19 May 2022 by Emma Sanger-Horwell
Wexas cruise specialist and previous Celebrity Cruises guest Emma Sanger-Horwell reports back from the inaugural sailing of Celebrity Beyond.
As someone who’s cruised with Celebrity before, I was delighted to be invited on the inaugural sailing of their newest luxury ship. Indeed, I’d heard plenty of great things about Celebrity Beyond before I stepped on board, so was keen to see if the real thing lived up to the hype.
Firstly, before even setting sail, Celebrity makes it very easy to access your trip ahead of time by downloading the Celebrity App. Here, you can upload your pre-boarding documents, check in online and make any restaurant or spa reservations before your departure. A very handy service, but far from the app’s only benefit. Once on board it doubles as your daily planner, interactive ship map. room key and even as the remote for your TV and air conditioning. Very innovative and useful. Having used the app prior to boarding, I arrived at the terminal, where check-in was as simple as a scan of the app, a glance at my passport and then straight on board – no queues, no hassle.
The ship itself is beautiful. The attention to style and detail is not something you normally associate with a large ship, but it oozes sophistication and luxury, from its décor and artwork to its fabulous furnishings. Fun fact – there are over 200 different types of chairs onboard, plenty of choice for those with an eye for design.
Stylish design (and ample seating) on Celebrity Beyond
My suite was the lead-in Sunset/Magic Carpet suite. Very stylish and roomy, with a large balcony and ever-so-spacious bathroom. It had a very light, airy and luxurious feel. Perhaps best of all, however, is that having a suite gives you access to an exclusive area called The Retreat. Here, you have use of The Retreat lounge, a new location with dramatic floor-to-ceiling views. Take in the ever-changing scenery whenever you stop by this lounge for complimentary beverages, gourmet bites, or simply to unwind. You’ll also have access to an exclusive concierge who’ll make any arrangements you need, both on board and off. You also have access to two levels of outdoor Retreat deck space, complete with hot tubs, pool and bar.
Emma's Sunset/Magic Carpet Suite on Celebrity Beyond
Luminae, the dedicated suite-class dining room, was superb. Here, you can explore exclusive menus crafted by a Michelin-starred chef that you won’t find anywhere else on board. These include a range of signature dishes designed by legendary chef Daniel Boulud, which are delicious.
Away from The Retreat, I managed to try some of the other dining options – of which there are many – including Fine Cut, the speciality steak house. This carries a surcharge, but is well worth it, with delicious food and the ambience of a trendy New York eatery. On the menu, you’ll find everything from Japanese Wagyu striploin to 45-day dry-aged prime bone-in rib eye with a wide selection of premium sauces and toppings to choose from.
Beyond this firm favourite, there are many other speciality restaurants to try, including Raw on 5, with its perfectly prepared sushi and seafood and the Le Petit Chef Experience – an immersive fusion of animation, entertainment, and dining like nothing you’ve experienced before. Sadly, two days onboard was nowhere near enough time to sample everything. Then there’s the main buffet dining room – sight and experience not to be missed. Expect an almost endless selection of food stations serving dishes from around the world. Trust me, this place is dangerous. You come out eating WAY too much! It’s impossible not to!
Also, well worth making time for, the central martini bar takes the place of a normal ship atrium. It’s like the centre heartbeat of the ship – a place where you can stop for a drink and be entertained by one of the super-talented bartenders. Of course, it’s a popular spot, but there are lots of quieter options to explore as well, so there really is something for everyone and every mood, too.
The central bar area on Celebrity Beyond
Elsewhere, Eden is a multifunctional space at the back of the ship which has a restaurant and bar but is also a place to be entertained. In the evening we enjoyed a Silent disco here, which was terrific fun.
Also worthy of ample praise, the entertainment was excellent. I was lucky enough to attend two shows and, while I’m not a lover of traditional cruise ship entertainment, these were something very different – unique and spectacular. Highly talented singers, dancers and acrobats all performed to create an edgy, modern performance which kept me thoroughly entertained.
We luckily had a day of sunshine so got to experience both the beautiful sun deck, with its beautiful swimming pool, and also the roof garden. This is an outdoor area where you can stop for something to eat, have a drink or watch a film which is shown on the big screen. A really multifaceted, cool area to hang out.
The Sunset Bar on Celebrity Beyond
It almost goes without saying that the ship’s fitness facilities are second to none. There are so many classes to attend, as well as wellbeing talks and the state-of-the-art gym itself.
However, if you’re like me and prefer something a little more sedate, you won’t be disappointed with the spa, where you can indulge yourself with selection of wellness and beauty treatments from around the world.
With Celebrity’s ‘Always included’ package it meant we didn’t have to worry about buying drinks or the added hidden extras like tipping or Wi-Fi. That was all included. Plus, if you’re a fan of your premium spirits then you can upgrade your basic package for a very reasonable price.
Celebrity has set the bar very high with this new Edge-class ship. Beyond surpassed my expectations. Luxury, innovation, fantastic facilities and outstanding service, made this the most fabulous cruise experience – one not to be missed.