Imagine looking at a rendering of a yet to materialise luxury apartment. There are wooden floors and marble finishings, there’s ample space and incidence of light. So far, so familiar. The only caveat is: this luxury apartment is not your standard real estate - it is on a cruise ship. The first new Celebrity Cruises design in 10 years, the Edge was unveiled earlier this month in Miami. Baptized the Celebrity Edge, its adventurous design examines the very extremes of what is practically possible to achieve on a passenger vessel.
In the Innovation Lab of Celebrity Cruises and Royal Carribean at their Miami headquarters, the respective CEO’s elaborate on the groundbreaking way in which the Edge has been designed, using 3D every step of the way. The technology has of course been around for years, stresses Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Carribean, but the innovation lies in how the various elements of state-of-the-art technology have been put together to create this cruise ship’s decks, suites and staterooms. “We arrive at our best ideas through collaboration, and we give the best designers the best tools”, says Fain, referring to his stellar interiors team, led by Kelly Hoppen, for the ship’s accommodations, and by Tom Wright who lent his hand to the public spaces.
Rendering of the Edge Suite Sun Deck. Photography by Kelly Hoppen. © 2016 Celebrity Cruises Inc. All rights reserved.
Great design is always the result of a search for the best solution to a practical problem, and in the case of the Edge, one of these challenges was to think of an elegant and more efficient way of boarding and disembarking the ship. After much trial and error – Fain likes to quote Thomas Edison, who remarked about his invention of the electrical lightbulb, “I see a thousand failures” – they decided to make use of a “magic carpet” that can be lifted to each level of decks. About the size of a tennis court, it’s an example of the outward-facing approach upon which the design of the Edge is based. The goal: transform the cruise experience.
According to Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, CEO of Celebrity Cruises, one defining way in which the Edge accomplished this is by orientating the loungers on the Resort Deck differently: outward, facing the ocean to better appreciate the surroundings, instead of facing the pool, as a traditional Pool Deck would. The rooftop garden boasts wooden, artfully designed ‘trees’ that also cleverly act as windbreakers, wherein musicians can perch to entertain guests in the evening, making for serene, yet sociable spaces.
For absolute privacy, the staterooms allow you to “sail away from the demands of modern living”, in interior designer Kelly Hoppen’s words. Known for over 40 years for her deceptively simple aesthetic in which luxury and integrity are key, the South-African-born, London-based designer is not one for compromise. Luckily, Hoppen received total support from the Celebrity Cruises team. “Every detail that we’ve drawn – if we couldn’t do it, we’d say: let’s find a way”, she says, “We haven’t compromised anything to do with the design.”
The design elements you find on the Edge, are completely novel, Hoppen beams, “Everything is new – nothing like this has ever been done in this industry before.” She recalls standing in a stateroom and suggesting, “Let’s have Crittall doors.”
“It’s very now, it’s very studio, but we won’t do them in black, let’s do them in taupe. And they can fold back,” she says. “To have that extra space in a stateroom, combined with their technology of creating more space by opening up the exoskeleton - I think it’s really clever, there’s no reason you’d ever shut it.”
A Rendering of the Iconic Suite Interior on the Celebrity Edge. © 2016 Celebrity Cruises Inc. All rights reserved.
The Celebrity Edge is bigger and better on many fronts. There are more than double the amount of suites than on any other Celebrity ship, but even the regular staterooms living areas are 23 per cent larger. There are bigger bathrooms, bigger beds, more storage space, and thanks to those Crittall doors, a higher sense of connection to the ocean via an infinite veranda that brings the balcony inside the room, continuing on that outward facing streak that encompasses the entire ship.
The height of luxury can be found in the new suite categories: Iconic Suites that have a panoramic view of the ocean, a view even better than the captain’s thanks to their location right over the ship’s bridge. The Edge Villa’s, duplex apartments with floor-to-ceiling windows, boast private plunge pools as well as direct access to an exclusive The Retreat Sundeck. Finally, the Penthouse Suites, which offer soaking tubs on the veranda, large walk-through showers and walk-in closets. All suites and double occupancy Edge Staterooms include the luxury option of butler services and access to an exclusive spa; The Retreat.
The sum of all these parts is all the more baffling considering, don’t forget, this magnificent design is meant to be oceanside. As Hoppen muses, “I think the beauty is – when you’re at sea, you just relax. It’s one of the best holidays you can have.”
The Celebrity Edge sails from Port Everglades on September 16th. celebritycruises.com/edge/