Talk about star power and coming back with a bang! Celebrity Cruises last Thursday, April 29, launched its new ship Celebrity Beyond, which is set to make its maiden voyage on April 27, 2022 from South Hampton.
Actress and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow, Michelin-star chef Daniel Bouloud (Le Cirque, Daniel), and celebrity designer Nate Berkus have collaborated on the ship for a total culinary, wellness and design experience in luxury.
During a virtual press conference last week, Celebrity Cruises introduced to the world the 1,646-stateroom, 3,260-passenger Celebrity Beyond.
Since the pandemic, the cruise industry has lost hundreds of billions in revenues, with the US alone reportedly losing $32 billion since last year. The industry virtually grounded to a screeching halt as 400 cruise ships were anchored around the world.
It’s one of the most difficult industries to restart because of the nature of cruising—thousands of passengers and crew in one place—and the ships’ dependence on the countries where they drop anchor, alongside numerous ships in popular destinations during high season.
But since vaccination programs are underway, the light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter. Royal Caribbean, the holding company of Celebrity Cruises, was the first to announce that once it starts sailing it would accept only fully vaccinated passengers. It’s the same with Celebrity Beyond, they announced at the virtual launch.
Will they be strict about vaccine brands? According to Tim Jones, managing director for Celebrity Cruises for Australia, New Zealand and Asia, guidelines would be clearer near the sail date.
Celebrity Cruises president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo describes Celebrity Beyond as a ship that “shatters any and every preconceived notion of the cruising experience. This exquisite ship offers a journey at the intersection of elegance and approachability filled with what's important to our guests today: forward-thinking design, culinary excellence, unparalleled well-being and incomparable service.”
Goop well-being at sea
As Celebrity Cruises’ well-being advisor, Gwyneth Paltrow helped develop the brand’s products and experiences designed for guests’ relaxation and comfort. The new AquaClass SkySuites is described as “an immersive living experience that helps guests find their center.”
Paltrow said, “At Goop, our curiosity leads us to explore different approaches to well-being and sends us around the world, reporting on the best places to eat, drink, engage, and unwind.”
She added that for a long time now, Goop has been brainstorming with Celebrity for “fun ways to really explore individual and collective well-being.”
She teased, “I’m still sworn to secrecy, but there are a few things I can tell you. Me and the group team are curating some special programming for the celebrity ships. We’re putting together some Goop kits for the new Aquaclass category and we’ll be participating in Celebrity’s Women in Wellness initiative. The rest I’m going to leave as a surprise.”
Le Voyage of the palate
Daniel Boulud, the chef behind 13 restaurants (7 of them in New York), is Celebrity’s global culinary ambassador. For the new ship, the French chef created the brand’s first signature restaurant at sea.
Called Le Voyage, it features food inspired by global flavors. “I love that word—le voyage,” he says. “As a young chap, I always dreamed to travel. Le Voyage means taking a food journey.”
Boulud says of the change that passengers change tables every night, and “they will feel like they’re in a different restaurant.”
The entrance, where you are given a glass of champagne, is a cozy place before being led to your table. The cuisine “will be not always targeted to a city or to a place, but more to the expression of tradition. So I think the process of creativity will definitely be based on the journey I’m taking people.”
Design details and inspo of Sunset Bar
Nate Berkus, who first gained global success as a frequent guest on Oprah, designed Celebrity’s signature Sunset Bar.
“My team and I sat down and we lead with our heart, and then we started thinking about how this place should look. And when a good designer thinks about how something should look, they're thinking about how people should feel. I thought to myself, if I can combine my favorite places in the world—the best parts of Mexico with the best parts of Greece, Uruguay and California—I wanted this space to represent aspiration, I wanted it to represent relaxation, but like an upmarket relaxation.”
Berkus designed niches a the Sunset Bar because “there's nothing more relaxing than being able to tuck yourself into these little these little benches, niche nice conversation areas, and just sit with the people that you have either met on your journey, or came on your journey with and talk about everybody else.”
He designed the bar area with traditional historic architectural materials and patterns like Morocco’s. He also drew his own patterns for all the pillows and seats in the space. “All of that is all custom, but it was an opportunity for me to combine these historic ceramics, terracotta metal bronze, brass, carved wood, all of these things that have been elements in design for years, but combine them in a way that felt really vibrant and exciting and energetic.”
When celebrity Beyond finally sails and people are Instagramming in the spaces he dsigned, Berkus says, “I think I'll lose my mind the first time I see one of your guests really sitting in it and on social media saying, ‘I'm in the Sunset Bar designed by Nate Berkus on Celebrity Beyond.”
Will the three stars be on the maiden voyage of Celebrity Beyond? Tim Jones’ response was noncommittal. But maybe that’ll be one of Paltrow’s surprises too.
In the Philippines, Celebrity Cruises is represented by Arpan Air. Email inquiries to Arpan general manager Rocky Estrella at [email protected], or message +639989837315.