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The Celebrity Beyond: Sailing beyond expectations
The Sun Deck.

The Celebrity Beyond: Sailing beyond expectations

PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - May 4, 2021 - 12:00am

On April 27, 2022, 3,200 passengers will be sailing to a new horizon on a future-perfect cruise ship that aims to live up to its name, Celebrity Beyond.

Celebrity Cruises believes that the new ship, designed pre-COVID, will be sailing to a safer horizon under a better normal thus, it is pulling out all stops for its maiden voyage. The Celebrity Beyond, which will be manned a by a fully vaccinated 1400-strong crew, will slice the waters between Southampton in England and Barcelona, Spain in April 2022. This will be followed by more Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises.

I’m excited because the Celebrity Beyond is a vote of confidence in the future and the seaworthiness, so to speak, of the travel industry — it’s keeping afloat not just over 3,000 passengers eager for their date with the sea and the sun, but also the hopes and dreams of people that life can and will be normal again after the challenging years of 2020 and 2021.

I was recently invited to a virtual tour of the new ship, which, pointed out Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of the Royal Caribbean Group of which Celebrity is part, “There are some just mind-boggling features on these vessels that are beyond the imagination. And those features are wonderful.”

For one, it has a “Magic Carpet,” which looks to me like a long and wide corridor on the side of the ship that goes up 15 decks above the sea. “Float across the horizon as you drink, dine, or simply relax on this feat of engineering that transforms into different experiences,” says the ship’s official description of the Magic Carpet.

The Resort Deck.

There is the Resort Deck, a “resort within a resort.” There is a new two-story Sunset Bar imagined by world-famous designer Nate Berkus and a redesigned Rooftop Garden by the visionary Kelly Hoppen, with cantilevered float pools that extend over the water’s edge — both in collaboration with celebrated architect Tom Wright of WKK.

“I really like the idea that a ship is something that kind of lives. It’s like a whole city that travels from place to place. Because as you say, all you need is an amazing window and you’ve got an amazing view. And if you think about it, that is what this ‘resort’ does. It tries very hard to look out the window at what’s going on,” said Tom Wright in a conversation with Lisa Lutoff Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, who took us virtually around the ship.

Of the multilevel retreat sundeck and rooftop garden, Kelly Hoppen told Lisa, “If you were to stand in the middle and do a 360, you would just keep stopping, because there’s just so much to look at.  I think that the sky and the deck are just going to merge into one. And it’s just going to be an extraordinary space, day and night.”

***

The Rooftop Garden.

Now, where to sleep?

The Celebrity Beyond has two-story Edge villas with their own private plunge pool and direct access to The Retreat Sundeck. The entire living space in Edge veranda staterooms, on the other hand, becomes the veranda.

Any spa-cial treatment? Escape to a luxurious sanctuary for the modern traveler with the ship’s SEA Thermal Suite and its new firsts, like an expanded Fitness Center with F45 fitness classes, Women in Wellness program, and new treatment tables. Gwyneth Paltrow was also introduced to the media as the Celebrity Beyond’s “wellbeing adviser.”

“I’m still sworn to secrecy but I can tell you that me and the Goop team are curating special programs for Celebrity ships,” the Hollywood star said, adding that she was curious about Celebrity’s mission of “redefining ‘well-traveled’.”

***

The Iconic Suite, with a view as good as the captain’s.

According to Tim Jones, managing director for Asia-Pacific, “It will be compulsory for all guests over the age of 18 to be vaccinated, and all the crew will have been vaccinated as well. Protocols will change, can change, as things change around this. So, we can only go by the best guidance and advice in that time. But for the time being, yes, vaccination will be required to go on board. And there will be testing protocols as well, both pre cruise and post cruise.”

Will the ship be requiring vaccination with certain brands in order to board? Jones has no answer to that — yet.

“A lot of the protocols will change, do change and can change over time,” he reiterated, adding, “We’re beyond excited to have this beautiful new ship sailing with us in 2022 alongside all of our beautiful ships across the fleet.”

Am beyond excited, too, because the sun seems to be shining on the horizon again — and not just for those who want to sail away on this ship that promises to defy expectations.

(For inquiries, contact Arpan Air Inc. at 0998-9837315 or e-mail rylcaribbean@arpanair.com.ph.)

(You may e-mail me at joanneraeramirez@yahoo.com. Follow me on Instagram @joanneraeramirez.)

Gwyneth Paltrow meets us virtually as Celebrity Beyond’s well-being adviser.
CELEBRITY SAILING
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