Celebrity Cruises is bringing whole new meaning to the concept of cool with its newest ship, the 2,918-passenger Celebrity Edge, plans for which were unveiled in Miami this week.
South African-born designer Kelly Hoppen has been brought in to create her trademark east-meets-west look, creating breathtakingly beautiful interiors, all bleached wood, shades of stone, soft grey and cream and touchy-feely textures, brought to life with splashes of navy, saffron, olive and burnt orange.
Celebrity’s parent company, Royal Caribbean, has set up a brand new Innovation Lab in Miami where boffins play around with design and technology, and stepping into the cabins and suites here that have been mocked up for Edge really is like wandering into the hippest of hip hotels.
Innovation is certainly the operative word on this 129,600-ton ship. For example, Celebrity’s architects have completely rethought the structure of the cabins, so that 918 staterooms now have an ‘infinite veranda’. The balcony area can be closed off with folding French doors and a wall of glass lowered halfway to let in the sea breezes – or the doors can be opened and the window raised, creating a much bigger cabin with a light, airy sitting area. Either way, the standard balcony cabins on Edge will be 21 square metres, way larger than the industry average of 15 square metres.
Then there are the suites… 176 of them, more than on any other Celebrity ship, sharing a gorgeous private deck, The Retreat, with its own pool and lounge, and Luminae, the suites-only restaurant. The top suites are particularly special; six two-deck-high Edge Villas have individual plunge pools, while the two Iconic Suites are right on top of the bridge, with massive balconies, outdoor tubs and sweeping sea views.
The technology in all the cabins is impressive; an app on your phone will open the cabin door as you approach, while a touchscreen on the wall can create mood lighting, from ‘movie’ (if you want to watch TV) to ‘wake up’, gradually raising the lights rather than jolting you awake with an alarm call. The app, which is being rolled out across the fleet, means you can magic up a cocktail via your smartphone without even leaving your lounger, as well as booking restaurants and activities and at embarkation, breezing through security, thanks to facial recognition.
The whole of the pool deck has been rethought by architect Tom Wright of WKK (the architects behind the Burj Al Arab in Dubai), positioning rows of loungers facing out to the sea through a wall of glass, as well as a row of high-ceilinged cabanas alongside a 22-metre pool. Two ‘martini glass’ hot tubs sit high above the pool on slender stalks; they’re accessed via the deck above and have uninterrupted views down over the deck and out to sea.
Gone is the Lawn Club that’s a feature of Celebrity’s Solstice class ships, replaced by a lush rooftop garden, filled with living plants and featuring a grill, a giant movie screen and at night, live music.
But possibly the most striking feature revealed so far is the Magic Carpet, a tennis court-sized platform that’s cantilevered over the side of the ship. The original plan was to create a luxurious outdoor lounge that would serve as an embarkation area for the tenders, but the Magic Carpet has actually ended up as a moving entity, with four positions and four uses. On Deck 16, it’s a romantic restaurant, Dinner on the Edge, with 90 covers. When it’s on Deck 14, it’s an outdoor, poolside chill-out lounge, and on Deck 5, an al fresco dining area for the speciality restaurants. Down at Deck 2, it’s the tender embarkation point.
The ship will sail in the Caribbean initially, although further itineraries – and more detail of what’s on board – will be revealed over the coming months. We’re on the edge of our seats…