We are off on a unique adventure – the inaugural (Eastern Caribbean, anyhow) sailing of
Celebrity Cruise Lines’ newest ship, Celebrity Edge.

Without any doubt, this ship IS the destination.  We like the Caribbean (especially Eastern and Southern)
just fine, but have never been on a new ship Class so fresh out of the yards.

This is a 7-nt sailing, with port visits to Puerto Rico, Tortola, and St. Maarten.

For Holly & I, this is our 29th cruise together, and the 8th with Celebrity Cruises.

“It is not that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.”
~Sir Francis Drake

San Diego/Ft. Lauderdale   (Day 1)
Thursday, December 13, 2018

We got to SAN at 04.30, and after checking our bags, waited for the Delta Sky Club to open at 5.00.  It is a nice place to be right before a flight, but this was a very quick stop – just a coffee, and then off to our gate for a 6.15 departure.

After a connecting flight in ATL (Atlanta), which was running about 30 mins behind, we arrived in FLL (Ft. Lauderdale) at about 18.30.

We are staying at the Embassy Suites (we always stay here before a FLL cruise) for three nights, just chilling, exploring a bit, and meeting friends for dinner before boarding Celebrity Edge on Sunday.

After we checked in, we walked over to Duffy’s Sports Bar, located just two blocks from our hotel.  A silly little Ft. Lauderdale tradition for us is to walk through Publix (located in the same shopping area as Duffy’s) to stock up on a few munchies.

We have been to Duffy’s several times, and tonight, Holly got to see her San Diego Chargers play Kansas City from the sports bar.  The Chargers won 29-28 on the last play of the game, by converting a 2-pt extra point try with the score KC 28, SD 27.

Tomorrow, we are in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

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Ft. Lauderdale   (Day 2)
Friday, December 14, 2018

‘Did you see the Sunrise?’, a rather excellent, though dark episode (Ep 3.1) of Magnum, PI, featured – well-you guessed it, a fantastic sunrise.  Perhaps it has to do with being near an ocean, here as well as in Hawaii (I can attest there are outstanding sunrises there), but there is something about being able to see to a horizon, especially across an ocean, when the sun is coming up, that is rather hard to beat.  Today’s was awesome.

Our view also included a few friends – ambassadors, really – that are seeming all around the area.  Parrots.  Four of them landed on our balcony, then when I got too close to the door, skirted away only to return shortly to an adjacent balcony.  They are very cute.

After breakfast, we went to The Galleria, a rather nice shopping mall in Downtown Ft. Lauderdale, to pick up an new Apple Mouse I had ordered before leaving San Diego, and while I was getting my geek on, Holly found the Sephora across the way.

After we got back to the hotel, we just chilled before heading to dinner at the Indian Harbor.  It’s in the same shopping area (trees full of parrots here) as Duffy’s, something we thought that very convenient to use as an experimentation of Indian food in preparation for an upcoming (right after this cruise) trip there.

It was excellent.  The food was more than we could eat.  The portions are generous, but the people working there – even more awesome.  We had Papad (with Mint Chutney, Yummie Brown Sauce and Onion dipping sauces) for an appetizer, followed by Garlic Naan, Rice, Chicken Tikka Masala, Plain Naan and Chicken Curry, sharing a big of each dish.

Tomorrow, we are in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

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Ft. Lauderdale   (Day 3)
Saturday, December 15, 2018

Our ship literally hasn’t come in – that is tomorrow.  However, there were 4 in port today, and a cruise ship in port is always nice to see.  Tomorrow, a record for us – there are going to be 7 cruise ships in port at once! (We had 6 in Grand Cayman in 2006).

After breakfast, I walked to the Clay Bridge, which I do before a cruise here in Port Everglades, to just take in the view and a photo of the ships in port.  Again, I could sit and watch cruise ships in port all day – though I’d much rather check out the view from aboard one (insert wink, and check back tomorrow).

After returning to the hotel, we just hung out – didn’t go anywhere.  We are on vacation after all, and took the time to just watch out over the cruise port from out balcony, and catch up on a few logistics on my laptop before heading out to a very early dinner.  

We met at 4pm at Lulu’s Bait Shack, a favorite of our friends Beverly and Charles.  They pretty much live here as much as we do at Buffalo Wild Wings back home.  While just about anyone would agree that 16.00 is a bit early for a dinner, we wanted the time to not feel rushed while reuniting with our friends, but also have a bit of time back at the hotel to organize things prior to tomorrow’s big day.

Our group reunion was Mike & Carol (friends from a Celebrity Cruise Jun 2017), Beverly & Charles (friends from an RCCL Cruise Oct 2008 & Celebrity Cruise May 2015), and Fred & Barbara (friends from a Celebrity Cruise Aug 2016).  We had expected a 9th person, Marcia (almost on that Aug 2016 cruise), but due to bad weather, she could not make it.  A 9th person did unexpectedly join, though.  Sue, a friend of Fred & Barbara, came to hang out with us.  It was a neat time had by all.

Barbara, Fred and Sue are joining us on our cruise tomorrow, and the other 4, who live in the general area, were selfless enough to drive to join us for this get together.  

Lulu’s was fun.  The service was excellent; and the food was very good.  The latter not being excellent is due to my Fish Tacos not having much seasoning on them at all, and Holly’s Shrimp Po’boy  only rating a ‘Good’ due to being very bland.  Perhaps that is the way they are served here, but other than warm and fresh (all were), there was no ‘wow factor’ about the entrees.  The appetizers we shared included Calamari and Coconut Shrimp, both of which were very good.  The drinks, now…. I can attest Lulu’s make a very decent Strawberry Margarita and Banana Colada. 

Especially of note was the ambience.  I can see why Beverly and Charles love it so much here.  This place would certainly be given a 2nd, 3rd, perhaps 4th chance to be awesome, rather than very good.  The staff were polite, and service was prompt and did not include any pressure to pick a meal.

We said goodbye to our friends at about 18.00, then returned to our hotel.  Another note about selflessness – Mike & Carol were kind enough to collect us at our hotel, and take us back after dinner, both of which saved us a UBER.  These are all very good people.

Tomorrow, we board Celebrity Edge.

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All Aboard   (Day 4)
Sunday, December 16, 2018

We arrived at the terminal about 9.25, and after 90 minutes, were aboard right at 11.00.  Boarding was seamless!  The Celebrity app or paper XPress Pass – IF – one submits a Passport photo ahead of time during registration, makes for about a 4 mins process from scanning to being aboard.  It is that easy.  For folks that do not submit their Passport photos along with their registration, they stand own line with everyone else, and do not board right away. 

Besides Celebrity Edge, there were 6 other ships in port – Royal Princess, Carnival Conquest, Harmony of the Seas, Nieuw Amsterdam, Adventure of the Seas and Zuiderdam.  It was neat to see so many cruise ships in one place. There were no problems exiting the harbor – we were the 2nd to leave after Royal Princess.

Celebrity got something else very right with this new check-in process – immediate access to your cabin.  You read that correctly, a new policy, at least on this ship, is to permit passengers access to their cabin right after boarding, not to linger, but long enough to drop items off rather that schlep them around.  Cabins for occupancy were ready about 13.00, which is very typical.

After dropping our stuff off, we headed to a traditional first lunch with Annie.  If you don’t know, I can’t explain (ok, I could, but…).  Whilst (Hi, Kathleen) we normally have a hamburger on the first day, I did not feel like walking halfway across the ship for the grill to prepare one, and, since we wanted to check out the Oceanview Cafe terrace at least once this trip – we headed there.

The view was great, and the service was excellent.  Very good first impression.  Now then – the fries.  On behalf of my friend Jim, after lunch, we did go to the grill – not to pork out on a post-lunch burger, but to sample the French Fries.  They were very tasty, BUT – were cool.  Honestly, this was rather disappointing.  At 12.30, just 90 mins after boarding, the grill hadn’t got the fries right?  Eh.

Our cabin is very nice.  Beautifully appointed save for storage.  Unless one stands up in bed, one will never come close to the ceiling, so, Celebrity 100% should have put overhead storage back as older X ships have been.  The closets are a wee bit small, and although there are little side panels that open for storage, it’s just not the same amount fo room as in Solstice Class or Millennium Class ships.  The rooms appear to be a bit (say, 1’ or so) narrower.  Once just has to pack and store a bit more efficiently in this class (Aqua or Verandah) of stateroom.

We next went to the Martini Bar to sample a few goodies.  I had a Snowflake Martini (yum!!) while Holly had a Vodka Ginger Martini.  A note about service here… very nice IF you were at the bar.  The surrounding tables were barely serviced with wait staff, which some may put down to the chaos of embarkation day, but I don’t.  If you open the ship, all advertised-as-open services need to be ready.

Next – we were off to the lifeboat drill.  Note to Mike and Jim…there was no ‘Wash your hands’ (I love that video by the way), but there was still that STUPID ’007 ish’ spy schtick video, convoluted as ever, that did nothing to draw proper attention to ship safety, but served more to annoy far more than help.

Out Sail Away party was nice, though crowded.  The Sunset Bar IS NOT SET UP FOR a ‘deep’ set of people more than 3.  Between the barstools and the outside of the chairs that ring the outside of the seating area might be 4’.  For cruisers who go on this ship and want to rush up here for their Sail Away Party, do NOT (Jim, you’ll be fine here) bother with the elevators.  I promise you’ll be forced to wait for several minutes as many many people come out of the 4-dining areas used as Muster Drill Stations, then when over, one has a huge cattle call converging on the aft elevators (6).  Take the stairs… you really will very likely make better time (Deck 4 up to 14).

We had our first dinner in Blu, and it was very good.  The only thing that needed a fair amount of improvement was the bar service.  The Sommelier was overwhelmed.  We had to finally get the Head Waiter to serve the wine.

Overall first impressions of Celebrity Edge.  Gorgeous, with a new car smell to boot.  She is pretty!  The issues normally associated with a new ship were not present in technical form – everything worked excellent here – but, the service ratio was not impressive.  There needed to be a more ‘all hands on deck’ approach.  We will see tomorrow if this actually WAS a normal service level of people.  Open mind continues, but they have room for improvement.

Edge’s Godmother is Malala Yousafzai.  It you don’t know here story, look it up; you’ll find a definition of courage.  She’s a perfect choice for a cruise line whose CEO rightfully champions causes of women.

Tomorrow, we are at sea (and using this day for greater ship exploration and documentation).

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At Sea  (Day 5)
Monday, December 17, 2018

Our first breakfast in Blu this cruise was very good, though the Blu Parfait a bit tart. Salmon was yummy as usual. Holly had the fruit plate and bacon and eggs, which were done the way she liked them.

Popped over to Cafe al Bacio for coffee afterwards, also good. This Cafe is a bit longer it seems than non-Edge ships’ Cafes, and is of a lighter decor. People who don’t get up until the crack of 10 or 11 will likely find this place slammed. Again, it passes – by X’s definition – as a lounge (Still very underwhelmed about lack of ‘proper’ lounges aboard).  As it happens, we are usually in here right after breakfast (that’s about 8.30 at the latest), so here, so far – and on any ship, we’ve never felt confined.

After coffee, I went to the Gym and Spa while Holly set out on an exploration of the ship to photograph Christmas decorations. The decorations are pretty enough, but certainly more of a neutral, almost sterile decor, rather that a lot of green, blue and red to which many will have grown accustomed.

The gym is good, and the Spa awesome. The latter has, as many readers will already be aware, several new venues. Rather than the Persian Garden portion just being heated stone chairs or a bench, this one has a rainfall room, aroma room, and swinging chairs in which to just relax. It is a really neat place (Paul, you CAN unwind here after getting up at 10.00 from a night’s’ dancing until a wee hour).

The tech on Celebrity Edge is in full use. That is to say, Celebrity are pretty well pushing its use. Carol, of Mike and Carol fame, hit it on the head, when on Saturday afternoon, she expressed an opinion this ship is being marketed to a younger crowd. In full, hopefully very objective disclosure, I agree with her, and do so for reasons including not only that the average person is expected to be smart-device savvy, but that even doors, windows, and the like are controllable with one’s device. There is ZIP wrong with this, of course, but for anyone who was sleeping while Celebrity has been advertising this ship (or, who has just not done their due diligence in research), they will have missed something very straightforward, and walk aboard VERY SURPRISED: Celebrity have, and are – marketing this ship as very different from existing ships in the fleet. This is a ship (where it appears to this writer) that wants you outside, or otherwise out and about with your device on you.

The majority of folks in line at Guest Services early on this first full day of the cruise, were of a given demographic who may not have figured out how to pair their devices or get their electronic room key to work.

Events are occurring, but there are very few inside, non-themed venues which to patronize. Ok, it is the Caribbean after all, but what I, and others may find interesting, is when sailing this ship in colder months – the limited areas indoors, such as the Martini Bar/Plaza area on Deck 3, and Cafe al Bacio will, without a doubt, get more crowded.

We played trivia today. Again – the tech…. Edge run all trivia via mobile devices. There are tangible positives to this – as it is both very gentle on the environment by saving paper, and also eliminates the very annoying players (and capitulating trivia hosts) who frequently ask for questions to be repeated. On a negative side, since answers are timed to 20 seconds, one cannot draw a blank – then later recall an answer to write down before the game ends. This is a question-by question with no going back game. There IS an opportunity for people to talk together, but only one person’s device per group counts. It is a decidedly different approach to historically-run trivia.

Do not come on this ship with your eyes closed. Come with an open mind – prepared for change – and you’ll have likely a good cruise.

We had a few drinks in Eden before heading to dinner. The drinks were a bit different (good, not wow); we will sample more tomorrow when we eat dinner there (and watch the accompanying live actor show).  Blu was good, especially the lamb. After dinner, we played our usually video poker and won $20.

Tomorrow, we are in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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San Juan  (Day 6)
Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Breakfast in Blu was very good. Afterwards, I went to get a haircut while Holly went off to play trivia (I’d have normally gone with her to play as a team but for this appointment). I’m proud of her – she won! It was a cooking topic, and one wherein I may not likely have been much help anyway. Her prize was very cool – a USB Power brick.

The barber was Nazel (from the Philippines), a recent transfer from RCCL to Edge by Celebrity’s request. Seems he was in demand. It was a good experience, and in a rather cool setting. The Barber Shop has a few old school chairs while still taking onboard Celebrity’s modern look. As to tech – well, there are two TVs mounted within the mirrors. They are very nearly seamless; it is a pretty cool feature.

Holly and I met up at the Rooftop Garden Grill for lunch. It was excellent, though at $25, we both felt it was overpriced; $15-20 would have been better, given nothing was terribly innovative, just upgraded from a Mast Grill.

We decided to stay onboard today rather than go into town. We’ve been here before, and preferred to continue our exploration of Celebrity Edge.

Our thoughts on Edge after 2.5 days aboard –
Holly: ‘Edge is growing on me. There are definitely some hits and misses, but now that I have had a little time to actually be in the environment, I have a few observations. Before boarding, we looked at the deck plans and wondered where the library or observation lounge was or where the lounge for trivia was going to be. There aren’t the prolific number of lounges as on other ships but they have truly made multifunctional areas. Case in point is Eden – it is a large space with three levels of glass facing aft. There is seating facing the windows on the upper level acting as an observation area. There are also quiet nooks and crannies to hide away and read a book. The middle area is a large open space with a cafe, bar and space for live music or the “creatures”. The bottom floor is home to a specialty restaurant. So, it truly wraps up many venues into one large space. The Club is another area that during the day is used for lectures, laser maze, ping pong, trivia and at night, a disco. In my opinion, the new concept is not better or worse than what we’ve become accustomed to on most other cruise ships.  It’s just different and I kinda like it’.

Me: In line with what Holly said with the following additions: Utilizing the technology does for the most part enhance the cruise in a positive way. Aside from the technology, I, if asked, would have recommended against a multi-use venue that creates such a drastic departure from the norm, specifically – Eden in apparent place of a Sky Lounge & Ensemble Lounge.  Why? To focus venues on what any proper Sailor should be able to expect from a cruise ship – a forward-facing observation lounge at sea and a non-themed quiet lounge in which to listen to music. Since I wasn’t consulted in the plan-making of this ship, I’ll focus on the positive aspects of this change: Eden on its own merits is flipping amazing!  The dinner was good, but even better was the live theater during it, and following it. It is a very different and wonderful expression of living art.  It won’t be for everyone, and is likely to be regarded by many as too strange to even try.  Well, to those folks, I’d have them broaden their horizons by giving it a try at least once.

Holly and I both were pulled out of the audience during dinner and afterwards. It was quite interesting, and until you see the video, just think of these in-character ‘creatures’ with synchronized bells leading one around with eyes closed, to a central point where others in the audience had also been brought… before a finale ‘reveal’; it was really neat.

If I can be allowed to draw inspiration from Star Trek, I’d quote Captain Kirk from – very appropriately – “The Undiscovered Country”, in that ‘Some people can be very frightened of change’. Well, no one is expected to run and hide under one’s bed sheets from fear, but there are many who will be at least very nervous when faced with such a drastically new concept; Truly – this ship is an undiscovered country. This change is here. Given an objective chance, with an open mind for different art forms, it could be enjoyed by them and many more.

Ever focused on a positive vibe – I’ll close tonight by saying I felt like I was on a high when I got the opportunity to meet Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, the CEO of Celebrity Cruises.  The actions of her company in the design of Edge won’t please everyone, and to differ is okay.  She is very down to earth, and according to one Guest Services Officer, got in line (yep) behind other guests in the queue for Guest Services, refusing to bump anyone.

Tomorrow, we are in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

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Tortola, B.V.I.  (Day 7)
Wednesday, December 19, 2018

We arrived in Tortola to partly cloudy skies and warm, Caribbean temperature. Our mooring placed us next to Norwegian Bliss, a new ship for NCL and from the outside, very pretty.  Our friends Kathleen and Jim have been on this ship as guests for a lunch, and reported that it is worth going on for at least one cruise. We’ll see, possibly after we reach Elite Plus with Celebrity (appx. Dec 2019), we’ll be more ready to branch out to other lines, though, short of any Millennium and Solstice Class ships’ Edge makeover to an extreme, we will continue to favor Celebrity Cruises.

Tortola is beautiful. It is our first time here. We just walked the waterfront area (typically when visiting a Caribbean Island for the first time, we will do this, then venture out on subsequent trips), and continued to explore until we found a local culture experience (we do NOT patronize the Diamonds International-type stores that permeate a great deal of Caribbean and Alaskan ports); this part is important to us – getting out to meet locals and learn about them. Today was a huge success in this regard.

We walked to the Crafts Alive Marketplace, run by local artists. This was an eclectic very colorful mini-village of shopkeepers, many of whom make their own crafts. That’s where we met Joan Wilson. Joan is a bit of a headmaster around this village I think – she is kind, in charge of HER shop, and insistent that she ascend, on her own, a ladder to get something down from a high level, rather than let anyone (I tried) help her. One gets the feeling she’s been doing things her way for a while. She was awesome. We bought a few towels she embroidered, and said goodbye, which seemed to take a little while, as Joan likes to chat (and make sure we saw everything in her shop that she made by hand).

I climbed the steps of a local government (oops, was I supposed to get permission first?) building, as it offered a great vantage point over the harbour with Edge and Bliss close by. Photographic/Filming was just a colorful palette today. I am looking forward to editing the film of this area in a few weeks.

Upon our return to the ship, we gave another specialty restaurant a try for lunch – Le Grande Bistro, which is what it is called for breakfast ($10) and lunch ($20) (At night it morphs into Le Petit Chef). I must say, we were quite impressed. The menu was pretty extensive, offering charcuterie, starters, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees and a daily special along with a generous basket of fresh baked whole grain, french and sour dough breads.

We started with a nice charcuterie cheeseboard and then split an order of mussels. I opted for (The? 😛) Le Français Burger – a double patty with pepper bacon on a brioche bun.  Holly had the Turkey Brie sandwich on a fresh baguette. Today’s special was duck, so our waiter offered to split the duck portion of that entree, complete with candied orange peel and blackberries for us to try; it was very good. We ended our meal with an excellent apple tatin.

Everything we had was excellent, which left us scratching our heads when we compared it to our lunch at the Roof Top Grill yesterday, which was $5 more, and in our opinion, not near as good as Le Grande Bistro. We would definitely dine here again.

Since much of the preceding few days have touched on tech, let me offer commentary on something I have not yet mentioned (Thanks, Mike P for the reminder) – The Infinite Verandah.  I like it, but could – without losing sleep or saline (a tear) – do without it. Visually, it does expand the room. It is an inescapable feeling to believe you are looking out farther because simply – you are. With no glass sliding door mechanism typical on every other verandah, there is less to obstruct one’s view. It does directly add to the previous-mentioned feeling of a larger space and better ocean view.

That said, where the design misses, is structurally one is left in a bit of a long box. With hardened side walls to support the surrounding decks and modular cabins, one must work harder to look left or right from the balcony edge. Additionally, there is no curtain. If you want privacy, you must lower the blinds, something you cannot do if the window is open. The Infinite Verandahs are visually very nice; I’d be happy to see it not repeated on any other ship.

Tomorrow, we are in Phillipsburg, St. Maarten.

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Phillipsburg, St. Maarten  (Day 8)
Thursday, December 20, 2018

We arrived in St. Maarten about 7.00, and walked into town shortly after 8.30. I had hoped to see Nick Malley again (a British ex-pat artist who lives here, and was responsible for the initial model work of Yoda for Star Wars in 1979). His shop was closed, so we moved on to just wandering town, and soon after, I rented a jet ski for an hour.

Well, that was quite an adventure. After tooling around for about 20 mins, I managed to flip the craft at a very low speed, likely by turning too tight into a wave. Lesson learned. I spent the next 19 mins pulling the thing along with me while the other hand was trying to swim us (me, and the jet ski) both to shore appx. 160 yards away. You got it – no one noticed I had flipped, so I was on my own. It was an insane workout against the surf.

After returning to Edge, we had lunch in the Eden Cafe. The food was good, but the show later that night was awesome – far better than two nights earlier. Why? Because we stayed for the entire thing.

Initially on Tuesday, we thought the part before the very small break (as in about a minute after the introductory piece) was it – the whole show, that the characters just went back to their role of interacting periodically with the crowd. NOPE.

The show lasts just shy of two hours. We just got out of it (it is 00.07 Friday at the time of this writing). Full on energy for nearly the entire time. There is a backstory to the characters (we’ve talked off-script with 5 of them), but even now, after the full show, it is still hard to explain. Some will avoid it just on appearances.

Believe me, I like things in neat boxes. Clear, sets of instructions, etc. This show makes one open up and think. It isn’t easily explainable, and that’s probably the best definition of art.

Tomorrow, we are at sea.

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At Sea  (Day 9)
Friday, December 21, 2018

Today was a relaxing day at sea. After breakfast in Blu and bonus coffee (and tea) in Cafe al Bacio, we went to play our first round of trivia for the day.

We came in second (the category was General Knowledge), blame for which I place squarely on our friend Bob of the Great Pacific Northwest Province of British Columbia. Not really of course, but since his favorite hockey team is the Toronto Maple Leafs, and we didn’t know whom has won the most Stanley Cups, we deferred to assuming the great team he follows must be the best ever. Hee hee.

Another bit of tech: During afternoon trivia (Female Musicians), we got officially 10 out of 20. We know we got another 4 or 5 correct. The issue was the electronic system used for trivia aboard Edge. Nearly everyone in the room complained (however politely) to the host that many of their answers (like 4-5 of ours) were marked wrong when entering, that the system had the wrong answers programmed. Case in point – Whom named her first 3 albums on the age at the time? Adele, not Britany Spears, P!nk or Mariah Carey. Everyone was given the prize (a tounge-in-cheek appropriate stress ball) due to this issue.

I went back to the Spa to relax on the heated stone loungers, then met a group of about 25 for a cabin crawl organized by our friend Barb (aboard with hubby Fred). It was a nice idea, though contrary to what I expected, as a few people didn’t take the time to straighten their belongings before others came in to look. Most of the time, in fact – a good majority of it, Cruise Critic Message Boards introduce one to wonderful people with great, varied tips for travel. The downside to this, in an isolated few instances, is you experience that beyond the electronic relationships you’ve known, there are people who tend to show a less attractive side in person. It simply was a bit of a messy house in a few instances, and cabins that will be on the cutting room floor for the cabin crawl film being made.

Holly & I went to dinner, then after quickly donating $40 to the Casino, went to the Martini Bar for a few beverages (Mike, you are so right about the Snowflake Martini…. just yummy!), and listed to Christmas Music by a band called The Fringe Collective.

Tomorrow, we are at sea.

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At Sea  (Day 10)
Saturday, December 22, 2018

Our last full day of the cruise began with a trip to Cafe al Bacio, then on to breakfast which left us feeling Blu. We returned to the cabin to have a think about the balance of the day, before heading to the Martini Bar for Trivia.

We don’t care much for the location here, preferring The Club instead, as the latter has several screens on which to watch the game (If I can answer on my phone, then watch results on a larger screen – I prefer it). The Martini Bar has no screen, so in addition to being in a bit of a fishbowl for the game, one only has the given mobile device to use. Why is it not in ‘The Club’ today? Why, Laser Tag is there, of course.

Regarding our 10.15 trivia game (Christmas was the theme) we tied for 2nd. Who knew that the origin of Santa Claus was Turkey, not Norway? Perhaps, it had to do with the Snowflake Martini at 10.00? Eh – it was 17.00 somewhere.

After trivia, we began to pack while I did backups of the captured media so far this trip, and continued to write this blog (I don’t know what to say about 📝 Bl…., Jim, it’s just that way 😉).

A note about elevators. Red is down, and Green is up. Those colors light the buttons and the outside frame of the elevators. It’s idiot-proof, save for the challenged individuals who, on oblivious autopilot, walk up to press a button out of a not-paying-attention-when-a-button-is-already pressed (and LIT) need.

We had a chat about yesterday’s cabin crawl, and realized that we had not talked about storage. Seemed to fit perfectly into today, as an opportunity to take a few pictures, as well as to close this story – for the most part – by ensuring readers knew about storage options not necessarily obvious – nooks of cabinet space.

Standard Verandahs through Aqua Class cabins appear to have the same storage space. Most folks will have one of these cabins. As late as yesterday, day 6 of the cruise, a gent in the Cabin Crawl did not know about side storage – we showed him. He had never found it, though, his Cabin Attendant had not pointed it out, either. When you are in these cabins, take your finger nubs and pull on anything with a seam – it is likely to actually open to storage (do not assume what you are looking at is only paneling).

We skipped lunch for the second day in a row so we could detox from the food, as well as have a reasonable assurance of being allowed to fly inside the plane to the United Kingdom rather than only fitting into the luggage hold below.

We didn’t do well on Afternoon trivia (11/20), after which, we returned to the cabin to continue to pack and organize for (don’t like this word….) disembarkation.

Prior to dinner, we went to Eden to listen to a band Holly likes – Reckless Charms, an all-girl band from Nashville that is contracted to Celebrity through April. Paul & Gail, come check them out – they have a really good sound.  While there, I got to meet Hannah (Luna) and Adam (Zoom) out of costume before they went to change for the show, and chat with them for a bit.  They seemed pretty nice, and are certainly a major part of this ensemble cast.

Dinner was good, especially the Sacher Torte (though not as good as eating it in Vienna at Cafe Sacher). We went back into Eden after dinner until about 21.00, but just could not stay for the 22.00 show again.

Tomorrow, we are in Ft. Lauderdale.

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This was a very good vacation, and although a cruise, it was very different aboard Celebrity Edge, the first ship in her Class.

Since I’ve tried to focus on greater storytelling, the conclusion will be more of a summary of good and no-so-good experiences.

Where Celebrity got things right include, for the overwhelming most part – was technology. The trivia worked as intended nearly always, and the internet speed, not yet mentioned in this blog, was very fast; legitimately outstanding (as cruise ships go) speed. I got a lot of work done, including uploading pictures and 4K video in record times. From the oh-by-the-way file: There are routers in every room. I am very impressed with Celebrity here.

Celebrity also got things right in dining design. Each restaurant has their own kitchen. You read that correctly. The direct result is a much faster service than to which we’ve ever been accustomed. By design, waiters, at max, go the length of single room to retrieve each course of any other item on the menu. As personal smile-generator, I am happy that the crew do not have to carry 8-10 entrees on their shoulder across a far larger main dining room floor while possibly changing floors. They work hard with long hours. Edge’s design greatly makes their job easier.

The Activities Staff were good, though we only participated in Trivia, we did see them active in other areas, such as Eden. We liked Kyle especially, as he is from Manchester and a very intelligent individual, owing to being a Manchester United fan. In fact, the rest of the crew with whom we interacted were good to very good.

Of special note were our Cabin Attendant Winston (St. Vincent), Blu Waiters Cedomir (Macedonia) and Roger (Honduras), and Edonists Boom (Justin, from Philadelphia), Terra, Coy, Bloom and Zoom (Adam) with whom we interacted the most.

Where Celebrity (according to the world of Holly & Bob) did not get things ‘awesome’ is in design of public space. While Eden is very nice in decor and view, as are Cafe al Bacio and the Martini Bar, the placement of the latter can make one feel crowded from early evening on. Never once did ‘thump thump’ music enter into the equation, rather, the space’s placement felt too centrally located due to multiple levels of surrounding decks looking down on the area. An off-center, quieter venue (like an Ensemble of Sky Lounge) in addition to Eden, would have been much nicer. In addition, the spaces outdoors (this ship is debuting in the Caribbean after all), such as outdoor seating for Blu and the Roof Top area could have far better overhead coverage. We did wait a few minutes for service in Cafe al Bacio, so again, Celebrity…. fix the staffing.

Finally, the reader may be interested to know that we would return to this ship, but it would be itinerary-driven. Were another Celebrity ship, especially Solstice Class, doing the same itinerary, we would use that ship for the overall proven positive experience.

See you around on the next adventure (it starts tomorrow on the following thread)

Bob & Holly


38 Replies to “Eastern Caribbean Inaugural Voyage”

  1. Re cabin crawl video – me too please. Other people’s messes always make me feel a bit better about myself. As for Edge, as lovely as it looks, I don’t think it’s the ship for us, given our lack of tech-savvy. Now I’m on the ‘edge’ of my seat looking forward to India and pix of you two meeting up with Christine.

  2. Surprised you never mentioned Martin the Belgian CD. Apart from the size of the guy (he must be at least 6’ 6” and like a bean pole, we’ve sailed with him a couple of times and he’s always been very visible, very visible and just a delightful young man

    1. Yes Sir, because he wasn’t visible. Could not tell you what he looked like. No CD morning show or overt presence.

  3. Have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your adventures on The Edge and Paul and I cannot wait till we go on 10th Feb. Look forward to reading about your experiences in India next xx

  4. Your comments were as expected, except for the Eden entertainment. Perhaps I will enjoy it more when I am not so focused on getting pics of everything and just trying to enjoy the experience. Will find out in 3 weeks. Really looking forward to your India adventure.

  5. I can’t imagine someone signing up to be in a cabin crawl and then not try to make the cabin somewhat presentable. I would also like to see the 9 seconds to be even more disgusted with some people.

    1. For you and my handsome brother of the Northwest, I will compile a very brief video of those two cabins.

      Honestly, there is very little. When I walked in and saw what I saw, I turned the camera off rather than continue to film that cabin.

      Very jarring, but I will put it together and probably slow it down a little bit. Off to Blu now 😄

  6. 💩 . The digital footage is perfectly intact, I will do it for you.
    At least one of the cabins. There really isn’t more than about nine seconds of video on this.

  7. I assume that the big empty space in front of the white piano in the Grand foyer/Martini bar is where those who want to could have a little dance. Do they have live music there every night?
    I also noticed that some men are wearing jackets, I assume it was shabby chic night?

    1. I suppose you could have a little dance but we never saw anyone do it. Talked to Kyle of Manchester fame yesterday.

      The staff has no plans to have traditional ballroom dancing. The reason they have salsa is to be consistent with the Caribbean.

      I know this is not news you would want to hear, and it does not mean they never will, but if the activities assistant manager says it, unfortunately believe it until I see otherwise.

      This ship does not have the vibe of setting itself up for ballroom dancing ☹️

  8. Awww c’mon. Show us some of the messy cabins. It’ll make me feel so much better about myself. Tee hee.

  9. Tortola. One of my favorite beach Islands. It is also a jumping off spot to an all time Mates story that Jim and I will share next time we see you.

  10. Glad you are enjoying Edge. It is different and I enjoyed most of the differences. You haven’t said if you like the Infinite Veranda?

  11. How many haircuts you had since you retired ? Relax man and join civy street. Lol. Cruise on.

      1. Think of the savings you could enjoy. You are now on a fixed income. For a while anyways. 😇

  12. The ship looks very clean and contemporary with many really beautiful spaces. I think my absolute favourite thing is that magnificent stylized ‘X’. Nothing says Celebrity like that.

  13. Thanks for the great preview, Bob. We are checking out your posts and pictures in great expectation of our upcoming cruise on the Edge. Judy and Bill

  14. Initial thoughts based on the blog. Eden is beautiful. Not sure I’d be happy with the lack of indoor stuff. Love that dripping blue paint thing – looks awesome – as do the Christmas decorations. But we’d have a hard time finding couches to sleep on since we’d never be tech-savvy enough to get into our room. LOL! Our flip phone might not cut it. 🙂

  15. I’m glad you mentioned the stupid muster drill video. With it trying to be entertaining to keep your attention, it does just the opposite to me, since it is so silly. The service was great for us when it was only half full. :o). I was worried about the bars particularly. Not being able to get a waiter does save X money on the drink packages. I wish they could fix the issues before we get on in 3 weeks, but I doubt it. Have fun, since it is an amazing ship.

  16. Was your Indian meal intended as a pre-cursor to your upcoming post Edge adventure?
    I’ll wager that meal will bear little or no resemblance to the real thing you will experience in India!

  17. Looking forward to reading about your adventures and seeing all the pictures of the Edge.

  18. Can’t wait to read about it. We are on the first TA on the Edge – FLL to Southampton- April 28, 2019.

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