My review of Celebrity Ascent from a first time Celebrity Cruiser [PHOTOS]

Sun deck at Celebrity Ascent

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As a first-time cruiser on Celebrity Cruises but with some knowledge of the line, I expected an elevated experience when I boarded Celerity Ascent.

Ascent is the line’s latest Edge-class ship that launched in late 2023.

terminal 25

Upon our arrival at Terminal 25 in Port Everglades, we observed that the terminal was designed to ensure seamless arrivals.

This process was very efficient, and we did not have to wait for long after going through security. It was just a matter of completing all the necessary pre-cruise paperwork beforehand.

celebrity ascent 2

All we had to do was present our passport and boarding pass, and we were allowed to board the ship.

Just The Facts
Total guest capacity:3,260 at double occupancy
Length:1,073 feet
Gross Tonnage:141,420
Decks:17
Best for:Couples, Upscale Travelers, Foodies, and those seeking a relaxing vacation
Not for:Families with young children, budget travelers

First Impressions of Celebrity Ascent

I was immediately impressed when I boarded Celebrity Ascent.

The atrium was bright and airy, with neutral tones and elegant lighting. The holiday decorations added a festive atmosphere, making it even more pleasant. The two-day preview sailing was on December 1, but the weather in South Florida was humid and sticky, as usual.

celebrity ascent atrium

Ascent is the fourth in Celebrity’s Edge Class series, and from what I understand, they’ve made some minor modifications in incorporating additional seating and more intimate gathering spaces.

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The ship offers an easy-to-navigate layout that makes getting around easy, with stunning original artwork at every turn. Celebrity knows their guests – discerning vacationers who still like to have fun – and Ascent certainly lives up to that demographic.  

celebrity ascent art

We had preloaded all our information on the user-friendly Celebrity Cruises app, which made getting onboard a seamless process.

From the moment we entered the terminal, the port staff guided us every hundred feet, leading us through the gangway and onto the ship. The friendly and welcoming faces of the staff made the experience even better.

The Concierge Class stateroom

Making our way to our Prime Concierge Class stateroom on Deck 12 was also relatively easy. Upon opening the door, the floor-to-ceiling window and waterfront view felt like the ultimate luxury.

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I headed straight for that spot, gazed out Celebrity’s “virtual balcony,” and forced myself to unpack. I immediately lowered the top portion of the window with the automated buttons and let the fresh air envelop me.

We were only on for a two-day preview cruise, but I could only imagine sitting on the virtual balcony watching the passing scenery on a more extended voyage to the Caribbean or Europe. 

celebrity ascent 6

Then, it was time to assess the room and unpack clothes and toiletries. The spacious closet with two sides and plenty of hangers allowed plenty of space for us to hang up our evening clothes.

There were also more drawers than I expected, a bright vanity mirror, and a comfortable cushioned seat for makeup. 

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The stateroom also had a sofa perfect for throwing a handbag or overnight bag onto, although there was plenty of space under the bed for suitcases and overnight bags.

The bathroom nooks were perfect for toiletries, it was very easy to move around in that space, and the spacious shower was quite comfortable – with a glass door no less, not a shower curtain like I’m generally used to – and came complete with shampoo, conditioner and shower gel.

Solarium pool celebrity ascent
Solarium Pool

Onboard Dining on Celebrity Ascent

Not wanting to waste any time, we went to the Oceanview Cafe for lunch. This is undoubtedly one of the better embarkation lunches I’ve ever experienced. There, we were greeted with a well-laid array of food stations offering something for every taste and palate.

Walking around, I saw abundant seafood options, decided on a few mussels and clams, and headed to the Asian station for noodles and shrimp.

celebrity ascent oceanview cafe

I couldn’t resist the charcuterie and opted for some creamy brie, salty prosciutto, and other hard cheeses. There was some fruit on the side, and it made for a perfectly light lunch.

But if you want something warm and filling, go for the Latin favorites, pasta, or the carvery. There’s no lack of pastries, cakes, pies, and ice cream for dessert.

Next, it was off to explore the ship and its many decks, including indoor and alfresco spaces. I was immediately taken by the cozy areas outside the four restaurants – the French-inspired Normandie and Italian-forward Tuscan on Deck 3 and the Cosmopolitan and Mediterranean Cyprus on Deck 4.

crystals between restaurants
Dangling crystals between restaurants

Outside the entrances to each are high back velvety armchairs, ideal for relaxing and admiring the dangling crystals that extend between the two decks. The elegant spiral staircase between the decks is an elegant touch to the luxurious surroundings.

cocktail celebrity ascent
Cocktail

The first evening, we enjoyed pre-dinner cocktails at The Magic Carpet, where the dramatically lit and visually stunning archway was as much fun to walk through as it was arriving at the moveable deck cantilevered off the side of the ship where the drinks were being served.

celebrity ascent magic carpet

It was a marvel to see The Magic Carpet on different decks – it moves from decks 2 to 16 and serves a different purpose on each one, from an entertainment/dining venue to a platform for tendering. 

Dinner at the Rooftop Garden was visually spectacular because the area offers both an aesthetically pleasing restaurant plus endless ocean views, an unbeatable combination.

watermelon salad from Rooftop Garden Dinner
Watermelon salad from Rooftop Garden Dinner

The seafood skewer was beautifully presented with hearty portions of salmon, shrimp, and scallops and colorful vegetables on a bed of flavored rice. My husband had the vegetable skewers, and he enjoyed those as well.

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Afterward, we made our way to the Martini Bar, which is at the heart of the ship and where I enjoyed a glass of prosecco while watching the ship’s entertainers dance around, creating a fun party atmosphere. We then caught some of the late-night comedy shows.

I am not much for stand-up comedy, so we stayed for about 30 minutes and called it a night.

deck pool view
Celebrity Ascent’s pool deck at sunset.

The first day, Oceanview Cafe was great for breakfast, so we went there again. This time, I chose to have scrambled eggs and some tasty roasted tomatoes, which made for a great combo and a nice start to the day.

The staff at Oceanview were consistently welcoming, greeting passengers at every turn. Once, when I asked for a spoon for my yogurt, the server left their station to fetch one for me; one of several times, the staff went above and beyond to make our time on board special.

Patio outside Eden
Patio outside Eden

Navigational bridge tour

Taking the engine room and bridge tours (part of the behind-the-scenes offerings for the press on board) was informative and entertaining. In the engine room, it was interesting to gain access to the nerve center of the navigation system.

I felt privileged to learn about the five engines that run the ship and how Celebrity Cruises constantly strives to maximize efficiency and minimize its carbon footprint.

celebrity ascent bridge

During the bridge tour, Co-Captains Greek brothers Captain Dimitrios Kafetzis and Captain Tasos Kafetzis provided great insight on navigating the ship with plenty of beautiful stories on how their father inspired them. They also offered plenty of laughs with their competitive spirit.

As we planned to dine at the Fine Cut Restaurant that evening, the ship’s steakhouse, I suggested exploring the ship and trying some different restaurants along the way. I was particularly excited to sample the Mediterranean cuisine in Cyprus, and it did not disappoint.

samples from Daniel Bouloud
Samples from Daniel Bouloud

We tried a creamy baked brie at Normandie, which was simply delicious. We also had Italian-inspired dishes from Tuscan and Cosmopolitan.

By far, the lightest sampling of the afternoon was from Blu, a zucchini carpaccio. But where we spent the most time was at Eden, a stunning, tropically lush haven that spans three decks on the aft of the ship with amazing views.

Entrance to Eden
Entrance to Eden

It truly took my breath away. From the gorgeous bar to the multi-level seating areas and outdoor oceanfront seating, it evokes a Garden of Eden.

While there, we enjoyed a buttery lobster roll and a light, refreshing salad. The sandwich and salad options here are impressive, and I’m sure each is as delicious as the next. 

eden celebrity ascent

We also checked out the sports action at Craft Social, where there’s a wide selection of craft beers, wine, and cocktails. They have a small menu perfect for sitting back to watch a soccer match or an NFL or NBA game.

I tried the truffle fries, and they didn’t disappoint. One cool feature is that patrons can listen to games that aren’t being shown on the TVs, something that’s not typically found at your regular sports bar.

It was nice to relax on The Retreat Sundeck, looking out on the water from the most comfortable chairs and enjoying a glass of prosecco before our 8:30 p.m. dinner reservation at Fine Cut.

Before heading to dinner, though, we went to The Club and caught “Bridges,” a show that pays homage to world-famous bridges from London to  Brooklyn and San Francisco, with appropriate music for each.

the club celebrity ascent

It is a feast for the eyes and ears using a familiar soundtrack recognizable to audiences of varying ages. Performers dance and sing to hits from Prince, Beyonce, Michael Jackson, and many other artists.

There’s even a hip-hop section with an acrobatic DJ breakdancing when he’s not mixing tunes. The dance numbers are explosive, funky, and heartfelt, and the acrobatics are downright daring.

Bridges Dance Number

The one dancer dangles in midair throughout several songs, making the moves look effortless. The 270 immersive scenery of the bridges as the backdrop rivals any IMAX theater.

view of sundeck pool

After the show at Fine Cut, we enjoyed tender filet mignon set atop a bed of mashed potatoes and sliced ribeye, both equally prepared to perfection and served with tender asparagus as a side. The crab cakes were an excellent starter. It was a delicious and filling meal, making the lunch samplings the ideal choice.

celebrity ascent sun deck

We then went back to the Martini Bar for a nightcap. Enjoying a final glass of Prosecco from the intimate seating area that overlooks the action below was nice. We were told those particular spots were added to this final ship in the Edge Series. It’s an excellent addition.

The following day, debarking the ship was as smooth and seamless as embarkation. 

Final Thoughts

The few areas that I felt could use some tweaking and additional attention are the late-night party on the deck, which can be a noise nuisance for passengers who turn in early.

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Also, the signage for the shops is challenging to see, particularly the one for the jewelry store, which is placed too far back into the store. 

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Sailing on Celebrity Ascent is a beautiful experience that offers top-notch hospitality, a diverse culinary experience every day, entertaining performances that will have you dancing and singing along, and plenty of serene spots to unwind.

Whether you prefer basking in the sun by the pool, soaking in a jacuzzi, or finding peace and quiet at a secluded ocean-view retreat deck, Celebrity Ascent has it all.

By: Josie Gulliksen 

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