Project EDGE will deliver small ship itineraries with large ship amenities
Celebrity Edge (which I don’t think I’ve mentioned before today) is a class of ship, an individual ship, and a concept. It’s also shrouded in deep mystery….
The concept appeared in December 2014 when Celebrity Cruises announced that they would be building two new ships in a completely new class, the Edge class. There are very few details about these ships. We know their dimensions: at 300m (914 feet) long, 38m (123 feet) wide and with a tonnage of 117,000, the new ships will be very slightly smaller than the original Solstice class ships and also differently proportioned – shorter, wider, and possible higher. But no further information was given, and the design of the ship is all rumours.
One rumour that’s apparently gained some traction is that the ships won’t feature a main dining room in the traditional sense. Instead there will be a significant number of eateries – some suggest 14 – of which no more than 5 will be ‘free’ (i.e., included in the basic cost of your cruise); and the others will be extra-cost. I ought to stress that we don’t know how they will operate, but this sounds quite like Royal Caribbean’s Dynamic Dining concept. This was launched on their ship Quantum of the Seas, extended to the second ship of the Quantum class (Anthem of the Seas), and there were plans to extend it to the Oasis class ships. But apparently passenger feedback has caused a reversal of the plans – you read about that in this post on Malcolm Oliver’s cruise blog. Celebrity Cruises is part of the Royal Caribbean empire, of course; are they going to try it again? Or is it just that the rumours about Edge-class dining not caught up with what has happened with Royal Caribbean’s experience?
About the only other thing we know is the statements that Celebrity has been making about the new class. “Project EDGE will deliver small ship itineraries with large ship amenities”, they say, and the quote is continued with “a perfect vacation experience in step with today’s premium vacationer”. (And I though it was just going on a cruise….) On the one hand I’m really not sure how you can deliver a small-ship itinerary in a 117,000 ton ship, but there again, if you look at the luxury ‘small ships’ – e.g. those from Oceania or Regent Seven Seas – they don’t deviate very much from the standard itineraries. OK, they may officially call at Sorrento rather than Naples but apart from the actual location of the berth it’s pretty much the same experience thereafter – excursions to Pompeii, drives along the Amalfi coast, and so on. You need to look at the likes of Fred Olsen to get genuinely different itineraries.
A few other hard facts have emerged recently:
- Steel has recently been cut at the shipyard (STX St Nazaire) for the first in the class (Celebrity Edge);
- A second ship, to be called Celebrity Beyond, has definitely been ordered and there are options for two more after that;
- And Celebrity Edge will go into service in autumn 2018, i.e. about 2 years from now.
That last point means that we will learn a lot more about the details of these new ships fairly soon. Autumn 2018 isn’t too far away in cruise booking terms, and Celebrity will need to publish a lot of information about her when the autumn 2018 schedules go on sale. Sometime ion the next 6 months, I reckon.