Travels with Bob

New Ships Elevate Guest Experience

The EDGE’s “Magic Carpet” adds an unparalleled guest experience.

In an era of cruise lines racing to outdo each other by adding over-the-top activities and experiences to enhance on board guest experiences, Celebrity Cruises gained an Edge over its premium-class competitors late last year.

Celebrity Edge, designed around an outwardly-facing vision, features a cantilevered, floating platform providing exciting new venues, incredible visual perspectives and a distinct experience on every deck it visits. At the top of the ship, the Magic Carpet becomes a venue high in the sky for “Dinner on the Edge”. On deck 14, the Magic Carpet becomes an extension of the main pool area, while on Deck 5, it provides an open-air dining experience. It also gives guests a  luxurious way to board stylish tender boats for visiting ports where the ship cannot otherwise dock.

The ship’s “Infinite Verandas” provide a floor-to-ceiling view of the sea and more stateroom space. Simply press a button and you will have fresh sea air throughout your stateroom. You also will enjoy four main dining rooms, expansive public spaces and other features that include kicked-up entertainment and a décor befitting its Italian cruise itineraries. The ship winters in South Florida for Caribbean itineraries and will be joined next year by its sister-ship, the Apex.

Small Ship Cruising

Last summer, the luxury French cruise line Ponant launched Le Lapérouse outfitted with the most unusual cocktail lounge at sea. The Blue Eye, located in the ship’s hull below the water line, treats guests to a multi-sensory experience designed to bring them closer to the undersea world – usually reserved for divers or submersibles.

Accommodating 30 guests at a time in an environment designed around gentle aquatic curves and soft blue lighting, the lounge features two large viewing windows and a digital system that pipes in underwater sounds along with vibrations experienced through “Body Listening” sofas.   

The first of six-explorer class ships, Le Lapérouse welcomes 184 guests on itineraries usually accessible only by smaller ships including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

New on the Danube

AmaWaterways launched its AmaMagna in May to rave reviews. Twice the width of traditional ships on European rivers, the Ama Magna accommodates only 20 percent more guests, who enjoy the added personal space in larger staterooms and inviting public spaces. More than half of the guest rooms are suites sporting full balconies and measuring 355 to 710 square feet.

The AmaMagna encompasses four dining venues and other amenities including an on board movie theater, a large boutique and a large Zen Wellness Studio that offers group classes conducted by a professional wellness host. The ship’s sun deck includes a large heated pool, whirlpool, sky bar and 360-degree views of the countryside.

This unique ship cruises the Danube between Vilshofen and Budapest, and a pre- or post-cruise three-night land extension in Prague rounds out an outstanding itinerary.

Each of these exceptional ships offers exciting fresh experiences for travelers, whether you are seeking a premium-class ocean cruise, a small-ship luxury exploration cruise or a European river cruise. All three clearly have raised the bar for competitors.