Captain Kate McCue, Celebrity Cruises' president and CEO Lisa-Lutoff-Perlo, godmother Simone Biles and Royal Caribbean Group president and CEO Jason Liberty at the ceremony
Simone Biles, the most decorated American gymnast in history, christened Celebrity Cruises’ newest Edge-class ship during a ceremony in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on 4 November.
Biles, a 19-time World Champion and seven-time Olympic Medallist who as achieved Greatest of All Time (GOAT) status, officially named the ship Celebrity Beyond in front of 2,500 invited guests and media. The ceremony, which featured a performance by award-winning singer and songwriter Leona Lewis, was also attended by executives from Celebrity Cruises and parent company Royal Caribbean Group.
“I can think of no one better to be the godmother of this incredible ship than the G.O.A.T. herself – Simone Biles,” said Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. “This ship’s beauty, power, and resilience sets the standard by which all others will be measured. Simone’s determination, progressive nature, empowered attitude, and grace in the face of challenges make her such an inspiration to so many around the world. All of these attributes are why Simone Biles is perfectly suited to watch over Celebrity Beyond’s journey.”
Biles is the third inspirational woman to have inaugurated Celebrity’s Edge-class ships. Celebrity Edge was christened by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, while Celebrity Apex was named by Reshma Saujani, CEO of Girls Who Code.
“It is an honour to be selected as Beyond’s godmother and to join such a distinguished group of strong, barrier-breaking women who have been named as Celebrity’s godmothers before me,” said Biles. “I appreciate the important message this designation holds in recognising our accomplishments as empowering women, and I am honoured to share the stage today with fellow brave, boundary-breaking leaders like Lisa-Lutoff Perlo and Captain Kate McCue.”
Celebrity Beyond is longer and taller than the other Edge-class ships and features multiple expanded and reimagined spaces, 179 additional staterooms and suites, a new speciality restaurant, and much more. Some of those involved in the project included British designer Kelly Hoppen CBE, American designer Nate Berkus, Paris-based design firm Jouin Manku, British architect Tom Wright, and Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud.
Some of the highlights onboard Celebrity Beyond include a Rooftop Garden and Resort Deck with cantilevered float pools and sunken seating areas; a multi-level, multi-terraced Sunset Bar; a three-deck-high Grand Plaza at the centre of the ship with the brand’s signature Martini Bar in the middle; and The Magic Carpet, a cantilevered platform that can be moved up and down the outside of the ship to provide additional space in venues on various decks.
In addition, the ship offers 32 food and drink venues, including Le Voyage, Boulud’s first fine-dining restaurant at sea, and The Retreat, an exclusive resort-within-a-resort area for suite guests that has a two-storey Retreat Sundeck, a bar, lounge and a private restaurant named Luminae.
Celebrity Beyond’s accommodation includes two-storey Edge Villas with outdoor plunge pools; 1,900-square-feet Iconic Suites with a private sundeck; and new AquaClass SkySuites, which offer floor-to-ceiling ocean views and private balconies. Guests in the AquaClass SkySuites also receive complimentary access to the spa’s Thermal Suite and other wellness amenities.
Actress and goop founder and CEO Gwyneth Paltrow has also served as Celebrity’s well-being advisor, curating a selection of signature goop retail products and well-being experiences. Guests will also be able to enjoy a host of new live shows and interactive experiences onboard the ship.
“I’ve been waiting for this day to arrive for a long time, and I am ‘beyond’ excited to be able to share her with our guests,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises. “She is the gold standard by which other ships are built and embodies the meaning of relaxed luxury. She is full of wonder and excitement and our guests will undoubtedly feel reconnected to the world around them as they visit new destinations and immerse themselves in culinary experiences and wellness amenities not found anywhere else at sea.”
Celebrity Beyond is helmed by Captain Kate McCue, the first and still only woman to be named captain of a ‘mega’ cruise ship. The vessel has embarked on a maiden season of cruises from Fort Lauderdale, during which it will sail rotating Western and Eastern Caribbean itineraries visiting destinations such as Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, and Puerta Plata in the Dominica Republic.