Celebrity Beyond is the newest kid on the block in the Celebrity Edge cruise ship series. It took its maiden voyage on Wednesday 27th April 2022 from Southampton, England on a 10-night Western Europe Cruise, making it new new! Did I mention that it’s under the command of the boss lady herself, Captain Kate McCue? The first American female to be the Captain of her own ship. If that isn’t an epic reason in itself to choose Celebrity Beyond as your next cruise ship, then what is?!
In this review I will be detailing my personal experience, sharing my tips and answering the ultimate question, “Is the Celebrity Beyond cruise ship worth it?” – Spoiler alert, hell yes! Read on below to find out all the details about my first ever solo cruise.
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Why I Chose Celebrity Beyond As My First Cruise Ship?
After having spent the last seven years travelling by air and on land, I have only ever stayed at hotels and Airbnbs. Predominantly luxurious hotels and resorts in recent years. So when I knew I wanted to take my first cruise, I had to make sure it had all the comforts that I’m used to, to keep my anxiety at bay. After all, this was going to be my first time staying on the water.
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I knew that the ship had to have a spa, pools, restaurants on-site, comfortable rooms and it had to be clean. And my best shot at a clean ship was a brand-new spanking one, (but not too new for a remake of the Titanic). On paper, it met all the requirements that I required.
And as a photographer, the Celebrity Beyond looked like an absolute work of art that I just had to explore. And of course, it was captained by a woman. But BEYOND that, I was able to bag a pretty sweet deal where I didn’t have to pay a solo cruiser fee on top of an existing sale. You can read more about how I booked it here.
The Celebrity Beyond Cruise Ship
And there it was, the day I came up close with this beast and finally stepped aboard the Celebrity Beyond Cruise Ship. And let me tell you it is a thing of beauty!
The Celebrity Beyond Cruise Ship has a total of 17 decks for you to get lost on. Starting from the top, I will be giving you a little insight into what you can expect on each deck.
Outside Decks 14 – 17
- Deck 17 – The Retreat Sundeck is located at the front of the ship. This consists of the Retreat pool, the Retreat bar and the general Retreat lounging areas, that which only those staying in The Retreat class get exclusive access too. You’ll also find two whirlpools overlooking the sundeck.
- Deck 16 – Starting at the front of the ship, you’ll find the Luminae at the Retreat restaurant that’s exclusive to the Retreat guests only. Following your way around from the jogging track leading up to Deck 16, you’ll find a whirlpool overlooking the main sundeck and pool area on 14. If you follow the path around to the aft (back) of the Celebrity Beyond cruise ship you’ll find another whirlpool and the Mast Bar with lots of lounge chairs in between. If there’s an event going on around the pool on 14, this is a great spot to watch it from.
- Deck 15 – Whilst the front of the deck contains the fitness centre/gym as well as The Retreat Lounge exclusive to, you guessed it, the Retreat guests. Following the path to the aft from mid-ship, you’ll find two infinity pools overlooking the side of the Beyond ship, a Rooftop Garden with lots of green space, seating areas and a large outdoor cinema screen. Behind that, you’ll find the Rooftop garden grill. And just behind that, you’ll find the Sunset Bar. This is the place to come to, to watch the ship sail away from the port.
- Deck 14 – From the front of the ship, you’ll find The Spa, the Solarium containing an indoor pool, two whirlpools and the Spa Cafe & Juice Bar. As you exit from there you’ll find the Pool Bar, Mast Grill, main pool, Beyond Cabanas and the Magic Carpet.
Indoor Decks 14, 5 & 4
- Deck 14 – Entering the interior of the ship towards the Aft, here you’ll find the main dining buffet area, Oceanview Cafe. As you enter the aft of deck 14 you’ll find Scoops the in-house gelato place, Il Secondo Bacio, the main bar and of course Oceanview Café as well. Behind the café, you’ll find the pizza spot as well as the Oceanview bar.
- Deck 5 – At the front of the ship you’ll find the upper floor of The Theatre, The Club, Art Gallery and The World Class Bar overlooking the Grand Plaza below. On Either side, you’ll find two restaurants, Fine Cut Steakhouse and Raw on Five for your sushi fix. Making your way to the front you’ll have a few stores such as BVLGARI, Cartier IWC Panerai and La Maison du Chocolat. And of course the Blu restaurant is exclusive to AquaClass guests and the main Eden restaurant, Eden Bar and Eden Café.
- Deck 4 – Here you’ll find the lower level of The Theatre at the front of the ship, The Club just outside of it, Celebrity shops, The Studio, destination concierge and shore excursions. From there you’ll also find Le Voyage restaurant, the photogallery for all your photo needs and Cafe Al Bacio. Also surrounding the Grand Plaza on deck 3 is Le Grand Bistro / Le Petit Chef, Craft Social Bar, The Casino and a few Jewellery stores. This includes, Time is Now, Effy and Sense of Self. At the aft of the ship, you’ll find the Cosmopolitan and Cyprus restaurants.
Onboard The Celebrity Beyond Cruise Ship
Now that you know the layout of the Celebrity Beyond Cruise Ship here’s my honest review after spending 11 days aboard the ship on a Mediterranean cruise.
Aqua Class Stateroom
With the AquaClass package, I could choose a stateroom with a veranda on either Deck 9 or 10. I opted for deck 9, #9265. That means not only do you get all the standard benefits of a stateroom with a Veranda, but you also get the super shower heads in your shower. And the most gorgeous toiletries in your room.
So what does an AquaClass Stateroom actually entail?
- You’ll have a veranda with floor-to-ceiling views of the outside. As opposed to having an outdoor balcony, your balcony space is actually built as an extension of your room. And the windows open up to halfway down, ensuring you stay safe at all times.
- There are buttons and the main control panel that opens & closes the windows and blinds, as well as control the lights and AC system.
- You’ll receive complimentary water bottles in your room every day.
- You’ll receive complimentary toiletries such as shampoo, shower gel, body lotion and soap.
- The AquaClass shower has more shower options than other staterooms that you can choose from. There are two types of rain showers, a handheld shower and two jets that come streaming at your back. You simply have to turn the knob to your preferred option, and voilà.
- There’s a TV that shows you the live entertainment onboard the ship as it happens.
- Plenty of storage places (shelves and hanging rails) and a safe that comes with hangers, so you don’t need to bring your own.
- You’ll also find an umbrella and binoculars for your use during your stay.
- In addition to the bed, there’s also a couch to lounge on and two chairs to sit on beside the windows on the veranda.
TOP TIP: There’s a handle under the bottom knob that you have to turn on in order for the shower to turn on. It took me far too long to figure that out, so just thought I would share it.
PS I have to give a special shoutout to Dede my stateroom attendant here. He was always on hand to make sure that I got back to my room safely every day. Especially after realising I was cruising solo. He ensured that I always had everything that I needed from the first to the last day.
SEA Thermal Suite – Complimentary Spa Access With Aqua Class
The SEA Thermal Suite aka The SPA has numerous relaxation rooms for your pleasure. There were two steam rooms, a dry sauna with ocean views, various rooms with Himalayan pink salt and other elements that I have to say didn’t really do much for me. But the best bit for me was the hanging chairs and the heated tile loungers. Especially on sea days (days spent entirely at sea).
On an average day, you’ll find most people tend to hang around the main pool on deck 14 and that there’s always room in the solarium to swim and lounge. However, on sea days, everything changes. Even the solarium becomes filled to the brim, and it’s on those days that I found escaping into the Spa to be my solace.
As much as I wanted to visit the saunas and steam rooms every day, I quickly became dehydrated from my time in them. So even though I had unlimited access, I had to restrict myself. If dehydration isn’t an issue for you, however, then you can so get your money’s worth here.
However, I must admit that the Thermal Suite fell a little bit short for me. It would have been even better if it had its own hot tub and pool within the facility so that you don’t have to go in and out of the Spa to the solarium.
But you do also get access to a private deck at the front of the ship that can only be accessed from the spa. I happened to be here as we were departing our last port in Greece, Athens. And it was honestly the most perfect place to say goodbye and spend a moment to take it all in.
In terms of treatment, they offer every kind of treatment that you can imagine. From massages, haircuts, and facials to acupuncture and teeth whitening, they have it all here. Be sure to read my post here to find out if the costly SPA was worth the hype. Even for my sensitive overly stressed-out skin and body.
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Blu Restaurant – Complimentary Aqua Class Restaurant
The Blu Restaurant was one of my favourite places on the ship. From the staff to the decor and food, it was all simply perfect each time that I visited. Given that Halal meat was non-existent on the ship for guests, (at least it wasn’t obviously available, but more on that later) and I have a seafood allergy, the staff at Blu went above and beyond to ensure that I was catered for. In particular my waitress, Emilia from Indonesia.
As she was Muslim herself, she knew very well what I could and couldn’t eat, and she would select my meals for me based on her expert knowledge. She was even able to source Halal steak for me on two occasions when I had requested it. Absolute legend!
As much as I don’t mind being a vegetarian for two weeks, I did feel the envy when I saw everyone else enjoying their meats of choice. So this was very much appreciated. If you must try a vegan option here though let it be the plant burger. You will not regret it. And if you happen to see their apple crumble on the menu, snap that up in a heartbeat! It was honestly the best apple crumble that I have ever had!
The service and friendliness of the staff were truly exceptional though. Even though I was travelling solo, not once did I feel alone when I was around them. And if I was to recommend AquaClass for one reason alone it would be for a chance to dine at Blu.
Is Aqua Class Worth It?
If it wasn’t already clear the answer is yes. At the time of booking, if the price of an AquaClass stateroom happens to be in your budget, then definitely opt for it. If it’s not and you are wondering if you should stretch your budget for it, then it depends on what you are after.
If it’s purely for the room, well the same veranda rooms are available on other floors for guests without AquaClass. But you may have fewer showerhead options. If the showerheads and complimentary daily water are not something you are far too fussed about, then you may not need an AquaClass stateroom.
If it’s purely for access to the Sea Thermal Suite, you may find that it’s actually cheaper to buy sea passes for your sea days only. For the days when you know, you’ll definitely be benefitting from it.
However, if it’s for exclusive access to the Blu restaurant, then definitely fork out for it, as you have no other way of accessing it. Although I didn’t try some of the other complementary and speciality dining restaurants due to my diet restrictions not being catered for, if you don’t have any restrictions you may enjoy your time at the other restaurants as well. As the fabulous service seems to be universal aboard Celebrity Beyond.
Book Your Pre-Cruise Hotel Here
The last thing you want to do is arrive late to your cruise because of missed or cancelled flights. So if there is one thing you should always do, is arrive a day or two early to the city where your cruise will be departing from.
So be sure to prebook your hotel with booking.com The number 1 booking engine for hotels.
Main Dining, Coffee, Snacks, Bars & Lounges
As a fellow cruiser said one day, “if you can’t find something to eat aboard the ship, then there is something very wrong with you”. And I stand by that. Although Halal meat wasn’t easy to source aboard the Celebrity Beyond ship, I promise you I still ate very well on my cruise. And below are all the places I ate and drank at and my personal experience.
Oceanview Cafe, Pizza Station, Scoops & Il Secondo Bacio
Oceanview Cafe is the main dining restaurant aboard the Celebrity Beyond Cruise Ship. Expect buffet-style stations, from eggs your way at breakfast to noodles your way at dinner and everything in between. There are salad stations, bread stations, curries, pasta, kids corners, daily nachos and so much more.
Now whilst it does sound great, I still struggled to find a variety of food here as a vegetarian, as Halal meat wasn’t on offer and I have a seafood allergy. Also, it would be great if they had a dedicated vegetarian station (that wasn’t just salad). So that you don’t have to run around the entire buffet asking “is this vegetarian?”. Even better? Maybe offer up some Halal chicken and meat and Celebrity Beyond would have had one very incredibly happy guest here!
Whilst you’re seated, a waiter/waitress is supposed to come from Il Secondo Bacio asking you if you want anything from the bar. 8 out of 10 times I was skipped or wasn’t approached until I was just about to leave, and let me tell you I’m a very slow eater. I’m not sure if they assumed I wouldn’t want anything because I wore a hijab or because I was seated alone and may not want to be disturbed, but there’s something that definitely needs to be improved here.
So in the end I ended up going up to the bar myself and placing my order. And I can recommend their zero-proof drinks (non-alcoholic mocktails) and their soy hot chocolate. I have to say when the Blu staff worked at Oceanview cafe, I was very well catered for!
One place that never failed to put a smile on my face though was Scoops. The complimentary ice cream parlour is located at the entrance of Oceanview Cafe. At the end of a long day in the sun (whether onboard Celebrity Beyond or ashore) I highly recommend paying a visit here. You’ll find Ice cream, gelato, frozen yoghurt and sorbets. And the best part is the flavours changed every day!
If all else fails and you are after a quick bite, then be sure to head to the Pizza Station at the back of the Oceanview Cafe. As the name suggests you’ll find freshly baked pizzas including the good old Margherita and vegetable pizzas.
I had only discovered this little gem on my last sea day and I so wish I had discovered it before! They whipped up a vegetarian burger that my god was soo good, and perfect for a day lazing around the pool. The head chef was fantastic at preventing cross-contamination between ingredients in particular vegetarian and non-vegetarian items.
However, I wish that the staff working below him were as knowledgeable as I witnessed one of the staff members picking out the pieces of sauerkraut that fell into the bacon tray and throwing them back into the sauerkraut tray after they had been cross contaminated. (Maybe I was lucky that I only visited this place once). If cross contamination is something that you are sensitive about (like me) you may want to keep this in mind.
Café al Bacio
This was my go-to place at least once a day. Located on deck 4 overlooking the Grand plaza and en route to The Theatre, this Cafe was in the prime location for my day-to-day adventures. Whether I was running late and wanted a quick breakfast before a shore excursion, or a hot chocolate after my theatre show of the day, Cafe al Bacio never failed to take care of me.
The bonus here is the cabinet filled with sweet treats. You can expect madeleines, cookies and other fresh bakes. My only regret is that I didn’t get to try more of them but everything that I did have, was so good. And yes, just like the other cafe on deck 14, they also offer alternative milks here.
Ahh, the Sunset Bar was the first place that I had headed to onboard the Celebrity Beyond for the sail-away party. And yes, they do mocktails here too! It will get hot very quickly (if it’s a hot summer day of course) and everyone will be fighting for shade. So I highly recommend wearing a hat/cap with a drink in hand as you catch that first glimpse of the ship sailing away.
Is Celebrity Beyond Halal Diet Friendly?
If you are a Muslim traveller considering cruising aboard the Celebrity Beyond Ship, then naturally you will be wondering whether Beyond caters for the Halal diet. And the simple answer is Yes and No. Whilst they didn’t have Halal meat readily available on the restaurant menus nor in the Oceanview Cafe, there were Halal seafood and vegetarian options available.
Yes, the vegetarian options were limited. Especially at the special dining restaurants which made it hard for someone like myself with a seafood allergy. But they did have at least one option on the menu each night. Even though I chose to skip these restaurants due to their limited offering, other seafood-loving guests will have a feast here.
No to mention that the fab crew at Blu were able to whip up Halal meat for me upon request at no additional cost! In short, if you want Halal meat during your cruise with Celebrity Beyond, book the AquaClass so that you can dine at Blu.
But if anyone at Celebrity Cruises or Celebrity Beyond is reading this, it would be nice to have Halal as a default option on the menus.
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The entertainment on Celebrity Beyond is second to none. Truly. I feel like we should have paid so much extra for the entertainment alone. And if you are planning a cruise with Celebrity Beyond, I highly recommend planning your evenings around the live entertainment. You won’t regret it.
As a Muslim first-time cruiser, I had fully expected the nightly entertainments to centre around alcohol. And I’m happy to report that it wasn’t. It was a family-friendly affair that even the Muslim cruisers can enjoy.
And of course, we can’t talk about entertainment without giving a shoutout to the Cruise Director Luigi. His infectious smile and hunger for a good time had a way of infecting everyone. I promise, if you attend any event that he had a hand in, you will definitely leave happy.
The Celebrity Beyond Band
One cannot talk about the entertainment aboard the cruise ship without talking about the Celebrity Beyond house band. They were phenomenal whether they were playing alone as the main feature, or laying the stage for other performers. And my god whether it was the saxophonist or the guitarist having a solo moment, they can hold a beat.
I have never cared for bands or musical instruments but I have left my cruise with a newfound appreciation for these guys. They are truly at the heart of all entertainment on this ship and it was so refreshing to have them playing live instead of prerecorded music.
Theatre Show Productions
Onboard the Celebrity Beyond Cruise Ship, the nightly theatre show productions were the highlight for most. Think broadway worthy productions, I’m not exaggerating. From the Arte show at the start of the cruise to the Elements show on the last night, the energy and creativity in these shows were Beyond captivating.
If Elements is on during your cruise, be sure to not miss it.
Live Guest Entertainers
The live guest entertainers aboard the Celebrity Beyond cruise ship were something else. I fully went in expecting school-level productions and I left wowed each time. From Divanation ( a group of ladies that have starred in various theatre shows in London) to Matt Johnson the magician and escape artist from Britain’s Got Talent and Uptown Soul the Motown and Soul group from NYC, each show was amazing.
Ever hear of one of those super hyped events that were just meh? This is it. I rushed to the “show” on the first night and I have to say it was just the chandeliers changing lights. It was pretty, but I did expect more. Maybe some theatrics by the bartenders? Many others that I spoke to felt the same way.
So in summary, if you are free definitely go and check it out. But do not cancel other plans (like I did) just to catch the chandelier show. As you’ll see the lights change and flicker away throughout your stay anyways.
This was the moment that I realised that cruising wasn’t just for the older folks. On a starry night in Santorini, we had our sail-away party on the sundeck. It was filled with live music and performances that promptly melted into a dancy party for all.
Whether you were dancing away on the dance floor or watching from the sidelines, everyone had a good time. But we can just take a moment of appreciation for the clothes worn by the cast on this night?! Not only did they look stunning, but they were glistening in the night light.
From the very first moment that you see the rooftop garden you will undoubtedly want to watch a movie here. Yes even though I told myself I don’t want to waste my time watching a movie, I still found myself here. After all, how can you resist when Celebrity Beyond decided to put on the latest movies released.
If you find yourself watching a movie at night, be sure to wear something warm as it can get chilly. If you are craving something warm, be sure to pick up a drink from one of the other two cafes. As the rooftop bar doesn’t serve any warm drinks.
If you’re after a movie during the day on Sea Day, however, be sure to arrive extra early. As you’ll find most of the seats will be gone and the only ones that are left are the ones with no shade.
The Grand Plaza
This is the place to come to every night before heading to bed. Chances are you’ll either find live music performances with couples dancing away or witness a silent disco. It’s a great place to stop for a martini from the martini bar on deck 3 if that’s what you are into. Or opt for a warm drink from Cafe al Bacio on deck 4. Whatever you choose, get comfortable and enjoy the people-watching on offer.
This was also a great way for me to meet other cruisers. As being a solo cruiser myself, it usually meant that I had a spare seat to offer up to others.
Celebrity Beyond Shore Excursions
Other than my last tour in Malta that was organised by Celebrity Beyond, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed all the others. In particular, the Captain curated tours. Thanks, Captain Kate! They encompassed the best of each island/city that we visited, and it allowed you to have a wholesome experience. If you are stuck for itinerary ideas, I highly recommend trusting Celebrity Beyond to plan your day.
The clear benefit of booking your shore excursions with Celebrity Beyond was,
- Easy pickup and drop off right from the ship.
- You know that you’ll be back on the ship well before sail away. So you don’t have to worry about being left behind.
- The entire day is taken care of. So if you are on a wellness / mental health getaway, you can just sit back and relax.
- If there are any entrance fees or lunch stops on your itinerary, it will be included.
- Solo cruisers, this is a great way to make friends and connect with your fellow cruisers. And the best part, these will be people that already share a similar interest with you. And trust me when I say, they do look out for you.
Want To Book Your Own Excursions?
If like me you are a traveller that knows exactly what they want, then chances are you’ll probably want to book your own excursions. And the best part, you can even get excursions that pick you up directly from your cruise ship port.
Is The Celebrity Beyond Solo Cruiser Friendly?
Absolutely 100% yes! The staff aboard the Celebrity Beyond cruise ship were so kind, that they alone ensured that I never felt alone. Whether I was dining at Blu, returning to my stateroom after a long day out or sitting on the sundeck alone at midnight, there was always a staff member to check in on me and make sure that I was okay.
The happy and kind guests checking in on me, giving me company and sharing their travel stories with me, were an absolute bonus! And yes, even though I wore a hijab and was very visibly a Muslim, everyone was BEYOND kind.
And in all the in-between time, you have the perfect amount of time to be alone, wind down and not worry about a thing. After all, that’s what you came all the way out here for right?
Would I Recommend Celebrity Beyond?
This was my first ever cruise, and I chose to sail as a solo female Muslim cruiser. And I would honestly recommend sailing aboard the Celebrity Beyond cruise ship to everyone. I had the most amazing time. In fact, this was probably one of my favourite travel experiences to date if I dare say. I truly loved it so much that I’m already planning my next cruise and it hasn’t been a week since I’ve been back home.
Yes, the lack of Halal food was an issue. But as someone that mainly travels to non-Muslim majority countries, this was something that I was already accustomed to.
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The Veiled Explorer’s Takeaway
And there we have it, the ultimate review of 11 days aboard the Celebrity Beyond Cruise Ship. It’s safe to say that not only is the ship a work of art. But the staff and service received aboard were absolutely perfect and I cannot wait to go back.
Now that you know all that the ship has to offer, what are you looking forward to the most? Be sure to leave me a comment down below to let me know. If you enjoyed this article and want to stay in the loop, be sure to sign up to my newsletter just below.
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