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Wednesday,  May 22, 2024 7:47 PM 

A Western debut: Celebrity Edge now taking travellers to the edge of Alaska

  • Cruises
  •   05-13-2024  11:45 am
  •   Michelle Froese

A Western debut: Celebrity Edge now taking travellers to the edge of Alaska
From left: Captain Manolis, SVP Marine Operation; Keith Lane, SVP hotel operations; Captain Matt, Celebrity Edge Captain; Laura Hodges, president, Celebrity Cruises; Allan Brooks, national director of sales, Canada; Brenda Yeomans, key account manager; Chad Kowalenko, field sales manager. (Pax Global Media)
Michelle Froese

Celebrity Edge is officially making its sailing debut on the West Coast. Operated by Celebrity Cruises, the 2,908-passenger ship is the first in the innovative Edge Series – and considered a modern and revolutionary “resort at sea.”

Although Celebrity Edge initially launched in 2018, this is the first time she’s travelled west. She briefly stopped at the Port of Vancouver over the weekend (May 10 and 11) to celebrate her western route, and will host weekly sailings every Friday to Alaska from Seattle until September.

“Celebrity Cruises’ flagship vessel from the game-changing Edge series will be spending her first season in Alaska,” said Laura Hodges, president of Celebrity Cruises, at the Western launch celebration. “I know our guests are going to love her.”

So, why did it take until now for Celebrity Edge to hit the Pacific? In cruise ship years, it actually hasn’t been that long.

Celebrity Edge launched in 2018. (Celebrity Cruises)

“Typically, a ship will be slowly introduced to a market, and it takes time for a vessel to see new waters,” explained Allan Brooks, national director of sales at Celebrity Cruises Canada. “Now that our fleet is growing so much, we’re able to introduce her to new places and new markets. Alaska makes perfect sense.”

Celebrity Edge is the first of five in the Edge-class series. There’s also Celebrity Apex, Beyond, Ascent, and the Xcel, which will debut in the Caribbean in November 2025.

“I couldn't imagine a better ship for Alaska than the Edge because of her unique, outward-facing design and spine down the centre,” Brooks shared. “This means the ship doesn’t require the typical steel shell for structural integrity, so there’s no need for bulkheads on every deck. Instead, there’s much more glass, allowing for unobstructed views.”

From left (of Celebrity Cruises Canada): Allan Brooks, national director of sales; Brenda Yeomans, key account manager. (Pax Global Media)

Celebrity Edge was built using 3D technology in a cave lab in the Port of Miami, Hodges said.

“The Edge series thoughtfully integrates Celebrity’s desire to make the destination experience more immersive for our guests,” she said. “The outward-facing design really takes guests closer to the destination.”

Life on the Edge

What could be a better way to see Alaska? 

The seven-night cruise from Seattle briefly ports in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Dawes Glacier. For travellers who’d prefer to board from Vancouver, Celebrity offers the Summit and the Solstice ships as additional sailing options to Alaska. For the Edge experience, Seattle is barely an hour’s flight from Vancouver International Airport.  

“We’ve been seeing a noticeable rise and interest in cruises from our clients,” said Claire Banman, owner and senior travel agent of South East Travel, based in Chilliwack, BC. “And I’m very impressed with the Edge. It’s modern and comfortable, and it’s often difficult to do both well. But this ship has succeeded!”

Claire Banman, owner and senior travel agent of South East Travel. (Pax Global Media)

Brooks points out that many high-end travellers, who enjoy a five-star meal and good service, also enjoy a casual atmosphere, and that’s what the Celebrity Edge offers — along with some one-of-a-kind features. Case in point: The Magic Carpet, which can ascend 13 stories above sea level.

“This is renowned as the world’s first cantilevered floating platform and a true marine engineering feat,” said Hodges. “It’s also a gorgeous way for our guests to see Alaska.”

The ship’s staterooms also offer infinity verandas, allowing guests to walk nearly to the water’s edge for that immersive experience. Some rooms also connect, making it easier for families and friends to remain close.

Poolside on board Celebrity Edge. (Pax Global Media)

“We’ve been attracting the luxury client to the ship, but they’re now often bringing their family,” said Brooks. “They're used to a certain level of service and attention to detail, but also want a casual, family-friendly environment. So, multi-gen is big right now.”

Brooks said there’s also an uptick in group travellers, whether it’s a club or business retreat, and first-time cruisers.  

The Magic Carpet overlooks Vancouver. (Pax Global Media)

The Magic Carpet transforms levels into different venues on the side of Celebrity Edge. (File photo)

Brenda Yeomans, key account manager with Celebrity Cruises, agreed. “The Edge series is introducing many new travellers to cruise ships and it’s changing their minds about cruising because it’s so different. You can walk through an art gallery, enjoy immersive views, live theatre, or even play pickleball — which is something new we’ve added! It’s a unique experience and this ship really captures different interests and imaginations.”

Responsible vacations at sea

Celebrity Cruises is also dedicated to becoming more sustainable. According to Hodges, the cruise line has committed to building the first net-zero cruise ship by 2035 and for all new vessels to be net-zero by 2050.

Currently, more than 30 of their vessels have shore power, which enables a ship to reduce emissions to nearly zero while docked at ports. The Celebrity Edge is expected to get that capability next year.

The Edge’s bow, which has a parabolic shape, is also designed to maximize fuel efficiency. The hull has an air-lubrication system underneath, allowing it to glide more efficiently and reduce drag.

Eden Restaurant on board  Celebrity Edge. (Celebrity Cruises)

"We’ve also become a first mover to sign the Pacific Northwest Alaska Green Corridor Agreement,” added Hodges.

This agreement is a collaborative partnership between major cruise lines and several ports of call in Alaska to work together on lowering emissions.

"We are very committed to our mission to, unequivocally, deliver the best vacation experiences — responsibly. Central to bringing this to life, is our collective work to sustain the planet, energize communities, and accelerate innovation around sustainability.”

Showtime on board Celebrity Edge. (Pax Global Media)

Yeomans noted how the Edge is “a wonderful opportunity for those on the western side of the country to visit Alaska.”

And the good news is Celebrity Edge is already scheduled to return for the 2025 summer season, also departing weekly from Seattle.

“Take one trip with the Edge, and you’ll undoubtedly want to return,” she said.

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