I know there are now hundreds of reviews about the Edge in CruiseCritic, but I still wanted to share my experience, as promised.
It did happen – we sailed on the Edge.
We are in our 50s, Elite with X, and have sailed about 30 or so times. Both are scientists, former engineers - this should explain why I was so particularly drawn to ship’s design and technical details… We love cruising, and do this minimum twice a year, work does not permit more.
Following all your posts, comments and reviews, I had a lot of fun, and in the past months the anticipation was so overwhelming that it became a distraction. I stopped reading and focused on stuff at work that I had to finish before going for a cruise.
There will be many things that you have read a lot about, some new – and perhaps unusual for some – observations, and some things that may look controversial, but I firmly believe that I deserve a chance to speak, simply because one too many times I’ve heard “Why you are commenting on this-n-that, you did not set your foot on the Edge!”
So I did.
And here goes.
What was the most striking and unusual about this ship?
It is built in non-traditional, perhaps weird for some, way.
There are a lot of places that are curved, rounded, “ovalled”. There are a lot of nooks and crannies, hideaways and coves. There are spiraled staircases, odd passages (Metal Forest) and, quite conveniently, connecting corridors. The Edge has only two elevator sets, and this is actually an issue, because – as many of you already noted – this leads to congestions during rush hours, e.g. before dinner or during early rush for disembarkation in the new port etc. I also can’t get it why the elevators are slow – this adds up to the issue.
The ship is designed – maybe, on purpose? – in the way that you cannot get through from bow to stern on several decks, and someone already mentioned it; this is unusual for traditional cruise ships. Not that it is annoying, but it makes it hard to move about the ship, unless you get to know the restrictions and bypasses.
There are three places inside the Edge that are “airy” – the Theater, then the central opening (with Martini bar dominating) and the Eden, to a certain degree. I can’t count The Club an airy place, to me it resembles a ghastly underground multi-level cemetery from “Interview With The Vampire”. Yes, I get it, it is THE CLUB, the hangout and so on – it should be like that, but I find it a strangely disturbing place. It’s cold, dark, and depressing – I caught myself trying to see the coffins in the wall niches… Again, it’s just me, perhaps.
The rest of the “big space” on the Edge is actually too small, including four jam-packed free restaurants (I cannot call them “main restaurants” because they are crammed and stuffy; plus, some of them, like Cosmopolitan, are very dark – I was laughing when saw many patrons using their cell phone lights to read the menu). To me, the idea of splitting the MDR into four separate rooms did not work - again, cannot call them the “themed restaurants” because no matter how you slice it, only a measly six dishes are “authentical” for each of them, and they do not change, so it is really a décor and the name that differ these eateries from each other.
This brings me to the Oceanview café (OVC).
Here again, this is a strange place, because it is unbalanced, in my view. There is plenty of seating, and even at peak times you can find a place, but this is done by sacrificing the actual buffet space, which becomes packed at peak times, so it is tough to maneuver through the crowd with your hands busy with plates-glasses – and yet, if it is a rush hour, your luck to find a free seating could bring you all the way to almost midship… So if you have difficulty of moving freely, it is a problem. We did not have an issue with making 2-3 trips back-n-forth, as we are fit and active, and in fact this helps to burn the calories 🙂
This setup is somewhat different from the S-class and quite different from the M one, which I personally like more.
Ample seating space is good, and there were a few nice novelties, like multiple (not only at the entrance) bar-like tables, and one-sided long tables along the windows.
Once I started with eateries, let’s talk about the food.
Perhaps for those folks who never sailed (or started sailing just recently) with X, the food on the Edge is great, but I noticed three things, that instantly would tell an experienced cruiser: there are corner-cuttings in many places.
1) Quality of the food is not even remotely as good as many of you remember from the century break or earlier for X. It is not even comparable with several S-ships that we sailed recently. It is OK at best, but nothing great, like the food that we had in OVC during spring’s cruise to the Northern capitals on Silhouette.
2) Corner-cutting was obvious in the taste and quality of soups and entrees in the OVC, and desserts especially. Presentation was superb – kudos to patissiers – but the taste was bland because of the mediocre quality of the ingredients; you can clearly taste the difference in the same-looking piece of Opera cake in the specialty restaurant and the OVC. That cake even has different number of layers (!!!) for specialty restaurant and for OVC –8-9 vs 5 – and the OVC one does not have crunchy caramel pieces in it… You may say “freak”, but I don’t care 🙂 It proves me right.
3) Do you ever pay attention to the odor of the eatery, just when you cross the door sill? Fine ones have a nice, alluring smell of spices, fresh baked bread, or grilled meat. Chain restaurants, like Olive Garden or Applebee’s, have in addition an odor of burning (cheap) cooking oil, plus annoying and obstinate smell of disinfectant... The low-end eateries have a persistent smell of wet, stinky rags. This is how the OVC smelled a couple of days into the sailing, and no matter how nicely the food presentation was done, or how helpful and smiling the stuff was, the feel of a cheap mom-and-pop old diner was spoiling it all.
We ended up taking the food (at lunch time) to our “balcony” and eating there.
I put “balcony” in quotation marks for the same reason as many of us feel bamboozled with the design of IV cabins. We had a deluxe OV room with veranda (1A), at the aft. While having a real sliding door and a “balcony” was a great thing, the size of it was not enough to place there anything bigger than two rope chairs and the “older brother of tom-tom”, the coffee table with flip top… and even then, it was impossible to move the chairs a few inches sidewise. But the chairs are actually not bad to seat on; regardless of their odd look, I was impressed.
This brings me to the functionality and décor of the cabin itself. Too much already was said about the “Hoppillows”, K. Hoppen’s decorative pillows. They flood the room, they are everywhere. I stacked them in the corner and forbid the attendant to place them back on the bed. I leave aside the hygienic matter (I am sorry, but I doubt that the covers are actually laundered between the cruises, forget being changed like the bed linen, once in 3 days or so…); just the sheer amount of them – I think, 12 or something like that – was scary.
Also gone to the corner was a white vase (it occupies way too much space on the drawer top, and together with the lamp bolted smack in the middle of it, the space on the top was enough only for a couple of mid-sized plates arriving with room service). I also hid in the corner an infamous piece of coral, which freed a space for room keys/watch/rings etc. in the niche where the coral was placed by design.
Now comes a tale about the electric outlet box.
From the very beginning, the first time I saw this live “addition” to artistic renderings of the Edge staterooms, I was puzzled – why would one need to hide the sockets inside the box?? It proudly sits – again, using a lot of precious space – on the fridge top and is a sore spot for an eye, even though it is made of white plastic that supposed to blend in with the décor… At some point I realized that there is no place for the set of outlets and USB ports on the side wall – the space is tight because the fridge sits tucked well and to mount the set on the outside wall of the fridge cabinet is not possible. Besides, all electrical wiring in the room is done OUTSIDE the walls, in crown moldings, positioned along the corners between ceiling and walls (I used these, by the way, to place the hooks for hangers, hat, etc., by jamming one side of S-hook in the gap of molding and ceiling (hint!). There are no hooks in the cabin, aside of two on the bathroom door).
Long story short, the only space for outlets would be on the TOP of the drawer chest/fridge cabinet, and then accidental spills would be a fire hazard. Thus, the little electric treasure chest was built… I also question its functionality, because the slots for wires are not in alignment with the actual sockets inside, and for bigger plugs (I live in Singapore and have these painfully large…) the wire just cannot pass through the slot because it is not centered with the socket.
I apologize for ranting a lot about the “treasure chest” but really, this is a very odd thing for otherwise supposedly well-designed staterooms of the Edge.
The size of the room itself is relatively adequate. I actually want to meet and to chat with that individual who thought that bringing king size beds in 200 sq ft room is a great idea. Seriously. Our room had a layout with the bed next to the closet; one day I actually tried to stand upright in the passage between bed footing and wall-mounted TV – and failed. It literally is as wide as the standard hanger (I placed one in there and took a picture). I feel sorry for the folks with scooters or wheelchairs; it is only 15-16 in wide! Ginormous bed seems to dominate the room… and by the way, 50-in TV can be watched only while lying down on it, because you just cannot see much from the sofa – and there is no swivel console for TV, which obviously cannot be mounted there for the lack of space.
I wanted to use HDMI cable to hook up my laptop to TV, but when I called the Guest Relations, asking how can I connect laptop to it, I was told with the stern voice that “NOTHING should be connected to TV!”. Strange.
Let’s go to the bathroom.
Others are saying that the Edge bathrooms are bigger. I actually measured it, and it is about the same as on S-class. The difference is in the ANGLES. The wall separating bathroom and cabin (mirror on one side, closet on the other) is not perpendicular to the cabin wall. Edge shower stall is bigger because they protruded the far corner of it into the utility block, which is located between the bathroom and the hallway outside. Normally, it is rectangular, but on the Edge it is almost triangle, which gives more room for the shower stall – it is indeed bigger than on S-ships. They also bulged out the round part of it (with the door), and this created a problem: because the curvature is changed, there is no way to use the sliding doors like on S-ships, and thus they are forced to use the swinging door; when you open it after showering, it is so wide that it hits the counter… water running down the door is dripping on the floor, and the only solution is to cover the whole floor with a spare towel, not just the floor mat.
They use stationary dispensers for shampoo/shower gel/conditioner that are locked on the wall. I feel that the personal care product selection was done by a person who never actually bothered to try the chosen products him/herself with the ship-produced water, because – get this – neither shampoo nor bath gel produce ANY SUDS… They just don’t lather at all! Instead, when you apply any of these things, you feel a thin film on the skin, like glycerol, only it is harder to wash away.
Whoever approved these particular products for the Edge, has to be fired because at least he/she should know that cruise ship uses mostly (if not all) desalinated water, and it is VERY soft… These shampoo and bath gel are clearly wrong for the use with soft water.
I may sound nit-picking, but these are small things that eventually could become quite annoying when bundled…
However, I also can say many positive things about the cabin and the ship overall.
The individual air conditioning system for each cabin is a superb idea, and it is especially great when you want to breathe the sea air while sleeping: it does not turn in while the balcony door is open. Once the door is shut, the a/c works very efficiently and can be easily controlled from the control display or phone app. It works in cycles, just like the home a/c system, not continuously as on S-ships (by the way, I spoke to the Edge Chief Engineer and he said that even on S-class ships the a/c is NOT linked to other rooms or – more so – hallway, as somebody told me earlier in the Edge message board).
Astonishingly, for a seven-day cruise – especially, Caribbean – there is plenty of space to store your stuff, and I was particularly happy with extra space in the bathroom: tons of shelving, plus a big drawer under the sink. Speaking of which, it is very convenient to use, not as awkward as on S-ships where I constantly bang my forehead with the crane-like faucet. Yes, the closet is perhaps half the size of the older X ships (by the way, the safe in it is really tiny!) – however, we are not coming to Caribbean cruise with the tux and a bunch of evening gowns.
The Edge cabin had the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in – both at sea and on land. Hard, balanced, great pillows. Perfect for me, except I don’t need a bed where four of me can sleep without touching elbows. I am six feet tall, and yet there were a few spare inches of bed at my feet… total waste of space.
The ship has amazing stability, at least during the long hauls at sea days I never felt ship rocking much, and I am very sensitive to the motion.
The Edge has a fantastic set of workout equipment, I enjoyed the gym every morning and had restored the sense of the muscles that I already forgot about a while back :). My DW is an avid jogger/walker, and she says that the jogging track on the Edge is great.
The TV is superb, the quality of satellite reception at times was of the level I have not experienced on cruise ship before. I watched two NBA games (ESPN), and it was as crisp and as smooth as if I was watching them back home.
A few words about the solarium and the pool.
The number of loungers around the pool area if ample enough to accommodate all cruisers, I think. However, it creates a problem – and I have never seen this before on cruise ships – the pool staff sets the chairs so close to each other that there is literally no space to even slide between them, and – as many already noted – there are no small tables next to the loungers for drinks/personal items. It is all about spacing and demand, as in the OVC as well.
I cannot rationalize why the designers neglected the fact that there is no shade at all on the pool deck. A few canopies here and there, like on S-ships, would have been very easy to install, but… Yes, there small pockets under the upper deck cantilever at the deck corners, but the air there is stagnant and many people were avoiding them. There is a thin strip of shade formed by the jogging track above but it is narrow, and it was funny to see how people were moving their loungers trying to catch up with the shade if they stayed long.
The whole pool deck was scorching hot during sea days, and the amount of the sunscreen crèmes that people were using was so overwhelming, that it formed a film – I kid you not – on the pool surface with lots of tiny rainbow bubbles from the sunscreen surfactants!
Yet another oddity on pool deck is cabanas area. Again, many reviewers already mentioned this, but I wanted to say as well – this restriction of free passage through the six cabanas is nonsense; either let people go through it freely, or create a parallel way outside, move loungers closer to the pool. I also feel sorry for patrons who paid a fortune to get a cabana, and yet there were people who ignored the sign “private function” at the entrance to cabanas area and roamed through…
We are not interested (much) in the entertainment while cruising – prefer a relaxing, quiet time onboard, but we stop by the Theater every now and then to check out the shows. I would say that the Edge shows are entertaining enough for us to stick with them for more than our usual 15-20 minutes – they are quite modern and utilize the possibilities of an amazing equipment and podium fully. The cast is professional enough, nothing superb, but alright. The only complain is the decibel level – most of the times, it was very loud.
A couple of times, when we hang around the pool, the “cruise director deputies” were organizing game contests – they screamed so loud, and the music pumped up so strong that some people were leaving the sun deck. Again, cannot understand why the cruise director staff feel that “fun” must be a synonym of “tear my eardrums”. The quality of challenges used in the games is disputable, I personally felt that people who were brave enough to participate had a few good drinks before stepping up… but hey, they had fun, I guess. I felt like on Carnival cruise.
This brings me to Eden.
I have mixed feelings about the place. I really like the whole concept – using the aft on three decks level, with a lot of space, glass wall, uneven cutoffs and so on is a great idea. However, I question the way they use the place. Again, this is my personal opinion, but I liked the opportunity to hang out there during sea days after lunch; even a few nooks outside, with plenty of chairs, were great. I was not a big fan of evening show there, for a few reasons (it is repetitive, it is NOT engaging, the “Edenists” – I felt that way – are uncomfortable with themselves performing the acts they don’t enjoy etc.); the Eden restaurant menu is pretentious and most definitely does not deserve money charged for the dishes there… But I hope that eventually it all settles down, and Eden will become a place to be on Edge. Not the Magic Carpet, which I think is the overhyped and weird concept. There is nothing special about it, honestly. Yes, no other ship has that, but hey, X ships also do not have zip lines and brightly painted sliding pool tubes – does this make Carnival, Norwegian or RCCL more appealing ships than X? I stepped there a few times, had a drink, looked down. That’s it. People this is only a bump-out on the deck, nothing more. Imagine if decks 5, 16, and 2 had a bulged-out expansion of otherwise straight deck – would it be magical? I doubt. They do not allow to RIDE on that platform up and down, and this instantly kills the fun and the meaning of “magic carpet”. The most use of it is perhaps for tendering, but on our cruise we didn’t have tender-served ports.
A few words about crew.
Obviously, X wanted to bring the best there, on the Edge. This is their dog and pony show. I have met 3-4 guys and gals from other X ships, and when I spoke to them, their reactions were mixed; however, one comment was almost identical – they are extremely overworked… The shifts are long, and – for some reason – they feel that the crew is understaffed. Was this done intentionally, or just because the Edge is a novelty and X tries to learn things on the go as well – don’t know. But I spoke to a girl at one of the long-working stations at OVC, and she looked totally drained. SIXTEEN HOURS long shift. Imagine that.
I ranted long enough, I believe. It’s all about the hype. I was soooo excited to get there, and when I did, I learned a lot and saw a lot, that’s why I wanted to share all this with you. I hope that those who reached this point of my review have enjoyed it.
Lastly, I think that bringing into a highly competitive cruise industry a product like Edge needs more adaptivity than commanding. You cannot expect people to get to love something right away because you tell them – “love it!”. It needs to be done carefully, otherwise you lose devotees not only from this Edge ship but from X in general. Of course, there will be newcomers, and X ships will be full (well, almost full…) but guess what, Oceania who has perhaps the best “returnees” percentage throughout the whole fleet, does gosh darn well without flying a Magic Carpet…
That’s why the average review level about the Edge (out of over 200 now) is 3 out of 5. People don’t like being pushed and showed.