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Travel Trending with Kathy Witt: Cruise Views: 6 surprises aboard Celebrity Cruises’ new Ascent

Kathy Witt, Tribune News Service on

Published in Senior Living Features

Celebrity Cruises’ Ascent casts a spell through the magic, music and magnificent art found aboard this beautiful new cruise ship, a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Rated resort at sea—not to mention those little luxury moments that surprise and enthrall throughout.

Here are six such moments to experience aboard the cruise line’s fourth Edge-class ship.

Art immersion

Celebrity is a master in the art of integrating surprises into the most unexpected places—like the Aurora, a reimagining of the aurora borealis as a corridor connecting spaces on Deck 5 that lets guests step into and through the artwork. Delightfully scented and filled with infinity mirrors and high-polished steel sculptures, the hushed space glows with 1,600 pinpricks of light.

The Fredrikson Stallard installation is stunning, the masterwork on a ship boasting a magnificent art collection that includes such sleek and striking pieces as a giant metallic octopus that welcomes guests with open tentacles to the chic Resort Deck with its beach club vibe and a mesmerizing, tiered chandelier illuminating the Martini Bar in the ship’s three-deck Grand Plaza.

Enchanted evening

With 32 distinctive restaurants, bars and lounges aboard the Ascent, guests have no lack of choice in mood, setting, ambience and cuisine. Fans of Harry Potter will be irresistibly drawn to the visual culinary dining experience presented by La Petite Chef and the Magical Cooking Book. Journey through four themed courses, including a “magical soup that will make all your wishes come true,” synchronized to a charming and colorful animated storyline that plays out across the book, the dinner plates and the table.

Everything about the experience feels enchanting, from the Potteresque background music to the castle-like lighting hanging from the ceiling to the heavy drapes closing out the darkness of the sea. It is a one-of-a-kind fantastical feast served in an intimate setting that begins with the production’s star—the little chef—climbing onto your plate and finishes with a masterful dessert like Chocolate Cremeux, a decadent mélange of raspberry coulis, chocolate crumble, yuzu caviar and raspberry sorbet. The upcharge for La Petite Chef and the Magical Cooking Book is $60.

Paradise found

With lavish greenery adorning the walls and ceiling and clustered around seating groups, natural light pouring in from a wall of windows and framing views of the ocean, Eden is a come-hither space whether dining, lingering over cocktails or catching a show. A signature venue on Celebrity’s Edge Class ships, the architecturally stunning three-story space is open and airy yet feels intimate and inviting.

The restaurant—among the very best on Ascent—offers exceptional food-focused dining beautifully plated and presented, from entrées like oven-roasted chicken served with duck fat potatoes, mushrooms, daikon leaves, fennel salad, pickled mustard and chicken apricot roasting jus to a melt-in-your-mouth Nova Scotia Lobster Casserole with glazed leeks, smoked bacon, sweet corn and marble potatoes. Guests can also opt for the seven-course tasting menu with wine and a multicourse plant-based tasting menu. As a specialty restaurant, there is a cover charge for dining in Eden.

Eden’s late-night transformation brings several unique and interactive shows, including Dreams, Allure and Shimmerbox, that dazzle with world-class performances in singing, choreography and acrobatics, all scored with music that elevates each spectacle.

Magic Carpet ride

The Magic Carpet is Celebrity’s signature cantilevered, outward-facing floating platform that moves up and down the side of the ship, hovering up to 13 stories above the open sea. Sink into a comfy chair, order a frothy cocktail from the bar and take in the view.

 

Innovative and versatile, the Magic Carpet is also a quick-change artist that can extend the main pool area on Deck 14, step in as an open-air dining venue on Deck 5 and transform into the Destination Getaway center where destination enrichment talks take place, and lead to the tendering launch pad for adventures ashore.

That’s entertainment

Bumbershoots and bustling commuters on a rainy London night open Ascent’s original musical, “Bridges,” a soaring tour de force exclusive to this ship and backed by mind-blowing technology, three-deck-high immersive screens, eye-popping lighting effects and an automated onstage bridge—the centerpiece of this multimillion dollar production.

Like Ascent’s other productions, “Bridges” was created by a powerhouse team that includes talent that conceptualized and choreographed for the likes of Katy Perry, Disney, Michael Jackson, Cirque du Soleil and more—and boy did they bring it with this sweeping celebration of human connections.

From London’s Tower Bridge and lamplit streets, the show moves to Venice, New York, San Francisco and Sydney, each backdrop featuring the iconic bridge synonymous with that city as well as reflective mood, dance moves and evocative music, from ELO and Adele to Alicia Keyes and the Beastie Boys. And despite the fast-paced breathless energy of the show, “Bridges” has the immediacy of a stage play.

The green on the blue

Sit amidst live greenery on Ascent’s lush Rooftop Garden and drink in 360-degree panoramic views of the ocean blue. Cushioned seating groups shaded by umbrellas provide plenty of lounge and conversation space. Large sculptures evoking butterfly wings rise up from the greenery, fire tables set aglow in the evening add allure and twin float pools cantilevered over said ocean draw sunseekers for a peaceful soak.

The open-air garden-like setting is not only a place for finding your Zen, but it is also a hive of activity and entertainment, with interactive live music performances, games for guest use, large TV screen and, for casual dining, the Rooftop Garden Grill.

Celebrity’s Ascent is a stunning, stylish ship that surprises at every turn, with wow-worthy food, music, technology, entertainment and art presented in the most gorgeous spaces, and delivers the cruise line’s mission of providing the best premium vacation ever.

Plan your travels

For more information about Celebrity Ascent’s inaugural 2023-2024 season sailings, visit www.celebritycruises.com/cruise-ships/celebrity-ascent. For more information on Celebrity Cruises, visit www.celebrity.com or call 1-800-CELEBRITY.

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