I recently had the opportunity to embark on a Mediterranean cruise, hopping between exotic coastal destinations aboard the luxurious Celebrity Edge cruise ship. From historic island towns to glitzy onboard entertainment, the journey offered a perfect blend of cultural discoveries and seaside relaxation. Here are some of the highlights from the French part of the voyage through the sparkling Mediterranean Sea.
Corsica: Birthplace of an Emperor
We stopped on the idyllic French island of Corsica, birthplace of the famed French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. In Corsica’s capital Ajaccio, we visited Napoleon’s childhood home, an 18th century mansion filled with artifacts from his life. Despite his humble origins on this rugged island, Napoleon rose to become one of history’s most legendary military leaders.
Beyond Napoleon’s legacy, Corsica offered plenty of natural beauty as well. We spent some time soaking up the sun on Ajaccio’s picturesque white sand beaches lapped by crystal clear turquoise waters. The scenery looked like a postcard.
With the help of our guide, we had the chance to sample some local Corsican delicacies like cured meats and cheeses. I even enjoyed some delicious upscale tacos, that made up for the really mediocre food we had in Italy, and it reminded us that anecdotally, we tended to find good food spots in the south of France.
A particular highlight was sampling various local Corsican honeys at the local market. The flavors were incredibly intense and complex compared to commercial honey. It’s well known that high fructose corn syrup is used to dilute commercial honey to make it cheaper, so it was nice to experience real honey. The beekeeper had honeys from bees feeding on different seasonal flowers, and each honey variety had distinct aromas and flavors. This experience helped me understand what pure honey is supposed to taste like.
During our visit, Corsica was bustling with activity because French President Emmanuel Macron happened to be visiting Ajaccio the same day.
Luxury at Sea: Onboard the Celebrity Edge
When we weren’t exploring ports of call, we got to indulge in luxurious amenities onboard the state-of-the-art Celebrity Edge cruise ship. With 15 decks, this floating palace had something for everyone.
The ship’s buffet hall offered an impressive variety of global cuisine that changed daily to match the regional specialties of places we were visiting. Surprisingly, I found the daily buffet to be tastier than the ship’s fine dining restaurants. Even as someone who doesn’t prefer desserts, it was hard to resist.
There was no shortage of entertainment onboard. A lively couple danced for hours every evening in the ship’s nightclub. We attended a stand-up comedy show by comedian Al Ducharme. While some jokes didn’t land with us, the older crowd found him hilarious. This improvisaton while roasting members of the audience was funnier than his actual show. A musical act from the trio Divas3 delivered an energetic performance of classics from the 60s to the 90s. They even tried “My Heart Will Go On” from Celine Dion, but even their combined vocals could not match Celine Dion’s sheer power.
For some cultural enrichment, we browsed an intriguing art gallery on the ship showcasing works from famous artists like Salvador Dali and Rembrandt. Watching our first art auction was a unique experience. Its remarkable that cruise ships worldwide exhibit such precious art collections. Do they truly have so many original pieces from renowned artists or are some copies? Or is it just a way to sell to people who would buy them impulsively because they can’t research because the wifi on the ship isn’t free? If there are say hundreds of cruise ships constantly sailing, and each of them have art galleries, are there that many paintings from these masters to go around?
Shopping is also a part of the cruise ship experience. At the jewelry store, I got to see staff open a genuine Fabergé egg – it was incredible to admire in person. I never realized cruise ships contained such treasures. Fabergé eggs are exquisite jeweled eggs created by the House of Fabergé in St. Petersburg, Russia in the late 19th century. They are renowned for their dazzling craftsmanship, exclusivity, surprises, and meaning, making them prized historic works of art.
To get more guests gambling at they casino, they’d give us promotional credit hoping that we’d spend more. To add on to that, they’d also give free drinks to active casino players. We’re not much for gambling, and told ourselves, we’d play until we lost our promotional credit.
We tried our luck at roulette, craps, and slots. Lady Luck was on our side and we walked away $20 richer and that’s not including our free drinks! Unlike regular casinos, the cruise ship casino staff and the players were all very polite and willing to teach each other the intracicies of the different games, especially for craps, which required a bit more thinking than roulette. It was cool watching other people win too – we could really feel the positive energy.
Between stage shows, live music, art galleries, pools, spas, shops, and restaurants, the Celebrity Edge offered everything we could need for a perfect floating vacation.