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Celebrity Beyond, Eastern Mediterranean


We originally booked a cruise for September 2020 from Venice to the Greek islands on board Celebrity Constellation. Sadly Covid-19 intervened causing Celebrity to cancel twice, then Venice was closed to large cruise ships so we rebooked on Celebrity Beyond from Rome to the Greek islands and Malta, finishing in Barcelona. We were lucky to be upgraded twice as a result of the 2 postponements, so ended up in Aqua class, room 7218 with the ‘Always Included’ package of gratuities, classic drinks and surf internet. Also this cruise became this years ‘Celebrate with the CEO’ cruise which meant it was at full capacity, although we did not have any problems as a result.

Boarding was very straightforward, even with the remaining COVID-19 protocols to follow. I would guess from kerbside to on board in about 15 minutes with only a short queue for security scanning of hand baggage.

We were greeted on board very warmly by members of the crew who were, as always, extremely pleasant and engaged.
Of course this ship is very new so everything was in great condition. We had previously sailed on Edge so were familiar with the design and layout although there are some differences on Beyond.

Our stateroom was Aqua class, so an Infinite Veranda (IV). We had experience of this on Edge and quite like the concept because the room feels bigger since the ‘Veranda’ is part of the room. I know many do not like them because they do not have a balcony, but we were happy. Aqua provides a few extra amenities and a nice waterfall shower. I don’t think we would pay a supplement for these over a standard IV cabin, but it was nice to have the experience without extra cost due to our upgrades. Also part of the Aqua class package is unlimited free access to the SEA Thermal Suite in the Spa. We did go to have a look around on embarkation day, and I honestly did intend to try it out, but never got there. Coffee and cakes at Café al Bacio always seemed a priority.

As Aqua class guests we were assigned to Blu restaurant where we ate every evening. It was very nice to have anytime dining and we never had to wait more than a few minutes for a table, usually turning up after the first theatre performance. They tried to provide us with a table served by the same staff, but not always possible. The staff were generally very good, but they were still not at 100% fully crewed so seemed to struggle sometimes due to workload. We did not feel the food in Blu was any better than our previous experiences in main dining room (MDR), and sometimes asked for dishes from the MDR menu because nothing on the Blu menu appealed. Portion sizes also seemed odd. A starter could be a few bits of salad with a smear of dressing, but then a dessert could be a huge dish of apple crumble. We tried breakfast in Blu once, but much preferred Oceanview Café. Overall Blu was not worth the extra cost of Aqua class for us.

Oceanview Café on Edge class is a really nice space, light and airy with high ceiling. It could get quite busy, but usually at predictable times which we avoided. We ate breakfast and lunch there and enjoyed everything we had. Quality remains high, but we have noticed a reduction in options and opening times. On M class ships they seemed to keep one side of the buffet open most of the time when they started to clear down the other then swap. On Edge class, once lunch is done at 14:30 it’s pizza and pasta until afternoon tea time, or Mast grill for burgers. Café al Bacio was open 6:30 to midnight for coffee, tea and cakes.

We did not have the opportunity to try any special dining since it seemed to be fully booked pre-cruise. Unlike our previous cruises they were not offering discounts on board for unused tables or unpopular times.

The Cruise Director Luigi was rather an acquired taste – not ours. On our last cruise we had Eddy Jenkins who we found much better.

We attended every evening show in the theatre. Quality was variable, but overall seems not to be what is was on previous cruises. The main problem was the sound which seemed to get way too loud, and very screechy. I don’t know if this was the sound system, or the performers, but it was not enjoyable. Aerialists were excellent.

The shows in Eden were mostly good, but again, not as good as we saw on Edge which were a bit – well – edgy!
They had a local violin duo onboard from Santorini who performed at sunset in the Roof Garden, then again later on the Resort Deck. They were very good.

There was the usual selection of daytime presentations around the ship, mostly marketing but some a bit more interesting such as one about the world of forensic science.

There were some special events for different levels of Captains Club membership. The one I enjoyed most (although a bit early at 8:45) was a behind-the-scenes tour of the theatre. Great for a free tour.

As previously mentioned we had the Always Included package with basic wi-fi internet access. This was the first Celebrity cruise using the full Starlink internet system as standard. For me it was as good as being at home with very little lag, although as a basic package streaming was not possible. General text based social media, email and surfing was fine.

We did not take any Celebrity excursions. We booked with Venture Ashore in Olympia and Athens which were OK and good respectively, and an independent walking tour in Malta through Viator which was excellent.

Overall a great cruise with excellent itinerary and superb crew who coped very well despite obvious shortages.
A special thank you is due to Captain Kate McCue. During this cruise Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II sadly passed away. Captain Kate made some very appropriate and moving announcements and arrangements were made to show some of the processions on the big screen in the Roof Garden to allow those who wanted to view together to do so.

Post Date: 25/10/2022
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Customer Reviews
Anna wrote a review in Sep, 2021
A UK cruise with no single supplement departing from Southampton. The ship is refurbed and colours are now muted, verging on dull. However, she is very clean looking and the balcony cabin was fine. ...
Ben wrote a review in Sep, 2021
Sheil wrote a review in Sep, 2021
An excellent, relaxing holiday. Very well looked after. Good food and entertainment.
Louise wrote a review in Sep, 2021
Sailed with Celebrity many times and on Silhouette twice pre Pandemic. We enjoyed the new Retreat class The lockdown has catapulted Celebrity into near 6 star service category as the training in custo...

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