Cruises For People Who Hate Cruising
The new fleet from Celebrity Cruises sees a very new approach to the way we holiday at sea
Review by Jo Gregory
I’ve often thought of cruises as floating prisons. Trapped, with no way of getting off and only being allowed to leave the ship for a matter of hours and when you do, you barely even scratch the surface of whatever port you have docked in. Cheesy evening entertainment with pensioners showing their appreciation for the acts by dancing with just their arms or excitedly tapping a foot or a knee. The idea of a cruise holiday has always filled me with dread. However, I was invited onboard the brand-new Celebrity Edge ship – a new venture from cruise giant Celebrity Cruises. I accepted the invitation and invited a friend on board with me for our two nights at sea, fully expecting to come away having never wanting to get on a cruise again but boy was I wrong.
We arrived at Southampton on a sunny spring morning and just as we were saying ‘why did they call it Celebrity Edge’ we walked through the newly developed port lounge to check in, staff lining the way with huge smiles and warm greetings. Check in was slick and the excitement levels were at an epic level. This wasn’t like the cattle march I was expecting, no, this was like walking the red carpet to a prestigious event.
As soon as we boarded the ship, we were handed a glass of rose champagne and more warm welcomes await as we made our way to our room. We were staying in one of the ships 1,467 staterooms on board. All the rooms are designed by London based designer Kelly Hoppen and, with 40 years of experience in the design industry, Celebrity knew exactly who they wanted at the helm of such an integral project. The decor was beautiful. One of my many fears about being on board a ship was the feeling of being trapped and not being able to open a window, however, to my surprise, the room came with a veranda which means I was able to sit with the salty sea air brushing my face as we departed the port.
Being on board a vessel of this size is rather like being at a huge theme park in some sense, so much to do and so much to miss out on potentially. We glared over the map of the ship and decided to head straight for the spa as we are both in need of some TLC. As soon as we arrived we were greeted by a team of linen coated beauties who offer us a tour around the spa. There were a bunch of treatments, such as lip fillers, Botox, chemical peels and inch- shredding body wraps on offer as well as a plethora of exclusive massages to choose from. There is also a hammam spa, infrared sauna, salt steam room and amethyst crystalarium.
There are 29 bars and restaurants to choose from onboard and we headed to Le Petit Chef, which is a real feast for the senses. A wonderfully stunning projection onto each diner’s plate plays an animation which feels like it’s stepped right out of the film Ratatouille. Each little humourous story tells a tale of where your food comes from before it magically appears on your table. Ten-year-old me squealed inside. The food was perfect, and the wine pairing was a delightful treat.
We headed to Eden for a post dinner tipple. Eden is at the stern of the ship and is an indoor oasis of hanging plants and quirky features – a shift to the rest of the ship’s décor. There was interactive entertainment in the shape of a contemporary dance troop who looked like extras from Avatar and the Hunger Games. The dramatic theatre only adds to the atmosphere giving Eden a real edge and ambience. Eden is also an incredible place to watch the sunset from the following day, the triple height windows looked magical against the backdrop of the ocean.
The next morning, I took a ride on the ship’s Magic Carpet which, even for an acrophobic like me, was thrilling. The floating, multi purpose cantilevered deck reaches 13 storeys above sea level; the spectacular platform moves from deck to deck, transforming to a new venue with each new position. It’s the first of its kind and the views from deck 16 were just breathtaking. I carried my shaky legs over to the martini glassed hot tub and supped on a Pina colada whilst basking in the sunny, spring sunshine. It was at that moment, I really realised just how easy and wonderful life at sea is.
There is plenty more to do onboard. Our app gave us a timetable of what to expect from each day from origami to cooking lessons, movies and games. It’s hard to make time for everything which is handy, when you’re out at sea for days on end. However, if the onboard entertainment isn’t enough, Celebrity have drafted in globe-trotting adventurer Ben Fogle to set up a host of unique off shore excursions. They range from hiking across volcanos in the Caribbean to whale watching in Alaska. It is certainly how I would like to see a local area or country, that’s for sure.
I stepped off my two-day cruise feeling refreshed. I saw a red moon set, I ate food from award winning chefs, and I was entertained around the clock all the while living in luxury. If anything, being cut off at sea was the perfect antidote to fasted paced modern-day life. If you love cruises or even if you hate the thought of one, get on a Celebrity Edge, it really will surprise you.
10-night Italy, Spain and Monaco
Join Celebrity Cruises’ (www.celebritycruises.co.uk, 0800 441 4054) Celebrity Edge, for its 10-night Italy, Spain and Monaco fly/cruise departing 20 September 2019 from £2,899 per person in an Oceanview Stateroom including flights from London Gatwick.
The price includes return flights from London Gatwick airport, transfers, a 10-night cruise departing from Rome (Civitavecchia) and calling at Naples (Italy), Palma De Mallorca (Spain), Barcelona (Spain), Monte Carlo, Santa Margherita and Florence/Pisa (La Spezia) before returning to Rome for the flight home; meals and entertainment on-board the ship and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.
Enquiries: Celebrity Cruises/ 0800 441 4054/ www.celebritycruises.co.uk