Is this the most imaginative ship on the waves?

By TPN/PA, in Travel · 08-02-2019 14:28:00 · 0 Comments
Is this the most imaginative ship on the waves?

This 2,908-passenger ship promises to redefine cruising, but is it worth the hype? Aine Fox finds out.

Sitting on the Magic Carpet, rum cocktail in hand, I stare at the seemingly endless blue ocean.

I am 14 decks above sea level, somewhere between the coast of Miami and the Bahamas, and I'm gliding right out over the water enjoying the unique, innovative architecture of the Edge, Celebrity Cruises' latest ship.

The Magic Carpet, a bright orange mega-balcony that floats up and down decks, is the standout feature of a ship designed, according to its creators, to leave the future behind.

On the top deck, it's a specialty restaurant serving 'Dinner on the Edge'; two decks down to 14, it becomes an extension of an ultra-cool pool deck, which features a very Instagrammable winged sculpture and two giant martini glass-style Jacuzzis

The world's first cantilevered, floating platform was designed by Tom Wright, the man behind Dubai's Burj Al Arab hotel.

"Isn't it magical to be off the side of the ship?" he tells me, during Edge's December naming ceremony. "You're out there and the sea is underneath you. It makes the ship stand out, it's totally different."

Claiming his 95-year-old father would enjoy the ship just as much as his 15 year-old daughter, he adds: "It feels upscale and cool, but not frighteningly so. It's not intimidating at all; you just feel like it's a great place and you immediately think about having a party."

Decadent ocean views

The 1,004 foot long, 2,908-passenger ship, which cost a reported $1 billion to build, was designed to be different. Stunning ocean views are everywhere, encouraging passengers to look out towards their next destination.

Having left the blind up on my veranda, which opens at the touch of a button and is designed to blur the line between ship and sea, by transforming the living area into a balcony, I awake in my stateroom to a floor-to-ceiling ocean view.

Although she has no background in cruise, interior designer and former Dragons' Den judge Kelly Hoppen described her involvement in the project as "the most incredible experience".

Hoppen's hallmark love of neutral palettes is a feature of all of the accommodation, which feels clean, fresh and inoffensive, but pops with teal, orange, purple or gold, depending on which class of room you're in.

Exploring the ship, I happily come across various pieces of artwork. Jiao Long is a decadent-looking small vessel made from pearl necklaces, brooches and tiaras by British artist Ann Carrington; a bronze horse named Arion, known affectionately by the crew as Mr Edge, was designed by Sophie Dickens, great, great granddaughter of author Charles Dickens.

There is a sophisticated feel in the airy grand plaza, a meeting place for coffee and a croissant with a sea view, or to grab a seat and people watch over its three storeys.

Sitting by the martini bar in the evening, it is impossible not to marvel at the giant chandelier, something of a focal point on the ship, which lights up in time to complement the jazz playing over the happy chatter around me.

Dining with a difference

Four chefs battle to win me over with their culinary creations at Le Petit Chef - and they are all just a few centimetres tall. This immersive experience is one of the seven speciality restaurant offerings, which are additional to the four main complimentary dining restaurants on board, and costs $55 per person.

It's one of the most memorable meals of my life, with animated chefs projected onto my table in an explosion of colour and fun. Within seconds of each dish being prepared in cartoon form, a waiter appears with the real deal edible replica. From an Italian truffled five cheese ravioli, to a Japanese green tea matcha cake, the dishes delightfully satisfy all my senses.

The epic Eve at Eden conjures up another impressive meal, this time served by real-life performers. The restaurant-come-bar-come-club offers dishes including lobster tail with orange, and rare seared wagyu beef, all for $65 per person.

Throughout the day, the Oceanview Cafe offers the limitless, complimentary buffet experience most cruise goers will be familiar with - pizzas, curries, salads, fruits, cakes and ice creams.

Theatre at sea

The apparent ease with which a catsuit-clad trapeze artist hangs upside down by her ankle, which is gripped between the legs of her partner as they spin round in the air above the stage, has my jaw on the floor.

It's just one of the dance pieces performed during the Jewellery Box show in the Edge's theatre on deck four.

Soundtracked by hits such as Sweet Dreams by Annie Lennox and Rihanna's Diamonds, performers treat the audience to a range of dance performances from modern to Bollywood.

The huge sweeping screens, on which a Lion King-esque figure appears at various stages to narrate the show, make the backdrop more engaging, while creating a more intimate atmosphere in the large theatre.

Out in the sea air, the Rooftop Garden - inspired in design by childhood playgrounds - is a fun spot to sip a cocktail and enjoy live music, or enjoy the outdoor cinema on selected evenings.

Workout on water

The glass-fronted gym allows exercise junkies to feel as if they might be walking or running out to sea, rather than on a treadmill. The uninterrupted ocean views certainly beat the wall I'm confronted with at my local gym, and ensure a much more stimulating workout.

Guests can indulge in a spot of hot yoga before cooling off in the pool, or try out a bungee fit class.

Ladies first

Aside from the very modern and very cool design, the company behind the vessel managed to pull off more magic in the form of the ship's godmother - Malala Yousafzai.

The Nobel prize-winning global campaigner for girls' education, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban as a teen in her native Pakistan, herself acknowledged the somewhat surprising partnership with a luxury cruise liner.

But, at the naming ceremony, she said that with a "diverse crew and smart and strong women at its helm, this ship represents how unexpected but extraordinary partnerships can lead change for girls".

Edge's crew is 30% female, which is above the average for a cruise ship, and the vessel's overall staff is made up of more than 70 different nationalities.

Celebrity has pledged to support the Malala Fund in its mission to help the millions of out-of-school girls around the world get access to education.


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