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Celebrity Edge -- Eastern Caribbean -- Aug 28 - Sept 4


karl_nj
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My wife, two kids (16 and 12), and my mom recently came back from a wonderful cruise on Celebrity Edge to the Eastern Caribbean.  We were in 3 Infinite Balcony cabins, 7277, 7279, and 7281.  7277 and 7279 had a connecting door.  Normally my mother would have been booked in the same cabin as my kids, but due to COVID-19 there was a max of 2 passengers per cabin.  However, the single supplement was greatly reduced to make up for this.

 

Embarkation was a bit of a mess -- my fully vaccinated 12 year old daughter somehow ended up on a (very short) list of passengers that indicated the need for a COVID-19 PCR test at the terminal.  We tried to explain to the employees at the terminal that she was fully vaccinated (while showing her CDC Vaccine card), but all of our questions were ignored.  She was on “the list” and the only explanation we could get was that it was “the Captain's” decision.

 

My wife and daughter were whisked away to go on a long walk to another building.  I was not permitted to go with them, as my son, mother, and I had already “passed through” the first checkpoint.  I was told I had to head up the escalators and keep moving along.  I decided to stop arguing, because I assumed that if I asked why, they would just tell me that separating families was also Captain McCue’s decision.

 

My wife did have the presence of mind to ask me to give her my daughter's vaccine card.  When she finally got to the testing area she once again asked why my daughter needed to be tested at the terminal and showed the card.  They told her that this was obviously some mistake, and then was sent back to the terminal for embarkation without any additional testing.

 

We then made it to the next checkpoint where, once again, everything went smoothly until they tried to check in my wife and daughter.  So after trying a few times, we were sent along to the check in counter for further processing.  The check in desk apparently had some sort of “override” capability, so they were able to get them checked in.  

 

Then it was time to board the ship!  Well, not so fast -- my daughter's boarding pass still didn’t work.  And, once again, my mother, son and I had passed through the last checkpoint, but my wife and daughter were on the other side.  In hindsight, I should have had them try to board first.

 

They went back to the check in desk, and the rest of us just waited and watched.

 

After more typing at the check in desk, a 3rd set of boarding passes were printed, but, alas, these didn’t work either.

 

Eventually additional officers from the ship, with an escalating number of stripes on their uniforms, showed up and managed to convince the computer to permit my daughter to get onboard.

 

Finally, we were welcomed onboard.  We stopped at our cabin to pick up our cruise cards and drop off our hand luggage, and headed up to the Oceanview Cafe Buffet for lunch.

 

My wife and I ended up trying some wonderful items from the Indian area, and my daughter enjoyed some pizza and fried rice.  All the adults celebrated finally getting onboard with some glasses of sparkling wine.

 

After lunch we decided to start exploring the ship.

 

We had started watching the e-muster videos earlier that morning, back in our hotel rooms at the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale (Cruise Port) hotel.  All we had left to do was to check in at our muster station.  So we meandered down to Muster Station E4, located at one of the main dining restaurants.  After having our seapass cards scanned, we were quickly done with muster and didn’t have any other major tasks waiting for completion -- our vacation had truly started.

 

Next we stopped by the teen club, The Basement, on Deck 2.  Normally my daughter would have been assigned to the Camp at Sea kids club.  The teen club on Celebrity is for 13-17 year olds.  However, on this sailing they were not expecting many children.  There were supposed to be a handful of teenagers, plus a 10 year old and my 12 year old daughter.  So they combined the kids program with the teen program and ran both in the teen club.  My kids were very happy about this, since they would be able to spend time together in the teen club.

 

The 10 year old never showed up on the ship, so my daughter ended up being the youngest person onboard.  This also meant that our cruise was 100% vaccinated, as no passengers were under age 12, and due to the new USVI requirement, all passengers 12+ must be vaccinated.  

 

My kids visited the teen club a few times, and only met one other teenager onboard.

 

We had asked for traditional dining, early seating, but it seems like due to the limited capacity of the ship they were just giving everyone anytime dining.  We really liked the waitstaff we had on the first night in the Normandy dining room, so we ended up asking to be seated there for the rest of the cruise.  We had a nice table for 6 right by the window.

 

Due to the low passenger count on the ship, there were no problems at all getting an elevator.

 

The Oceanview Cafe Buffet was similarly empty most of the time, compared to a normal capacity cruise.

 

 

 

I was very impressed with the onboard activities on Celebrity Edge.  My wife enjoys doing Zumba at home a few times a week, and on Edge Zumba was run every morning at 9:30am, so she was thrilled.  Due to the low passenger counts, the class wasn’t super crowded, and they ran the class in The Club, which had a good amount of space and was in an out of the way area.  On Royal they don’t seem to run Zumba as often and they don’t have a great venue for the class.  On Anthem my wife has attended Zumba in 270, and there isn’t really good floor space for everyone.  On Symphony they ran the class in the middle of the Royal Promenade.

 

Celebrity also had a speaker onboard, part of their Beyond the Podium enrichment program.  On our sailing, Ted Blank spoke almost daily about various space and astronomy topics.  I was very impressed with his talks and attended them all.  He was just as good, if not better, then some speakers I've seen on Cunard.  The only advantage to Cunard’s onboard enrichment program is they usually have 3 different speakers, not just one.  So you are almost guaranteed to have at least one speaker giving presentations on a topic you are interested in.  I lucked out that my sailing had someone talking about space and astronomy.  If the onboard speaker was talking about, say, the history of broadway shows, I doubt I would have attended them all.  

 

The pre-pandemic “avant garde” show in Eden appears to be gone for good.  It was replaced with The Edge Acoustic Experience.  They brought a five member band onboard.  Most of the musicians seem to be able to play multiple instruments, and several of them also sing.  Starting at 5:30 in the evening, there is continuous music all night.  They switch in and out, in groups of one or two musicians who play a set.  During transitions, the incoming and outgoing musicians will join up together to play a song or two, making the transitions seamless.  I thought this was a great idea.  I always have terrible luck, and end up getting a drink in a lounge just as someone is finishing up their set, telling everyone that they are going on break and will be back in an hour.  No chance of that happening in Eden on Edge!   

 

 

 

Celebrity Edge is a beautiful ship.  I really enjoyed the walking/running track onboard.  It has ramps and does a figure eight over two decks, which makes the walk more interesting compared to other ships.  The pool is huge.  Magic Carpet is a fun place for a drink, with great views.  Both the Sunset Bar and The Rooftop Garden could use some more shade, and seems to have a bit of a soot problem due to their location aft of the stack.  

 

I guess I'm just used to other ships and the sheer number of different bars they have onboard, because I think I was a little underwhelmed with the number of bar/lounges available on Edge.  There are basically only three indoor choices -- Eden, The Club, or the Martini Bar.  They were all quite big, and very nice, but in the back of my mind I guess I was expecting more venues to be available.  In any case, the ‘show’ in the Martini Bar was certainly something to see!


 

 

We stopped at Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten.  In order to leave the ship in Nassau or St. Maarten, you needed to book a ship excursion.  You could tour on your own in St. Thomas.  We stayed on the ship in Nassau as the ship arrived at 7am and left at noon, and none of the excursions sounded especially interesting.  At St. Thomas we took a taxi over to Magens Bay beach.  This was the first time I visited this beach and I really enjoyed our visit.  The last few times we visited St. Thomas, my son was much younger and we visited Coral World Ocean Park instead.  At St. Maarten we took a ship excursion to Orient Bay.  I can’t say I was impressed at all by the excursion, and now I know why I usually avoid booking excursions through the ship.

 

 

 

Disembarkation was super smooth.  We did self disembarkation at 7:40; we arrived in Eden around 7:30 and the ship already had clearance for us to leave.  US Customs and Border Protection was using their wonderful face recognition system to clear us back into the country, so we were quickly out on the street and in a taxi on our way to FLL.  We were able to make our 11:20am flight with plenty of time to spare.  

 

Despite all the issues we had trying to get onboard the ship, we all had a wonderful time sailing on Celebrity Edge.  This was my second time sailing on Celebrity, and I certainly will look to sail on this line again in the future.

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Was Nassau a substitution for San Juan?  Because on my upcoming itinerary, our itinerary says we have a late afternoon/early evening call in San Juan and I have booked a private catamaran tour.

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13 hours ago, Mike45LC said:

Was Nassau a substitution for San Juan?  Because on my upcoming itinerary, our itinerary says we have a late afternoon/early evening call in San Juan and I have booked a private catamaran tour.

 

No, I believe Nassau was always on the itinerary for this cruise.  The only change was to leave Nassau 2 hours earlier, and then arrive at St Thomas 2 hours later.  There wasn't any real explanation for the change.

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10 hours ago, NBliving said:

Thanks for your review.  Glad you had a great time after a rocky start!  Any comments on the Renaissance hotel?  We are staying there pre-cruise in January.

 

Ask for a high floor maybe?  We had two rooms -- one on the 4th floor and one on the 7th floor... both toilets occasionally "gurgled", but the one on the 4th floor seemed to do it in a more vigorous manner.

 

It's certainly not the newest or best Renaissance I've ever stayed in, but the location is great -- it's quite close to both the hotel and the cruise port.  I would stay there again.

 

I was able to see the funnel for Celebrity Edge from my 7th floor room, which was kinda neat.  And look for the hidden floor number in the bird artwork right outside of the elevator.

 

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If you take a ship’s excursion in St Maarten, do you have to go straight back onto the ship, or can you wander around the port area? If so, are shops open? Thanks.

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35 minutes ago, Casachicstore said:

Thanks for the review.  What night was the chic night? 

 

Chic was the first two sea days, so the first was on night 3 (Monday) and the second was night 6 (Thursday).  We were in Nassau on Sunday, St Thomas on Tuesday, and St Maarten on Wednesday.

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30 minutes ago, bac513 said:

If you take a ship’s excursion in St Maarten, do you have to go straight back onto the ship, or can you wander around the port area? If so, are shops open? Thanks.

 

Nobody told us that we couldn't wander around the port area on our way back to the ship, so I assume it's OK.  You do have to pass by all the shops to get from the bus depot to the ship anyway.  I didn't really look at the shops too carefully to see how many were open, but I got the feeling that at least some of them were.  We were on an afternoon excursion, and "all aboard" for the ship was fast approaching, so I didn't really investigate too much.

 

I do know that they won't let you off the ship at all unless you have an excursion.  And they check the excursion time, we got down to deck 2 "too early" and had to wait a bit inside.  So you can't do any shopping pre-excursion.  

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Thx for taking the time to review!  I am traveling solo in November on the Edge in a single infinity balcony.  The infinity balcony wouldn’t have been my first choice but that’s where the single cabins are.  What was your impression of the infinity balconies?  Thx again.

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2 minutes ago, ILgirl said:

Thx for taking the time to review!  I am traveling solo in November on the Edge in a single infinity balcony.  The infinity balcony wouldn’t have been my first choice but that’s where the single cabins are.  What was your impression of the infinity balconies?  Thx again.

 

I think i have mixed feelings about the Infinite Veranda.  It's certainly a unique design.  Basically it feels like an high floor oceanview cabin, with a floor to ceiling window and a great view.

 

What is nice about the design is that if you don’t want to open the balcony window, you get this extra room in your cabin.  When it’s very hot out, you can enjoy the view while also enjoying the AC from your room.  This reminded me of my favorite cabin category on Disney Dream/Fantasy -- Deluxe Family Oceanview.  You get a giant porthole window where the balcony should be, and a nice comfy chair to chill in, but you are still inside your cabin. 

 

But, with the Infinite Veranda, if you want to feel the ocean breeze and listen to the sound of the water, you can still open the window, unlike that cabin I like on Disney Dream.

 

The first few times I opened it up, I left the folding partition doors open.  The rest of the room did get hot and humid.  The big mirror in the bedroom even fogged all up.  After that I did try using the folding doors, and just sitting in the "balcony area", which did seem to work a bit better.

 

If you only open the window for a few minutes to look outside, check the outside temperature, etc. then you don't need to bother messing with the folding doors.

 

The main disadvantage I found is that there are no curtains, only a noisy electric operated blackout shade.  So when my wife woke up and wanted to see what was going on outside, I would also find myself awake.  In a normal balcony cabin you can just open the curtains a bit and not bother anyone else.

 

But I guess that wouldn't be an issue in a single.  In fact, I think there wouldn't be as many disadvantages to an IV when traveling solo.  You won't wake anyone else up with the noisy shade.  If you want to sit out on the balcony, and you shut the sliding doors, the rest of the room might slowly warm up, but nobody else would get annoyed about the AC being off.  And I would think that the rest of the room would still feel cooler to you, compared to outside. 

 


 

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What a wonderful post.    Sorry to hear it started out so rough.    It's amazing how that can set ones mood for the cruise but you rose above it and sounds like a wonderful cruise. 

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22 hours ago, karl_nj said:

 

Nobody told us that we couldn't wander around the port area on our way back to the ship, so I assume it's OK.  You do have to pass by all the shops to get from the bus depot to the ship anyway.  I didn't really look at the shops too carefully to see how many were open, but I got the feeling that at least some of them were.  We were on an afternoon excursion, and "all aboard" for the ship was fast approaching, so I didn't really investigate too much.

 

I do know that they won't let you off the ship at all unless you have an excursion.  And they check the excursion time, we got down to deck 2 "too early" and had to wait a bit inside.  So you can't do any shopping pre-excursion.  

Thanks for the info..

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On 9/6/2021 at 2:17 PM, ILgirl said:

Thx for taking the time to review!  I am traveling solo in November on the Edge in a single infinity balcony.  The infinity balcony wouldn’t have been my first choice but that’s where the single cabins are.  What was your impression of the infinity balconies?  Thx again.

The Infinite balcony is odd….just an extension of the room, but the cabin is gorgeous.  The single infinite balcony had a life boat in front on the balcony and NO drawers at all.   I moved to a regular cabin.

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Thx Alice S. There were several obstructed view single IVs so I made certain not to select one of those,  it is only a week so I’ll do my best without drawer space.  Maybe it will keep me from over packing which I always seem to do!😀

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On 9/6/2021 at 12:57 PM, karl_nj said:

 

Nobody told us that we couldn't wander around the port area on our way back to the ship, so I assume it's OK.  You do have to pass by all the shops to get from the bus depot to the ship anyway.  I didn't really look at the shops too carefully to see how many were open, but I got the feeling that at least some of them were.  We were on an afternoon excursion, and "all aboard" for the ship was fast approaching, so I didn't really investigate too much.

 

I do know that they won't let you off the ship at all unless you have an excursion.  And they check the excursion time, we got down to deck 2 "too early" and had to wait a bit inside.  So you can't do any shopping pre-excursion.  

Pic of the port, No one to be seen. 

 

6866BF62-E78E-48FC-87AB-185318006AF6.thumb.jpeg.dd8921131a95362d6e8f54df48610c19.jpeg

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You mention that you were able to watch the muster video in your hotel.  Is that found in the app?  I was under the impression that it played on the TV in your stateroom.  I'd love to get that done before boarding.

Thanks!

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20 hours ago, lola2013 said:

You mention that you were able to watch the muster video in your hotel.  Is that found in the app?  I was under the impression that it played on the TV in your stateroom.  I'd love to get that done before boarding.

Thanks!

 

Yes -- at the bottom of the app there are a row of buttons.  One of them you need to click on in order to finalize the "health and safety" questions the day before the cruise.  There is another one that you can click on the morning of the cruise, and you can watch a video regarding life jackets, listen to the muster alarm, etc.  You can take care of all of these that morning even before you get on the ship.  Then the only bit you need to do on the ship is to check in.

 

Looks like you can actually watch them in the app now, but I think it only "counts" on that morning.  After you do each step in the app that morning it brings up a screen where you certify everyone that watched/listened to that step. 

 

Worked well for us because we were just sitting around waiting to check out at 11 and then make our way to the port.

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32 minutes ago, karl_nj said:

 

Yes -- at the bottom of the app there are a row of buttons.  One of them you need to click on in order to finalize the "health and safety" questions the day before the cruise.  There is another one that you can click on the morning of the cruise, and you can watch a video regarding life jackets, listen to the muster alarm, etc.  You can take care of all of these that morning even before you get on the ship.  Then the only bit you need to do on the ship is to check in.

 

Looks like you can actually watch them in the app now, but I think it only "counts" on that morning.  After you do each step in the app that morning it brings up a screen where you certify everyone that watched/listened to that step. 

 

Worked well for us because we were just sitting around waiting to check out at 11 and then make our way to the port.

Thanks...will be glad to get that task out of the way!

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