Premium cruise lines are taking their offerings to a whole other level. And what sets lines like Celebrity Cruises apart from the crowd is they offer the best amenities but without the huge price tag.
What is important for me during a holiday is to feel a sense of connection to the places I visit and the people I meet.
And this is how I felt on a sailing onboard the Celebrity Eclipse around New Zealand. What the cruise line does is combine the very best of food and beverage, wellness, and entertainment, all on their beautifully appointed ships.
It might be a premium brand but it sure feels luxurious. It was the attentive service, the décor in the staterooms and public spaces as well as the offerings in the restaurants.
I was Eclipse for exactly two days as she sailed from Sydney across the Tasman towards New Zealand. There were close to 3000 other guests onboard. And I am a coffee addict. While most passengers were getting familiar with the swim-up bar and savouring the margheritas, I was becoming comfortably familiar with the frothy goodness of the soy cappuccinos from El Bacio café on deck five.
As I sauntered towards Cafe al Bacio on the sea day I was greeted by the waitress Jessica who invited me to take a seat and she would place my order for me. I plonked myself into the oversized mustard armchair that gazed lazily out over the frothy cappuccino-like waves yonder, I prepared to provide Jessica with my name, cabin number, and my coffee preference. But no! Jessica had beaten me to it. Without further ado, she simply said “ok Miss Rose, I will bring your soy cappuccino out to you shortly”.
And so it was. For the next handful of days on board, I would casually approach Cafe al Bacio with a certain curiosity – would Jessica still remember me? What would I say if she brought me an almond flat white by mistake? What happens if Jessica isn’t on shift at this particular hour of the day?
But there it was. And there she was. And there was my soy cappuccino. I asked Jessica as she placed the oversized mug (just as I like it) in front of me in my favourite oversized armchair “Jessica, how do you manage to remember my name and coffee order?”. Expecting the camera to fall out of her pocket, Jessica simply looked me in the eye and smiled, and said “I can see it in people’s eyes. You look like a Rose.”
For the remainder of my trip on board the Celebrity Eclipse I was made to feel special and unique.
Not just by Jessica at El Bacio by the way. It was my experience right across the entire ship. Julia my masseuse with sausage hands from Brazil in the spa made me feel like I was back in the womb.
It was also Michael who cleaned my Cabin every morning and night and made towel puppets and helped carry my bags and found an Aussie power adaptor for me.
Gede my Indonesian waiter at Murano who cooked my lobster by hand in front of me. Actually, all the waiters in all the restaurants who laughed at my lame jokes and helped push me in my chair, and made sure my soda water always had fresh lime in it.
It was Naomi the yoga and meditation instructor who helped me find my ‘vedic chant’ at 5:30 am in the gym – that I never knew I had been looking for my whole life!
Maurizio the handsome Italian man working in duty-free who organised my shopping to be delivered at 11 pm the night before I had to disembark.
And it was Christian the crew member who silently handed me a hot chocolate with a smile at 6 am as I stood on the helipad in minus-degree wind chill temperatures and couldn’t feel my fingers as we sailed into the heads at Milford Sound at sunrise.
The list is literally endless. The team of people onboard the Eclipse gave me the sensation of ultimate luxury, which for me was feeling like I was important. I felt like I was in paradise where everyone is authentic and happy and made that extra effort to connect. And the true beauty of this experience was that when I took a moment to stop and sit and look around, I realised that every single other passenger onboard was being treated the same way. Every single one of us is important. That’s the Celebrity experience.
Celebrity Edge will be making her first trip to the Southern, making her debut Down Under in Australia and New Zealand. Here are some things you need to know about the amazing ship that will be sailing locally from the end of 2023.
- Named ‘one of the world’s greatest places’ by Time Magazine, Celebrity Edge is will offer travellers 12 bespoke itineraries visiting an impressive collection of 22 ports with departures from both Sydney and Auckland – not to mention, a number of mouth-watering dining options to match the breath-taking scenic surrounds.
- Culinary experiences onboard this luxury resort at sea are led by Michelin-starred chef, Cornelius Gallagher, who serves as the Vice President of Food and Beverage Operations, and include:
- Main Dining Experiences: There are not one but four complimentary restaurants onboard Celebrity Edge, each with a distinctive design and ambience inspired by a specific region of the world.
- Specialty Dining Experiences: To open the world – and palates – for savvy travellers, Celebrity designed seven exciting new specialty restaurants. This includes signature dishes from Chef Daniel Boulud at Luminae, modern dining experiences at Fine Cut Steakhouse, Japanese-inspired cuisine at Raw on 5 and more!
- Guests can also enjoy a drink at one of the cruise line’s 11 unique bars and lounges, including Martini Bar, and Eden Bar, spanning three decks from the aft of the ship with almost 7,000 sq. ft of outward-facing glass.
- Start at the top, on Deck 14 where the Magic Carpet becomes an extraordinary bar with views that stretch for miles. It also plays host to the Dinner On The Edge experience, an alfresco culinary journey that satisfies all your senses and extends the dining experience of the sea.
Celebrity Edge will first touch down in Darwin on Saturday 2 December as part of its 14 Night Bali & Australia itinerary, followed by Cairns (Yorkey’s Knob) on Tuesday 5 December, Airlie Beach, Queensland on Wednesday 6 December, and its final stop in Sydney on Saturday 9 December where it will welcome guests onboard from Australian waters for the first time for its Inaugural sailing out of Australia – 12 Night New Zealand sailing.