Celebrity Cruises - The Eden Reveal / by Allan Hinton

The Eden Experience

I was thrilled to be invited by Celebrity Cruises UK to an exclusive and experiential event in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens in New York. The event was set up to celebrate the upcoming launch of Eden a “delightfully unexpected, multi-sensory fusion, one-of-a-kind experience” on board their new ship Edge.

To keep excitement high and create intrigue the specific event details were kept top secret and under wraps with only teasers on information released. I was lucky enough to be there to have the chance to take part and document the experience.

This really was one of the most unique evenings I’d ever taken part in and it left me on such a high.  There were so many well executed surprises. If what I took part in was just a glimpse into the world of Eden I truly am confident that the revolutionary experience on board the ship will take it to another level and be something to never forget. Read on to witness what I encountered!

ENTERTAINMENT

After we’d checked in for the evening and we meandered deeper into the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens we were introduced to the first characters of the evening - elf and fairy like creatures - that lured and enticed us in the direction of the event.

This was a little taster of what's to come.

A flower girl called me over and fed me some kind of appetiser in the form of a seed wrapped in dedicated leaves. I wasn't quite sure what I was eating but I couldn't refuse and almost fell into my own role character as I accepted the treat.

In the distance a Scottish highland band could be heard playing. The chorus of bagpipes the last stop before getting to the bar for the first cocktail of the evening.

 

The night begins:

 The green botanic interior - plants "falling" down from the ceiling - recreating the look and feel of the Eden.

The green botanic interior - plants "falling" down from the ceiling - recreating the look and feel of the Eden.

As we entered the main room, a huge tall glass room adorned with greenery and grand wooden tables, the dj played upbeat music as we searched for our table numbers - we took a moment to gather around a performance artists doing a mesmerising dance all in tune to the beat. I got the feeling that there would be more of this to come during the meal ahead.

I thought dinner would begin but before I'd had a chance to sit a highlight of the night kicked off. 

My ears perked up as I heard the intro to Arcade Fire’s orchestral rock Wake Up. A multitude of characters filled the room as the rock symphony picked up speed.

This track, by one of my favourite bands in the world, really can’t help but lift the mood and add energy to the room. I couldn't help but feel impressed that a modern song had been chosen here. I’d always pictured cruise ships strictly playing cabaret and having camp and over the top “am-dram” performances so this was a more than pleasant surprise. Kudos points here!

It's worth noting that the live vocals of the lead singer were exceptional and pretty much flawless. I'm sure an extensive and skilled casting and the appeal of such a unique event played a big part in securing this talented girl.

The most edgy performance was saved for a space between courses. On paper this may not sound like the top attraction but it was just so gripping, something I’d not seen before and impressive. With a sitar player playing softly in the background the performance was given added tension with the sound of the performers concentrated and slow but heavy breathing. This made you appreciate more than anything else how much effort, concentration and skill was needed by the artist in front of us - see below image or my latest IG post with video to get a better idea.

The dramatic finale kicked off where the Arcade Fire performance began. The golden empress had returned! This time she sang Coldplay’s Paradise (Over 250’000’000 plays on Spotify hints at the huge popularity of this track - play here - link to song). I remember this track sticking with me and having an impact as it was played at the opening ceremony of the London Paralympics 2012, it was in my head for weeks and weeks. I mentioned this to another guest and she gleefully remarked “thats it, that's it, I knew I knew it from somewhere!”. What an ending. Happy vibes all round.

The great thing about the entertainment was that they'd only interact with you as much as you let them. If it's not your thing, perhaps you're shy (have a few more cocktails!), then you can sit back and enjoy watching them interact with others. Want to play a role? Give them eye contact and react to their gestures and I'm sure they’ll give you a personal one on one performance. 

We left the dinner to beat boxers and entertainers (some swinging on swings, or passing drinks around) as we headed to the bar for a nightcap and to take a moment, whilst still on a buzz, to discuss the event we'd just had.

 

FOOD & DRINK

PRE DINNER DELIGHTS:

The first thing that hit me with the pre-dinner snacks and appetisers was the presentation and the vivid colour. They were certainly very eye-catching; with each dish I couldn't help but either ask multiple questions about the ingredients or ask how they should be consumed… or I just went in for the kill and grabbed one!

The drinks were equally fascinating and brightly coloured. Drinks were served in novel ways; with pipettes to add further liquid ingredients, added inside interesting objects such as light bulbs or had decorative green herbs pinned to them.

 

Dinner IS SERVED: 

I started with what sounded like the most “different” as I love the try something new. The Descending Frost was the name. Key ingredient being Sea Urchin, fluke, shiso leaf and melon --- see my latest IG post to see the video of how the waiter grated a sea mist over the dish!

 The menu can be taken home, planted, and basil will grow!

The menu can be taken home, planted, and basil will grow!

Other novel ways to serve included a salt rock candle which came with a long crater beside it and a “herb garden” plant pot with mini gardening sheers. They were going for the extraordinary here - the food was interactive, playful and had a “wow” factor.

The SPECIAL Dessert:

This is the course. This was the course that the team were most excited about and would smile about whenever discussing it - it's the grand finale of the three course food show! To be honest after such an entertaining dinner I wasn't sure how it could be topped. I totally understood why once I saw the dessert in action. I think the video speaks for itself!

OUTRO & HOW TO BOOK

Thank you, thank you, thank you Celebrity Cruises UK for a wonderful night. I can genuinely say I have been taken aback and left fascinated by what is to come. What is on offer on Eden really is going to be groundbreaking, shatter the "norm" of what is expected on cruises and change many perceptions of what is possible. I look forward to the launch!

If you wish to experience Eden at first hand, Celebrity Edge with homeport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, making her first sailing on 16th December 2018. Bookings are open at https://www.celebritycruises.co.uk.