I boarded the ship in Southampton to see for myself what it's like sailing on a ship of this size, and I have to admit I was fascinated. Celebrity are using this class of vessel to specifically target 'new to cruise' customers, and a key part of that is the growing number of both multi-generational family groups and parents travelling with grown-up children.
Family cruising is a growing trend, so here are a few suggestions to keep an often disparate group of holiday makers happy…
1. Pick a great all-rounder
One of the most striking aspects of Celebrity Edge's design is just how 'un-cruisey' it feels. Gone are the dark woods and brass; instead, public spaces are more akin to a chic luxury hotel. Nevertheless, the connection with the sea hasn't been lost, and areas like Eden, the Rooftop Garden and the much talked about Magic Carpet all offer incredible views over the water in atmospheric settings. There is a kids' club, but there isn't the big focus on young families that you'll see on the likes of Royal Caribbean or NCL. The wide choice of accommodation grades - some with access to The Retreat, a private area featuring a dedicated restaurant, lounge and sundeck - means that there is the option for some members of your group to enjoy a little more luxury.
2. Get down with the kids
Virgin Voyages have presented themselves as an industry disrupter, and it's clear that the style on board will be unlike anything else at sea. With super trendy music and performance art, an emphasis on the 'work hard, play hard' lifestyle and more puns than you could shake a stick at (the latest is the coffee shop - Ministry of Ground), this is going to appeal more to a younger crowd, but will certainly entertain the young at heart too.
3. Keep it small and exclusive
As more of us work for longer, and modern life seems to get busier and busier, the chance to relax and unwind in the company of loved ones should be cherished. Opting for just the right mix of informality and exclusivity can provide a restful break where you can enjoy time in each other's company. The superb little SeaDream yachts are perfect for those with grown children; alternatively, why not charter your own barge (for groups between six and twelve of any age) from European Waterways, and gently guide down the canals of Europe with your own crew and a chef to look after you.
4. Go on an adventure
Discovering the world's most extraordinary places and seeing them through the eyes of a child is surely one of the most magical experiences there is. An expedition cruise offers the chance to track polar bears, walk amongst penguins, snorkel with sea lions and follow in the footsteps of some of the world's greatest explorers. This is a family experience that's guaranteed to delight everyone, and with a plethora of luxurious new expedition ships coming onto the market, you won't have to compromise on standards.
5. The nuclear option
It's never a decision to be taken lightly, but the sure fire way to get loved ones on board with your cruising plans, no matter who they are, is of course to pay for them! And if this is the route you take, you can make sure that the style of trip you choose is absolutely to your tastes.