Stepping aboard a luxurious cruise ship for the first time, especially one that cost a whopping US$1 billion (AU$1.5 billion) to build sure stirs the senses, and so it is with Celebrity Edge on its debut season in our waters.
LATTE is fortunate to be onboard for the first of its inaugural sailings in the South Pacific, embarking in Christchurch, New Zealand for a five-night voyage to Sydney and already Celebrity is hailing its arrival as a stunning success.
Speaking to LATTE last night, Tim Jones, Celebrity Cruises’ Vice President and Managing Director of Australia & APAC said: “We’re completely full at the moment and we’ve got really strong load factors going forward”.
Celebrity is offering a massive discount of 75% off the second person sailing, but Jones refutes the line is having trouble filling empty cabins.
He says it’s a good promotion, people seem to love it and during the next few months, Celebrity will have additional savings and some extra onboard credit offers for new bookings.
“But, you have to keep an eye out for these as they will go fast. It’s certainly something that we will keep in place for the next couple of months,” Jones said.
The savings will be offered on an array of curated cruises until next April, from six- to 15-days over twelve itineraries visiting 22 ports in Australia and New Zealand as well as the South Pacific Islands of Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Mystery Island (an uninhabited islet of Vanuatu).
There are also overnight stays in Cairns, Hobart and Auckland, as well as some enticing themed holidays – Sun and Beach Escapes, Food and Wine Classics, Five Star Getaways and an Epicurean Journey with Wine Tastings.
For gin lovers, Celebrity Cruises has teamed up with Australia’s leading craft distillery, Four Pillars Gin for a co-hosted six-night Tasmania sailing in March, where guests can enjoy exclusive gin tasting and food pairing such as a four-course degustation lunch with gin-inspired cocktails and local Tasmania oysters and a chocolate masterclass.
Celebrity Edge is big, 14 decks, carries 2,928 passengers and 1,377 crew and Jones says Australians, New Zealanders, Americans and Europeans have responded incredibly well to having it in this part of the world, because it’s built for places like this region, and even Alaska in terms of all the outward facing aspects of the ship.
“Australia is now our fourth latest market globally, after the USA, UK and Canada, so having Edge in our waters is an incredible experience, not just for people who sail with us here, but to showcase the four Edge-class series of ships which are now sailing in all of our most important markets”.
He says the great thing about Celebrity Cruises is that there’s a healthy mix of nationalities on board the ships that create a “much more international environment on board.”
“We’ve created such a strong atmosphere of a resort onboard the ship with the use of outward facing glass and outward facing elements of the ship that really allow you to connect with either the ocean around you or the other destinations that you’re in,” added Jones.
“Our guests are surprised at the amount of natural light that there is within the ship.”
He says when you walk through the vessel, the floor-to-ceiling windows are just incredible as you can sit inside with a coffee and watch the beautiful views go by outside.
Jones points out the other unique thing about Edge is the Infinite veranda of the cabin. Rather than having a standard cabin with a sliding door, yguests step out into a separate veranda. The room itself incorporates the veranda and you have the choice of whether you have a larger room, or whether you recreate it with a veranda aspect.
“When you walk into the room for the first time all you see is floor-to-ceiling glass split across the middle by a metal barrier. You can then lower the entire top half of that window to create a balcony in your room,” says Jones.
“It’s really a resort at sea, a very elevated experience and when we talk to our guests and travel agents, they’ll say something really simple like: “It’s just better”.
For a 10-night cruise of the Great Barrier Reef on 10 December 2024, prices start from $1,860 pp for an Inside Cabin, $2,397 pp for an Infinite Veranda cabin and $10,001 for The Retreat.
In our next report, LATTE looks at The Retreat, the luxurious, exclusive ship-within-a-ship, and the amazing food and wine offerings on Edge.
Lead image: Aboard Celebrity Edge on the journey from Christchurch to Sydney this week are travel advisors, Neil Kirby, Travel Masters and The Travel Studio; Penny Spencer, Spencer Travel and Phil Smethurst, Bicton Travel.