The brand-new Celebrity Edge cruise ship seems designed with Instagram photo opportunities in mind. Want tips on the best time of day and angle to guarantee you get the perfect gram? This is the only ultimate guide to the best photo locations AND how to recreate and even improve on “the shot” I got below!
Celebrity Edge designers innovated the ships’ design to deliver modern luxury that makes even the grandest spaces feel truly intimate. Some of my favorite design elements include the Jouin Manku chandelier in the Grand Plaza, the Kelly Hoppen state rooms, and Scott Butler’s edgy Eden restaurant. The ship even includes the coolest AR dining experience, a moving Magic Carpet by the Burj al Arab architect, Tom Wright, and Rubem Robierb’s “Dream Machine” butterfly wings. There are so many talented artists, architects and engineers that contributed to the instagrammable design of this ship.
Almost all of these shots were taken at sunrise or sunset to capture that glowing golden light and to avoid the crowds. Some shots I got by handing over my camera to strangers walking by or my friend Jacob helped me shoot, but the majority of these were taken on my tripod.
This guide makes it easy for anyone to capture memories onboard, whether you are a professional photographer or a new Instagrammer. What better place to start then the most instagrammed location onboard – the poolside butterfly wings! I’ll even give you the inside scoop on the best unexpected angles to shoot them!
1. “Dream Machine” Butterfly wings:
According to Lisa Lutoff, the CEO of Celebrity Cruises, this pool centerpiece is the most photographed part of the ship. Rubem Robierb’s butterfly wings are almost too easy to add to this list since I love sharing lesser known angles and photo opportunities, but the story behind the wings is the best part! Viewers are encouraged to make a wish when between the wings to see their dreams come true. He describes it as “A monument for those that dream of a fair and equal society. A tribute to how fragile we are in our own circumstances but how strong we are in heart. The center bullet is no longer necessary, because once you are between the wings and making a wish, YOU become the bullet. Now, you carry the power to realize the most impossible of dreams…This is a monument for the dreamers, the ones who live and die making the impossible happen.”
The shot: Instead of standing in front of the wings and shooting it straight on, I love the less popular backside of this sculpture. To get this, you can stand on the pool side and instead of shooting straight on, angle it to capture both the sunrise and the butterfly wings in their full deck setting. I love shooting this as the sun is just above the horizon as it adds a glow to the white wings.
2. Eden bar:
This three-story restaurant has the best interactive show experience and serves up some of the best cocktails on board. It is filled with tropical plants, making it feel like an outdoor oasis. The furniture arrangement and design details culminate in a tall bar backsplash of gold and shades of green. You can find this restaurant located at the back of the ship on deck five. Despite the grandeur of the bar, the entire space still feels intimate. Order the Clouds or Forbidden cocktails and grab a seat near the center about 30 minutes before an Eden show to revel at the talented acrobats and performers.
The shot: Try taking a photo standing in front of the bar or at a bar stool to show the perspective of how tall the bar truly is.
3. Eden colorful swinging chairs:
On your way up the ramp walkway on the left of the bar you will spot some colorful hanging chairs. These are a great spot to swing and relax, or to snap your next shot.
The shot: It is easy to get lost in this chair in a photo, so try to sit up straight and hold on to the two handles. I also played with putting my bright hat on the bench in the foreground. This spot is especially beautiful at golden hour or with some harsh light you can even play with the reflections and shadows like I did in this shot.
4. Eden arch walkway:
It is almost impossible to take a bad photo here. Take the stairs on the right of the bar, or even better, take the round ramp on the left of the bar and past the swinging chairs to begin the ascent up the ramp. Keep walking up for stunning views over both Eden and the water with floor-to-ceiling triangular windows. The rounded railings make it feel like the path goes on forever and palm leaves are the worst (but really best) thing that will get in your shot.
The shot: Lighting is key to capturing this area well and I prefer the softer lighting of golden hour, but you can also play with harsh light and harsh shadows. Most importantly, center your subject between the railing or palms and the window. Professionals looking for a fun photo challenge will delight in the bright reflections of their subject in the higher-level glass railing or play with silhouettes while shooting from that upper level glass area.
5. Eden stairs:
Walking into Eden there is a tall staircase with a structural vertical garden on the right-hand side of the space.
The shot: Take a photo from the top of the stairs looking down with the gorgeous white and green backdrop. You can also stand at the bottom of the stairs and shoot upwards with your subject looking over the railing of the lower landing or climbing the stairs. The only thing that makes the photo from the bottom tricky is the reflection on the glass, but this will depend on the time of day and the lighting.
6. Rooftop Garden:
This is a great area to relax and there are ample photo opportunities in this stunning rooftop garden. This is my second favorite oasis for photos after Eden!
The shot: The wrapping wooden benches were my favorite detail in this space. Center yourself in the middle of one of these long winding benches with the big blue Celebrity X behind you!
7. Curtis Kulis’ Love walls:
Curtis Kulis’ “Love” pieces span a few floors outside overlooking the pool area. Each Love wall area has its own graffiti style with slightly different highlight colors. Bonus points if you can match your outfit to one of the wall’s highlight colors.
The shot: These walls are made for pretty portraits, but I love finding unexpected angles to popular photo spots. Instead of shooting this head on, I experimented with this shot at both sunrise and sunset, so the focus was me, my dress and the starburst of light when shot at the right shutter speed.
8. Hot tubs floating above deck:
At first the asymmetry of the outer decks really bothered me, for example, there’s one wooden walkway on one side of the pool but then white arches on the other side. Now I embrace the asymmetry because it provides more diverse and unconventional photo opportunities! There are two floating hot tubs which you can find on the front and back top deck areas. Despite their battle against the symmetry, I enjoyed how they give you an opportunity to shoot a subject at this circular railing floating so high above everything.
The shot: If you can have someone help you get a shot from the lower deck looking up while you’re near the railing, you can capture a beautiful angle. The floating hot tubs are also closed during sunrise, but they are open at sunset. I chose to set up this shot by centering myself between the railings of the ladder.
9. The Wooden Cabana Walkway:
Only one side of the pool has this wooden arch walkway. It was very popular for photos, so my tripod and I woke up at sunrise to get this photo without anyone in the background.
The shot: This one is relatively “easy,” the only challenges are dodging crowds, if you do not shoot early in the morning, and getting the light on you or your subject. I like how it appears that I’m looking into the light. The trick to this shot is instead of centering myself in the frame on my tripod, I put myself slightly off center to show the depth of the arches in front of me.
10. Magic Carpet:
The purpose behind the magic carpet is so smart, as a functional yet elevated restaurant and bar above the ocean. It is the world’s first cantilevered floating platform that goes from 13 stories above sea level down to just above sea level. When it’s not a venue for drinks or dinner, it sits on Deck 2 and provides a clean and beautiful transition from The Destination Gateway to Edge Launches for transportation ashore. I love the rounded orange lines, large windows and comfy seating areas. If you have pops of orange in your outfit this is a major plus!
The shot: The true magic of this magic carpet is the fact that it is floating above the water and moves up and down on the side of the boat. I played with two shots here, one straight on with the water behind me and another with my friend shooting from a higher deck looking down at me in the corner closest to the water.
11. Chandelier in the Grand Plaza:
The tall space in the Grand Plaza allows for a unique chandelier of lights to climb from the bar up the ceiling, which is meant to represent a cloud over the horizon where the ocean meets the sea. Jouin Manku who designed the Grand Plaza is also known for the Jules Verne restaurant design at the Eiffel Tower. One partner Patrick Jouin had an emotional connection to the project as his grandparaents worked at Chantiers de l’Atlantique, the shipyard where Celebrity Edge was built.
The shot: Shoot through the mosaic mesh structure to get the bar and chandelier straight on. Shoot this early to avoid crowds.
12. Edge Art Collection:
If you are an art and museum lover, there are over 4,000 pieces of art on board. Even the elevators feature stunning portraits. Half the elevators feature traditional tribal looks and the other half feature styled fashion photography with modern-day headpieces inspired by similar tribes. My two favorite pieces of artwork are the “Winged Glory,” a reinterpreted Nike statue made of white chicken wire and located outside Cosmopolitan restaurant, and the “Jiao Long” ship, made from pearl necklaces and broaches, and found near Café al Bacio. One eerie beautiful but experience is walking through “Avalon,” the dark infinity hallway of bronze trees and mirrors.
The shot: This depends on your favorite piece, whether you prefer the eerie reflections of Avalon or the feminine energy of the “Winged Glory.”
From the circular pool’s blue backsplash to the rounded rows of light blue chairs, there are great fashion shots to be taken here!
14. The Sunset Bar:
This bar at the back of the ship’s upper deck is simple but perfect for a cocktail photo or to play with golden light.
The shot: At sunset my friend and I got this silhouette style shot with the sun shining over my arm and hat. Adjust the shutter speed to make this dramatic sunburst pop.
15. The Retreat Pool Swings:
There are three swinging chairs at the front of The Retreat, an area reserved for suite guests. The only thing better than a pool shot or a swinging chair shot is to have both in one! I love this spot where three comfy swings hover above the pool. This was a hard one to shoot as it was closed early in the morning and later it is always busy.
The shot: With more time and better lighting I would ideally combine these two photos so that you shoot at an angle, with the subject sitting in the closest chair.
16. Edge Theater:
The theater is not just for seeing some amazing shows but also playing up different photo angles. It is full of pretty design details like the mirrored face chair.
The shot: I love the reflections of my sequined dress on this face-shaped chair covered in mirror mosaic glass, framed by the staircase.
Comment below your favorite Instagram spot and if you were inspired to shoot a photo like one of these, I would love to see them, feel free to share a link below to your photo!