Northern Europe ports give Celebrity the edge

VOYAGES aboard Celebrity Cruises are well and truly on the radar for Australian cruisers, with the line last month seeing record sales for the launch of its 2022/23 local season. However Celebrity is also enticing Aussies to explore further afield, asking “Isn’t it time?” to explore Northern Europe in 2022, as BRUCE PIPER reports.

There’s no better way to explore Northern Europe than aboard a Celebrity Edge Series ship. ©Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises made huge waves in the local market with the bold announcement that its flagship Celebrity Edge would debut in Australasian waters in the 2022/23 summer season. The attendant publicity – and surge in reservations – has led to high hopes for the company’s 2022 Northern Summer season too, which for the first time will see the introduction of an Edge-class ship to Northern Europe.

Celebrity Apex is the second vessel in the series, like its namesake sister featuring a revolutionary outward facing design which makes it the perfect way to experience the region’s breathtaking scenery. Think fjords, glaciers, quaint seaside villages and more – Edge-class ships provide the ideal vantage point for any spectacular vista.

Celebrity’s 2022 Northern Europe sailings will see the cruise line return to some popular ports it has not visited for several years, such as Visby in Sweden and Norway’s Kristiansand. On top of that, the sailings will also feature maiden calls to Molde and Haugesund in Norway.

Molde is a unique mix of awe-inspiring landscapes and big city sophistication, with its attractions resonating with nature lovers, hikers and bikers as well as culture vultures and gourmands. Molde is the home to Moldejazz, the second oldest jazz festival in Europe, alongside a huge array of museums and cathedrals. Hungry? Like most of Norway, it’s all about the ocean’s bounty, with the bustling Molde harbour area offering some of the country’s best, fresh-caught seafood dishes.

The Royal Palace, Stockholm is open to the public year round. ©Celebrity Cruises

Likewise Haugesund, located intriguingly between mountains, islands and the North Sea, providing the perfect evocation of the country’s Viking heritage. Steeped in history, cruisers can experience a variety of traditional local cuisines, as always featuring ingredients from the countryside and coastal environment.

Of course Celebrity’s 2022 Northern Europe season also features the region’s unmissable favourites, such as St Petersburg in Russia and Reykjavik in Iceland, where there will be plenty of time to explore with overnight stays in each port. Iceland’s majestic Godafoss Falls and the legendary Blue Lagoon are a must-see, while Copenhagen, Stockholm and the UK also feature in the program, which offers so much to experience for novice and experienced travellers alike – all in Celebrity’s inimitable style.

Celebrity’s ship experience

LET’s face it, there’s a reason people choose to cruise. There’s nothing like returning from shoreside peregrinations to the familiarity of your stateroom, only unpacking once and able to experience service and cuisine aboard your floating home away from home. Celebrity takes cruising to the next level, with its Edge Series vessels custom-designed to create a closer connection between passengers, the sea and the world beyond. Celebrity Apex features the key elements of the Edge series ships, with a huge variety of spaces ranging from Edge Staterooms offering so-called “Infinite Verandas” to the reimagined terrace pool deck, providing a spectacular vantage point for the surrounding scenery.

Dining in the incredible glass-walled ship-side Magic Carpet as the ship passes by stunning vistas is something your clients will never forget, and some of the luckiest passengers can watch the world from the private plunge pools in the two-storey Edge Villas. The Rooftop Garden also provides an amazing vantage point – and when it’s time to dine there’s an unrivalled collection of restaurants, bars and lounges.

Bergen, Norway is famous for its coloured buildings. ©Celebrity Cruises

In fact there are 29 venues on board, ranging from the brand new Craft Social Bar right through to the completely reimagined main dining room which comprises not one, but four, complimentary restaurants each with a distinctive design and signature dishes inspired by regions across the world. Specialty eateries include the Fine Cut Steakhouse, as well as Raw on 5, the extraordinary culinary journey offered by Eden, and the multisensory experience of Le Petit Chef and Family.

When it comes to other shipboard experiences, Celebrity offers the ultimate onboard spa sanctuary, with a meticulous focus on wellness featuring more than 120 spa treatments – not to mention F45 fitness classes and Peloton cycling to really get those holiday endorphins flowing. Passengers can bliss out in the SEA Thermal Suite featuring eight nature-inspired therapeutic experiences, available before or after treatments and unlimited for guests staying in AquaClass accommodations. Celebrity’s health offerings also feature the Women in Wellness Program, showcasing wisdom from some of the most respected female leaders in the wellness industry such as skincare icon Noella Gabriel who co-founded Elemis; Soul Cycle’s Ruth Zukerman; Olympian and F45 training athlete Morgan Mitchell; yoga master Katie Brauer; and goop Wellness Director, Kiki Koroshetz.

What’s on the agenda?

FEATURES of Celebrity’s 2022 Northern Europe season match perfectly with the travel aspirations of Australians who will be eager to scratch their cruising itch after two years of restrictions. The seven night “Norwegian Fijords” itinerary starts and finishes in Amsterdam, conveniently connected to other destinations across the continent making it easy to include as a component of a longer European sojourn. This cruise visits Alesund, Haugesund, Stavanger and Molde, with popular shore excursions including the 7.5km hike to Pulpit Rock from Stavanger, riding the gondola to see the stunning views atop Alesund’s Strana ski resort, and exploring the Horundfjiord aboard a day cruise vessel.

Those with a little more time may like to book on the 12- night “Iceland & Ireland” cruise, which again operates roundtrip from Amsterdam but includes opportunities to experience Icelandic nightlife with overnights in Akureyri and Reykjavik as well as plenty of Irish craic in Belfast, Cork and Dublin. This voyage offers visits to the Myvatn Nature Baths, small group discoveries of the Siglufjordur Village and the Herring Hey Days and even a glacier safari.

Guests can step into The Spa on board for an escape within their escape. ©Celebrity Cruises

Heading in the other direction is the 12-night “Scandinavia and Russia” itinerary, which overnights in St Petersburg offering an extended opportunity to explore one of the world’s great cities. As well as Russia this multi country voyage also visits Berlin, Germany, Finland’s Helsinki, Tallinn in Estonia, Copenhagen in Denmark and Stockholm in Sweden, providing a true Scandinavian smorgasbord.

Isn’t it time?

CELEBRITY’S messaging about its 2022 Northern Europe voyages perfectly matches the travel aspirations of the line’s target demographic, cruisers seeking new luxury, sophisticated service and authentic experiences both onboard and off the ship. There’s no doubt that frustrations about closer to home cruising are continuing to feed into pent-up demand, and so these European itineraries are already proving to be particularly popular.

The Grand Plaza on Celebrity Edge showcases the grandeur and luxury across all Celebrity Edge Series ships. ©Celebrity Cruises

After the bonds of COVID-19 begin to lift, Aussies appear increasingly determined not to miss any more precious moments, and Celebrity’s offering provides a perfect solution for those who have long been dreaming about what awaits us in a post-pandemic world, awakening a journey filled with wonder.

To find out more about Celebrity Cruises’ 2022 European sailings CLICK HERE

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