Celebrity Cruises revamps fleet while moving forward on Celebrity Apex

A look at the Celebrity Edge float out in Saint-Nazaire at STX France. (Bernard Biger/STX France)
A look at the Celebrity Edge float out in Saint-Nazaire at STX France. (Bernard Biger/STX France)

Celebrity Cruises is set to debut its first new ship in more than a decade when Celebrity Edge makes its way to Florida this fall, but the cruise line isn’t slowing down after that.

This summer, the second of four Edge-class ships, Celebrity Apex, moved forward with a steel-cutting ceremony at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France.

And Celebrity announced it was rolling out enhancements to nine of the ships in its fleet under a $500 million program called Celebrity Revolution.

Celebrity Apex won’t arrive until spring 2020 with the other new ships on order expected in fall 2021 and fall 2022. The class is a unique design to the cruise industry, with the 2,918-passenger Edge, which just had its first sea trial off the coast of France, set for debut Nov. 21 with seven-night alternating eastern and western Caribbean itineraries out of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Celebrity Cruises will debut the 129,500-ton, 1,004-foot, 2,918-passenger Celebrity Edge in fall 2018. It’s the first of four planned Edge-class ships.

“The success and momentum for Celebrity Edge has been incredible, and with Celebrity Apex we will yet again show how we are taking our brand to the next level,” said line President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo.

The most iconic feature is the ship’s Magic Carpet, which has multiple roles, but will offer an innovative way for passengers to disembark and reboard the ship when it tenders at ports of call. It will move up and down the side of the 16-deck ship and act as mass transportation, but also as an entertainment and dining venue.

Another feature is the three-story venue called Eden that will feature an 18-foot-tall wall of plants over a bar that uses ingredients from the plants in its drinks. The venue will act as relaxing lounge during the day and dinner theater venue at night with aerialists and musicians. Other features include martini glass-shaped jacuzzis, staterooms without sliding doors and two new suite categories (Iconic Suites and Edge Villas).

Some of the Edge-class enhancements highlight what will be coming to the rest of the fleet as part of the refurbishment program.

One of those will be the fleetwide rollout of some public spaces for suite-class guests. The open-air Retreat Sundeck and Retreat Lounge were designed for Celebrity Edge by interior designer Kelly Hoppen, who is also in charge of new suite designs for the older ships.

Her new designs will be found on Celebrity Millennium, Constellation, Infinity and Summit while the the Reflection Suite and Signature Suites found on Celebrity Reflection will be rolled out to Celebrity Solstice, Eclipse, Equinox, and Silhouette.

“This was a new and exciting challenge to recreate something stylish and luxurious yet totally different from the accommodations that I have designed for Celebrity Edge,” said Hoppen. “I wanted to invoke a feeling of timeless luxury that welcomed guests into their own haven. Your bedroom is where you sleep and where you wake, two of the most important times of day, especially when you are on vacation. It was important to create space, harmony and luxury within a home away from home setting and I think we achieved this balance perfectly.”

All staterooms in the fleet will be upgraded with new designs featuring cashmere mattresses, RFID locks for easy entrance and enhanced digital access.

“Every detail of our staterooms has been elevated, every comfort refined,” said Brian Abel, the cruise line’s senior vice president for hotel operations. “By the end of the Celebrity Revolution, the entire fleet will have the same quality, design essence, and consistency of modern luxury, bringing our fleet to the edge.”

For culinary, the fleet’s Qsine restaurant will become standard including the virtual reality entertainment dining experience Le Petit Chef. Also, Oceanview Cafe will be redesigned as will the main dining rooms.

Other enhancements include fleetwide rollout of the SEA Thermal Spa, which is making its debut on Celebrity Edge, upgraded digital photo gallery venue, a rework of the Passport Bar and expansion of Gastrobar.

The first three ships getting upgrades will be Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Equinox in 2019 with four more ships in 2020 and the rest of the existing fleet done by 2023.