After 15 months finally we have a ship sailing out of Ft Lauderdale and Steve & Diana were lucky enough to sail on her – the Celebrity Edge. Check in was easy, just download the app to your phone – check in and upload your passport information and upload a photo. You will be asked to choose a specific 30 minute window check in time and they do monitor this at the terminal. The day before the cruise you will get an email reminding you to go online and answer the health questionnaire. At that point you should get a QR code which is all you need to check in at the terminal. Upon arriving at the terminal we had to produce our passport and COVID vaccine card, and once authenticated, we were able to proceed to scan our QR code and board the ship. Super simple and easy! Once onboard you were permitted to remove your mask and did not need to put it on again anywhere around the ship providing you were vaccinated. We boarded the gangway with cheers of enthusiastic welcome from the ship’s crew – such a feeling of joy.
Only 2 adult guests did not have the vaccine card and they were restricted to certain areas of the ship so all in all everyone must have been happy with the new protocols. Prior to sailing we were advised that we would have to take Celebrity curated shore excursions in Mexico due to the ever changing protocols each country has to abide by. Interestingly, on day 2 of our cruise we received a noted saying that Celebrity had been working with the Costa Maya local authorities and guests were now allowed to disembark independently and enjoy the port shops/restaurants/and café’s at leisure. If you were interested in leaving the port area you had your choice of Celebrity curated tours or curated taxi tours, so be prepared to be flexible. The cruise lines are working diligently to allow for independent exploring in your ports of call. At the time of writing this, we have not received any updates on the next port which is Cozumel, but still being Mexico I am going to assume it will more than likely be the same scenario. On this cruise, the restaurants were operating at reduced capacity adhering to social distancing, but this will also change in time.
We set sail to a fan fair of horn blowing, waves from shore side and water gun salutes and the Coast Guard with every boat in the district following us and blowing their sirens. I must say pretty impressive!
Onboard the standard infinity veranda cabin is super nice light grey tone. With the infinity veranda you really feel that the cabin is larger than normal. You can either have it all closed so that it extends your cabin footage, or you can close it off the traditional way and open the top half window if you wish. The blinds are electric and your cabin steward will put them down at turn down service – better black out that the normal curtains. Bathrooms are a good size and the shower stall has the curved glass allowing for a lot of space. Bank of outlets is hidden is a nice looking box on the vanity. Additional sockets/USB jack for phone etc. is on one side of the bed. Plenty of drawer space.
Life boat drill is easy. From the App on your phone you will get reminders to watch two videos on your phone (or from the TV in your cabin). Once you have completed that you will be asked to go to your muster station where you will be checked off a list. All basically whenever you want, but before sail away. That’s it. Easy. Life jackets are not in your cabin – instead they are at the Muster station so no dragging it around with you for the drill. This is as easy as it gets.
There are 4 main restaurants which are complimentary instead of the one/two large traditional dining rooms. Nice touch – you feel like you are in a restaurant instead of a large dining banquet room. All four restaurants have similar menus. Each restaurant has the same Classic menu which does not change throughout the voyage. Then they each have the same Signature Menu which changes each night. And then they each have their own Specialty Menu which is exclusive to that particular restaurant and this changes nightly too. All in all a choice of 12 starters and 12 entrees each night. I liked this approach because you feel like you are dining in a different place with the décor being different in each one, and subtle differences in the menus. Each one holds 200+/- guests. You can finally do a dine around on a cruise ship at NO additional charge!
Then there are 7 other restaurants – one of which is just for Spa Suite Guests (Blu) and one of which is just for Retreat guests (Luminae). The other 5 restaurants have small upcharges – Fine Cut Steak House, Raw on 5 – the Magic Carpet is an extension of this restaurant, Bistro which becomes Petit Chef at night, Eden, and Rooftop Garden Grill.
For lunch and dinner there are other options as well such as the Mast Grill, Oceanview Café, and a Pizza station.
Reservations are recommended as all the restaurants get busy very quickly. You can do this on the App.
Then you have a coffee shop – Il Bacio, which is located in two places – Deck 4 and 14.
The Buffet restaurant, the Oceanview Café, is on the Pool deck. The set-up is still buffet but now you have the plastic sneeze guards at all stations and there are staff behind the stations to serve you. Personally I prefer this as it’s cleaner and better displayed. At one end of the Café is a pizza station and then just outside is a burger/hotdog grill.
Bars. The Sunset Bar is a great place on the aft of the ship to get a drink at the end of the day – great views from here. The Martini Bar is a popular place before and after dinner. Watch out for where the Magic Carpet is –this is a great place for a drink during the day.
There are loads of little seating nooks all over the ship where people can sit and read or gather in small numbers.
The Theatre is a good size and has more of the 360 degree feeling to it. We saw a show here called Kaleidoscope which was a high energy pop art concert with specialty acts included. Really good. The lighting and technology was ultra-modern and amazing. Very well done.
There is a two level Club which is where the night life happens and DJ opens up. This is also a great place for a private event/presentation.
Next to the Club are 2 conference rooms. Each one holds about 200 guests. They can open up into one large room.
The shops on the ship are very upscale – Tiffany, Bulgari, Cartier.
The Fitness center is large and has all the bells and whistles of new machines. Views from the front of the ship are a great setting.
Spa is large and nicely done.
Casino is very nice and hidden to one side of the ship. It’s not very big but definitely adequate.
Basically most of the entertainment and dining areas are on Decks 3, 4 and 5. Then on Decks 14 and 15 you have the pool area and some other public venues. Very easy to get around.
This report was prepared by Steve Bloss July 2020. The views expressed as solely those of the author and not necessarily those of WWTCA.