My first real "ahhh" moment on the world's newest cruise ship came down a wrist line from a Pina Colada as I lay down in a "martini glass" swimming pool.
After more than eight miles (nearly 14,000 steps) during my two-day run around Celebrity Edge, it was a happy moment, not just through the pressure jets that drummed my feet and the beat of the rum, but through the unobstructed view of the penny -slot-drop sunset over the caribbean sea.
The most eagerly awaited cruise ship of the year arrived at their home in Port Everglades, Florida, last week before their baptism on Tuesday (Wednesday, NZT) of Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai.
Although Malala will not be sailing (she must be in Harvard the next day to receive an Activist of the Year award), her role as patron of the 2918 passenger ship is a coup for Celebrity Cruises.
* The first new Celebrity Cruises ship in six years is baptized by Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai
* Innovative "magic carpet" on the new Celebrity cruise ship brings passengers to the water's edge
* A look at new ships and trends in Cruising 2018
As I rolled in the bathtub, I remembered the morning architectural insight tour. Tom Wright (the W in WKK Architects), whose other projects include the Burj Al Arab Hotel, had explained how his vision of two bowl-shaped tubs sitting on a stalk had been realized.
When designing cruise ships, nothing is easy. Restrictions are movement, load sharing and the question of where to hide unsightly things like cooling systems. Celebrity's brute $ 1 billion ship is the culmination of a four-year cruise between cruise liners, the blue skies of an outstanding team of designers and worker bees at the STX shipyard in France.
"You want to put a hot pot on a stick? Forget it!" was more or less the answer to Wright's idea. "Luckily for us," he continued, "STX had an engineer with exemplary talent for this type of structure, and he decided that was possible and helped."
"We have storage rooms with great ideas," Wright added. "It's just about connecting the right ideas with the right ship." And how. This is the first time a ship has set sail, with a room overhanging a tennis court surface. The "magic carpet" can be lowered, raised and used in various ways – from a classy platform that floats at sea level to a restaurant, a bar and live music on deck 14.
I loved seeing it dangling in the air as it flew past my room.
The rulebook has also been torn open in Eden, a three-story glass-walled lounge performance venue where designer Patricia Urquiola has done a retro-cool, pistachio-covered rug and acres of hanging plants, toffee-colored sofas, "Log" pillars and a botanical wall behind the bar, which also serves as a cocktail lounge. All around, there are comfortable seating areas where you can lose yourself.
In the two-storey Edge Villas, which have a plunge pool with sea views, Kelly Hoppen has created warm and neutral hues with "Hoppen Green" designs. In the dining room, there are plantation benches, beaded stools and New York-style subway tiles. "It's screaming," said Yolanda, the suite's Guide-cum-Realtor, which justifies the price tag of £ 24,300 a week (NZ $ 44,930).
For a better view than the captain, book one of the two bedroom, two-bathroom Iconic Suites that sit above the "wings" that extend from the bridge. The 232-square-meter suites extend to a large verandah with a hot tub and shaded cabana. Inside, there is a butler pantry for entertainment and a rugby sized tub with more jets than a geyser.
In some parts of the ship, stairs are characterized by their absence. In Eden you hike over a meandering ramp into a mezzanine. On the pool deck, a gently sloping jogging trail leads to the 14th Deck, where Wright has conjured up a Zen-like roof garden. Curved seating, hand-carved canvases and tree sculptures that provide both wind protection and protection from the sun are being used with great success. Planters of salt-resistant shrubs are cared for by a local gardener.
Before boarding, I'd heard a lot about Edge being the first ship to be designed entirely in 3D. I dismissed it as a load of old waffle. But for the designers, who spent thousands of hours in a "3D cave," reviewing, refining, and perfecting every detail, it was nothing short of revolutionary. "This is probably the 30th iteration," Wright said of the garden. "We were able to put the entire deck in a wind tunnel."
Instagram purred positively. A garden post with its white sofas, tropical cushions, carved trees and plants received 88 likes and received comments like "This is not a cruise ship!" and "This is a ship?". My mother put it in a nutshell: "It looks like a 'room' at the Chelsea Flower Show … and then you see the sea."
Back in the martini glass, I wondered if I could improve my 360-degree view of the now red mandarin-colored horizon.