcomed on board by the usual glass of champagne which is always very enjoyable. Unfortunately the usual mingling Celebrity Staff/Officers were not there to greet us which we felt to be very impersonal. We booked an Infinite balcony stateroom which makes your balcony part of your cabin thanks to bi-fold doors that can be opened completely. We welcomed this new innovative idea which suited our usage. Our stateroom was available immediately we boarded, it was superb in design, very clean and tidy throughout and our stateroom attendant kept it absolutely spotless at all times and accommodated our every need. All of the public areas were super impressive with fantastic elaborate quality dcor and mind provoking artworks throughout. Breakfast was taken mainly in the Main dining room where we found the waiters to be efficiently organised in their approach. Caf al Baccio was excellent for tea and coffee with coordinated service by the friendly staff, although vacant seats were often difficult to find. Lunch was taken in different locations including spa, buffet, Eden and also the main dining room. All of these were exemplary and we particularly enjoyed the spa caf mainly because we could have a light lunch without being tempted by too many calorific culinary delights. Endless dining options mean that you can eat somewhere different every single night whilst enjoying a totally relaxed dressing up or smart casual experience. We selected anytime dining and rotated each evening in one of the many complimentary restaurants. The menus in each restaurant are substantially the same but with a few variations. By the end of the cruise our preference was the Tuscan restaurant. All of our dining room table attendants aimed to please and had refined their skills to perfection. We did not experience the specialty dining as we felt that the complimentary dining restaurants were faultless in respect of food quality/variety and staff service. The Eden area featured a bar, dining and relaxing whilst watching performing arts and extensive ocean views with its glass walls. It certainly is an innovative well thought out area. There are so many bars and lounges to choose from, you can be in with the action or away from the crowds whatever your mood. Bar staff were all excellent who without hesitation recalled our order, and displayed their skills mixing cocktails, a source of amusement to some guests. The plant filled rooftop garden is a great place to relax during the day and to enjoy dining from the grill with live music in the evenings, or the bar just adjacent is a popular drinking venue overlooking the ocean. The innovative Magic Carpet where you really are on the edge on a cantilevered platform which is raised up and down on the side of the ship. It incorporates comfortable seating, a bar and space for live performers to entertain you. In the evening it becomes a speciality restaurant whilst during the day it is moved to a lower deck, when needed, to assist with disembarkation in tender ports. The pool is flanked by unique tree top sculptures and houses two elevated mushroom Jacuzzi's. We had no difficulty in finding sufficient loungers and seats surrounding the pool and overlooking the ocean on the upper deck. Entertainment was very disappointing as although it was so very high tech, breathtakingly spectacular and superbly presented it was not sufficiently varied in its content and did feel very repetitive, with the exception of a couple of individual visiting acts which were excellent. Gym and Spa facilities were superb as was the Casino, all three venues being generally well utilised. The Captains Club evening cocktail event was held in an enclosed club area which did not have any sea views or atmosphere and did not encourage the social mingling as on the other class ships. Consequently they were not well attended. Access to the Persian garden for Elite members is unfortunately not available on the Edge. The Captains Club Hostess was totally non-interactive, unhelpful, ineffective and forgetful, and the worst we have experienced. There was generally a lack of Senior Officers, including Cruise and Hotel Directors, presence around the ship throughout the cruise. There was not even a Captains welcome aboard speech and introduction to the officers in the theatre with the usual toast. The Cruise Director was very rarely seen throughout the ship and then only at some of the show performances. The remainder of the crew/staff were all very friendly, helpful, and efficient and could not do enough for us. The Celebrity CEO was on-board, since this was the maiden voyage, and she gave a speech to a poorly attended audience and without even a toast. Disembarkation was well organised and fairly speedy. In summary the Edge is a fantastic ship and generally a higher standard compared to our previous extensive cruise experience on the majority of the Celebrity fleet. The public areas, bars, restaurants, gym/spa, cabins, bathroom, cabin attendant, staff, were all superb. The downside for us was the non-visibility of the Cruise and Hotel Directors, Officers and senior staff including the Captain around ship; the Captains Club Hostess being totally non-interactive/unhelpful/ineffective/forgetful; and also the Repetitive Entertainment. The Edge is certainly a ship to experience although we would not rush to book again.
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