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Celebrity Edge review: Should Australian cruise fans be excited?

Celebrity Edge brings a new class of cruise ship to Australian waters, offering a refined adult-friendly experience and a stunning design.

Quick Verdict

The Celebrity Edge offers a cruise experience that best caters to adults or families with older teenagers. It's not particularly well-suited to young families. The visually spectacular design hides a number of innovative concepts that all hit the mark. The staterooms are excellent, and so is the entertainment. While the staff are fantastic. The drinks are full strength and tasty, but the food is a little bit hit and miss when it comes to complimentary dining. The cruise ship feels new and modern, making for a great experience.

For Australia's large and invested cruise community, the arrival of Celebrity Edge has been highly anticipated. Already a popular brand in Australian waters with Edge, Celebrity has brought a new class and a new level of experience Down Under.

It's an eye-catching ship that turned heads as it sat beneath the Harbour Bridge for the first time. And under that design is a series of technical innovations that have transformed the industry.

Ahead of its arrival, I was given the opportunity to spend 5 nights on Celebrity Edge. From immersing myself in its facilities and experiences, to chatting with the captain on the bridge and enjoying tours behind closed doors, I lived life on the Edge. Here is my Celebrity Edge review.

Who is Celebrity Edge for?

Celebrity is the sister brand to Royal Caribbean, but has a very different identity. Where Royal Caribbean is like a floating family theme park that goes big on just about everything, Celebrity is akin to a cosy 5-star resort with its own private beach.

It's not an adults-only experience, but I also wouldn't call it family-friendly. Or at least, not in the way Royal Caribbean is. Instead, I'd say it's kid-tolerant. I'll explain that in more detail as we go deeper into this review, but this is not a cruise I'd recommend to families with kids in the 5–15 age bracket.

Conversely, if you're looking for a cruise that avoids pandering to this demographic then that should be music to your ears.

For reference, just over 3,100 passengers shared my cruise: only 150 of them were kids. The sold-out Christmas and New Year bookings to follow, right in the thick of the school holidays, had 400 and 350, respectively.

Interested Aussies can keep an eye out for cruise deals.

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When you first look at the Celebrity Edge from front on, you'll raise an eyebrow. It looks wrong, like a proboscis monkey. Or a pug. Like someone or something punched it in the bow and squished it all up. It's a far cry from the classic long fronts we usually witness parting oceans around the world.

In truth though, Celebrity's innovation here is being adopted by many cruise ships built in its wake. The shape dramatically reduces the ship's drag as it cuts through the waves, making for a more efficient vessel.

In addition, this parabolic bow distributes micro-bubbles beneath the mighty ship as it goes. This air lubrication system creates a surface over which the steel can glide with greater ease.

Not only is this part of improving efficiency, but it also stabilises the ship. And indeed, when we were being buffeted by 7-metre waves and 160km/h winds off the coast of New Zealand, the sway was little more than I experienced in the calm tropical waters off Vanuatu on Royal Caribbean.

The Magic Carpet is also a special addition. This large platform hangs off the starboard side of the Celebrity Edge and can be moved up or down to act as a counterweight, provide a jetty in order to access tender boats or simply to make for a good view.

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The innovation extends into the ship's decks, rooms and facilities. The focus with the design of Celebrity Edge and the ships that have followed in Celebrity's Edge Class was to bring the outside, inside. To try to make you connected with the water and vistas around you at all times.

As such the ship is filled with curves. The spectacular glass windows of Eden, the stern's classy bar where you can watch a pianist at work while sipping a glass of wine. The walkways that rise and fall and bend like waves as they drift between floors. The rooftop garden, filled with plants and iron sculptured in the shape of butterfly wings.

Bars tend to face outwards. At the back of the top deck, you can watch the sunset from stools secluded from the breeze. While the incredible Magic Carpet allows you to literally lounge over the waves, many metres off the side of the ship. Even from the restaurants and Martini Bar in the guts of the lower decks, natural light shines in.

Celebrity Edge is a gorgeous ship. A work of art. Inside and out, you're forever framing photos in your mind, contrasting the striking design against the natural wonders. Punctuated by the iconic X that reinvents the exhaust stack. It says a lot about how the design organises passengers, that despite being at full capacity, my trip always felt half-full. Never busy.

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Form over function?

As much as I love its design, there are occasions when it's a case of form over function.

Celebrity Edge is asymmetrical, which gives it a unique beauty, but can make traversal a pain. Too often you'll want to get somewhere, only to find the ramp, stairs or elevator you have taken leads to a dead end. Frustratingly you must then go backwards to move forwards or take the long way around.

The adults-only solarium sits bang in the middle of the ship. It's a lovely space but it becomes a thoroughfare as a result and you never get a particularly spectacular view.

The double height glass balustrades in many places grime-over quickly with salt, making the few spots where you can get a clear photo clumsy and clustered when you arrive at destinations like Milford Sound.

This is made worse by the fact that the whole front top region of Celebrity Edge is blocked off for Retreat members. As in, those rich enough to afford a suite. Outside of the gym, there is no way for regular guests to ever look off the front of the ship or take photos at what's coming, as opposed to what's passing by or already impacted by the ship's wake and steam.

Another weird design frustration is the way seating is placed in front of the bars. At Eden, the Martini bar and even the Sunset bar, you're forced to shove past or yell over people sitting to order.

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Celebrity Edge stateroom review

I stayed in room 6210, which is one of the Celebrity Edge staterooms with infinite veranda. It's also a room with what's described as a "partial view".

I will get to the infinite veranda shortly, but firstly I wanted to focus on the room.

It's really quite excellent. The Celebrity Edge was built in 2018 and as a relatively new ship – especially when you consider it was out of use during COVID – everything still feels pristine. It also feels modern, as typified by the large flat panel TV and the touchscreen that controls aircon, windows and lights.

The bathroom is engineered to feel spacious despite its small footprint. Even as a big bloke I had no dramas using the shower.

The general stateroom design is similar to most cruise ships, with a king bed (or twin beds) in one half and a couch and desk in the other. There's a stack of little storage spots and hidey holes, as well as a range of power options on the desk.

The highlight is the bed, which is supremely comfortable. And despite being on level 6, with people above and on both sides, as well as the main entertaining space below, it was quiet and private. Just a super comfortable sleep all around.

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Is the infinite veranda any good?

Despite being a balcony room, there is no balcony as such. Instead, there is a sunroom. It ties into the whole "bring the outside, inside" design philosophy. Most ships have their supporting steel running down the outside of the vessel, creating the familiar balcony look. Celebrity Edge has its supporting steel running internally, meaning the room can extend right to the side.

As such, the infinite veranda is an internal space, with a table and chairs, facing a wall of glass. Simple controls allow you to open the top half, creating a balcony-like effect. This gives you a clear view and a blissful breeze. An electronic blind can also be lowered, giving you privacy and darkness.

It works as advertised, but I'm not sold that it's better than a balcony. Yes, it's unique and it does make you feel like you are living in an inside-outside space. But it also robs you of control.

The captain can close and lock your window in bad weather or so the robot window cleaner can come past. This leaves you stuck with salt-stained glass to peer through. Plus, you can't just have the window cracked and a curtain flapping in the breeze. This doesn't work with the rigid blind.

The reality is, on more than one occasion I really wanted to be on my veranda with the window open to catch some breeze or take a photo and was locked out of doing so. I'd prefer that was my decision. Even if the room isn't as swanky as a result.

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Food and drink

Celebrity Edge takes an intriguing position with its dining. There is a large buffet, of course, which delivers 3 big meals a day. In-between it offers snacks and a pizza bar. Supporting the buffet are smaller destinations like a burger bar and cafes. Most offering healthier alternatives, which is nice.

Beyond the buffet, instead of a main dining hall, there are a number of smaller complimentary dining locations that are themed. Tuscany is Italian, for example. Cyprus is Greek. Cosmopolitan is fancy. These places can be booked or you can simply turn up. Each offers exclusive meals, alongside rotating staples.

Then you have your speciality dining, which costs more.

I didn't think much of the buffet, sadly. Despite a large number of stations, the food variety wasn't what I was expecting and the quality was average. By the second day I knew what to expect and that it wasn't about to blow my mind. As a result, I stopped going to the buffet, more intrigued by what I might find to try in the smaller eateries.

By contrast, the various dining hall meals I tried were much more enjoyable. I ended up eating there for most dinners and even the odd lunch, simply using the buffet to stay full in-between.

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Speciality dining on Celebrity Edge

Of the many speciality dining experiences, I was able to try 2 options.

Le Petit Chef is an innovative 3D dinner experience. Projectors and speakers turn your table, food and plates into a moving landscape, with your dining adventure narrated by a little chef that runs about your table. It was really fantastic and very unique. And the food was excellent.

A more refined defining experience, with 7 delicious courses each paired with a specific wine, can be had in the Eden restaurant. Alternatively, you can order the more traditional 3 courses. The food was sublime. But I wasn't prompted, as I was with Royal Caribbean's speciality dining, to try more than one dish.

I definitely ate well on Celebrity Edge, but I thought the gap between the general buffet and takeaway fare and the sit-down eats was bigger than I experienced on Royal Caribbean.

As for the drinks, it's definitely pricey. But regardless of if you get the drinks package or buy each individually, cocktails are well made and filled with booze. Very tasty and with the desired effect. It was nice to see Little Creatures and Coopers among the beer selections, too. And I have no complaints with the wine I sampled, either.

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I've spoken briefly about some of the facilities already. The wonderful Magic Carpet is a multipurpose winner. The adults-only solarium offers a comfortable all-weather space with a hot tub and a small pool surrounded by lounges. There is an additional outside pool and 2 raised external hot tubs. I enjoyed sitting in these, even when the weather was poor.

A jogging track circles the top deck and was a popular exercise option for guests. While the rooftop garden sports a big screen that shows movies, should the weather oblige.

A third pool and another hot tub can be found in The Retreat overlooking the bow, but this area is only accessible by VIPs. Also in the bow's upper floors is a large spa treatment space I was unable to try and an excellent spacious gym with arguably the best view in the house.

Back in the stern, the lower floors are consumed by a wonderful theatre. It's not as technical or impressive as what you might see on Royal Caribbean, but the sound and lighting is top shelf and there's a good view from all the seats.

Lower still you'll find a small kids' club and an even smaller teen space. A chunk of the middle of the ship is taken up by a casino. As someone who doesn't gamble, I was a little taken aback by how in your face the casino is. There's no avoiding it because walking through it is often the quickest way to the elevator.

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Don't expect the kitchen sink

Outside of that, there's not too much to crow about. For adult guests, that's not such a big issue. But you can perhaps see now why I'm hesitant to suggest Celebrity Edge for young kids. There's no sports centre, outside of 2 external ping pong tables. No rock climbing, waterslides, laser tag, go-kart track or any of those kinds of facilities that allow kids to be consistently and easily entertained. Instead, it's up to parents and a couple of small pools to keep them away from boredom.

Even the aforementioned kids' club is only active at 3 short windows through the day. And they don't feed them. So, while certainly handy, it still leaves you – as the parent – with work to do.

Also odd is the lack of a genuine lounge or library space. When I looked for somewhere to do some work, utilising the solid internet speeds, it was hard to find a space. Even Eden, the quiet space at the back of the vessel, is filled with low coffee tables and comfy lounges, not suitable for laptop work.

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On my Celebrity Edge cruise, the last 2 days – as we crossed from Milford Sound to Sydney – were plagued by poor weather. Rain, wind and dark clouds. The upper deck was mostly deserted. It says a lot for Celebrity Edge that during this time I was never left wanting for things to do, nor did I feel like it was overly busy.

The Celebrity app, the design of which mimics Royal Caribbean's app, ensures you're only ever a tap away from being prompted with something to entertain you. From trivia, to puzzle games, Zumba, dance classes, musicians, singers and more, everything is done in the right spirit and with a friendly atmosphere. Even if some experiences, like putt-putt and archery (with soft arrows), fall flat.

Naturally, the big productions in the theatre are the experiences you don't want to miss. The shows I saw set a high-quality bar, but there was perhaps an over-emphasis on singers and bands. A few more stand-up comics, magicians, acrobats and the like would have been welcome.

It was also disappointing that no live bands or even DJs played out by the pools.

Later in the night, the Martini bar in the very heart of the ship becomes the centre point. The staff put on a show (think the movie Cocktail), the drinks are great and there's usually a singer or DJ performing. Then the action continues to the Club, where there can be more shows to enjoy or dance music playing late into the night.

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The Celebrity Edge crew work hard and do a good job. I was always greeted warmly and often engaged in conversation. They were happy to volunteer information about their lives and experiences. Queues at bars and at guest relations were always small. My room was always immaculate when I returned from my morning activities.

I didn't get waited on as much as I would have hoped. No one, for example, came to the hot tub and asked if I wanted a drink. But it had been a long trip for many of the staff by the time I jumped on board. Celebrity Edge had sailed from Europe all the way to New Zealand, some 50-odd days at sea. As a result, you could see staff struggling to maintain their energy at times and understandably so.

But they were never anything short of courteous and helpful.

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There's so much to love about Celebrity Edge. It's genuinely innovative and feels very new. The staterooms, in particular the beds, are great, even if I'm not completely sold on the infinite veranda. I was impressed by the bold design choices across the decks and how, even at full capacity, it never felt crowded.

I'd question taking my young kids on Celebrity Edge. I don't feel its facilities or vibe really cater to their needs and, as a result, it burdens parents with much of the workload when it comes to their entertainment. But as a parent getaway or simply for adults wishing to let their hair down without having to be watchful of little humans, it finds a delightful niche.

I certainly hope to experience more of Celebrity in the future and the destinations ships this size can offer.

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