Celebrity Edge To Europe In 2019 – Other Cruise News: The B Debuts – Crystal’s Shorter Cruises
by Kevin Griffin
Last week, it was announced that the Celebrity Edge, the first of four new generation ships, will be based in Europe in 2019. On top of this, the existing Celebrity fleet of nine will be refurbished between 2019 and 2023 as the four new ships are delivered. Elsewhere, the world’s first cruise ship designed for Millenials, U by Uniworld’s The B, is to enter service on the Seine next spring, to be followed by a second ship, The A, on the Rhine. Finally, Crystal Cruises has added to its selection of short cruises with five 6- to 8-day cruises for 2018 in addition to the seven that are being sold this year.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
Celebrity Edge To Europe In 2019
The Celebrity Edge, first of four 2,900-berth sister ships, is coming to Europe. She will enter service in October 2018 from Fort Lauderdale and will be Celebrity’s first new ship in six years and the first of a new class in a decade.
The new ship will visit the UK from May 13 to 15, where she will run a short cruise from Southampton before setting off on a 10-night Iberian Peninsula cruise to Rome, calling at ports in Spain, Portugal and Italy.
Once in the Mediterranean, Celebrity Edge will offer 7-, 9- 10 and 11-night sailings from Rome and Barcelona. Customers wanting 14 nights will be able to book two 7-night cruises back-to-back, calling at only one repeat port, Livorno, during the fortnight. This will allow guests to go to Florence one week and then to Pisa on the other.
Ports of call will include Monte Carlo, Capri and Mykonos, along with Ibiza and Valencia, where the ship will spend longer evenings in port.
The new ship will also visit two new ports, Nafplion in Greece and Santa Margherita, from where it is possible to take a ferry to Portofino.
In total, Celebrity Edge will sail to thirty ports in ten countries, with five overnights during the season from May to October.
This will take Celebrity’s European deployment to five ships, affirming the cruise line’s commitment to European markets.
In addition to building the new “Edge” class ships, Celebrity Cruises will modernize its existing fleet to bring the ships up to date and in line with the new “Edge” class vessels.
Between 2019 and 2023, Celebrity will spend $400 million on its five 2,850-berth “Solstice” class ships and four 2,160-berth “Millennium” class vessels. Specific changes include updated accommodations and other venues, including a new Retreat for Suite class passengers. More announcements are expected later.
Meanwhile, following eight consecutive seasons in the UK, Celebrity Eclipse will make her final voyage out of Southampton this weekend. She is scheduled to be replaced by the Celebrity Silhouette in April 2018.
Celebrity Eclipse will return to Europe, however, but to be based in Dublin for a short season next summer, a first for the Irish port, after which she will move on to Amsterdam.
Eventually, if UK demand develops, Celebrity has said that it would base the Celebrity Edge in the UK.
OTHER CRUISE NEWS
The B Debuts
And now, the first cruise specifically designed for Millenials arrives in April 2018. The 120-berth river cruiser The B, formerly Uniworld Boutique River Cruises’ River Baroness, will enter service next year aimed at the 21 to 45 crowd, the so-called Millenials.
One of the things the new U by Uniworld brand will do is to turn the Sunday staple of brunch into a daily event in its stylish bistro, running from 10 am to 2 pm each day.
At night, sharing plates make dinner a social affair. Dinner tables are communal, combining American diner with a European bistro feel, complete with plush leather banquets, industrial-style lighting and retro stools. This is the new world for younger river cruisers that is now being introduced as U by Uniworld.
The first of these vessels, called simply The B, set off from Paris recently on a trial maiden sailing along the Seine. With farm-to-table cuisine, rooftop yoga classes and excursions such as treasure hunts through the Louvre museum, this is a totally new cruising product.
The B features sixty-one cabins divided into Suites, Balcony Cabins and Studios. The twenty-one Studios on the lower deck don’t have balconies. The main difference between the 256-sq ft Suites and 128 sq ft Studios is size. All of the marble-lined bathrooms feature the same amenities such as Gilchrist & Soames’ BeeKind.
Studios and Suites feature Savoir beds with plush white bedding, and storage space is maximised with cabinets hidden away behind mirrorrs.
Although small, even the two Triple Studios feel spacious, with a loft bed on one side and bunk beds on the other, each featuring its own safe and flatscreen TV, plus adjustable lighting. For those who may not want to wake up to their neighbours venturing back from the clubs late at night, there is noise-proof padding in the walls.
The design may be minimalist, but the tech-savvy cabins are well outfitted. Included are built-in Bluetooth speakers and plenty of outlets by the bed and desk area, which can accommodate plugs from different countries.
Compared to conventional cruise products, these cabins make staying connected seem a priority, especially as the Wi-Fi is free.
U by Uniworld has also set its sights on the Mekong River for a third vessel, with plans for a fourth ship to be announced in the future.
Crystal’s Shorter Cruises
In order to offer luxury travellers more choice, Crystal Cruises has unveiled more Crystal Getaways, abbreviated voyages derived from longer existing itineraries, for 2017 and 2018.
New to the roster are five abbreviated sectors of Crystal Serenity’s 2018 World Cruise voyages exploring India, South America, the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, and the Caribbean. The voyages range from four to eight days in length, providing busy travellers more luxury options requiring less time and money.
The shorter itineraries help Crystal guests make the most of their valuable time, but allow them to relax in luxury at a fraction of the usual cost per cruise.
Combined with existing 2017 Crystal Getaways exploring the Arabian Coast, South Africa and the Caribbean, the newly-added 2018 itineraries bring the total of these shorter voyages to a dozen. Guests can visit the United Arab Emirates and the wilds of the African savannah; the marketplaces and temples of Vietnam and the famous giant pandas of Chengdu; the waters of Fiji and jungles of Phuket; and the wonders of the Galapagos Islands and culture of Chile.
The new collection of Crystal Getaways includes:
November 22 – Dubai to Abu Dhabi (4 days), Crystal Symphony
November 26 – Abu Dhabi to Mahé/Victoria (5 days), Crystal Symphony
December 1 – Mahé/Victoria to Port Louis (8 days), Crystal Symphony
December 6 – Fort Lauderdale to Barbados (8 days), Crystal Serenity
December 9 – Port Louis to Maputo (7 days), Crystal Symphony
December 14 – Barbados to Charleston (6 days), Crystal Serenity
December 16 – Maputo to Cape Town (6 days), Crystal Symphony
April 6 – Valparaíso to Lima (6 days), Crystal Symphony
April 9 – Colombo to Mumbai (6 days), Crystal Serenity
April 12 – Lima to Colón (7 days), Crystal Symphony
April 23 – Aruba to Fort Lauderdale (7 days), Crystal Symphony
May 26 – Honolulu to Vancouver (8 days), Crystal Symphony
All-inclusive cruise fares for Crystal’s 2017 and 2018 Crystal Getaways start at $940 per person.
(Kevin Griffin is managing director of specialist cruise agency The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)