Celebrity Beyond CRUISE REVIEW

Andy Hernandez recently sailed on Celebrity Cruises’ current flagship, Celebrity Beyond, and offers an insight into what she has to offer.

Celebrity Beyond

Celebrity Cruises, with a fleet of 15 ships, is a premium-market cruise line owned and operated by Miami-based Royal Caribbean International. Its most recently built ship is Celebrity Beyond, and it is on the cusp of introducing another of the Edge class ships, of which there are currently three, with the latest, Celebrity Ascent, due to enter service in November.

Constructed by Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint Nazaire, the Maltese-registered Celebrity Beyond was ordered on 16 May 2016. Laid down on 5 October 2018 as yard no.L34, she began her maiden voyage in April 2022. Her christening took place on 4 November in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with gymnast Simone Biles selected as her godmother.

Celebrity Beyond (and upcoming sister Celebrity Ascent) are enlarged (one extra deck) and lengthened versions of the first two Edge class ships, Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Apex, and incorporate numerous improvements on the previous pair. At 1,073ft (326.5m) in length, they are 69ft (21m) longer and 10,000gt larger. A fifth as-yet-unnamed unit is scheduled to arrive in late 2024, equipped with Wärtsilä flex-fuel motors with the ability to use three different types of fuel, including methanol.

Celebrity Beyond on her maiden voyage out of Southampton
Celebrity Beyond docked at Katakolon, Greece.

On board Celebrity Beyond

The $1.3 billion ship has 16 decks (15 for guests) and accommodates 3,260 at double occupancy (maximum 3,731 guests with all berths filled). There are 1,646 staterooms, mostly located on Decks 6 through 14. The most opulent accommodations are two lavish 2,581ft2 Iconic Suites. The majority of the staterooms (1,305) offer triple or quadruple occupancy, and 178 cabins of these are inter-connecting. There are 25 staterooms in various categories for impaired guests.

The Edge class ships have introduced an ‘Infinite Verandah’ category, which are 23 per cent larger (bathrooms are ten per cent larger) than on the previous Solstice class ships and incorporate the verandah into the stateroom itself, creating more interior space. Designing the ship’s exterior and interior spaces was a team led by British-born architect Tom Wright. Other designers involved were Kelly Hoppen (UK), Nate Berkus (US) and the Parisian-based design firm Jouin Manku.

The ship’s $10 million art collection totals 4,500 pieces, with one of its signature pieces being the bronze statue of ‘La Normandie’ by Leon Baudry (at the entrance to the Normandie Restaurant), originally commissioned by the French Line for their Normandie of 1935. This piece was acquired by Celebrity in 2001 and has been installed in Celebrity Summit’s main dining room since its entry into service in 2001.

Technology has moved on since bulbous bows were introduced. Engineers at Celebrity and the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard determined that the main constraint on achieving a more hydrodynamically efficient hull is the friction of the hull against the water.

They therefore designed a casing with a parabolic shape that encapsulates the bulb on the bow of the Edge class ships. The shape of the bow as it rises toward the deck is much closer to vertical than the raked bows of the past. The ‘parabolic ultra-bow’, as it is described, contributes to fuel savings, and the Edge ships are believed to be 25 per cent more energy-efficient than the Solstice class vessels.

The ship’s X-shaped funnel (a nod to the company’s Greek origins, as ‘X’ is the Greek letter ‘Chi’, standing for Chandris, the family which founded the line) expels engine exhausts away from the decks. From November, Celebrity Beyond will redeploy permanently to the US for cruises on western, eastern and southern Caribbean routes, and the ship will be homeported at Fort Lauderdale.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises was founded in 1988 by the Greece-based Chandris Group to operate upmarket cruise ships to Bermuda, and was acquired by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in 1997. The line’s first ship was Chandris Fantasy Cruises’ Galileo, which was rebuilt in 1989, re-entering service as Meridian for Celebrity in February 1990. Chandris created Celebrity Cruises to gain the Bermuda Government contracts to cruise lines, giving the ships priority berthing arrangements. The company’s first purpose-built newbuild was Horizon.

 The author would like to thank Captain Kate McCue, Bogdan Sfarghiu, Dani de la Osa and Susan Lomax.

CELEBRITY BEYOND - Normandie Restaurant
CELEBRITY BEYOND – Normandie Restaurant
Ships Montly - January 2024

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