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Back From the Edge-a post cruise review of July 3-10 w/ pics


EMc&DrS
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BACKGROUND: There have already been a lot of live reviews and other such discussions about the first three sailing of Edge, but since I had a little free time before going back to work, I thought I’d add a few of my own insights, comments, and pics about our experience on the beautiful Edge on its second sailing out of FLL.  I will say that we always approach cruising with the attitude that “this is going to be a great vacation,” so we rarely focus on any of the negatives.  That was certainly the case this time, and as a result, we had a great time with very few problems. We would rank this among our favorite cruises ever.

 

My wife and I have cruised 19 times since our first cruise in 2005, and this was our 4th cruise with Celebrity. Our daughter and her husband joined us; her third Celebrity cruise, his first.  She, however, has been following the Edge since the first promo video came out and has been following Captain Kate for years, so she has been dying to get on this ship! The day after we heard that the Edge had been cleared to sail, we booked two Sunset Verandah staterooms for the 2nd sailing.  (My wife and I already had a week at Marco Island booked for June 26-July 2, so it only seemed logical to make the short drive from the Gulf to the Atlantic and spend the night in FLL before jumping on one of the first cruises to leave the US since Covid!)

 

I know some people want to read every detail they can find to help plan their upcoming cruise, while others only want to know about specific topics.  Instead of writing a chronological review of each day, I’ll divide this review into specific topics with the topic listed in bold at the beginning of a new post.  That way, if you come across this thread after its completed, you can scroll through just to find the topics that interest you.

 

I hope someone gets some new info out of this review along the way, or at least finds a little inspiration to keep them excited for their upcoming cruise!

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I. GETTING THERE: Having lived in GA my whole life, there are few places in FL I haven’t visited.  Driving across Alligator Alley was one of those few adventures that I had not checked off my list, so I was happy to make the drive from Marco Island via US 41 to MIA.  We did see a lot of pretty landscapes, some great birds, but alas, no alligators.  Still, it was worth the time to make the drive.

 

Being an airplane enthusiast, I just had to take the opportunity to visit the 94th Aero Squadron restaurant across from the MIA airport since our route was going right by the area.

 

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We were virtually alone in the restaurant for lunch, but had a great meal and some great views.

 

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We then took the "scenic route" to Fort Lauderdale by driving past the MIA cruise port attempting to follow A1A along the shoreline.

 

 

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Unfortunately, this was impossible due to the condo collapse. We got within .5 miles of the collapse, but all traffic was diverted back to I-95.  Two hours after passing the MIA port area, we finally arrived at our hotel in FLL (the traffic was intense!)  We checked into the Crown Plaza just outside the entrance to Port Everglades. I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone who is looking for nice accommodations close to the port; you could walk to the entrance of the port grounds from the hotel.

 

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II EMBARKATION: Our daughter and son-in-law took the 6:15 AM flight from ATL to FLL and I met them at the airport. My son-in-law shot this video as they were arriving.

 

 

Because my wife and I had to pack for two separate vacations, we had a lot of luggage!  My son-in-law and I took all of the luggage over to the port around 10 AM because we couldn’t fit it and 4 people in our SUV at the same time. Unlike the usual scene outside a ship at 10 AM on embarkation day, the port was deserted.  There were only a handful of people still standing around from debarkation, and no one looked like they were waiting to board our cruise.

 

The four of us returned around 11:15 for our 12 PM check-in time.  The parking deck was nearly empty—so weird.  We walked alone from the deck to the terminal—no traffic at all.

 

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We did, however, find the line of early arrivals once we got close to the entrance.

 

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We stood in this line for a few minutes because we assumed it was where we were supposed to be (there were no signs or instructions). Finally, a lady came around looking for people with 12-12:30 check in times.  We were taken out of line and brought right to the front door of the terminal.  The minute we stepped in the building they were asking to see our passports and vaccine cards together.  They took pictures of both, handed us a wristband, and then allowed us to move towards the escalators to begin the embarkation process. Everything was handled with iPads.  We never went to a counter, nor were we handed any papers, no map of the ship, no key card. They couldn’t move us along fast enough. I looked at my watch when we stepped onto the ship: 12:03.

 

FIRST SLIGHT PROBLEM—the wrist bands. The elderly gentleman who gave us the wrist band told us they were just to be worn during the embarkation process and that we could take it off once onboard. Wrong! It was supposed to be worn the whole cruise.  If I had known this I would not have tightened it quite so much, nor would I have put it on my dominant wrist. The clasp on the band is such that it allows you to tighten until you cut off all circulation to your hand if you so choose, but it cannot be loosened. Nor can you rip it off.  The more you tighten, the longer the two ends of ribbon coming out of the clasp.  Well, it didn’t take long to realize that those dangling ribbons were getting into your food while you ate.  If that wasn’t bad enough, think about using your dominant hand to brush teeth, or to wipe in the bathroom….Needless to say, I had to go to Guest Services to get a new band.

 

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LACK OF COMMUNICATION—As I said, there were no instructions or announcements outside the terminal, and nothing was given to us inside the terminal.  As a result, somehow we missed the news that we could go straight to our stateroom where we would find our key card in our mail slot at our door.  Instead, we held on to our carry-ons and headed into the Grand Plaza where we set up camp at the Martini Bar.  Good thing we did because it was the only time all cruise that we found empty seats there!  Using it as our home base, we took turns checking on reservations, completing the MUCH IMPROVED muster “drill,” etc. until we realized that we were free to go to our rooms. 

 

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We spent the remainder of the afternoon enjoying uncrowded time at the huge pool....

 

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and only returned to our staterooms to watch sail away from our SV balconies. All in all, a great first day!

 

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1 minute ago, Moonglo said:

Thank you for taking the time to share your review with us. I am enjoying it immensely...........

Thanks. I have several more segments that I’ll be adding over the next day or two, so stay tuned!

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12 minutes ago, Moonglo said:

Thank you for taking the time to share your review with us. I am enjoying it immensely...........

Me too!🙂

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10 minutes ago, Seany527 said:

Nice pics. What camera do you use?

😂 Just my iPhone 11.  I brought my nice Nikon, but barely even used it.

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10 minutes ago, Reel Love said:

Thank you for taking the time to do a post-cruise review.  Good/helpful info and great pics so far!  Looking forward to reading more.

Thanks!  I’m working on restaurant reviews and ports of call now.  Should have them ready to post by tomorrow.

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Just now, number one eagles fan said:

Excited to hear about your Sunset Veranda. We have a SV next week.

 

Your pictures are beautiful and I love the way you are doing your review.

I’ll post some pics and video just for you!

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14 minutes ago, basenji56 said:

The wristband issue deserves to be its own thread!

 

I wrote a suggestion to Celebrity in my survey they sent us.  If the wristbands are ever going to work, everyone needs to wear one.  There could be one color for vaccinated and a different color for unvaccinated.  Lots of people kept them on all week, but plenty of people took them off (or were unvaccinated walking around without a mask). 

 

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III FOOD—As I mentioned before, this was our fourth Celebrity cruise.  The other three were all on Reflection between 2013 and 2015, and we had always eaten in Blu prior to this trip.  We really, really liked the 4 restaurant concept on Edge that replaced the traditional main dining room.  I tried to read some reviews about all the dining options before we left, but since all bets were off on how things might be different post-Covid, we decided to go ahead and book all our dinners in advance without worrying too much about reviews. This turned out to be a good idea because most time slots set aside for pre-cruise reservations were full a week before the cruise for all dining venues. 

 

We ended up eating in Tuscan twice, Cyprus and Normandie once, as well as at Rooftop Grill, Fine Cut Steakhouse, and Eden.  One meal was exceptional, two were nearly exceptional, 3 were very good, and one was a complete disaster.  Any guesses which was which?

 

 

 

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FOOD CONTINUED—We enjoyed our pasta with short rib so much the first night in Tuscan that we decided to return there later in the week.  We really liked the decor there as well.  We had a reservation the first night, but just walked up at 8 PM on Wednesday night and were seated immediately. Both meals were very good.

 

 

 

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In Cyprus we enjoyed a generous portion of lamb shank as our entree.  The service was excellent, but the specialty cocktail I ordered was undrinkable.  Overall, this restaurant was also very good. (For some reason, I didn’t take any pictures that evening).

 

Normandie was our favorite “main dining room” (we never tried Cosmopolitan). We dined there on the 2nd chic night and loved every course. My wife and I both enjoyed Beef Wellington with a lobster tail on the side.  The baked brie appetizer is something you know you shouldn’t eat, but you just can’t stop! I think I left one bite on my plate so that I could say I didn’t eat the whole piece. This meal was nearly exceptional.

 

 

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FOOD CONTINUED—The other nearly exceptional meal was at Fine Cut Steakhouse on the last night of the cruise.  We were seated immediately and given our choice of table. My daughter and I enjoyed all of our food, especially our filets.  Even the spinach was delicious! My wife and son-in-law both ordered ribeyes and were underwhelmed. Of course, the brownie was perfect. Service was excellent.

 

 

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FOOD CONTINUED-The exceptional meal of the trip came at Eden on the first sea day (Monday). Wow!  Every course was beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. The service was impeccable. This was one of the finest meals any of us had ever enjoyed on a cruise.  I especially enjoyed “Raindrops” (which was chunks of encrusted lobster that they sprinkled with drops of liquid from a large leaf after they served it) and the beef tenderloin, which was my entree.  The desserts were all fantastic. 

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EDEN CONTINUED-There are no more cirque type entertainers in Eden, so not sure if we missed something there, but there was no need for any distractions from the food and service.  Ironically, this was the one specialty restaurant that we didn’t book in advance.  I had read several negative reviews from the past, but then saw some very positive posts just days before the trip.  I went straight there once we had set up camp at the Martini Bar and found an open reservation.  If you’re on the fence about it, don’t wait.  Book it!

 

The extra dessert is worth the price of admission!

 

 

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