When Celebrity Cruises launched its sleek Edge class of ships, it tapped Nate Berkus to serve as its Edge ambassador. It’s a fitting match: Edge offers a modern luxury appeal anchored in design and art, and popular interior designer Berkus (who stars in the TLC show Nate & Jeremiah By Design) is known for his clean, timeless aesthetic.
The L.A. resident sat down with us on the Celebrity Edge after he emceed the ship’s naming ceremony in December to share his favorite travel spots — he’s so passionate about one particular country that he was offering us recommendations after the interview was over — and tell us the one thing we have to eat on the ship.
What are your favorite design elements on Celebrity Edge?
I’m a huge architecture buff as well as design, and I think that there are so many different details that you start to notice when you spend time on board. Some of the common areas are particularly well-crafted. The transition we just walked through to Eden with the art installations is really special.
I think the goal of any fine hotel or fine ship is to elevate the way people feel about themselves through design. And I think Celebrity has really pushed that to the edge with this ship.
I’m a tough critic — I’ve traveled a lot. I’m on my third passport, so I know what I’m talking about. I know what the rack rate should feel like. And somewhere that feels like a luxurious, incredible adventure as opposed to something that feels sort of trumped up, for lack of a better expression — or for the best expression in the world, depending on how you feel about it. I feel pretty solid about it.
But I would say that what’s been delivered here with the launch of this ship is the culmination of a lot of creativity, a lot of perseverance and a tremendous attention to detail that feels luxurious and accessible at the same time. And I really do feel that it’s revolutionized the way people are going to feel about traveling on the sea.
What else do you like about the ship?
The baguettes [at Le Grand Bistro]. I really am a major traveler. When I’m in Mexico, I sit down to a restaurant and the chips are bad, I want to get up at the table and leave. I feel the same way in France; if you take the first bite of bread, you know if you’re going to have this beautiful evening or if it’s marginal and designed for tourists. The food is exquisite here.
And I think they’ve done a really good job with the retail experience as well. Oh, and the spa holds its own against any six-star resort anywhere in the world. It’s unbelievable: the common areas, the design by Kelly Hoppen, who has become a good friend throughout this process.
You specifically called out the baguettes. Does that mean you’re a foodie?
No, I’m so not sophisticated — not at all. I like classic things from the region where they are supposed to be from. And I have a huge appreciation for being able to go somewhere like this and sit down and have a delicious hand-cut pasta or a really beautifully cooked steak with all of the traditional sides, or like a great baked potato, a great French onion soup. And that’s been fun to explore.
Are you big on cruises?
No, but this was the first time I was actually attracted to the genesis of a ship and understanding what it could be. What I am attracted to is seeing the world without boundaries, and [cruising] really wasn’t even a consideration before I partnered with Celebrity Edge.
Now I’m super into it. I can’t wait to take my family. My mother is turning 70, and we’re going to bring my brother and sister and their children, my husband and our children.
My father always loved cruises when I was growing up because they were so easy. You unpack once and you get to see all these different things, and that rang true to me on some sort of visceral level, but I didn’t think you could do it with this degree of style and this degree of luxury.
And if I’m going to pay for a vacation, I want to be pampered. I want to have a great time. I’m a fan of the Aman group. I’m a fan of the small beach shack where you wear the same bathing suit for a week and then when you’re done, you check into some amazing hotel with stacks of white towels and bottled water. This represents that in its own distinctive way.
What have been some of your favorite travel destinations?
Luang Prabang is arguably one of the most magnificent, charming places with French colonial architecture and incredible shopping. I love the night market. I love Southeast Asia in general, but things that might be slightly off the beaten path. Cambodia; Chiang Mai — I prefer it to the islands in Thailand; Greece, Patmos — again, really hard to get to, but worth it when you’re there.
All of Mexico. I could live in Mexico tomorrow. The Central Highlands, Morelia, Colima. Costa Careyes is one of my favorite places to travel — we spent New Year’s there [in 2017]. Mexico City is one of my favorite cities in the world.
Where do you want to travel to next?
I’ve never been to Vienna, which feels really weird to me. And I’m dying to go. And I’ve also never been to Budapest! It makes no sense to me. I can’t even believe it.
What else are you working on?
I still have an ongoing partnership with Target. We’ve been working together for many years now and continually launch new products in new categories. I have a brand-new third collection that launched with The Shade Store. My husband and I jointly launched a furniture collection for Living Spaces. And we’re in production for season three of our show Nate & Jeremiah By Design.