Is Celebrity Cruises’ “The Retreat” worth it? We see this question asked often online. In our opinion, if the price tag fits your budget, it is totally worth it. The Retreat is ship-within-a-ship concept offering specialized, upgraded amenities and services for those who book suites. All suite categories (sky suite and above) have access to The Retreat.
Regular readers of this blog know that we adore cruising – especially with Celebrity Cruises. We enjoy cruising so much that we’re even hosting a Postcard Jar Friends Cruise aboard the Celebrity Edge in May of 2024.
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What’s included in The Retreat on Celebrity Cruises?
The first thing you’ll notice that makes The Retreat worth it is the priority boarding. Suite guests have access to their own, quickly-moving line. In Celebrity’s new Terminal 25 in Fort Lauderdale, there is even a private boarding lounge for Retreat guests. With comfortable seating, fresh-baked pastries, and drinks you’ll wait in style for your turn to check in.
The check-in process is super-easy, as well. You just sit in one of the comfy chairs until a staff member comes by with an iPad. They scan your documents, review your medical information (post pandemic), and check your passport. The next thing you know, you are scanning your boarding pass and are on board. On the last cruise we took out of Fort Lauderdale on the Celebrity Beyond, it took a total of about 12 minutes to get from curbside at the port to the martini bar on the ship.
The lack of lines doesn’t stop there. When it’s time to tender ashore, suite guests have priority boarding, just as they do on the morning of disembarkation. It’s just one of the little details that makes life in The Retreat so, um,
Luminae at The Retreat makes a suite worth it by itself
The first time we booked a suite we knew that we had access to the special suites-only restaurant, Luminae. We stopped by just after boarding to see where it was before heading to the buffet. The maitre’ d saw us and invited us inside for lunch. How could we turn that down?
We were barely in our chairs when a team of servers descended on our table, made sure we were comfortable, had water, multiple choices of bread, and a diverse menu.
Soon, they returned to answer any questions we had and to take our orders. Talk about rock star treatment! Never before had we been so pampered in a restaurant at sea or on land.
During that cruise, we realized that this was typical treatment in Luminae. Add to that the unique menus with dishes not found anywhere else on the ship, and we found what might be our favorite restaurant at sea.
We also loved that the staff just didn’t seem to know the word, “no.” Do you want something from the menu in the main dining room? Just ask. Is there a specific cocktail you’d like? Just ask. Two desserts? Just ask. You get the picture.
Finally, as a guest of the Retreat, you may also dine in Blu, a spa-themed restaurant normally reserved for AquaClass guests, on a space-available basis. Of course, all the main dining rooms and the buffet are open to suite guests, as well. In short, you have a plethora of options.
The Retreat Lounge and concierge
Something else that makes booking in The Retreat worth it is the exclusive Retreat Lounge and the dedicated concierge you’ll find there. The lounge is a wonderful, usually quiet place to relax and unwind.
There, you’ll find complimentary water, sodas, tea, coffee, beer, wine, cocktails, and snacks – all day long. You’ll also find cheerful servers who are happy to help you get what you want so you can enjoy your vacation.
Every day the Retreat also offers a continental breakfast, afternoon tea, and a cocktail hour with hours d’overs.
Also in the lounge are dedicated hosts and concierges who can help with anything you need to make your vacation better. Whether you want to make a reservation at a specialty dining restaurant, book a private shore excursion, or ask a question about your on-board account, the concierge is happy to help.
In fact, they’ll even have someone from Shore Excursions, Future Cruise, or the Spa come and meet with you in person (and at a time convenient to you) so you won’t have to stand in a line anywhere.
It’s one more way you get to spend less time waiting and more time enjoying your vacation. We especially enjoy relaxing on a comfy chair with a view in the Retreat Lounge (above) or outside on this covered balcony (below) reserved for guests of The Retreat.
Larger staterooms for guests of The Retreat
Suites come in a variety of sizes from the smaller Sky Suites to suites with multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, as well as hot tubs and plunge pools. No matter which suite, we have found the service and amenities offered to be exquisite. We appreciate that even the smallest suite is about 50% larger than a regular stateroom, and has a larger bathroom with a tub, as well.
Each suite also has a private veranda which is a perfect place to sit, relax, and watch the waves go by. It’s also the best venue ever for a room service breakfast. Can you beat these views?
Depending on the suite you book, your accommodations may include an in-room bar setup, as well as unlimited complimentary laundry and specialty dining.
For a full video tour of our Sky Suite on the Celebrity Apex, click HERE. And to tour our Royal Suite on the Celebrity Reflection, click HERE.
Upgraded amenities for The Retreat guests
Celebrity welcomes guests of The Retreat to their staterooms with a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine. Guests will find premium toiletries in the bathroom and will sleep on Celebrity’s signature eXhale® bedding. This includes plush duvets, 100% pure cotton sheets, and even a pillow menu to help them find that perfect night’s sleep.
In the morning, they may don their plush robe, bedroom slippers and order an in-room specialty coffee. Their butler (yes, every suite has a butler assigned) will even bring fresh fruit, pastries, or a full breakfast to the room if asked.
High class service follows suite guests everywhere they go on board. With a premium drink package included in the fare, Retreat guests can enjoy a favorite beverage (alcoholic OR non-alcoholic) anywhere on the ship.
Also included in the cost of The Retreat are premium WiFi and all gratuities for staff (though you may always tip extra if you’d like). Finally, Retreat guests also receive some on-board credit to spend on anything from shore excursions and jewerly to appointments at the luxurious on-board spa.
The Retreat Sundeck is totally worth it
A newer feature on Celebrity ships is The Retreat Sundeck. First introduced on the Edge and all Edge-class ships, The Retreat Sundeck is being retrofitted onto all of the other existing ships in the fleet, and is one of the features that truly makes booking The Retreat worth it. We call it our “happy place.”
The Retreat Sundeck is a private area reserved for suite guests to enjoy time outside. It offers a number of amenities not necessarily found on the main pool deck. We love that the loungers aren’t just made of tight vinyl mesh. Instead, they’re padded and offer a perfect seat where you’ll be happy to spend a day. You’ll even get extra pillows!
In addition, the Retreat Sundeck has a dedicated staff who get to know you and are happy to provide personalized service. They’ll bring you a cocktail if you’d like, or even a light lunch of shrimp cocktail, a turkey wrap or even a hamburger and fries. And they keep you on your toes, too. You never know when someone will swing by to offer a treat like a fruit-kabob or a scoop of gelato. They always seem to have the perfect snacks to cool you off on a warm, tropical day.
Some ships even have a dedicated Retreat Sundeck Bar with bartenders who work hard all day to take care of their guests and make sure there’s a fun, relaxing atmosphere for everyone.
Ships with a Retreat Sundeck
Not every Celebrity Cruise ship has a pool and bar designated for The Retreat guests. Here’s what’s available as of spring 2023:
Edge – pool, hot tub, sundeck bar, upgraded lounge seating, cabanas
Apex – pool, hot tub, sundeck bar, upgraded lounge seating, cabanas, umbrellas
Beyond – pool, hot tub, sundeck bar, upgraded lounge seating, cabanas, umbrellas
Ascent – pool, hot tub, sundeck bar, upgraded lounge seating, cabanas, umbrellas (available after Dec. 3, 2023)
Millennium – hot tub, upgraded lounge seating, cabanas
Summit – hot tub, upgraded lounge seating, cabanas
Silhouette – hot tub, sundeck bar, upgraded lounge seating, cabanas
Equinox – upgraded lounge seating, cabanas
Ships that are expected to be “revolutionized” with additional sundeck amenities for The Retreat guests include: Constellation, Infinity, Eclipse, Solstice, and Reflection.
And just to pamper sunbathers a little more, we’ve often found a bowl of iced towels on the The Retreat Sundeck. Talk about refreshing! There truly is nothing better when you’re under the hot sun. Also available are sunglasses and sunscreen.
For a complete video tour of the Retreat Sundeck on the Celebrity Beyond click HERE.
Butler service is over the top
Another perk that makes The Retreat worth it is that you have a Butler. Your butler doesn’t hang out in your room or anything, and doesn’t pack or unpack your bag (unless you request his/her help). But they do assist you with about anything you might want or need. Like the concierge in The Retreat Lounge, your butler can help with dinner reservations (at specialty restaurants like Eden), setting up shore excursions, and the like.
In addition, your butler is the one who brings room service to your room. Whether you want coffee and pastries in the morning or a full meal any time of day, your butler will make dining in your room a special experience.
Your butler will also help with tasks like getting items to and from the laundry, and will even reserve prime seat in the theater for you on evening chic nights.
Extra experiences make The Retreat worth it
When you’re in The Retreat, you’re sometimes invited to take part in extra ship experiences. We’ve been invited on bridge tours, to the helipad at the bow of the ship for sail away, and have even had lunch with the captain.
You’d still have a wonderful vacation without these extra experiences, but having them can take the trip to the next level of special.
It’s easy to meet people (if you want to)
Being in The Retreat makes it easy to meet people. After all, you see some of the same folks over and over whether that’s in the lounge, in Luminae, or up on the Retreat Sundeck. We’ve met some wonderful people in The Retreat and we’re now glad to call them friends and continue to keep in touch and even sail together.
When you’re in The Retreat you’re part of a sort of family. If you’d like, it’s easy to sit, chat, and get to know new people. Indeed, it’s one of our favorite things to do on board.
The Retreat: Is it worth it? Cost vs. benefit
Does The Retreat cost more? Yes. It can add a couple of thousand per person to your cruise. But based on the overall experience, we think The Retreat is totally worth it. That said, an experience in The Retreat may not fit in every budget. If it doesn’t match yours, that’s fine. We know from experience that you’ll have a wonderful cruise regardless because Celebrity Cruises’ service and accommodations are second-to-none no matter where you are on board.
One word of caution though: if you upgrade to The Retreat, you may never be able to go back to a regular balcony stateroom, again. It’s sort of like trying to go back to holding hands after being married for 10 years. Not likely.
This is not a sponsored post. We paid for all of our cruises and upgrades to The Retreat. Want to try cruising? Join us on our first Postcard Jar Friends Cruise on the Celebrity Edge in May, 2024.
Just found this post – great, helpful information. We are headed out with the Celebrity Millennium on March 11th for a 7-day Caribbean cruise. I’m beyond excited as I splurged on a Royal Suite for us. It will be our first time with Celebrity, and I know it would be tough to go back once you’ve been in the Retreat class. It may not fit the budget every time, but at least we can do it this time! Yay. Thank you for your posts.
Thanks for your kind words–we’re so glad you found our post helpful! And a RS on the Millennium class is a real treat! Enjoy every minute of the pampering and spoiling you’ll receive! 🙂 Thanks for reading and we’d love to have you stick with us…find us on FB and Insta @postcardjar if you’d like.
I’m looking forward to my upcoming trip with Celebrity Cruises in the Retreat. In my opinion Luminae is worth the price of admission alone! But the expanded amenities of the sundeck/lounge and everything else makes this a truly amazing vacation experience. This will be my 10th Celebrity Cruise and fourth time in the Retreat. I’ll be on Summit next and the Edge class Beyond in 2024. This was an excellent article and I also enjoyed the accompanying videos on YouTube. Cheers
So glad you enjoyed this post! We agree, The Retreat is totally worth it if a person can afford it for all the reasons you said. Thanks for the kind words!
Your description was perfect
Couldn’t believe how consistently wonderful the food was in every specialty restaurant. Luminae made me feel like I was family
Worth every cent
Edge Royal suite 3rd sailing Jan 2019
We are interested in a future Retreat Suite and you answered my question about booking a steak speciality restaurant. Thank you.
We are so glad you found this post helpful! Just let us know if you have any additional questions.
It’s very interesting reading all your comments and recommendations. We had a similar thing on the MSC which is the Yatch club and we were treated like celebrities.we are actually going on Reflection in October and have booked a sky suite for that reason. We are looking for an upgrade and hope we get one. Really looking forward to being pampered.
We think you’ll love the Reflection! We also wrote a blog post about that specific ship. https://postcardjar.com/celebrity-reflection-review-cruise-ship/
I have been informed by Celebrity, regardless of the Retreat cabins, specialty restaurants (excluding Luminare) are not included in the price. I have sailed on Regent with airfare, shore excursions and all specialty restaurants are included so I want to make sure this information is correct before I book Beyond.
We can’t guarantee anything as we are not Celebrity and they may have changed their policy. When we sailed on board the Reflection in April of 2022, we were in a Royal Suite. In that class of suite, specialty dining was included. This may have changed. The last we knew, however, Sky Suites did not include specialty dining…not sure of Celebrity Suites. But Royal Suites and above did include it.
Do you use a travel agent? They might be able to reach out and clarify on this point as it comes down to just a few of the suites on the ship that have included specialty dining.
Article was on point. Once you try the Suite, it’s hard to go back.
Our last cruise was the Mediterranean on Silhouette, Celebrity suite which did not include specialty dining. We paid extra for this package.
Planning on a new cruise by April 2023 and from what’s noted on the celebrity cruises website, specialty dining is still not included in the price. Even without the specialty dining package. Luminae is amazing and did not disappoint!
Specialty dining is included in suites Royal Suite and above–so Celebrity and Sky Suites don’t include it. But you’re right: Luminae is as good as any of the specialty restaurants on board…and with advanced notice they can make you about anything you want.
What do you mean by retreat…If you are on a veranda or a concierge suite can you join the retreat…?
The Retreat is an area reserved only for passengers who have booked in a suite category stateroom, so a Sky Suite or above. Aqua or Concierge verandas do not have access to The Retreat.
Thank you for this amazing post and all the wonderful information regarding the Retreat experience.
I recently cruised with Celebrity with my mother without the Retreat experience and swore I would splurge on my next vacation. I kept debating whether or not if it it was worth the price difference. This article helped settle my dilemma. We are sailing out of Seaward Alaska to Vancouver on June 16th with my husband’s family. My husband and I booked a Celebrity Suite. I am so excited to have access to the Retreat lounge. That alone makes the expense worth it. Plus the size of the suite is also roomier. It is like the old saying “You get what you pay for” and this trip we have being waiting a lifetime to take.
We’re so glad our article helped you make up your mind! We absolutely LOVE The Retreat and think you will, too. On what ship will you be sailing? Please let us know what you think.
In Sept- we’ve got a aft corner sky suite booked on the Eclipse- for a back to back – Vancouver to Sydney- can’t wait. We love Celebrity. Have waited 2 years for this cruise. We know it’s not revolutionized yet- but we love the Celebrity Suite life.
We sailed on the Reflection in April–which has also not been revolutionized–and had a wonderful time. The ship was still beautiful and the service top notch! We loved it. Enjoy your cruise…it sounds wonderful!
I enjoyed this comprehensive article-nicely done!
Thank you so much, Elizabeth! We’re glad you liked it and hope you found it useful.
I full heartedly agree with everything stated in this article. Once you go Retreat it’s hard to go back to anything lesser, especially Luminae.
We feel the same way, Earl. We love The Retreat and the experience we have there.
We are looking forward to our first time on Celebrity Edge in September enjoying the Retreat! It sounds like it will be similar to the Haven on Norwegian (I can’t go back to regular state rooms on that line)
We have not sailed in the Haven, yet, but our understanding is they are comparable. We do like that on Celebrity in The Retreat all the bottled water, coffee, etc. all over the ship are included in the cost.
We’re taking a transatlantic cruise next month. We usually stay in aqua class but decided to treat ourselves on this trip. We’re sailing on a silhouette class ship-what perks are there for the spa? We love the tile chaises and are used to access being included. Is spa access included with the retreat?
We’ve never done a transatlantic but would love to do that someday! You are going to love The Retreat! While spa access is not included with The Retreat, you can purchase a day or full cruise pass. You can also still eat in Blu as there is availability. We are hosting a Facebook LIVE tonight (Sunday, Aug. 7) to answer questions about cruising. If you have additional questions, we’d love to have you join our live event tonight @postcardjar on Facebook at 7 p.m. CDT.
Have a wonderful time on your transatlantic and let us know what you think of The Retreat.