First new Celebrity Cruises ship in six years, Celebrity Edge, begins trips from Florida

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Saturday will be a big day for Celebrity Cruises fans as the line’s first new ship in six years begins sailing with paying passengers for the first time.

The much-awaited, 2,918-passenger Celebrity Edge will depart Florida’s Port Everglades Saturday afternoon on a three-night voyage to Nassau in The Bahamas. It’ll return to the Fort Lauderdale-area port early on Tuesday.

Unveiled to travel agents and media earlier this week, Edge is the prototype for an innovative new series of ships at Celebrity called the Edge Class. Designed to be oriented to the ocean in a way that is unusual for big vessels, it boasts several features that are groundbreaking not just for the line but the industry.

Among them: Outward-facing cabins that are fronted with wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling glass – a new concept for ocean cruising made possible by redesigning the internal architecture of the ship.

Dubbed the Edge Stateroom with Infinite Veranda, the new cabin type has balconies that are incorporated into the main cabin area. Bi-fold doors in the rooms either can be completely closed, creating a traditional room area separated from a balcony area, or left open, creating a wide-open indoor space that is about 23 percent larger than traditional balcony cabins.

The glass walls at the end of the cabins slide down from the ceiling at the push of a button, descending to the level of a traditional balcony to create a balcony-like feel.

Also noteworthy on Edge is a three-deck-high, plant-filled lounge, dining and entertainment venue at the back of the ship that is partially encircled in a massive, curving wall of glass. Called Eden, it offers unusually wide-open views of the ocean. It’s full of seating nooks facing outward to the sea.

Another innovative new feature of Edge is Magic Carpet, a 90-ton platform the size of a tennis court that is cantilevered over the ship’s starboard side. Painted tangerine, it moves up and down the side of the vessel serving functions that range from a lounge to a restaurant to a tender-boarding platform. When used as a lounge or restaurant, it offers stunning views out to sea and back to the main part of the vessel.

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