by Alex Palmer | March 02, 2018

Groups hitting the high seas won't have to worry about leaving a top-notch selection of dining options back on the mainland if Celebrity Cruises has anything to say about it. The cruise company yesterday unveiled 29 bar, restaurant, and café concepts that will be available on its new Celebrity Edge ship beginning later this year. In a high-production event that incorporated at-table animation, a ballet performance, and a cornucopia of dining and drink stations, the cruise brand aimed to show that it could not only outdo any cruise brand in its culinary offerings, but could compete with incentive-level, land-based resorts as well.

"Everything we do at Celebrity is because we are a culinary brand," Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said during the unveiling, held at Pier 36 in lower Manhattan. She added that the company was aiming to "transform not only Celebrity, but also the industry."

Lutoff-Perlo was joined on stage by celebrity interior designer Nate Berkus, the brand's travel ambassador, and the two outlined to members of the press, event planners, and travel agents in attendance how beginning in November 2018, the 2,900-person-capacity ship would be offering four main dining restaurants, two exclusive dining venues, seven specialty restaurants, five complimentary dining venues, and 11 bars and lounges.

The brand has expanded its main-dining offerings from one to four options: the Italian-inspired Tuscan Restaurant; the French-themed Normandie Restaurant; Cyprus Restaurant (with Mediterranean offerings meant as a nod to the brand's Greek roots); and the new-American menu of Cosmopolitan Restaurant. Guests in the Suite Class can partake in the high-end Luminae at The Retreat, while AquaClass guests can dine at the "spa-inspired" Blu.

Speaking to Incentive, Lutoff-Perlo emphasized that corporate groups might be especially interested in dining in the ship's "Magic Carpet" -- a cantilevered, floating platform that can reach up to 13 stories above sea level. The mobile venue offers several different experiences to incentive groups: an extension of the main pool area when connected to the ship's Deck 5, a luxurious lounge when connected to Deck 2, or an al fresco and elevated dining option as part of Dinner on the Edge when connected to ship's top level. 

Groups will now also be able to sample between several specialty dining options: the upscale Fine Cut Steakhouse; BBQ-inspired Rooftop Garden Grill; open-air Eden Restaurant; seafood-oriented Raw on 5; and Le Grand Bistro patisserie. At night, this venue is dimmed and offers up a multimedia, interactive French dining experience, likely to especially appeal to groups. Using technology developed by TableMation Studios, as guests prepare for their meal, they are treated to an immersive animation show featuring the animated 3D character Le Petite Chef.

If that wasn't enough, Celebrity also introduced five complimentary restaurants throughout the ship, and 11 bars and lounges (ranging from the upscale Martini Bar to earthy Eden Bar). 

The new Celebrity Edge will spend its first season, beginning Nov. 21, alternating between seven-night eastern and western Caribbean outing before moving to Mediterranean destinations (with a range of seven- to 11-night sailings from cities including Barcelona and Rome) in 2019. The Celebrity Edge will then be joined by three sister ships, with a new one setting sail each year beginning in 2020.

The reveal gave guests an opportunity to sample the individual aesthetics and cuisines of many of these concepts, from the oyster-shell tequila cocktails served at Raw on 5's bar Seaside Heights to the strozopretti carbonara served at Tuscan Restaurant. The dining concluded with several tables elaborately laden with desserts of all variety and a dance performance of selections from the American Ballet Theatre's production Whipped Cream. It was a fitting, treat-themed end to a culinary extravaganza.