By Richard Tribou
Celebrity Cruises gave a first look at its new cruise ship Celebrity Edge ahead of its Florida debut this fall.
The 2,918-passenger ship is scheduled to begin sailing out of Port Everglades in November but is getting its finishing touches at France's Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard, where invited guests got to take in some of the ship's unique features for the first time.
Among those were a ride on the Magic Carpet, which has multiple roles but will offer an innovative way for passengers to disembark and reboard the ship when it tenders at ports of call.
While that's an exterior feature, visitors to the ship also got a look at some of the inside features, including the ship's atrium, known as the Grand Plaza, from French designers Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku.
The main draw could be referred to as the elephant in the room, in that it's a 7-ton chandelier. The feature that looms three decks above the circular-designed Martini Bar features LED light strips that adjust the color depending on the time of day.
"The chandelier is like a passive, beautiful sculpture that at night becomes this kind of beating heart," Manku said. "And every single time you look at it, you see it in a different way. It reveals itself as a different thing."
Also in the public space is something you don't see every day on a cruise ship: untouched sections of the hull, meant to pay deference to the construction process of the ship.
For this exposed corridor, Jouin and Manku said they wanted to show welders' touches, architect markings and engineer's notes, the backbone of what Celebrity touts as a sleek, modern design.
"I think what we love in each project is we're always trying to find technique and material craftspeople that allow us to do something we've never done before," Manku said. "When we were asked to work on the Grand Plaza, one of the big things was these incredibly talented people who can work with steel, and work with steel in ways that become very plastic. So what we really want to do as well is, 'How can we show the bones?' Because the bones are so good, you don't need to put a covering over them."
Aside from the chandelier, a hanging art installation titled "The Pendulum" is something the designers said they wanted to remind cruisers they were on a ship. It suspends from three decks up and moves with the sway of the ship. There is also, surrounding the Martini Bar, a hand-stitched mesh screen with 13,500 pieces of metal, leather and fabric.
"We hope that all their life they will remember this special moment and why they were here, and why they were together," Jouin said. "That's the joy for us."
The 1,004-foot-long vessel's first sailing from Port Everglades is scheduled for Nov. 21. It will continue sailing seven-night alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries until summer 2019, when it migrates to the Mediterranean.
Celebrity Edge is the first of a new class of ship. The cruise line's last class of ship, the Solstice class, debuted more than 10 years ago. A sister ship, Celebrity Apex, is slated for delivery in spring 2020 with two more on order for 2021 and 2022.