First step: Book a suite in The Retreat on board a Celebrity Cruises ship.

The appeal of a summertime European cruise is simple: It’s easy to fit a few of the continent’s most sought-after sunny destinations into one seamless trip. But after beach-club-hopping in Ibiza and Portofino, you might want to slip on a pair of sunglasses and find some privacy. Fortunately, seclusion is one of the many benefits of The Retreat, a ship-within-a-ship resort for suite guests across the 15-vessel Celebrity Cruises fleet (including the three 2,900-passenger ships in the line’s Edge series: Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Apex, and Celebrity Beyond).

The Retreat’s minimalist-chic accommodations, designed by Kelly Hoppen, are home to the ships’ largest suites; top billing goes to the two 2,500-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom Iconic Suites, with terraces and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the bridge. The split-level Edge Villas combine private terraces and plunge pools with direct access to The Retreat’s sundeck, while families appreciate the two-bedroom, two-bathroom Penthouse Suites, which feature king-size beds plus a sprawling veranda with a hot tub. (Bonus: They can link with neighboring Sky Suites for multigenerational trips.)

Retreat passengers can take advantage of all of a big ship’s perks – multiple dining options, plenty of entertainment, an expansive spa – but have VIP access to their own private sundeck and swimming pool, dedicated lounges, and the exclusive Luminae restaurant, which helps maintain more of a relaxed, small-ship ambience. Personal butlers and dedicated concierge teams are on hand to tailor onboard and onshore experiences – they’ve even been known to hand out invitations to dine with the captain or attend exclusive cocktail parties.

“Making passengers feel special is The Retreat’s mission,” says Virtuoso travel advisor Stephanie Goldberg-Glazer. “It’s more than just getting to skip the line for a tender.”

Pair The Retreat with one of these standout sailings, and you’ll be this summer’s real VIP.


Onboard perks: The Edge Villa’s private plunge pool and terrace.

Celebrity Cruises

Style, Design, and Sunshine: Barcelona to Rome

Star sightings on a seven-night Barcelona-to-Civitavecchia (Rome) sailing on the Celebrity Edge range from the Cinque Terre’s Instagram-famous pastel buildings to local celebs making pasta in Tuscany. Cruisers can tour ValenciaSpain’s futuristic Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, home to Europe’s largest aquarium, and stroll palm-lined beaches on the French island of Corsica.

At Luminae, the restaurant solely for guests of The Retreat, the Daniel Boulud-curated menu takes inspiration from Mediterranean strongholds, floating from French caramelized-apple crepes for breakfast to Moroccan chicken tagine with saffron couscous in the evening. Guests can go off-menu at Luminae too: Servers will bring in your favorite dishes from the ship’s other restaurants, and the sommelier knows how to find just the right bottle for special occasions (and discerning palates). Departures: Multiple dates, June 10 through October 7.