Last month Micaela and I went on a European cruise of a lifetime with Celebrity Cruises. Although I have traveled abroad, I had never been on a cruise and was excited to experience travel from the sea. I absolutely loved the ease of falling asleep in one city and waking up in a completely new place without having to pack up and figure out transportation to our next location. Being in a completely new destination each day was so exciting and everyday we couldn’t wait to wake up and take in the ocean breeze from our patio!
I was looking forward to sharing with you all the details of our daily adventures abroad, but now that we’ve sailed with Celebrity, I have so much more to share than just our travel experience. You know when a company stands for something more than the product they are delivering? They inspire you to not only be ‘brand loyal’ but also, ignite a desire within you to become a better, more intentional global citizen? Well that’s how we feel about Celebrity Cruises. They are an international company that believes in equality. Whether for the LGBTQ+ community, or ethnic and racial minorities- they hire to increase diversity and promote inclusiveness. This company is committed to doing the right thing. Aside from the fact we loved feeling completely spoiled while aboard, it felt good that it was with a company that stands for the right things and are in alignment with who we are. Okay. Time to spill the tea!
We traveled on the Celebrity Edge, which is Celebrity Cruises’ newest ship. IT WAS STUNNING! Micaela and I kept saying that we felt like we were staying at a five star resort because of how beautiful every corner of the ship was. No detail was forgotten and every space had its own vibe and theme- you could have a fancy martini in the star studded martini bar, then go have appetizers while watching the sunset on the outdoor sunset bar.
One of our favorite places was Eden. A three story restaurant/bar with floor to ceiling windows boasting gorgeous ocean views- a theme here! Eden is an EXPERIENCE. From the mirrored gold forest entryway, to the specialty crafted cocktails, to the hanging moon that Edenist frequently swing on, to the daily shows put on at the “nucleus” of the bar- every aspect of Eden is unique. The whole experience is almost indescribable, but if you take a cruise on the Edge, then Eden should be one of your first stops!
Spain, France and Italy. Need I say more?! We stopped along the hallmark coastal cities of these three countries on our cruise.
We were docked at each port for roughly 12 hours, which was plenty of time for us to see the main sites and experience the beauty of each city or town. At the end of each day, we truly felt like we had experienced everything we wanted to see at each destination.
In Valencia, we took a hop on hop off bus tour around the city after exploring Old Town. We happened to be there during an annual festival and enjoyed soaking in the culture.
We had a relaxing beach day in Ibiza. We didn’t have any set plans in Marseille, but ended up climbing to the Cathedral and loved the breathtaking views from the top! While in Nice, we took a train to the world famous Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco and then had the most incredible experience in the hillside town of Eze! As if the jasmine lined walls of the the town weren’t enough wonder for the day, we met a local artist who insisted upon sketching us. He gave the sketch to us to take home as a token of his passion for the arts.
We did a Celebrity organized excursion to Cinque Terra from our Spazzio, Italy port. I would definitely recommend doing this if you decided to do Cinque Terra as the roads between each city are difficult to navigate otherwise! We felt like having a mix of organized excursions and days where we did our own thing was the perfect way to enjoy each port!
Pride Party at Sea
Starting with a marching band led parade throughout the ship, and ending the night dancing poolside surrounded by neon rainbow lights, from start to finish, the Pride Party at Sea was one of the best Prides we have ever been to!
Members of the LGBTQ+ community, allies, and people from all walks of life aboard the Edge, gathered to celebrate Pride. Rainbows were everywhere, music was bumping and Grand Marshal, Olympian Adam Rippon, was working the room! The joy and love was palpable on the open air rooftop dance party as we left Ibiza and sailed to our next destination. With the night sky above us, rainbows flashing around us and an amazing community surrounding us, we truly had the Pride experience of a lifetime!
They even had speciality rainbow drinks (complete with a rainbow sprinkle rim!)
We knew that Celebrity cruises publicly supported our LGBTQ+ community, but we didn’t know just how deep their values went in also supporting and empowering women. With a female CEO, employing the FIRST North American female captain of a Mega-Cruise ship, and employing more females in their Maritime crew than any other cruise line- Celebrity Cruises is making waves in more places than the seas!
In addition, Celebrity assigns a “Godmother” to each ship. In keeping with tradition, the Godmother attends the launch festivities and represents the essence of the ship. Malala Yousafzai is the godmother of the Celebrity Edge, the ship we sailed on. Malala was shot point blank in the head (and survived!) for seeking an education and publicly encouraging other girls of Pakistan to do so as well. Her story is remarkable and definitely one worth reading. Her framed picture is in the hall of one of the main decks and her values of female empowerment are definitely felt throughout the ship with a strong female staff and management team.
In addition, you should totally go follow Captain Kate! It’s so inspiring to see women take up space in roles traditionally occupied by men!
The Food, OH THE FOOD!
In FULL transparency, I was worried I was going to be eating side dishes, picked apart salads and french fries while on the ship. (If you are vegan, you know the struggle you sometimes face while dining out!) Boy was I wrong!! On the Celebrity Edge, there were endless Vegan options around the ship, including many options at the main buffet, a fresh juice bar, non-dairy milks offered at all the barista stations, and accommodating chefs willing to meet your dietary needs . The highlight for us was the four course vegan meals EVERY NIGHT at Normandie, one of four main dining rooms.
When the staff found out we were vegan the first night, they easily modified the menu that night to meet our dietary preferences without batting an eye. Unlike most restaurants who make things vegan by leaving ingredients out, the chefs at Normandie added ingredients back in to make up for what was being removed! The next night and every night there after, the chef prepared us a four course vegan meal with no details left behind. Over the course of our trip we had zucchini lasagna, butternut squash and vegetable curry, tofu ratatouille, cashew cream tomato basil bisque and a vegetable quinoa stir fry to name a few! And how could I forget the speciality desserts?!
Every single night we felt special. We felt taken care of. And we didn’t feel like an imposition for our dietary requests. The food alone is reason enough to sail with Celebrity Cruises.
Day at Sea
Micaela and I had spent so much time OFF the ship at each port that we were excited to have a day at sea to finally explore the ship! There are so many restaurants, bars, that even after being aboard for a week, we STILL didn’t see everything. Our cruise had one day at sea, which was perfect in the middle of the cruise for unwinding and enjoying the beauty of the open sea.
One of my favorite spaces on the Celebrity Edge is the Solarium. It’s this beautiful spa like space with a glass roof where you can relax poolside, indoors, while still feeling like you are outside. The tranquil space beckoned to these tired moms and we spent a few hours of our day at sea in there!
With a ratio of one staff member for every two guests, it’s no wonder we felt like we were so well taken care of! We were always greeted with smiles and enjoyed seeing the same staff members everyday. We left the cruise feeling like we had all these new friends! Haha! Everyone was SO nice and accommodating in all areas of the cruise- we truly felt like if we needed ANYTHING, it would be handled with a smile.
Although we didn’t bring our three children with us this time, I was surprised with how many kid friendly things there were on the ship. From interactive cartoons that prepare your child’s meal in front of them, to kid friendly entertainment, to babysitters who come to your room and a full on “Kids Club” where kids can go play with other kids on ship all day while being taken care of by the Celebrity staff. Celebrity Cruises does a fantastic job of including the little travelers and it made us excited to bring our little ones along with us next time!
Speaking of next time, Micaela and I already can’t wait for our next cruise with Celebrity! We’ve already started looking into dates for one of their Alaska or Mediterranean cruises and can’t wait to experience all of this again!