This Monday, March 13th, I attended the Xciting Reveal of Celebrity Cruises newest Cruise ship – The Celebrity EDGE. The EDGE is “A Ship Designed to Leave the Future Behind”. What is so Amazing for us, as Architects, is the EMPHASIS on cutting EDGE design in this Cruise Ship for the Future. What follows is an Architect’s takeaway on the Innovative and cutting EDGE design.
Celebrity assembled a world class team of cutting EDGE designers that were picked as much for their portfolios, as for their IN-experience with Cruise Ship Design. Because the EDGE is a departure from traditional cruising they wanted visionaries who could re-imagine cruise ship design. Click on their names to learn more about each designer.
Nate Berkus is The Design Ambassador. He was chosen for his passion for one-of-a-kind design and global travel. He is also the young/fresh face of Target Decor and Television Shows.
Kelly Hoppen is Lead Designer for Accommodations. One of the most sought-after interior designers in the world, Kelly was selected to make a bold, modern luxury statement. She says her goal is “Ensure that every stateroom makes unwinding at sea just as easy as unwinding at home.”
Tom Wright is Lead Designer for Public Spaces. And a favorite STARichitect Designer with WKK. Best known as the architect of Dubai’s Burj Al Arab Hotel – the most luxurious hotel in the world according to Forbes. Tom brought his sailing experience and a vision of outdoor spaces that are transformed into serene outward-facing sanctuaries that showcase the extraordinary places EDGE will visit.
Cutting EDGE Design
The EDGE is the first cruise ship totally designed in Virtual Reality – a Cutting EDGE Design decision. Major decision makers at Celebrity donned goggles and tactile sensors to SEE and USE the spaces before they were built. The designers were even able to bring in the people who will WORK in the spaces. Everyone from waiters to the CEO has had input into making this the best Cruise Experience EVER! To illustrate how over-the-top this ship is: RIFD technology – you know the “bands” just introduced by Princess – are already OLD SCHOOL. On EDGE, we will be able to do everything on our phone; from checking in to unlocking our stateroom door or controlling our room’s temperature and lighting. The video, below, by Mike Lukins a travel agent for Affluent Travelers, is a bit long, but demonstrates the use of the Virtual Reality, walk-thru – and in some cases, fly thru. Watch a little, or watch it all. It is cutting EDGE design.
Tom Wright describes Design as having three steps. Tradition, Evolution, and REVOLUTION. The EDGE is a REVOLUTION in Cruise Ship Design. The ship will bring a different and exciting experience to the end user. Tom has worked from the inside out, rethinking the cruise ship in the process. The design team worked closely with the ship yard to put the ship’s structure inside, rather than on the perimeter. President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo says this provides “…a closer connection to the sea”. Tom is spot on when he says “This ship represents a Paradigm Shift in Cruise Ship Design.”
One of my favorite features of this innovative design is the Infinite Veranda, which connects inside to out and outside to in. The design team worked thru a number of ideas, including a rotating circular glass “door/window”; the goal of which was to convert the Veranda into conditioned stateroom space WHEN desired. As I understand it, the passenger will push a button that simultaneously opens glass, bi-fold doors while lowering a pane of glass to infill the space from the railing to the ceiling of the Veranda – thereby enclosing the Veranda space INTO the room.
The guest experience is completed with the skills of Kelly Hoppen. Kelly’s goal was to create a space that made you feel as comfortable as you are in your own home – because no one wants to give up the comforts of home when they travel. Almost all rooms have king size beds with cashmere bedding: something we DO miss on our trips. The look and feel of the spaces are elegant and comforting. While the signature Infinite Veranda is nice, suites truly make their mark on EDGE. The Iconic Suite is 2,600 square feet, with a 700 square foot Veranda. However, I think we may prefer the EDGE Villas that have two story window and atrium – not unlike my home, but at sea! PLUS, a hot tub, outside, on the Veranda – also like our home.
Tom and the design team have outdone themselves in the design of the Resort Deck. Placed in the center of the ship, this is where the ACTION is. A 25 YARD lap pool, for Lynn, with in-pool loungers, for me, sits in the center of the space. Looking down from opposite corners are two (they look YUGH) Martini glass shaped Hot Tubs for our morning meditation. We will have a fun workout on the exercise track. It winds over the sunning area, around the solarium, a figure eight around the Roof Top Garden, while somehow transitioning from Deck 15 to 16 and back! For those who want a bit of shade or privacy there are six INSANE 18′ tall, private cabanas. We might enjoy these at night when the ambient lighting turns them into a perfect spot to enjoy the moon shimmering on the ocean. You WILL find Lynn and I poolside in the sun for a portion of EACH day admiring the funky fractal mirror art.
Also on the Resort Deck is the Roof Top Garden, Garden Grille, and Sunset Bar. Tom has PACKED the “back deck” full of everything we love. The Roof Top Garden has comfy seating where we can watch a movie, gaze at the stars, have a bite to eat, or listen to live tunes. Rumor has it that the sculptural trees are being built for performances! And just around the corner from the Roof Top Garden is the Sunset bar. You will find us sitting here, sipping a cocktail, filming the sunset, while the sea disappears behind us.
I will have to EXPERIENCE the ship to have a final opinion on WHICH outdoor space I like best. IF you have followed our travels, you know Lynn and I LOVE the pool almost as much as relaxing on the back deck. The EDGE will truly challenge us.
The Magic Carpet is a new, totally unique Passenger Embarkation/Debarkation Experience. The Magic Carpet is a large, outdoor space that will glide from Deck 16, down to Deck 2. On Deck 16 it will function as a fine dining restaurant. At deck 14 it is an extension to the pool complete with bar and DJ. On Deck 5 it is a lunch venue with panoramic views. BUT….. What REALLY makes this space totally cutting EDGE design, and I believe the main purpose, happens on Deck 2.
The Magic Carpet is integral to a HUGH Paradigm Shift in re-thinking the guest experience. Located on Deck 2, inside the ship, is The Destination Gateway. We will use the Gateway to explore, discover, and learn about our port of call even BEFORE we leave the ship. We will also comfortably wait here for our boat ride to port. AND what a ride it will be. At this deck, The Magic Carpet will be used to board, and disembark the ship when using Tenders (those lifeboats used to ferry guests from the ship to shore in smaller, unique ports of call). BUT… the most exciting innovation in the guest experience will be the EDGE Launches (no longer Tender Life Boats). The EDGE Launches will have padded bucket seats, air conditioning, and LARGE windows where Lynn can film our arrival. Working together, the EDGE Launches, Magic Carpet, and Destination Gateway will REVOLUTIONIZE the Guest experience in smaller, highly desirable destinations.
For me, the most striking aspect of the design is the asymmetry of the plans. Tom’s manipulation of space at the upper decks and Magic Carpet are just Amazing, and show the adept hands of a world class STARchitect Designer. I just GOTTA see the track and hot tubs to fully understand his Three Dimensional thinking. We can’t wait to sail on Celebrity EDGE, but we will have to, as the ship won’t be finished until LATE (December) 2018.
Ready to go? Some things you will want to know…..
WHERE? EDGE will alternate Eastern and Western Caribbean giving us the opportunity to have either of two 7-day cruises, or one PERFECT 14 day cruise. All departing from Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Western Cruises goes to Key West. Florida (conch Architecture); Costa Maya Mexico; Cozumel Mexico (Mayan Ruins); and George Town, Grand Cayman (Pedro St. James National Historic site). ALL nice ports, AND two relaxing sea days.
Eastern Cruises go to San Juan, Puerto Rico (one of our ALL TIME favorites – and the BEST of the Forts); Tortola,, British Virgin Islands (bright painted Carib Architecture); Philipsburg,, St. Maarten (Fort Amsterdam or the clothing optional Orient Beach?); and two relaxing sea days.