I was very pleased when Connoisseur Magazine invited me to be a Luxury Travel Correspondent for their publication which has both UK and US Editions. Connoisseur is written with the luxury traveler in mind. So when I was asked to write about the newest ship in Celebrity Cruises fleet, I concentrated on the “Ship within a Ship” feature on the much-anticipated Celebrity Edge. The “Ship within a Ship” is new to Celebrity but not to cruising. It’s being used as a way to create a private space for Premium passengers who have paid substantial sums of money and who might normally be found aboard Silversea or Seabourn or Regent –smaller ships that excel in service, suites and all around excellence. On Celebrity Edge, the premium passengers have a complete area of the ship to themselves called The Retreat. That’s what you’ll read about today.
When ships were still a mode of transoceanic transportation, “Classes” were created to cosset high spenders in their own area of the ship, in First Class. Second class was reserved for more budget conscious travelers. Calling something “Second class” was later replaced by Cabin Class which had a nicer ring to it. Finally there was 3rd class or steerage, bare bones travel for sure but a way for millions of people to escape the harsh realities of their home countries and sail to the promised land–whether that was America or Australia, Canada or South America. Cruising basically did away with all that. In its infancy, the people attracted to cruising were confined to those with enough time on their hands to loll away on a cruise ship often for weeks at a time. So the only class cruising were really First Class passengers.
The jet engine quickly killed off almost all transoceanic passenger ship traffic. The original Queen Mary often sailed in winter with more crew than passengers and was forced out of service in 1965. Then along came “The Love Boat”, launched in 1977. The Television series took its viewers cruising every week for 9 years. Mass market cruising never had a greater pitch person. Meanwhile, in 1976, a man named Ted Arison converted a former transatlantic liner from Canadian Pacific into Mardi Gras. (As an aside, Mardi Gras, formerly RMS Empress of Canada, was the first ship I ever sailed on crossing the Atlantic.) A genius at marketing, Arison turned his ships into “Fun Ships”, played to an entirely new and younger cruiser and hired Kathy Lee Gifford to sing “Carnival’s got the Fun”. Cruising took off and it’s never stopped since.
Celebrity Cruises started its life in 1988. From the very beginning, Celebrity was a head above mass market cruises like Carnival or even its own parent company Chandris. Its concept and its tagline is “Modern Luxury”. Having sailed twice on Celebrity, I must admit I was mightily impressed with everything about Celebrity. These are decidedly not small ships but everything from the personal service, to the feeling of spaciousness to the extraordinary quality of the cuisine on board is definitely first class. And Celebrity Edge is the latest example of why Celebrity has been voted #1 in its class for 10 years running. So step aboard and enjoy Celebrity Edge. Click the box below to go to the article. There are some captions I would have like to have included for the photos so here’s a line up of you’ll be looking at. 1. The private sundeck off the Iconic Suites, the largest on board and at over 2500 square of space rival the largest suites on any ship or any size. 2. Every staterooms bathroom is as spacious as this. 3. Sculpture and living plants are everywhere aboard Edge. 4. The Edge ‘smokestack’ is the background for this shot of the Martini Glass shaped Jacuzzis. 5. Bar Snacks include delicacies like this “Crab Martini”.