Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises
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Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises
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Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises
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Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises
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Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises
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Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises
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Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises
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Celebrity Ascent

Our Ship Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

As the fourth of Celebrity Cruises’ five planned Edge Series ships, Celebrity Ascent shouldn’t still elicit the kinds of oohs and ahhs usually reserved for a first-in-class vessel — but it does. Like its older siblings, 2018’s Celebrity Edge, 2020’s Celebrity Apex, and 2022’s Celebrity Beyond, Ascent wows with contemporary design that blends the best of resort-style architecture with a premium cruise experience.

Created with style-savvy adults in mind, this 3,260-guest ship (a physical twin of Beyond) has an elevated ambiance that appeals to couples, groups of friends, and families with teens or young adult children who’ve outgrown amusement-style thrills. Several new activities, such as Game On (an interactive competition featuring six different interactive games projected onto the floor of The Club) and The Annex (a private space bookable for an extra fee that offers simulated golf, karaoke, and food and beverage service from Craft Social for up to 10 people) are novel ways for multigenerational groups to gather and have fun. The Rooftop Garden now also features a pickleball court by day in addition to movie screenings at night. Two restaurants, the whimsical Le Petit Chef with its tabletop animation, and the fine-dining Le Voyage by Chef Daniel Boulud, each have new menus. Bottom line: There’s plenty on board to keep frequent Celebrity cruisers loyal and new-to-Celebrity guests ready to book their next sailing.

What We Love

Infinite Veranda Staterooms: First introduced on Edge, the Edge Stateroom with Infinite Veranda features floor-to-ceiling glass windows with a top section that lowers with the push of a button. When closed, the veranda is part of the 243-square-foot stateroom, almost like a small sunroom, creating added space for relaxation. There are also folding doors to close off the veranda for a more classic setup — although some traditionalists might miss having an actual outside balcony. What we love most about these accommodations is the spacious and storage-savvy bathroom design. The rounded corner shower isn’t claustrophobic and creates enough room to maneuver comfortably at the sink. You can opt for an AquaClass Stateroom to enjoy the Infinite Veranda experience along with upgraded toiletries and unlimited access to The Spa’s SEA Thermal Suite and to the health-focused (and delicious) Blu restaurant, available solely to AquaClass guests. 

Enthralling and Energetic Entertainment: Celebrity has lagged somewhat behind its big-ship competitors when it came to nighttime entertainment — but no more. The innovation that began on board Celebrity Edge has been polished to dazzling perfection on board Celebrity Ascent. The three entertainment venues — the Theatre, The Club, and Eden — are featured on all Edge Series ships, but the exclusive new productions offered on Ascent confirm the cruise line’s commitment to upping its entertainment game. The three we saw, “Awaken” and “Bridges” in the Theatre and “Shimmerbox” in Eden, featured talented performers with mesmerizing musical, dance, and Cirque du Soleil-like acrobatic skills, along with high-tech special effects. 

Cool Social Venues: Celebrity has excelled at appealing to Gen X and Boomer couples traveling without kids and is now wooing so-called Geriatric Millennials as they enter their 40s. The line’s focus on a grown-up cruise experience is reflected in its onboard bar and lounge culture. These spaces are sophisticated and sexy, from the always-buzzing Martini Bar in the gleaming Grand Plaza to the cool, Andalusia-meets-Los-Angeles vibe of the terraced Sunset Bar. Craft Social, an upscale pub/sports bar that features an array of beers on tap, live sports on large-screen TVs, and an a la carte menu of comfort food bites, is also quite popular, and should ideally be larger. Meanwhile, the World Class Bar is an intimate spot to enjoy craft cocktails with a view of the buzzing Grand Plaza below. 

Best Known For

The Magic Carpet: The feature that most distinguishes Edge Series ships from older vessels in the Celebrity fleet is the tangerine-hued Magic Carpet. This cantilevered enclosed capsule on the ships’ starboard side serves multiple functions, including as an overwater bar/restaurant when located on deck 14, and, more ingeniously, an easy-access boarding platform for tender embarkation when lowered to just above water level. With the use of a stair lift and portable ramp, guests using motorized scooters or wheelchairs can also board tenders from here. Speaking of tenders, Celebrity’s specially designed Edge Series launches are among the least cramped and most comfortable at sea. 

Solarium: Every Celebrity ship, aside from its expedition-style Galapagos vessels, features an adults-only indoor pool and hot tub area known as the Solarium. Whether you’re sailing off-season in cooler weather, have encountered a rainy day at sea, or just want to escape the sun but still take a dip, this spot is a welcome oasis (there’s a bar, too).

Excellent Dining Options: Whether you’re a fan of specialty dining or prefer to save by eating solely at complimentary venues, Ascent offers plenty of appealing choices. There are eight extra-fee specialty restaurants on board, including Fine Cut Restaurant for classic steakhouse fare, Eden Restaurant for an eclectic global menu (and a plant-based tasting menu), Le Grand Bistro for classic French at lunch (with an entertaining twist at dinner when it becomes Le Petit Chef), Rooftop Garden Grill for salads and Mediterranean-style grilled meats and fish, and Le Voyage by Chef Daniel Boulud for elevated and modern French (with a la carte or tasting menu options). All are available for a set per person fee, but you can also enjoy sushi, fresh seafood, and other Asian specialties at Raw on 5 or pub-style classics like burgers, wings, and truffle fries at Craft Social for a la carte prices.  

What’s free? The Oceanview Cafe is one of the best large-ship buffets (open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) in the cruise industry and features plenty of vegetarian-friendly options (including delicious Indian dishes) and some gluten-free choices, while the poolside Mast Grill serves classic burgers and fries and the Spa Café & Juice Bar offers spa-inspired lighter fare. Like all Edge Series ships, Ascent features four main restaurants. Rather than offering menus that change nightly, these venues — Cyprus for Mediterranean cuisine, Tuscan for Italian, Normandie for French, and Cosmopolitan for modern American — feature two menu sections. Classic dishes are available in all four restaurants, while Exclusives (typically three starters and three mains) are served only in that venue. This allows guests to enjoy plenty of menu options in different, chic settings simply by rotating among these four free main restaurants. 

The Retreat: If your travel budget allows you to book a suite on Ascent — which range from 398-square-foot Sky Suites to 2,581-square-foot Iconic Suites with their wow-factor bathrooms and private outdoor whirlpool — you’ll have access to exclusive Retreat privileges and spaces. These include the Retreat Lounge, Retreat Sundeck with a pool and two hot tubs, and Luminae restaurant.

Who It's Best For

Anyone Seeking a Big Ship With a Grown-Up Vibe: While Celebrity does welcome kids of all ages onboard, Edge Series ships are best suited to couples, groups of friends, and families with teen- or college-age children. There is a Camp at Sea program, but the spaces and activities aren’t as robust or appealing as those offered by sister cruise line Royal Caribbean. There are also no waterslides or other thrill attractions on board, but families often make the transition from Royal Caribbean to Celebrity once their tweens or teens have outgrown the thrills and are instead looking to chill on a ship that’s made for social media. 

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Onboard Spending Can Add Up Quickly: If trying a variety of specialty dining venues and enjoying cocktails throughout the day and night are your vacation style, prepare for some extra expenses. You can book an All Included cruise fare, which includes the classic beverage package and Wi-Fi, and then add a specialty dining package, but automatic 20% service charges on beverage and dining packages and additional daily crew gratuity charges will add several hundred dollars per person to your onboard bill. Spa services, shore excursions, and any casino wagers are extra, too. 

Expect Crowds: Ascent may be beautifully designed, but it is nevertheless a large ship. That means you’ll be dealing with lots of other guests when trying to claim a lounger at the pool, choose your breakfast or lunch at Oceanview Cafe, and secure a seat in the Theatre. 

Donna Heiderstadt
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger
Cruise Expert