There’s no candy-coating it. Traveling with young children can be a hectic experience, leaving you with the feeling that you need a vacation from your vacation. Cruising, however, eliminates a lot of the hassles associated with family travel. It’s easier to see more destinations in a short amount of time, without the pain of packing and unpacking. You don’t have to concern yourself with cooking, cleaning or scouring for activities to keep the kids entertained. Cruising keeps things simple, so you can actually relax with your family and have a real vacation.
I was recently invited by Celebrity Cruises on a seven-day sailing aboard their latest ship Celebrity Edge. Eager to check it out, I packed up my two kiddos and flew to Fort Lauderdale for a week-long maritime adventure with stops in Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and the British Virgin Islands.
Completing its first passenger sailing in December 2018, Celebrity Edge is just a few months old. When we first stepped foot on this brand spanking new ship, I felt this giddy feeling of anticipation. Gleaming in the sunlight, the futuristic new Celebrity Edge comes with a real wow factor. It doesn’t feel like a mega ship, more like a boutique hotel with innovative design, cool art installations and opulent features.
The heart of the ship is the Grand Plaza, an open, three-story venue inspired by the piazzas of Italy. It’s dominated by an epic chandelier and intricate hand-stitched screens that shimmer giving it an aura of grandeur. This is where you’ll find highly live music, trivia sessions and a high end martini bar.
One of the other features that really sets The Edge apart from other ships is the Magic Carpet, an orange moveable platform suspended over the side of the ship, where guests can sip cocktails and dine al fresco overlooking the ocean.
In terms of accommodations, our Sky Suite was one of the nicest and most spacious rooms I’ve had across all the cruises I’ve been on. It featured a king sized bed that faces outward for ocean views, a sleek pull-out sofa (where the kiddos slept), generous storage and a very large veranda. The bathroom is incredibly spacious with a huge spa tub (we turned this space into a pillow-filled hangout for the kids to watch movies) and a sliding panel where you can see your room and the ocean beyond. Such a lovely room!
Best part? The suites come with their own…wait for it….butler! Our friendly butler Josip, a tall Croatian gentleman, took care of all our dinner reservations and in room-service needs. Suite class rooms also gives you access to the Retreat Lounge, The Retreat Sundeck with private pool and hot tub, and private dining in Luminae reserved for our Suite Class guests.
Outside of my actual suite (where I spent a lot of time reading on the private balcony), some of my favorite spots included: a rooftop sculpture garden with nightly live-music, the shark tooth-like corridors with private cabanas, martini-shaped hot tubs overlooking the Resort deck, and a beautifully designed event space called Eden with the largest windows at sea.
The Edge also has 29 world-class restaurants, bars, and lounges, serving up everything from fine cuts steak, to fresh oysters, healthy Mediterranean to contemporary fusion cuisine.
One of my favorite dining experiences was a visit to Le Grand Bistro for their Le Petit Chef 3D animation experience. If you can imagine, animated characters come to life on your plate to create the meals in a symphony of color and creativity. It’s a unique spectacle that kids of all ages (adults included) can enjoy. After the little chefs create your meal, your server brings the real life version of dishes for guests to eat. This visually spectacular dining experience kept the kids engaged during mealtime (meaning less spills and general chaos) and even did the impossible – made them want to eat their veggies! It’s a must-do with kids when on the ship!
Between the sleek design, spacious rooms and contemporary fine dining options, The Edge successfully deliver both luxury (for the parents) and fun family-friendly offerings (for the kids). It’s rare to find a ship that offers enough to keep both parents and kids entertained.
Camp at Sea offers interactive experiences for younger travelers of all age. The camp is divided into three sections broken down by age, for 3-5 year olds, 6-9 year olds, and 10-12 year olds. My kids spent a few hours a day in the supervised play space area called The Shipmates (for ages 3-5) where a team of lovely counselors host daily arts and crafts, games and activities. Special events included face painting, campfire s’mores cook outs, pirate dance parties, and cookie decorating. For kids under 3, they can use the play space (during certain hours) under the supervision of their parents.
While my kiddos enjoyed making new friends, I snuck away to the spa, a spectacular 22,000 squarefoot spa and wellness center with beautifully designed chill out spaces and healing crystal therapies. It’s a tranquil and visually pleasing space to relax post treatment.
Traveling with your kids is magical. Seeing the world through their eyes, experiencing new things, making memories, there is no greater gift to your children than the gift of travel. Our experience traveling aboard The Edge was truly wonderful. The spacious ocean-view room, the fine dining restaurant options, the friendly service, the immersive kids programs, the pool and entertainment options…amazing. I couldn’t have been happier with the overall experience, aesthetic design and professionalism of the staff. The kids had the time of their lives and, just 10 minutes after we disembarked the ship on that final day, they were already begging me go back…
If you’re interested in sailing with Celebrity this year, now is a great time to book! From now until April 3, kids 17 and under in your cabin sail free on sailings through Dec. 31. Come check out Celebrity Edge for yourself. It’s a really fantastic ship that the whole family can enjoy. While we went to the Caribbean, this offer also applies to Europe cruises. For more information check out https://bit.ly/2tSFc2H