Responding to intense speculation and heightened anticipation for what it calls “Project Edge”, Celebrity Cruises has doubled its order book for a brand new class of ship, with the first to be launched in 2018 followed by subsequent deliveries in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
In what will become the line’s third class of ship (excluding its small side business of expedition ships in the Galapagos), Project Edge first took life in late December 2014 with the ordering of two new cruise ships from French shipbuilder STX France – an order which was this week doubled to four.
Celebrity’s Edge-class ships will sit well ahead of the line’s existing fleet of smaller 91,000-tonne Millennium class ships – such as Celebrity Millennium – and the significantly larger 122,000-tonne Solstice class – including Celebrity Solstice – albeit closer to the latter. Each ship will weigh 117,000 tonnes, catering to 2,900 passengers, which is on par with the Solstice class vessels. Names for the four ships have not yet been revealed, however reports that the first will be dubbed Celebrity Edge have been circulating.
But what Celebrity Cruises says will set its forthcoming Project Edge ships apart will be their ability to deliver “small ship itineraries with large ship amenities”. Exactly what this means for now is anyone’s guess, however the line added that passengers onboard will be taken closer than before to the world’s must-see destinations while indulging in the premium accommodations and dining already in place on its existing fleet.
What is known so far is that the four new ships will employ a more environmentally friendly approach to cruising, with the latest technologies enabling builders to improve on fuel efficiency and include a greater use of sustainable materials in their construction. Exactly how close to the world’s must-see destinations the new design allows them to be, we’ll have to wait and see.