Insight Cruise Insight Celebrity is the latest line to go al fresco By Tom Stieghorst / March 13, 2017 Share 1 -- One of the most exciting design trends in cruising has been the turn toward exposing passengers more to the ocean.Several cruise companies have seized on a connection to the sea as something they can offer passengers that is unique to cruising.The latest is Celebrity Cruises, which has unveiled some of the features of its Celebrity Edge ship due, in late 2018.One of its most talked about amenities will be the Magic Carpet, a tennis-court sized platform that will stick out over the edge of the deck. That alone would bring passengers in more contact with the water.The fact that the Magic Carpet will have the capacity to move from one deck to another, becoming variously a high end alternative restaurant, a part of the pool deck, an al fresco extension to other restaurants, or a shore excursion platform, makes it that much more versatile.The Magic Carpet, a covered movable platform, can accommodate 90 diners if used as a restaurant. "Magic Carpet is an iconic, innovative traveling platform that sets Celebrity Edge apart from every other ship in the world," said Celebrity president Lisa Lutoff-Perlo. "It changes its mood, its function, even its location and provides guests with incredible visual perspectives and a distinct experience on every deck it visits."In other words, we've come a long way from the promenade deck, baby.That was the venue on transatlantic liners where passengers could get their ocean experience. It continues to be in demand on many ships, but the industry is evolving towards a better solution.Norwegian Cruise Line got lots of attention with its "Waterfront" design on its Breakaway class ships, starting in 2013. The oceanfront boardwalk gave an inside/outside dimension to the bars and restaurants clustered on Deck 8.Al fresco dining is also a design feature on the new Viking Ocean ships introduced in 2015, where sliding glass doors in the main dining room can be opened to access the outdoors in good weather.On MSC Cruises new MSC Seaside, due out in December, there will be an uncovered promenade more than 20 feet wide on Deck 8, bringing passengers closer to the level of the ocean.All of this is a change from the "ship as the destination" designs of a generation ago, which featured long interior arcades and shopping mall-like spaces, with a focus inward in an enclosed envelope.Of course, to some extent having an outdoor, ocean-facing experience depends on good weather to take advantage of it. It's no coincidence that ships such as MSC Seaside and Celebrity Edge will be sailing to the Caribbean year-round when they launch, a year apart from each other in 2017 and 2018.