What do Simone Biles, Gwyneth Paltrow, Nate Berkus, Daniel Boulud and one of the world’s most famous naked cats have in common? Here’s a hint: it weighs 140,600 tons, yet manages to float.
Aptly named “Beyond”, Celebrity Cruises new ship is proof that some cruise lines keep innovating, even during a global pandemic. In fact, Beyond’s steel cutting took place in 2020. While the rest of the world was in lockdown, shipbuilders in the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in northwest France were busy constructing the 17-deck, 1,073-foot-long vessel.
Capable of accommodating 3,260 passengers and 1,400 crew, Beyond is essentially an ocean village. The real ribbon-cutting ceremony, however, took place in March when Beyond’s captain Kate McCue became the first female captain to steer a cruise liner out of the 160-year-old shipyard.
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It wasn’t Captain Kate’s premiere. In 2015, she made waves when she became the first American woman to lead a major cruise ship. She is a star in the cruise industry and far from the only big name associated with Beyond. Biles is the godmother of the ship, Paltrow her wellness advisor and Berkus and Boulud lent their talents to the pattern and catering departments. McCue’s naked cat is the ship’s unofficial mascot.
Beyond – which is currently in the Mediterranean before moving to the Caribbean this fall – is Celebrity’s third and largest Vanguard ship Edge Series. Like her sister ships, Edge and SummitBeyond has something no other cruise line can claim: the world’s first cantilever platform at sea.
magic carpet ride
nicknamed the magic carpet, this versatile space hovers above open water like a 2,100 square foot floating shelf. It’s dynamic too. When Tom Wright, the architect behind the building that is turning heads in Dubai Burj Al Arab Hotel, designed the magic carpet, he ensured that it was able to move seamlessly over 10 floors. During the day, it sits on Deck 14, allowing passengers to relax in front of floor-to-ceiling water views. At night, it descends to deck 5, where it functions as a bar, concert hall and seafood restaurant.
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Kitchen by Daniel Boulud, more
The Magic Carpet’s “Dinner on the Edge” is just one of Beyond’s 32 food and beverage options, which include eight specialty restaurants. The creme de la creme is The trip, Boulud’s first restaurant at sea. An ode to French cuisine inspired by international flavors, Le Voyage seduces with dishes like Argentinian filet mignon; five-spice duck pithivier, savory tart; and Brazilian moqueca, a fish stew. It’s also hard not to be impressed by the presentation of the wines in Cosmopolitan. Like the other specialty restaurants on the ship, its menu has been developed by Cornelius Gallagherthe Michelin-starred chef who moonlights as Vice President of Dining at Celebrity.
Beyond also has a central buffet, though it’s set up more like an upscale food hall. Think Eataly – but instead of just Italian cuisine, expect to find a bit of everything. Don’t expect to serve yourself. This ship – which has one of the highest numbers of handwashing stations per capita – plays it as conservatively as possible when it comes to germ prevention. For lighter fare like acai bowls and piñakales (essentially piña coladas with kale instead of rum), passengers can refuel at Spa Cafe. His menu was given the green light by Paltrow, goop founder.
Beyond’s accommodations range from 181 square feet interior cabins at two-storey villas with private plunge pools and the seemingly endless two beds, two baths Iconic suites. Measuring 1,892 square feet, they are the largest in Celebrity’s entire fleet. While a four-night Caribbean cruise on Beyond starts at just $476 per person, an Iconic Suite on the same cruise will set you back at least $15,000.
Beyond also offers Celebrity’s new room category: AquaClass. These wellness-focused suites include free access to the spa’s hammam (Turkish bath), crystalarium and floating room, where guests can “float” in meditative bliss while rocking in basket chairs suspended from the ceiling. (There is also a salt room and even a space reserved for rainwater therapy.)
Alluring experiences on board
What Beyond lacks in waterslides and wading pools more than makes up for with cantilever plunge pools and two-story spas shaped like giant martini glasses on the Resort Bridge. The art of the ship is equally eye-catching. For starters, the 75-foot-long (24-meter) main pool faces a life-size sculpture of a man trying to balance an elephant on his back. Then there are the NFT. Beyond is the first ship in the line to showcase and sell digital masterpieces by the award-winning visual artist Rubem Robierb.
Of course, Beyond also offers your cruise ship basics, albeit high. It is the first ship to have shops luxury brands like Stella McCartney, Marni and La Maison du Chocolat. There is also a Vegas-style casinostate of the art Fitness Center – the first to offer F45 high-intensity group training sessions at sea – and a rooftop garden with enough plants to warrant a full-time botanist on board.
If common areas are too common, passengers willing to pay a little more can retreat to Retirement. Beyond’s resort-within-a-resort concept features its own two-story lounge, restaurant, pool and deck – all exclusive spaces for Retreat guests only.
Yet the real VIP of the ship is Bug Naked, Captain Kate’s elusive elven sphynx. This hairless and faithful feline (which has over 59,000 loyal instagram followers of his) sailed by his side for years. Forget Biles and Paltrow; he is Beyond’s greatest asset. On boats, cats – even black ones – are considered lucky.