On Site: First Impressions of the New Celebrity Beyond

Sporting highly creative artwork and interior design by Kelly Hoppen, Nate Berkus and Paris-based Jouin Manku, the newest Celebrity Cruises ship, the 140,600-ton Celebrity Beyond, is—in our view—stunningly gorgeous. It’s fresh, it’s crisp, it’s creative; it’s also high-end in look and feel.

A Rooftop Garden awaits, while a lovely Resort Deck beckons with cantilevered float pools and sunken seating areas. In addition, the 3,260-passenger vessel has newly redesigned spaces, such as the three-level Grand Plaza with its "relocated" central bar.

What's nice is that this ship also offers many small, more intimate venues—places where guests can find nooks, crannies and spots to relax without crowds of people. The line made a point of adding more of those kinds of spaces on this ship and it shows. 

Travel Agent stayed two nights on the new Celebrity Beyond this past weekend. Here are a few observations from our brief time aboard. 

Bigger, Taller, Sleeker

Third in the Edge-class series, Celebrity Beyond reflects what the cruise line desired to do after successfully launching the new Celebrity Edge, the first in a new ship class, back in 2018.

While the ship was well-received, the line wanted to make some enhancements. But as is typically the case in shipbuilding, the second ship, Celebrity Apex, launched in 2019, was very similar. Only a few tweaks could be made, given the lengthy timeline required for most structural or major design changes. It's typically the third ship in a class that will receive major changes or enhancements, officials told media at a press briefing. There's simply more time to plan, design and build.

As a result, Celebrity Beyond has more substantive changes than Celebrity Apex, for example. Most notably, it's longer, taller and sleeker in profile. For instance, two 33-foot-long sections were added in two different areas of the ship. So, it wasn't simply cut in half for lengthening, as some lines do in adding one big section. The additions were a bit more strategic in getting space where it was needed. 

Celebrity Beyond also is taller than its sisters, as it was built with an added deck. So, it's 17 decks high, rather than 16 as with the first two ships in the series. 

What Does More Space Mean?


Retreat Sun Deck of Celebrity Beyond.
The Retreat, an exclusive relaxation space on Celebrity Beyond, has an expanded Sun Deck.  (Photo by Celebrity Cruises)

The additional sections of the ship plus the added deck have allowed Celebrity to add suites and staterooms. It's also opened up many spaces a bit more. Here are a few examples:

  • The Retreat has been expanded into a two-story sundeck. With redesigned exclusive spaces, this area offers secluded cabanas, chic new seating areas, additional water features and the exclusive Retreat Bar; Retreat Lounge; and adjacent private restaurant Luminae.
  • The Resort Deck now has expanded, open-air spaces.
  • Celebrity Beyond offers more restaurants, bars and lounges. For example, the new, intimate World Bar reflects a partnership with Diageo.
  • The ship's two-level Sunset Bar, designed by Berkus, is now 180 percent larger than on the sister vessels. 

Checking out the High-End Suites

During our time aboard this past weekend, we enjoyed touring the 1,900-square-foot Iconic Suite, an enclave of luxury. Best of all, it offers forward views akin to what the Captain sees from the ship's bridge.

One of the Iconic Suites' two master bedrooms looks out to forward sea views.
One of the Iconic Suite's master bedrooms has spectacular forward facing views - similar to what the Captain sees. (Photo by Celebrity Cruises)

These Iconic Suites have two bedrooms with spectacular ocean views; plus, each has a robust master bath with a shower and a whirlpool tub. In addition, we liked the spacious living area with a large sectional seating area, a large dining area, multiple flat-screen TVs, plenty of glass (offering plenty of natural lighting) and a fun hanging chair.

Not shown in the photo above, but also positioned by the living room's windows during our visit was a Peloton exercise bike. There’s also a private sundeck with a hot tub and double daybed. Guests staying in the Iconic Suite also will receive the ultimate in pampering. Their butler can access a private pantry in the suite—perfect for finalizing service for al fresco meals, cocktails or an in-suite party.

Among Celebrity Beyond's other top suite accommodations are the Edge Villas, two-level suites with a private plunge pool, and direct access to The Retreat Sun Deck.

In addition, the ship's new Aqua Sky Suites combine the line's AquaClass experience with exclusive spaces, services and wellness amenities of The Retreat. One nice perk? Guests receive complimentary access to the spa’s Thermal Suite.  

Infinite Veranda Stateroom

Sporting a cheery look is #7247, a Veranda Stateroom, on Celebrity Beyond.
On Celebrity Beyond, our Infinite Veranda Stateroom, No. 7247, offered a cheery look and comfortable furnishings.  (Photo by Susan J. Young)

The bulk of Celebrity Beyond's accommodations are Veranda Staterooms. During our two nights aboard, we stayed in No. 7247, an Infinite Veranda Stateroom. These veranda cabins are 23 percent larger than the veranda staterooms on Celebrity's Solstice-class ships, for example. 

We were immediately struck by how cheery and artistic this suite was. We loved the white-and-orange color scheme, the decor and lovely artwork above the comfortable couch. Plus, guests will discover a desk area with chair, mini-fridge, white tabletop box that holds plug-in ports/outlets, and several drawers in a credenza. Opening into the living area, the veranda suite's closet offers modest hanging space, additional drawers, a personal safe and more. 

As for the Infinite Veranda Stateroom's bathroom, it offers a grey-and-white look with black accents and a stark piece of artwork. Plus, there's a large mirror, elongated sink, toilet and shower.  

Beyond the bedroom area, though, is what's really nifty about this stateroom: The “Infinite Veranda." Essentially, it's a space resembling a balcony, except that it's interior so that it extends the room outward. Two panes of horizontal glass with no lower-level vertical bars (as one might have beneath a regular balcony railing for safety) provide guests seated on two veranda chairs with floor-to-ceiling glass views. And they can sit in air-conditioned comfort!

An Infinite Veranda Stateroom on Celebrity Beyond.
Guests can sit in air-conditioned comfort on the Infinite Veranda. Or, they can hit a button to lower a glass pane and create an open-air balcony.  (Photo by Susan J. Young)

The best part is being right up against the glass for unobstructed views to the sea, dock or destination. 

That said, if guests prefer fresh air and an outdoor balcony, that's doable, too. They simply can push a button to lower the top panel of glass. Presto, the stateroom has an open-air balcony.

In addition, at night the cabin steward will lower a panel adjacent to the glass. It drops to the floor and provides light blocking—perfect for days when guests desire to sleep in. And if one person in the room wants to stay inside in AC and the other wants the open-air balcony, a set of folding doors also separate the bedroom from the veranda space. So, couples can have it both ways.

Back inside the bedroom, cruisers will discover other suite perks. Among them is a large wall-mounted. flat-screen TV opposite the bed. Here, guests will find a robust entertainment system. 

Muster Drill: A Three-Part Approach

Upon entering the suite for the first time, all guests must complete a three-part safety drill protocol by following the easy-to-use instructions on their TV. First, guests will watch a short video about how to put on a life-jacket. Next, they'll press a button to hear the emergency alarm signal that would be sent from the bridge in the event of an emergency. A third element gives guests their muster station number (D4 for example) and location (including a map). All guests then must all go to their muster station and check in with their key card. 

Overall, this system was an easy way to complete the muster drill. 

Redesigned Grand Plaza with Central Bar

Grand Plaza is the place to see and be seen -- with the bar relocated into the center of the space.
The redesigned Grand Plaza has a centrally located bar, seating on several tiers and decks, as well as live entertainment and "juggling" bartenders at times.  (Photo by Susan J. Young)

We liked the redesigned Grand Plaza space. This three-level, atrium-like gathering place is home to the Martini Bar, which has been relocated to the center of the space. With a grand LED chandelier above, the plaza has a dramatic appearance. It's the spot on the ship to "see and be seen." And within the plaza's entertainment area, a solo singer, musician or band performed upon several occasions when we dropped in. 

Don't miss: Evening entertainment features (at certain times) talented bartenders who stop mixing drinks for a few minutes to toss cocktail shakers up, down and between each other. It's a hoot to watch. That action, as well as the live music, is entertaining not just for those near the bar, but for those either seated or standing at the various tiers around the plaza and on higher decks, too. A good mix of restaurants, lounges and bars ring the Grand Plaza. 

On the plaza's top level, a connecting walkway (across the open space below) provides a good perch for viewing what's happening, plus easy access to the other side of plaza.

Moving the bar to the center seems to have greatly enhanced the vibrancy of this space. We arrived a bit early for our 8:45 p.m. dinner reservation, so we grabbed a seat at one small enclave of that Martini Bar. We were not seated on the ground level of the plaza, but in a bit higher tier near the entrance to Le Voyage.   

We counted the seats—19 total—in our small section, yet there were only one or two other guests seated at the comfortable chairs and cocktail tables. It’s a good example of how Celebrity has strived to create nooks and crannies that seem much more intimate than what one might typically find on a big ship.

Le Grand Bistro

Lobster bisque soup presentation at Le Grand Bistro on Celebrity Beyond.
Lobster bisque at Le Grand Bistro on Celebrity Beyond. (Photo by Susan J. Young)

On Deck 4 within that Grand Plaza structure is Le Grand Bistro restaurant. We dined here with friends on embarkation day, and it was one of the highlights of our onboard dining experience.

Presentation for the escargot appetizer was creative, plus we savored the smooth, fresh, delicious taste.

Next, our lobster bisque arrived in grand “poof” fashion. You can see exactly what we mean (see adjacent photo). The crust was flaky, the soup piping hot, and the bisque quite flavorful with tiny pieces of lobster. We'd highly recommend it. 

Finally, our mussels too arrived, coupling a creative presentation with savory flavoring.

Interestingly, right before we were ready to leave the table, a man dining alone at the next table told his server: “I’m going for all appetizers. I’ll have the escargot, mussels and lobster bisque.” 

We chuckled as he mimicked our selections. We advised him that he'd made great choices. Pricing for this eatery is $10 at breakfast, $20 for lunch and $25 at dinner.

And, by the way, Le Grand Bistro is also the spot for Celebrity's Le Petit Chef animated dining presentation at night. Reservations are essential for that experience.

Le Voyage, Signature Dining by Chef Daniel Boulud

Among the 32 distinct food-and-drink venues on Celebrity Beyond is Le Voyage.

That’s the new fine dining restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud. He’s Celebrity’s culinary ambassador and Le Voyage is his first signature restaurant at sea. 

As for décor and design, Le Voyage’s ambience—intimate and upscale—reflects Jouin Manku’s creative talents; that’s the team responsible for designing the Jules Verne restaurant in ParisEiffel Tower as well as Celebrity’s Grand Plaza. Decor-wise, guests can expect soft tones, comfortable seating, white table linens and fine china and crystal. We liked the subdued lighting, which adds to the luxurious feel of the dining experience. 

Le Voyage is the new specialty restaurant aboard Celebrity Beyond; it's the signature restaurant of Chief Daniel Boulud.
Le Voyage is the new signature restaurant by Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Boulud on Celebrity Beyond. (Photo by Celebrity Cruises)

Le Voyage, given the intimate space, high quality of the cuisine and celebrity chef appeal, carries a $75 per person charge. The restaurant also offers a five-course Tasting menu for $125 and a Chef’s Table experience for $139. We ordered off the à la carte menu. Le Voyage's cuisine is best described as "globally inspired."

Our desired appetizer—Tamarind and Peanut Crusted Prawns with papaya sauce and Thai green curry—thankfully appeared on both the à la carte menu and the tasting menu. We'd give it a thumbs up. 

As for entrees, we ordered the Prime Black Angus Filet Mignon with black truffle sauce and other savory ingredients and we'd do so again. It had a melt-in-your-mouth consistency and was very flavorful given the sauce. Also, it was cooked exactly as ordered. 

Also, definitely ask for a delicate brioche (flaky French roll) when the server arrives at the table to serve fresh bread. A food writer told us not to miss the brioche. He was on target, as the brioche was light and delicious.

Riding the Magic Carpet

Guests use the Magic Carpet to board tenders. This embarkation area for the launches, though, has some special perks such as a bar and various seating areas.  and seating areas
The floor of the Magic Carpet serves as a tender embarkation area—and a comfortable one at that. It offers more space than people typically have getting on tenders, plus seating areas and a bar.   (Photo by Susan J. Young)

We took the offered media tour for a spin around the ocean on one of the ship’s motor launches—aka the ship's tenders. They're much larger than tenders on many ships. Interior seats were extremely comfortable with thick bottom cushions. Most cruise industry tenders have hard seats and no cushions.   

What stood out most, though, was that getting to Celebrity Beyond's tenders (as well as those on the sister ships) is much more interesting than the tender experience on other ships. 

Heading to Deck 3, the "Destination Gateway" guests scan their key card to exit the ship and head down to the floor of the Magic Carpet, a moveable platform cantilevered off the side of the ship. At many times, this Magic Carpet is positioned at a much higher deck on the ship, when used for receptions, cocktail parties, dining or events. But on shore days, when the tenders are needed, it's flexibly lowered to provide guests with a more comfortable tender experience. 

The large seat cushions on the Celebrity Beyond's "motor launches" aka the tenders provide a higher level of comfort.
Celebrity Beyond's motorized launches (aka its ship tenders) are larger and more comfortable inside than most cruise ship tender boats.  (Photo by Susan J. Young)

So, guests don't hop from ship into a tender. Instead, the Magic Carpet provides a more spacious area from which to board. Plus, there are a few comfortable seating areas including one large sectional. And yes, there's even a bar here, so you can enjoy a cocktail prior to boarding.. 

Upcoming Voyages

Celebrity Beyond will sail a variety of Caribbean voyages from Port Everglades, FL, this winter 2022-2023 season. They include seven-night voyages with calls at Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; and St. Maarten. Plus, the ship operates seven-night Bahamas, Mexico and Grand Cayman itineraries. 

For more information on Celebrity Beyond, visit www.celebritycruises.com.

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