A comprehensive review of the new Celebrity Beyond cruise ship

What do interior designer and TV personality Nate Berkus, Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness brand Goop, French star chef Daniel Boulud, Olympic athlete Simone Biles and Peloton have in common? These are some of the names and brands affiliated with Celebrity Cruises’ latest ship, the 3,260-passenger vessel Celebrities beyond.

Let’s start with Berkus, who serves as Celebrity’s travel ambassador and who has designed a few Celebrities beyond beautiful interior spaces. Gwyneth Paltrow, CEO of Goop, is the cruise company’s wellness consultant; Goop products are available for purchase on board. Boulud, whose New York restaurant Daniel earned two Michelin stars, has his first floating restaurant, Le Voyage, on the ship and is Celebrity’s global culinary ambassador. Biles, an Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics, is the godmother of Celebrities beyond and recently oversaw the ship’s christening ceremony in Fort Lauderdale. And as for Peleton, passengers can keep up with their live-streamed workouts in the ship’s gym.

The message is loud and clear that Celebrity Cruises wants to make sure its latest ship is on trend. Plus, according to Celebrity Chief Executive Officer Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, she hopes to change cruise skeptics’ perceptions through impressive “dining experiences and wellness amenities found nowhere else at sea.”

How “Celebrity Beyond” differs from other Celebrity ships

The Retreat space, a resort inside a cruise ship, on Celebrity Beyond

Get away from the masses at the Retreat, a private resort inside the ship.

Photo by Ryan Wicks/Celebrity Cruises

Celebrities beyond she is the third vessel in the brand’s Edge class of vessels; her sister ships are Celebrity board And Celebrity pinnacle. Celebrity boardwhich debuted in 2018, was such a departure from the traditional mega-ships it was called Time the magazine’s World’s Great Places list in 2019. A fourth sister, Rise of stardomdebuts next year.

With each new ship, the cruise line is constantly changing, according to Lutoff-Perlo. Like this, Celebrities beyond she is a little bigger, longer and taller than her sister ships, with a sleeker profile and some new features.

The vessel retains the attention-grabbing attractions of previous vessels, including a bright orange Magic Carpet platform that rides the side of the vessel, stopping on various decks to serve as a venue for drinks and meals. Another impressive feature is the hot tubs perched atop structures that look like martini glasses at the main pool Celebrities beyond’St expanded resort deck.

Upscale guests have more space to relax. Retreat private resort within a cruise ship area for suite guests, with signature restaurant, sundecks, cabanas and pool, is 40% larger on this ship than its peers. If you want even more privacy, the 1,900-square-foot Iconic Suites come with outdoor whirlpool tubs, and two-story Edge Villas have private plunge pools.

For the rest of the passengers, a fun new addition are the deep glass-enclosed soaking tubs that cantilever out from the ship next to the plant-filled rooftop garden. The space also hosts tai chi classes, open-air movies, and dancing under the stars.

One revamped venue that has really caught this writer’s attention is the expansion of the Sunset Bar, a multi-terrace space high up and aft of the ship, where Berkus has created a Greek beach club scene with, as he puts it, ” unobstructed views of the world.” The message here is barefoot luxury.Grab a drink at the bar, prop up a pillow on a lush sofa, and watch the sun set over the ocean.

About Food and Drink on ‘Celebrity Beyond’

Dining tables inside Le Voyage, the first seaside restaurant by Daniel Bouloud, Hon "Celebrities beyond"

Le Voyage, the first restaurant at sea by Daniel Bouloud, the Hon Celebrities beyond.

Photo by Ryan Wicks/Celebrity Cruises

Celebrities have long had a reputation for above average food and wine. Years ago, the line’s then-adviser to French chef Michel Roux dramatically told me, “No rotten, stinky frozen pastries come aboard these ships.”

Celebrities beyond is no exception. There are 32 food and drink experiences on board, including eight specialty restaurants. During my overnight experience last month, Boulud was clearly thrilled to see his restaurant, Le Voyage, for the first time. His relationship with Celebrity Cruises came about because Cornelius Gallagher, now Celebrity’s vice president of food and beverage operations, had worked for Boulud as a junior sous chef years ago. (Gallagher later earned a Michelin star at one of his restaurants). Then he continued Celebrity board“and discovered the world of cooking on a ship that size,” he says.

ON Celebrities beyond, Le Voyage is all white walls and white lights, with tables, many set for an intimate dining experience for two, separated stylistically by white netting. The concept is to envelop diners in a space designed for food to shine.

Boulud says his goal with the menu was to showcase global cuisine and highlight his expertise beyond French cuisine. Two of the standout dishes during a multi-course tasting were tamarind-peanut crusted carabineros (large sea prawns) with papaya slaw alongside a Thai green curry and classic French chicken with porcini mushrooms and cream of madeira, served with Loire Valley Marie de Beauregard vouvray and California Goldeneye pinot noir, respectively. I still dream of the warm lemon-scented madeleines that arrived at the end of the meal.

Tasting menus start at $75 per person for three courses and go up to $239 if you do the full Chef’s Table experience with wine pairings. Even before Boulud’s involvement, Celebrity Cruises was the only cruise line with a winery recognized by Wine spectator magazine.

At Le Grand Bistro, you can dine as you watch 3D cartoon chefs appear on your dinner plate to tell you the story of the meal. Other attractions included the towers of cold seafood (for $70) at Raw on Five and the kebab stand which is part of the extensive buffet.

The center of the culinary action on Celebrities beyond it’s the bustling three-story Grand Plaza with a central Martini Bar beneath a huge pulsating light sculpture and chandelier. This is not a quiet place for a drink: the bartenders put on a show that could rival Tom Cruise Cocktail. Ask them to make you a kale martini with Gray Goose, kale, celery, lime, ginger, and apple, or try the vodka martini with pickle juice (drinks range from $15 to $18).

Wellness offers on “Celebrity Beyond”

Celebrity Beyond's spa area includes several relaxation spaces such as this salt room.

Head to the salt room to breathe some relaxation.

Photo by Michel Verdure/Celebrity Cruises

The other place where Celebrities beyond shines is in the wellness area. Those wanting a full-blown spa vacation might consider booking AquaClass or AquaClass Sky Suites staterooms, where passengers are immersed in a destination spa experience that includes spa services in their stateroom (such as a from yoga to use on board) and access to the Blue restaurant, focused on clean eating. In these staterooms, guests can order personalized detox smoothies from room service before using their complimentary fitness pass at the spa, where they also have access to the SEA Thermal Suite, a collection of eight spaces that include a hammam, a Crystalarium for energy healing, an infrared sauna, and a “Float Zen Zone” where you can relax in a hanging chair and swing “into a meditative state.” Or you can just lay on a heated lounger and gaze out at the ocean.

For everyone else on board, passengers can pay to play from an impressive array of fitness and spa offerings. You can choose to train in an expanded F Training studio or try classes that include “bungee fit,” “cardio boxing,” and “pulse barre,” when you’re not doing your Peloton workout. At the spa, guests can indulge in unusual treatments like a zero-gravity wellness massage (from $229), during which you’re suspended above a table for a “choreographed massage” with eight table positions designed to “reach your core muscles and stress zones,” according to the brochure. There’s also an Ocean Spa Wave massage which involves being wrapped in kelp and seaweed and resting on a waterbed for stress relief (from $249).

Celebrities beyond she is wintering in the Caribbean, alternating between eastern and western Caribbean itineraries. A seven-night cruise to the Bahamas, Mexico and Grand Cayman is priced at $699 per person, and Retreat suites start at $5,215 per person. Celebrity Cruises has moved to a fare model where eligible fares include beverages, Wi-Fi and tips.

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