When Celebrity Edge began sailing in 2018, Celebrity Cruises sent a challenge to the cruising world. The ship was fitted head to toe with innovative design that was crafted through 3D virtual reality technology, setting a new standard for cruise.
Celebrity followed this up with the announcement of a second vessel in the Celebrity Edge fleet, Celebrity Apex, equipped with a range of new features ready to elevate the fleet to the next level and ready to debut in 2021.
The line then stepped it up another gear in 2020, beginning construction of Celebrity Beyond, with promises it’d be both larger and more meticulously designed that both Edge and Apex.
However, Norwegian Cruise Lines has its answer, having unveiled Norwegian Prima. Which is attempting to match and exceed all the innovation of the Celebrity Edge fleet and is definitely getting people excited, experiencing record bookings through its first week of sales. It’s set to begin voyages in August 2022.
With this in mind, and Celebrity Beyond and Norwegian Prima both clearly helping lead the way in cruise ship design and innovation, we decided to compare the two head to head on different aspects of their design and onboard features.
Size and design
The Norwegian Prima will finish construction at 965 feet long, 142,500 gross tons and 3215 guests at double occupancy. The ship is designed to have extra deck space, being branded as the ‘Industry’s most spacious new cruise ship.’ Norwegian Cruise Line partnered with world renowned architects, including Italian designer Piero Lissoni and Tillberg Design of Sweden. The vessel will excitingly have a huge new open-air deck called Ocean Boulevard, a huge 44,000 square foot deck, with two infinity pools, a sculpture garden, viewing decks and lots more. Plenty more is still to be revealed about other decks on the ship but judging from how Ocean Boulevard is shaping up, the spectacular can continue to be expected.
Celebrity Beyond is 1073 feet long, comes in at 140,600 tonnage and can occupy up to 3260 guests. It has a striking outward-facing design that evolves from its predecessors, that plays host to the iconic Magic Carpet, a floating platform for guests that soars 13 stories about sea level. The ship has a majestic three-story Grand Plaza that has been reimagined to be larger and more grand than its sibling ships, the sensory bliss of its garden themed performance venue ‘Eden’ and a huge resort deck that encompasses a rooftop garden, solarium pool and plenty more. The design also evolves the Celebrity ‘parabolic ultra-bow’, which is a bow that vertically rises towards the deck and reduces drag and maximises fuel efficiency.
The Norwegian Prima is packed with accommodation options, with seven different levels of accommodation available. Even the most modest studios are still extremely luxurious and you can upgrade your way to bigger rooms and better views like the club balcony suite. However, if you’re really craving the most lavish of luxury, then you’ll want to head to ‘The Haven’. Norwegian describes ‘The Haven’ as a ship within the ship. Private elevators will sneak you away from the rest of the ship to private luxury where personal concierges and butlers will attend to your every desire. You can sink into the infinity pool, sizzle in the outdoor sauna and enjoy exclusive accommodation, restaurants and lounges.
Celebrity Beyond has a range of premium accommodation you can choose from. It begins with inside staterooms that are fitted with luxurious cashmere mattresses, all the way to the service centric concierge class rooms and then, for the height of luxury you can take your pick of rooms in ‘The Retreat’. ‘The Retreat’ is Celebrity Beyond’s all exclusive section, with special access to a different range of accommodations, a private restaurant and an exclusive lounge and sundeck. The ‘Iconic Suite’ and its almost 2000 metres of square footage, panoramic ocean views and boujee furnishings is the crowning suite. However, there are a few slightly less opulent yet still completely spectacular suites to pick from, each with a unique blend of innovative design, luxury and spaciousness.
Restaurants and dining
The Norwegian Prima will have the brand new ‘Indulge Food Hall’, an upscale open-air eatery hub, among the 11 venues are classics like Starbucks and Coco’s but also more diverse eating options such as a Tapas Food Truck, The Latin Quarter and Nudls, a noodle emporium serving noodle dishes from around the world.
Beyond this, there will be three more restaurants on Ocean Boulevard, the Italian Onda By Scarpetta, the Mexican Los Lobos and classic America Local Bar & Grill. More info is still to come on further dining options but there’s already about as much deliciousness as you could imagine.
Full info about Celebrity Beyond’s dining is yet to be revealed, although we do know that similarly to Celebrity Apex it will have four complimentary main restaurants.
Celebrity Apex also has plenty more complimentary dining throughout the ship across breakfast, lunch and snack options, so you can likely expect more of the same on Celebrity Beyond. It’s also confirmed that the Luminae will return as an exclusive restaurant for ‘The Retreat’.
While complete details on more specialty dining is still to come, what has been announced is that world renowned Chef Daniel Boulud has created his first ever restaurant at sea, Le Voyage.
This restaurant will serve lunch and dinner menus that “will transport you to the very places that inspired them”, with Mr Boulud taking the concept of travelling as his inspiration for the restaurant.
This restaurant will be exclusively on Celebrity Beyond and you’ll have the option of the on-board sommelier’s pairing your meal with the most award wine collection at sea.
Entertainment and facilities
Information is still coming out about the full details of all entertainment and facilities that will be on board, but it’s clearly going to be luxurious. We know there’ll be multiple infinity pools scattered around the vessel as well as the all other aforementioned lavishness of Ocean Boulevard.
While we don’t know too much more for sure, Norwegian Cruise Line President Harry Sommer teased out some details to Cruise Critic: “Families are a very important part of Norwegian Cruise Line. We will have plenty of activities for children, I promise. But we’re also going to have plenty of activities for adults. We’re going to make this something that’s beautiful for adults and fun for kids.”
Celebrity Beyond will be brimming with entertainment, bringing back and reimagining the known and loved Grand Plaza, Eden, a performance and dining venue, as well as the on board casino and unique sea experience of the Magic Carpet.
There’ll be extensive shopping options, a huge on-board casino, classy venue ‘The Club’ and The Theatre on Beyond which is promised to bring “experiences that are just as revolutionary, just as technologically mind-blowing, and just as carefully crafted as Celebrity Beyond itself.”
Itinerary and price comparison
Celebrity Beyond’s has itineraries all around the Caribbean, Meditarranean, Western Europe, Bahamas and Mexico and more.
Norwegian Prima has itineraries listed across the Caribbean, Northern Europe, the Baltics, transatlantic and even a New York to Bermuda journey.
For an approximate price comparison, a Celebrity Beyond Eastern Caribbean eight night itinerary begins at a currently reduced rate of $2834 and a Norwegian Prima eight night Caribbean voyage starts from $3,233. So while it’ll vary from cruise to cruise, you’re looking at a relatively similar price point.