Fascinating video of life on board Celebrity Cruises’ new £1bn ship, with a look inside a £60,000-a-week suite and revealing the person at the helm – America’s first female cruise captain
- Jo Kessel films on board Celebrity Beyond’s inaugural sailing from Southampton
- She dines at two-Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud’s first restaurant at sea
- Highlights include sampling a ‘pea’ cocktail and trying out the wacky float pool
Travel writer Jo Kessel filmed her cruise on Celebrity Cruises’ new ship Celebrity Beyond on its inaugural cruise from Southampton. The footage shows Beyond’s ground-breaking cabins crafted by award-winning British interior designer Kelly Hoppen – as well as its beautifully landscaped rooftop garden and the world premiere of ‘Stage Door’, a show that brought the audience and Strictly Come Dancing Head Judge Shirley Ballas to their feet.
The £1billion ($1.3billion) Celebrity Beyond is the third in a series of ships – Celebrity Apex and Celebrity Edge are its predecessors – and its name says it all.
This liner aims to go ‘beyond’ its siblings in every way. It’s longer, taller and starrier, with Gwyneth Paltrow signed up as its new wellness ambassador.
Kessel on a £1billion vessel: Jo Kessel films her cruise on Celebrity Cruises’ latest ship – Celebrity Beyond
Celebrity’s logo is an ‘X’ and Beyond’s X-factor was easy to capture on film. Far trickier was to cover as much of this 3,260-passenger behemoth as possible during my 48-hour inaugural voyage.
The video starts on the Resort Deck, in front of that ‘X’ and what is quite possibly the longest swimming pool at sea. Even more striking is a sculpture at the end of the pool of an elephant balancing on a man’s shoulders – art is big on Beyond and lots of interesting pieces are scattered around the ship.
Beyond has three other pools, but the absolute classic is a float pool, which hangs off its edge.
The video starts on the Resort Deck, in front of ‘what is quite possibly the longest swimming pool at sea’, according to Jo
Beyond has four pools, including the Solarium pool, as shown in the video
My daughter was on filming duty and, as I stepped into the pool, she started cackling. Why? Because, intentional or not, the pool has a crazy mirror distortion effect which swells limbs to improbable proportions and gives the illusion of one’s torso being detached from its limbs.
This pool is sure to become an Instagram hit for those who fancy capturing themselves sawn in two like a magician’s assistant!
Beyond has a distinctive orange frame that towers over the liner.
Jo inside the float pool, which ‘has a crazy mirror distortion effect that swells limbs to improbable proportions and gives the illusion of one’s torso being detached from its limbs’
The ‘Magic Carpet’ – a platform and venue that hangs off the side of the ship and goes up and down 13 decks
Jo writes: ‘The video shows the array of sumptuous seating on board’
Jo climbs into one of the poolside swing chairs, ‘which require feet to get wet’
This winches the brilliant engineering feat that is the ‘Magic Carpet’ – a platform and venue that hangs off the side of the ship – up and down 13 decks.
If you’re scared of heights, however, you might prefer to sit elsewhere – the video shows the array of sumptuous seating on board, from sunbeds to pods to poolside swing chairs (which require feet to get wet).
My favourite seats, however, are at the Sunset Bar and in the rooftop garden.
Pictured is the Sunset Bar – one of Jo’s favourite spots on the cruise ship
According to Jo, the rooftop garden has ‘so many live plants that it’s hard to believe it’s on a ship’
Jo says that the rooftop garden’s al fresco grill combines great views with great food
The garden is beautifully landscaped with so many live plants that it’s hard to believe it’s on a ship. Its al fresco grill combines great views with great food and is definitely worth booking during your voyage.
Also good to know is that drinks, Wi-Fi and tips are all included in your fare.
Next up are the Kelly Hoppen-designed cabins. Mine was an Aqua class balcony cabin with an ‘infinite veranda’.
The video goes inside Jo’s Aqua class balcony cabin with an ‘infinite veranda’, designed by interior designer Kelly Hoppen
The video takes a sneak peek at the ship’s top dollar ‘Iconic Suite’, which costs £1,400pp ($1,800) per night, and sleeps six
Jo says that the Iconic Suite ‘has a balcony to beat all balconies as well as a Peloton cycle in the lounge’
This is a crafty design to create more space while preserving the balcony ‘feel’. The picture window lowers to halfway and makes it a lovely space to sit, although it isn’t a conventional veranda.
If you’ve got £1,400pp ($1,800) per night to burn, however, the video’s sneak peek at the ship’s top-dollar ‘Iconic Suite’ will pique your interest – it has a balcony to beat all balconies as well as a Peloton cycle in the lounge.
At the heart of Beyond is its three-tier Grand Plaza, whose centrepiece is a Martini Bar lit by a showstopper of a chandelier.
Equally glam is the ‘Tunnel of Eden’ – a dark, mirrored passage full of reflective sculptures that lead to a whimsical space called Eden.
At the heart of Beyond is its three-tier Grand Plaza, whose centrepiece is a Martini Bar (pictured)
Jo walks through the ‘Tunnel of Eden’ – a dark, mirrored passage full of reflective sculptures
This is part bar, part theatre, part lounge and serves the ship’s most innovative cocktails. I order one called ‘The Pea’ and yes, it does contain peas! Watch the video to see what I thought of it.
Beyond not only pushes boundaries in terms of design, but also in terms of who’s at the helm.
Enter Captain Kate McCue, America’s first-ever female cruise ship captain. Considering 98 per cent of the world’s mariners are currently men Celebrity is doing a good job at redressing this gender imbalance.
Jo sips on a cocktail called ‘The Pea’ from Eden – a part bar, part theatre, and part lounge space that serves the ship’s most innovative cocktails
Thirty-two per cent of Celebrity’s navigators are female and, on Captain Kate’s team, that number rises to an impressive 70 per cent.
Celebrity Beyond has 32 food and beverage venues and cuisine was excellent, including at the buffet and four main dining rooms.
Our top pick and worth the £60 ($75) per person splurge is the ship’s exclusive Le Voyage, two-Michelin-star French chef Daniel Boulud’s first-ever restaurant at sea. The Tamarind and Peanut–Crusted Prawns, Brazilian Moqueca and Raspberry & Lime Pavlova were exceptional and took our taste buds around the world. The restaurant only has 58 covers, so be sure to book early.
Inside the ship’s exclusive Le Voyage, two-Michelin-star French chef Daniel Boulud’s first-ever restaurant at sea
Strictly Come Dancing’s Head Judge Shirley Ballas appears on stage at the end of the world premiere of ‘Stage Door’ – an all-singing-and-dancing spectacle of Broadway’s biggest hits
Celebrity Beyond has relocated to the Caribbean until April 2023. For more information visit www.celebritycruises.com.
The film’s finale is the ship’s entertainment.
A silent disco, live band karaoke and the world premiere of ‘Stage Door’ – an all-singing-and-dancing spectacle of Broadway’s biggest hits.
It’s so impressive that not only does it produce a standing ovation, but Strictly Come Dancing’s Head Judge Shirley Ballas (who happens to be in the audience) runs onto the stage to congratulate them afterwards, all caught on camera.
‘I have never seen a show like that in my entire life,’ Ballas tells the cast. She was referring to the show, but the same is true of the ship.
Beyond really does go ‘beyond’ and for relaxed luxury at its finest, look no further.
For more videos from Jo, visit her YouTube channel – Go with Jo.
‘Beyond really does go ‘beyond’ and for relaxed luxury at its finest, look no further,’ says Jo
Celebrity Beyond’s Captain Kate McCue, America’s first-ever female cruise ship captain
The ‘showstopper of a chandelier’ in the ship’s Grand Plaza area
A sculpture at the end of the main pool of an elephant balancing on a man’s shoulders. ‘Art is big on Beyond and lots of interesting pieces are scattered around the ship,’ says Jo
CELEBRITY BEYOND BY THE NUMBERS
- Celebrity Beyond is the third ship in the liner’s new ‘Edge Class’ series, built in Saint-Nazaire, France.
- It cost a whopping £1billion ($1.3billion) to build.
- There are two more Edge Class ships in the pipeline.
- Celebrity Beyond measures 38m (128ft) wide and 327m (1,073ft) long – and weighs 140,600 gross tonnes.
- Guests can roam 17 decks, which accommodate 3,260 passengers in 1,646 cabins.
- There are 1,400 international crew members on board.
- The ship is captained by Kate McCue, America’s first-ever female cruise ship captain.
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