Richard Fain, the chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises, is willing to bet $5 billion that he can take everything you know about cruising and flip it upside down. Or at least outside in.
On Monday, he and Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, CEO of Celebrity Cruises - one of three brands in the Royal Caribbean family - announced a new category of ship that, among other transformational design moves, brings stateroom balconies indoors. With a push of a button, the floor-to-ceiling windows of Celebrity Edge-class staterooms retract like a super-sleek garage door, leaving nothing but a simple glass railing between your living room furniture and the crystal-blue sea.
Portholes and balconies are set to become a thing of the past. At least, that's what Fain and Lutoff-Perlo are betting on.
These balconies on-demand are just one of the first-to-market design features raising the price tag of Edge-class ships to $1 billion a piece. Here's what else to expect on these tricked-out ocean liners, which are packed with enough bells and whistles to make even the most fervent anti-cruiser consider a trip on the high seas.
By redefining the balcony, Celebrity is able to expand cabins right up to the edge of the ship - almost like an infinity pool. As a result, stateroom floor plans are (on average) 23 percent larger than before, with bathrooms gaining an extra 20 percent of square footage.
A Magic Carpet Ride
Imagine a mini-deck that is the length of a tennis court which hovers off the edge of the ship, moving up and down along a vertical track almost like an elevator. That's the Magic Carpet, a new public space that will serve different purposes at different times of the day - a stylish disembarkation point. a lunch spot with wraparound views, an extension to the pool area (sometimes with a DJ), a fine dining restaurant that's cantilevered over the sea.
Floating Villas With Private Plunge Pools
Suites have traditionally made up 5 percent of Celebrity's room stock; on Edge ships, they'll represent 12 percent of the accommodations. Included are six duplex villas that shed the traditional décor you'll find on, say, luxury cruise line Cunard's two-floor suites-instead, they have private plunge pools and direct access to the one of the ship's sundecks. Eucalyptus-treated cashmere mattresses from Italy, Bulgari bath amenities, butler service, packing and unpacking support, and a bar that's set up based on your own preferences: They're just a few of the signature amenities for suite guests.
Wearables are a thing of the past. On the Edge ships, you'll be able to do everything on your phone, from checking in to unlocking your stateroom door or controlling your room's temperature and lighting. It all happens via a proprietary Celebrity app, which also puts the concierge, ship map, and daily event schedule in each guest's pocket.
The Ultimate Adult "Playscape"
The so-called resort deck on the Celebrity Edge ships takes the adult pool concept to a whole new level. The pool itself (The Solarium) is enclosed by a tessellated, glass-like dome for all-weather access. It leads to a rooftop garden landscaped with sculptural trees and maintained by a dedicated horticulturist so that it can be used for parties (think live music, wine, and blankets) or dinner-and-a-movie nights.
The Bottom Line
Lutoff-Perlo and Fain both talk about the Edge class as an evolution in modern luxury, capable of drawing more affluent younger travelers and converting them into cruisers.
"When you have to sign a contract for $5 billion, your hand shakes. But now that I've seen the design, my hand no longer shakes," said Fain. And Lutoff-Perlo indicated there's more to come. "Every new feature needs to be a must-see, must-have experience-that's true of all these additions, along with several more amazing things we'll be revealing later on," she teased.
Want to get a spot on the inaugural sailing? Bookings are officially open for the first ship's maiden voyage, departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Dec. 16, 2018, for a week-long Caribbean circuit.
GET IN TOUCH NOW - Space is guaranteed not to last - Call us on 0800 110 108!
As reported by The Herald and Washington Postsubmitted by -- Gayle