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BrendaJ

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About BrendaJ

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    Ontario, Canada
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    travel, tennis, photography, books

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  1. When I first saw the marketing for Virgin, I thought “Wow - that looks like it could be fun”. Then I thought “I’m not going to fit in in that crowd, no matter how much I enjoy the offerings”. It looks like they are looking for young, hip, wealthy cruisers. Then again, so is every cruiseline that worries about sustainability, but if you’re sailing from Florida, that’s probably not what you’re going to get. As much as all of the lines would love to see a younger group embrace cruising, the majority of cruisers are going to be older folks like me with time and disposable income, not 20 and 30-somethings who generally don’t have the time or money for anything more than a bargain, low-end vacation, at least not in my experience. To get the atmosphere they are looking for, I feel like they have to have a reverse-seniors discount (charge more for people over 40). I doubt a cruise company could sustain that for long. They do have the right idea by having just short itineraries, as many younger American folks just don’t have enough vacation time for more. I must say, on my two Edge cruises, I saw more power scooters than I have ever seen on a 7 day cruise. I like the idea of such a large number of included restaurants, but I have a feeling many of them will be food-truck type things, fast food, casual grab and go stuff, which is not what I’m looking for, but the youngsters might enjoy. It is certainly clear to me that most younger cruisers have no interest in a dress code, so that’s one thing Virgin is doing right to attract the demographic they want. However, a lack of beverage packages might turn them away. Any young cruisers who have experienced included beverages might be somewhat turned off by having to pay for each drink, unless the prices are really reasonable. I know when I was younger, drinks were more important than food. Then again, picture a ship full of 20-30 somethings with free alcohol. That sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen. I do love the idea of something different (and loved our 2 weeks on the Edge), but I doubt Virgin is offering what I’m looking for. I like to pretend I’m into a wild and crazy nightlife, loud music and boisterous parties, but let’ face it, there are lots of nights on a cruise I can’t keep my eyes open past dinner. At least on Celebrity, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on something really special by packing it in at 10pm. For next year, we currently have one cruise booked on Celebrity and two on Azamara, all on interesting itineraries. I am finding that I am bored to death of the Caribbean, even when I just want to get away from the winter, so regardless of what Virgin’s shipboard experience will be, I doubt I will be trying them unless the first reviews blow me away and my curiosity gets the best of me.
  2. Darn it, Doctor G! That was my secret shady spot! Now everyone will know!!!! 🤓
  3. Hi Fighterone I really, really love Luminae and would never turn town an opportunity to eat there. That being said, I every much enjoyed Le Petit Chef. I liked the food they served, and the animations were just so much fun to watch - it was much cooler than I anticipated. As for the steakhouse, we didn’t try it, but generally, for the price, we can get the perfect steak at the steakhouse near where we live for less money than what speciality dining on the ship costs, and I figured I’d rather have a nice meal at home sometime, rather than miss an evening at Luminae. Then again, I’m not the biggest steak fan, so I can’t really say. I have heard good things about the steak house on Edge, and the next time we aren’t sailing in a suite, I’m sure my hubby will convince me we have to try it (that guy loves red meat more than just about anything - if I even suggest a vegetarian meal, little tears come out of the corner of his eyes).
  4. LOL - deck 6 in my next life, I hope! Thanks - I totally didn’t even think about how deck 9 would be under the bar - I sure don’t want to be there.
  5. Are there any aft cabins that are not recommended on the Summit? We are considering booking one but aren’t sure which ones to try for.
  6. Thank you, everyone, for all of your kind comments. Keith, I’m afraid I don’t have any details about the food because I didn’t take any notes while on the ship, and just can’t remember specific meals or dishes. If you are a foodies, then I really do recommend Luminae. However, as we all know, food is very subjective, and what one person loves the next may hate. I do have to say that in Luminae, we ate many meals with a couple who cruise mainly on Seabourn, Regent and other luxury lines, and they said, of all their many cruises, they thought Luminae’s food was consistently the best. They absolutely loved it. This was their first cruise on Celebrity in many years, and they were delighted with the Edge.
  7. 1. I’m not sure. We checked it out for a few minutes one night but it was pretty crowded so we left. 2. I noticed a strange scent one day - it was fairly faint. I don’t remember a scent at night. 3. Not sure about Dinner on the Edge but I do recall hearing someone talk about getting a booking. 4. There was a guitar player there before dinner a couple of nights but that’s all I remember seeing. Sorry VT - I loved your detailed reviews and it probably sounds like I wasn’t even on the ship. We spent most of our time lazing about, looking forward to our next meal. This will sound strange but we stayed away from Eden at night in part because I wanted to leave something new to experience the next time we sail on an Edge-class ship.
  8. I didn’t actually check the couch in the S3, but as it only sleeps 2 people I expect it was a completely different type of couch. The drawer in the inside cabin was apparently set up to be used as a 4th berth (one person on the couch/bed and one person beside them on the floor (the drawer evidently holding another mattress. I can only imagine how cramped the space would have been with the drawer open all the time. I’m not close enough with anyone to want to jam 4 people into a cabin (unless the other 3 people include George Clooney, Tina Fey and James Cordon. No worries, George, you won’t have to sleep in the drawer.
  9. Darn! We saw those things in the suite but didn’t think we were allowed to keep them. Not that my suitcase wasn’t overweight at the airport as it was (nothing more annoying than having to move stuff from one suitcase to another right in front of the chec-in counter to avoid $100 charge).
  10. No photos of the inside - not sure why not. Here are some of the S3.
  11. New perks I would like to see for a higher level: - behind-the-scenes tour of crew areas, including cabins and bar - large discounts on internet and beverage packages - dedicated phone number for customer service - free in-room pay movies - early access to new itineraries - ability to order elite drinks in dining room or coupons to use any time of day - luggage tag holders - free in-room bottled water
  12. It turns out that, once you are on board, there are more internet options. If you just want to do normal surfing, there is a cheaper version. With a Captain’s Club discount, my friend got unlimited internet for the week for less than $100. The Xcelerate is more meant for streaming movies and FaceTime, etc. I was able to post multiple photos on Facebook and e-mail photos with the cheaper version with no issues.
  13. We just spent two weeks on the Edge - the first week in an inside cabin (12168) and the second in an S3 Sky Suite (11160 under the Magic Carpet). After reading so many negative reviews about various things, I felt for the first time in a long time that I had to submit a review. We cruise primarily on Celebrity and have been on all their ships except the Eclipse numerous times. First thing - the ship is gorgeous! I think it was designed primarily to be a knock-out. The artwork is all beautiful and contains a lot of photographic prints - all tasteful and lovely. Much different from the M-class which had some truly mystifying art that made you stop in your tracks and go “What the what? That’s art? I think there’s something that looks like that growing in the back of my fridge! Cha-ching!!!” We found the layout easy to navigate and found all of the public spaces really lovely. Now, I will admit to being a glass-half-full kind of person. That doesn’t mean I was blind to a few things that could be improved, however, I’m happy to report that we thought the Edge was fantastic. I think that Celebrity has listened to early complaints and made note, as some things I read complaints about were definitely no longer an issue. Improvements over other Celebrity Ships Technology The technology on this ship is remarkable, especially if you use the Celebrity app with your smartphone. Imagine being able to adjust the cabin temperature while you’re in the dining room, so the cabin is nice and cool before bed. Or checking your on-board charges anytime, anywhere. Of course, the app is still in beta, and there are a few glitches and navigation challenges, but once you get used to it, it really is fabulous. From what I recall, the app was also used to do Timeplay trivia in the theatre before the show, similar to the movie theatres at home. It was really fun but it turns out I am not as smart as I thought, as the app lets you know your rank after the trivia is over. Judging by the numbers, either a lot of the audience was playing, or I am dumber than a bag of hammers. We never got around to trying the trivia in The Club but I suspect it was the same. The regular trivia they had multiple times a day in the Grand Plaza and Eden was the same old stuff as the other ships using paper and pencil - very well attended and we actually won it one day, due to a husband whose brain is full of useless nonsense, and a wife who had a lucky day with wild guesses. The panel near the door offers many of the same features as the app when it comes to adjusting the lighting and temperature of the cabin - the themes for the lights were handy (morning, movie, sleep, etc.). You can also control the television with the app. I can just imagine how that goes when you are sharing your cabin with children with their own phones and tablets. I suspect more than one teenaged genius has thought it would be delightful to be out and about on the ship and use their phone to turn the cabin lights and TV on and off when their parents are in the cabin trying to relax. The elevators have a screen showing what deck the Magic Carpet is on or where the gangway is, as well as videos of cruise destinations. The elevators are very large, and although there are only two banks, they seemed to arrive quickly, even if it appeared that there was always someone who wanted to get on or off at each floor. There seemed to be an uncommonly large number of power scooters on board, and those using them never once offered me a ride, even when I was wearing heels. Somewhat disappointing. Pool The main pool is enormous and you really could swim laps with little issue first thing in the morning. Not that anything like that ever entered my mind. I also hear there was a gym on board, where some pool souls ran like mice on a wheel. To each their own. We had considered using the gym on board while we were still safely on land, but once we got on board, it became a duel between the gym and croissants, and the gym was never going to win that battle. The walking track on this ship was fantastic, ramping up and down two levels. It had two lanes, both going in the same direction - one for walkers and one for runners. There did not seem to be a lane for those of us going in the wrong direction, heeding the call of French fries or ice cream. We went to the pool after dinner a couple of nights and had the entire pool deck and hot tubs to ourselves. It was a bit shocking to be totally alone in such a large space around 10pm. Although on sea days, the pool deck did seem very busy, with the usual characters saving lounge chairs, if you weren’t bound and bent to be right beside the pool, you could always find a lounge one deck up. I did find the activities microphone very loud around the pool, but that was the only time I had an issue with volume on the ship. Other than the day they were doing some type of crew training exercise and they blasted the ship’s horn. My husband jumped about 3 feet in the air, and I’m pretty sure he had to change his underwear. There seemed few to no roaming waiters on the pool deck in the morning. Getting a drink from the bar was no problem but sometimes you’re just too lazy to get out of your chair at 9 am for your breakfast Bellini or Bloody Mary. Don’t judge me. I’m on vacation and sometimes I need either hair of the dog or the actual dog. Our waiter in Luminae, Vichal, never once gave me the hairy eyeball when ordering a morning beverage - sometimes he actually talked me into it. Boy, I miss that guy a lot. The big problem at both the main pool and the Retreat pool was a lack of shade. I must admit to being a bit of a vampire, trying to avoid getting too much direct sun, but there were only a few spots at each pool where you could depend on shade, unlike the S-class where there are lots of lounges in the shade. There are a few spots one deck up from the pool with really comfortable loungers (more like Bali beds) under a roof, so I would advise heading out right after breakfast if you want a shady spot. Darn! I wasn’t going to tell anyone about those! Ignore that. The cabanas looked nice, but at $$$ a day, they sat empty for most of our two cruises. I think converting that area to more pool lounges would make a lot of people happier, as then at least there would be a bit more shade up for grabs. Martini bar On the S-class ships (and what I can recall of the M-class), getting a spot at the martini bar was very difficult anywhere around dinner time. They have solved that problem on this ship. The martini bar basically takes up the whole 5th deck area of the Grand Plaza. It is open in the early afternoon, and they frequently have entertainment and trivia there. We never found the music too loud, and were only once not able to find a seat. Bar servers are plentiful and attentive, even during Elite cocktail time. The bar tenders do an enthusiastic flair show, and the bar itself has a unique design with both bar stools and regular height chairs, which I expect would make it possible for someone in a wheelchair to sit at the bar, which is a rare opportunity, I am guessing. The martini tasting was a blast - I don’t recall if this was a case for martini tasting on the other ships, but on the Edge, you get your choice of 6 martinis to taste, out of what seemed like dozens on the menu. It was really hard to choose but I think I chose well. I don’t really remember a lot about that evening, other than needing the much loved hair of the dog the next day. Elite beverages I’m not sure if this change is fleet-wide or just on the Edge, but we were able to have unlimited beverages (from the list) at any bar on the ship between 5 and 7, with the exception of the Magic Carpet. We had absolutely no problem getting service in the martini bar during these hours, or at the pool bar, and it was a vast improvement over having to have your drinks in a separate lounge, in my opinion. Four Main Dining Rooms In my opinion, so much better than one big room. It’s nice to have a chance to visit different rooms, even if it is mostly the same food. Select dining really shines on this ship, as you can just pick the room that appeals to you the most. All of the dining rooms are beautiful. I’m not sure I would have been happy choosing traditional and having to stick to one of the rooms. We dine early and never once had an issue getting a table. We found the food great, although I’m not the best person to ask. One look at me and you can tell I’m not a picky eater. Of course, Luminae is in a class all by itself and we were determined to never miss an opportunity to eat there. The menu is unique and inventive and always delicious. Although you can no longer order from the main dining room menu in Luminae, you can choose from the main dining room’s anytime menu. The Luminae menu did lean quite heavily on seafood which was fine with me, but on at least one day, there were no appetizers that weren’t either seafood or vegetarian. Man want meat. Red meat. Says the guy next to me. I loved everything about Luminae, especially the service. 10/10 every time, every meal. Luminae is also a truly gorgeous room, done in black and white with red accents. Theatre The theatre is unique with a sort of theatre in the round set-up, with lots of seating and large screens that were used to create an interesting backdrop for the shows. There seemed to be plenty of waiters on hand to fetch drinks before the show, which I have found to be a challenge on the other ships at times. There I go, talking about drinks again. You’re going to think I have a problem. Which I don’t, as long as I have a drink in my hand. Rooftop Garden This space is really lovely, although once again, very little shade can be found, and some of the seating, like the long, curved wooded benches, was awkward unless you were about 7 feet tall. The large screen gave a great back-drop for musical performances, and we saw some sports being broadcast during the day which seemed to be popular. Not to me, mind you. I don’t want to play sports, much less watch someone else play them. More shade would make that area a favourite for me, much improved over the S-class lawn which I found to be nice, but a bit of a waste of space. The Retreat The Retreat pool area was one of the reasons we booked the suite for this cruise. It did not disappoint, except for the lack of shade. The Retreat lounge is sooooo much nicer than dark, stuffy old Michael’s Club. I know some people love Michael’s Club, but unless I’m going to take up smoking cigars and discussing the difficulty of hiring qualified grooms to care for my polo ponies, that atmosphere just seems claustrophobic to me. The Retreat is bright and sunny, with beautiful views, attentive service and nice little snacks. My next husband is going to be loaded, so I can always sail exclusively in suites from now on. My current husband just needs to find himself a trophy wife, and I’m off to convince George Clooney that he’s better off with me than that young, probably-work-obsessed bride of us. I’m not obsessed with work, George. I will think about nothing but you and the wonderful foot rubs you’re going to give me. Cabin We found the storage more than adequate in both the inside cabin and the Sky Suite. In fact, it felt like the inside cabin had more space, as there was a large drawer under the couch (3rd bed) which could be used. I found that much easier to work with than the overhead bins on the S-class, which are probably great if you’re 7 feet tall and have arms like an orangutan. The fridge in both cabins was very cold and nearly empty, allowing us to put some of our own things in it. Our butler in the Sky Suite was really eager to do things for us, including bringing my husband’s favourite beers and putting them in the fridge. In a Royal Suite on the Summit a few years ago, we asked the butler the first day if he could bring us some craft beers for the cabin, and he told us to just go to a bar and fetch them ourselves. I’m not sure that guy was the most keen butler in general. Edwin, who we had in S3 11160 on the Edge was the perfect butler I would have expected in a Royal Suite. I miss that guy a lot too. For anyone who wonders what the S3’s (between the rails of the Magic Carpet) are like, we thought it was great. The carpet very seldom was moved, and made a bit of noise when it did, but we thought it was great fun to go on the balcony and watch it come down. If you had one of those grabbers on a stick, you could probably steal bottles of liquor from the bar as it’s going by. And no, we forgot our grabber. It wasn’t us. Hic. There was never anyone on the carpet when it was moving, at least not that we could see. The balcony for our cabin was huge and the glass rail was spotless (there was a large window on the left side of our balcony that overlooked the side of the ship, leaving some of our neighbours with a bit less privacy than they might have expected, but that window was generally wet and therefore not much fun to look through - your secrets are safe with me, naked yoga guy.) Only issue with the suite location was that, when the Magic Carpet was above us on deck 14, taking a photo of the sunrise or sunset was obstructed from above a bit. If you’re into taking photos from your verandah, you might want to avoid those suites. One thing was notable - in the Sky Suite, there was no sign of the much-maligned Kelly Hoppen enormous rocking chair. We heard that they had all been removed - where to, I can only guess - RIP - they kinda sounded like fun, especially in rough seas. There was certainly no lack of floor space in our cabin. Perhaps they are now in Neptune’s basement, serving as dolphin seating. One strange thing is that, two days before we sailed, there seemed to be cabins available to book in nearly every category. I took this to mean that perhaps we could buy an upgrade while on board, but I went to guest relations when we boarded and was told the ship was full. Not sure what happened to all of those cabins in two days, but perhaps they are offered to local travel agents or charitable organizations last minute. The ship never seemed crowded, and I was surprised to hear it was full. Although I was nervous about staying in an inside cabin, since we haven’t done that in over 25 years, I must say, the inside cabin was surprisingly nice and I would not hesitate to book one again, except that I like to know when it’s getting light out, and my husband likes having a balcony, to get away from me when I’m getting ready. Okay, I admit it, I dash around the cabin like a squirrel on crack when I’m getting dressed, so we’ll probably get verandah cabins in the future to save the dear boy’s sanity. Embarkation and Debarkation If you do the on-line check-in with the app, including uploading an appropriate photo, you can be on and off the ship in about 5 minutes, no exaggeration. I’m not sure what happened to Customs and Immigration (and we are Canadian). I think they may use the ship’s facial recognition during debarkation, but in any case, we were out of there without even speaking to a customs agent. From sitting in the lounge to sitting at the gate at the airport took us less than an hour. There were shuttles right outside the terminal which would take you to Fort Lauderdale airport for $11 per person. Much less hassle than the taxi line. The Destination Gateway is a vast improvement over the areas on other ships used for entering and exiting the ship. There is a bathroom right there, a fixed counter selling water, and some benches for resting while your spouse empties 10,000 items out of his pockets. We were disappointed that the new tenders were not used, even though we tendered in Grand Cayman, but I suspect Grand Cayman has some type of agreement that their tenders are the only ones used there. I expect they will be a big hit in Europe. Little things I think could be improved I would love to see more hooks in the cabins - maybe they could make some decorative ones from parts of gigantic rocking chairs. You cannot have too many hooks. We bought some magnetic ones at the drug store before boarding, but they weren’t strong enough to hold more than a couple of pieces of paper. Curse you, CVS. I get that hooks aren’t pretty, and this ship was definitely designed to be beautiful, but maybe there’s some type of wall art they could design which is cleverly made of a variety to hooks to hang stuff on. Wait. That sounds like a million dollar idea. I should keep that one to myself. And now that the rocking chair in the Sky Suites is no more, may I suggest a coffee table? It seemed very strange to have no table in the suite. When delivering snacks, the butler would fetch the little table from the balcony to hold the food. We never ate a meal in the cabin, and I think it would have been tough. Of course, we wouldn’t have dreamed of eating a meal in the cabin when Vichal was waiting to delight us in Luminae. For those who like to dine on the balcony, how about a larger table that can be raised and lowered as needed? Wait! That sounds like another million dollar idea. Scratch that. In the regular cabin, the “Tom Tom” seemed like a neat idea but the thing was heavy as heck and there wasn’t really enough room in the cabin to do much with it. Perhaps the suites could have a larger Tom Tom with the top being able to be flipped over to be an ottoman. Yet another million dollar idea! I’m on a roll today. The suite balcony had more than enough room for chairs with ottomans or lounge chairs plus regular chairs. The chairs we had were fine but weren’t particularly comfortable and we did miss the footrests from other ships. More shade. Nuff said. Both the main pool and the Retreat Pool had very little shade. I’m surprise some fist-fights didn’t break out for the few chairs where you could avoid skin cancer. The Retreat pool area has such nice, comfortable furniture, but we couldn’t enjoy most of it because 99% of it was in full sun. The Retreat pool bar could also use an expanded food menu for port days when Luminae is closed for lunch and you refuse to drag your lazy self off the ship in order to wander through jewellery and souvenir stores, wondering why you left the Retreat in the first place. I would love to sail this class of ship in a cooler climate, perhaps in one of the much-complained-about infinite verandahs. We briefly saw one and I thought it looked pretty neat, but if you can’t keep it cool when someone is on the “verandah”, that’s not going to work for me in the Caribbean, where I’m constantly in danger of bursting into flames. We set our cabin temperature to the lowest setting (66 degrees) and I never once felt the need to wear long sleeves. Some of the seating in the public areas is a little uncomfortable; certainly not the majority, but some seem to have been designed for form rather than function. Like airplane seats, it is my opinion that anyone who designs seating should legally be required to spend 100 hours in their creation and see what they think. SUMMARY All in all, I would sail the Edge class again anytime, assuming I could afford the currently inflated pricing and the itinerary was desirable. We sailed these two cruises just to experience the ship. I hope I put at ease some of you who have read negative reviews of the Edge and have maybe regretted booking this beautiful ship. Don’t worry - unless you’re certifiably insane , or don’t want to experience something new and different, you will love it.
  14. I am also very interested in finding out if there is any chance of upgrading once on board. Has anyone tried? It certainly would be a wonderful loyalty perk if they called passengers a few days out and offered them a good deal to upgrade - certainly some money is better in Celebrity’s pocket than leaving higher category cabins empty and having people sailing in inside cabins. I will certainly try to upgrade once on board the Edge next week and will let you know how it turns out.
  15. Thanks, Art - I didn’t even think to scroll down. That solved my problem.
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