Culinary offerings will be a major pillar of the experience onboard Celebrity Cruises’ upcoming Celebrity Edge, with a lineup of all-new specialty venues, flexible seating options and a focus on locally sourced food and high-tech showmanship. Travel Agent and other media got a sneak preview of what guests can expect at an event in New York City.
“The culinary pillar is really the first among equals,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Celebrity Cruises parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. As a result, the culinary offerings will be a major part of what the new ship, the first in Celebrity’s new Edge class, has to offer.
“It follows the same philosophy as the rest of Celebrity Edge: it’s innovative and transformative for the Celebrity brand,” said Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo.
Helmed by Michelin-starred Chef Cornelius Gallagher, Celebrity Edge will have a total of 29 restaurants and bars, including four main dining venues; two exclusive venues for Suite or Aqua class guests; seven specialty restaurants; and 11 bars and lounges.
One of the standout “wow” experiences will be Le Petite Chef, a one and a half hour dining experience held in the evenings at the Le Grand Bistro specialty restaurant. The experience uses 4K projection to bring an animated 3D character to life on guest’s plates. In the sample we watched, a rolling ocean scene turned to a snowy landscape right on our table. There a tiny French chef emerged from an igloo and proceeded to build an ice cream dessert on our plates, although trouble ensued when a flaming candle caused him to fall through the ice. Officials told us that the full experience will involve multiple courses and skits like this. The experience was developed in partnership with TableMation Studios. You can watch a clip from Celebrity’s demonstration here:
All four of the ship’s main dining venues, as well as the venues for Suite and Aqua class guests, will be complimentary. There will be two seating options to choose from: Celebrity Traditional Dining, and Celebrity Select Dining Plus. Traditional Dining will allow guests to choose an early or late seating, dining at the same table with the same waiter every evening. They will be assigned to one of the four main restaurants, although they will have the ability to experience others upon request. Select Dining Plus will allow guests to make reservations in any of the four restaurants at the time they wish.
Lutoff-Perlo said that the two options allow the line to appeal to both cruisers who prefer a more traditional dining experience, as well as those who want more options.
Menus will rotate nightly, with 75 percent of the menu being shared between the four main venues. Famous designer Nate Berkus, Celebrity Edge’s travel ambassador, noted that this would help appeal to the passenger “who just wants a steak every night.”
At the same time, 25 percent of the menus will be exclusive to each venue, drawing inspiration from the destination in which the ship is docked each day – part of the vessel’s focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
The venues themselves include the Tuscan Restaurant, a nod to the cruise line’s Tuscan Grille, which will serve freshly made pastas and other Italian fare. The French Normandie Restaurant restaurant is billed as a conceptual cousin to Murano. In its décor, Normandie will use actual wood paneling from the SS Normandy that Celebrity acquired by buying (and “flipping”) a house the paneling had been incorporated into.
“It’s beyond upcycling,” quipped Berkus.
Another main dining venue, Cosmopolitan Restaurant, will serve new American cuisine, and will incorporate a wine cellar-like main entrance, another nod to the rest of Celebrity’s fleet – in this case, the wine towers on the Solstice class. The Particia Urquiola-designed Cyprus Restaurant, serving Mediterranean fare, is positioned as a nod to the cruise line’s Greek heritage.
There will also be two main dining venues for Suite and Aqua class guests. Luminae at The Retreat, the Suite Class restaurant, is designed by Kelly Hoppen. Blu, for AquaClass guests, is a spa-inspired venue.
In addition to the complimentary main dining options, there will also be seven a la carte specialty restaurants, all of which are new to Celebrity Edge.
Fine Cut Steakhouse will serve premium cuts, while Raw on 5 will emphasize an eclectic lineup of fresh seafood, drawing influences ranging from St. Tropez to New England to sushi and sashimi. Raw on 5’s design will aim to bring guests close to the sea, extending right up to the railing in a raised glass dome. At certain times of the day, the ship’s signature Magic Carpet lift will provide an al fresco extension to the seafood restaurant.
In the evenings, the Magic Carpet will position itself on top of the ship, hosting the Dinner on the Edge experience. Guests will dine out over the water on a changing lineup of locally sourced dishes.
As Celebrity previously revealed in its preview of Celebrity Edge's signature Eden venue, the Eden Restaurant at the aft of the ship will offer guests a lively open air kitchen and menus paired with Cirque du Soleil-like live performances. Le Grand Bistro will serve breakfast and lunch in a style reminiscent of a boulangerie-patisserie, with grab-and-go options available. In the evenings it will host the Le Petit Chef experience.
Finally, atop the ship’s highest point, the Rooftop Garden Grill will serve burgers, brisket and other BBQ style dishes in an open-air setting with views of the surrounding ocean and destination.
Bars and Lounges
The ship’s bar offerings will heavily emphasize its wine list, which will expand from roughly 350 offerings for the rest of the fleet to 500 total. The additions will include a new Ancient World wines list, which will include wines sourced from unexpected destinations like Israel, Turkey, China, India and eastern Europe.
For cocktail lovers, there will be the Martini Bar, as well as a Sunset Bar offering panoramic vistas from the back of the ship. The Eden Bar will incorporate cocktail ingredients from its living plant wall, which Berkus described as “farm-to-table drinking.”
Other bars and lounges will include The Retreat Lounge and The Retreat Pool Bar, both exclusive for Suite Class guests; The Theater Bar; The Casino Bar; The Club; Café Al Bacio, serving specialty coffees and complimentary pastries; The Pool Bar and Edge Cabanas; and Il Secondo Bacio.
Celebrity Edge will debut with its first sailing out of its homeport, Fort Lauderdale, FL, November 21, 2018. After that it will spend its inaugural season sailing alternating seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries before heading to the Mediterranean in 2019, sailing from ports like Barcelona and Rome.