If you’ve spent any time with me, you know that if you say the word “cruise,” I’m likely to pull out my laptop and start helping you find one to book. I am crazy addicted to cruising, because cruises are, well, the best vacations ever conceived by humankind.

I love nothing more than to just watch the wake while cruising.

I love nothing more than to just watch the wake while cruising.

To me, cruise ships are like moving world class resort hotels. They take you from place to place and you only have to unpack your suitcase once. I love the fact that most of our travel expenses are paid upfront and almost everything’s included. There are many wonderful choices available for dinner and entertainment. You don’t take a chance on a bad hotel, or have to find transportation to get where you want to go. Cruise ships have it all.

Four Celebrity Cruises ships in port at the same time in St. Maarten .

We saw four Celebrity Cruises ships in port at the same time in St. Maarten .

If you’ve read our blog at all, you know that I’m especially fond of Celebrity Cruises. The accommodations, food, beverages, and service are second-to-none. We’ve cruised six times with Celebrity, though honestly, if money were not an issue it would 600 times.

The new Edge Class of ship

About two years ago, Celebrity announced it was building a new ship, called the Celebrity Edge. The Edge would be a totally new design, created from the ground water up. Celebrity and its designers re-imagined everything on this ship. Balcony rooms are totally re-designed and there is a giant, movable platform on the side of the ship. That feature, called the Magic Carpet, is like a giant elevator and has different functions at each of its stops.

Steve watches the Celebrity Cruises website like a hawk.

To say I was intrigued is an understatement. Ann and I talked about the new ship and booking a cruise when rooms became available. For months, I watched the internet intently, desperately seeking any piece of information I could find about the then, nonexistent ship. In early 2017, and as soon as I heard the date that cabins would be available for booking, I contacted our travel agent. I’m glad we booked early, too, as the price for our room has more than doubled since we secured our reservation almost two years ago.

But first, the ship had to be built

Finally, construction of the ship began at the STX France shipyard. Ships today are built in parts, called blocks, and then those blocks are fitted together. Here is a picture of some of the first blocks of the Edge being laid in the ship yard. Once put in place, the pieces are welded together so that the ship’s hull becomes one solid piece of steel making it exceptionally strong.

Celebrity Edge block

The first block marking the next phase of Celebrity Edge’s evolutionary design is lifted during the Keel Laying at STX France. (Photo Courtesy of STX France – Bernard Biger)

As the shipbuilders put more and more of the blocks together, the ship takes shape. The ship is built in a large dry dock, which is a place the ship sits out of water, but that can be filled with water at the right time to launch the ship.

The float out of the Celebrity Edge

After the blocks are put together, it’s time to take the ship out of the dry dock. On the appointed day, water is pumped into the dry dock until the ship begins to float. Next, tug boats pull the ship out of the dry dock and move it to a pier where work continues. Watch this short video by Celebrity Cruises to see how that process works.

For weeks, I watched videos like these because that’s all I got to see.

The fitting out of Celebrity Edge

Just because the ship has been floated out, it doesn’t mean that it’s ready to go. While the Edge was floated out in late January of 2018, it still had to be “fitted out” or finished. On a ship this large, workers needed almost 11 more months! During this time, I combed the internet and cruise boards for any photo or information that I could find. My excitement and anticipation built with each new glimpse of the ship I had.

The first block marking the next phase of Celebrity Edge’s evolutionary design is lifted during the Keel Laying at STX France. Photo Courtesy of STX France – Bernard Bige

The first block marking the next phase of Celebrity Edge’s evolutionary design is lifted during the Keel Laying at STX France. Photo Courtesy of STX France – Bernard Biger

Finally, the build was complete, and on November 4, 2018, the $1 billion Celebrity Edge set sail from its builder in France for Fort Lauderdale. I watched social media daily and tracked its progress across the ocean. It arrived at the port in Fort Lauderdale November 19, 2018, and began a series of preview cruises before its first few regular runs.

I've had a countdown on phone for almost two years.

I’ve had a countdown on phone for almost two years.

Tomorrow, my long wait is over and Ann and I will board the Celebrity Edge for a Western Caribbean cruise. After two years of saving, planning, and dreaming about boarding the Edge – I can hardly wait to see her.


PIN FOR LATER

  • Just over two years ago, we stopped in Pawhuska to have lunch at Ree Drummond's @PWMercantile. From the person opening the door for us to the folks tending the line giving us water, we felt welcome from the moment we set foot in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.⁣
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But it turns out it wasn't just @thepioneerwoman and her husband, Ladd, who went above and beyond to welcome visitors. No, it turns out what they did was just par for the course in this town that's home to some of the friendliest and most welcoming people we've met in all our travels. ⁣
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So we bought a house there. We got it in part, so we could be a part of the community we've come to love. But we also got it so we could help welcome folks to town and let them know how glad we are they came to visit. Come and see Pawhuska. And when you do, stay awhile.
  • Fried dill pickles are a little different in North Dakota than they are in most other places we've been. Instead of just dipping some dill chips in batter, dropping them in the fryer, and then serving them in a basket with ranch, the folks there take their time and make a dish to remember.⁣
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They start with a dill pickle spear, wrap that in Havarti cheese, then put a wonton wrapper around it all. Then, they fry it, and slice it open just so before serving them alongside a spicy aioli dipping sauce. We had these at a complimentary meal at Outlaws Bar and Grill in @visitwilliston, North Dakota.⁣
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Let's be honest, these pickles are just one of many reasons we look forward to our return to @northdakotalegendary next year.
  • Have you ever had the chance to watch a cruise ship come into or leave port? These massive ships, often 1,000 feet or more long, can maneuver themselves by the dock so gently that you don't even realize you've stopped (or started) moving.⁣
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In Bermuda, we had the chance to watch the Norwegian Escape depart. We watched as she pushed away from the dock, then spun 180 degrees on a point before heading out to sea.⁣
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We've seen ships do this dozens of times. In fact, we've been on ships and have been part of this type of maneuvering dozens of times. And yet, given the sheer size of the vessels, it never ceases to impress.
  • You know you want to. Do it. Just book the ticket and go. At the end of your life, you likely won't remember most of the stuff you bought in 2019, but you will always remember the journey you took and the experiences you had. So enrich your life and go. We've never regretted spending money for a trip.
  • This just might be the sweetest, best pecan roll we've ever had. At the @PWMercantile, they bake these delicious treats daily. Covered in a luscious caramel and finely chopped pecans, these rolls are the stuff dreams are made of. Have you had one?
  • Smack in the middle of Portland, Oregon, we found the International Rose Test Garden. Set on 4.5 acres of land, the garden offers visitors a chance to see 10,000 rose bushes from about 650 different varieties. ⁣
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We spent more than an hour walking the carefully tended paths, snapping photos, and just enjoying the beautiful flowers. Our visit here made us glad that we literally scheduled time on this trip to stop and smell the roses.
  • Set in a renovated middle school in Grinnell, Iowa, Hotel Grinnell is one of our favorite boutique hotels. The owner thoughtfully designed the space and included touches from school including “Hall Pass” key card sleeves, and a bar cleverly named, “The Periodic Table.” We wrote a story on this hotel, you can read all about it on our blog. Link in bio. @hotelgrinnell #hosted @traveliowa
  • Everyone has a happy place, a spot where the world melts away and a sense of relaxation and calm settles in. For Steve, this place is on board a cruise ship, out on open water. He can spend hours sitting and watching the water, the ship's wake, and looking out for other ships. He loves soaking up the sun and fresh ocean air while cruising along on the sea. ⁣
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What's your happy place? ⁣
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