Celebrity Cruises has built a virtual world called the “Wonderverse” where potential sailors can explore a hyper-realistic digital recreation of the company’s newest ship – Celebrity Beyond. Jenny Southan reports
Once logged in to the Wonderverse, consumers will be able to move from space to space, experiencing immersive, interactive content throughout, as they learn more about the ship and the destinations they can sail to.
The journey begins with a user-controlled tender game to the Magic Carpet, which is cantilevered above the sea. Here, participants have a chance to create their own personalised avatar, and enjoy virtual cocktails or dinner.Next, meta-tourists will head to the Grand Plaza, the social epicenter of Celebrity Beyond, spanning three decks with the brand’s signature Martini Bar at the heart of it all. This “social-first lounge” provides a place for passengers to connect, listen to music, enjoy Celebrity’s iconic Martini Bar Flair Show and chat with an avatar of Celebrity’s president and CEO, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo.
Participants will then be transported to the Resort Deck, where they will be greeted personally by an avatar of Captain Kate, who is on hand to help answer questions, and Nate Berkus – Celebrity’s Edge® Series travel ambassador and designer of the Sunset Bar on Celebrity Beyond). Here, visitors can relax in lounge chairs, jump in the pool or get a drink from the bar.
Not only will the Wonderverse provide access to a VR cruise ship, but some of the destinations that Celebrity sails to including the Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier in Alaska; Santorini in Greece; Tokyo and Mount Fuji; and the beaches of St Lucia.
Why has Celebrity invested in the Wonderverse? Functioning as a gateway to the real world, the Wonderverse will enable customers to actually book vacations directly from the metaverse. “Celebrity Beyond is the newest, most luxurious and most innovative ship in our fleet and I can’t think of a better ship to showcase its state-of-the-art design than in our state-of-the-art Wonderverse,” says Lutoff-Perlo.
“Celebrity has always been at the forefront of consumer desires, literally creating resorts at sea with the design of our ships and the onboard experiences offered; and now we’re bringing this to life in new ways to inspire and connect with travellers.”
Celebrity Cruises’ chief marketing officer, Michael Scheiner, says: “We’ve revolutionised cruise ship design and now we’re revolutionising where cruise ships are experienced.
“The Wonderverse allows us to unlock and bring to life the richness and fullness of the Celebrity experience in really exciting ways we can’t do through traditional marketing and advertising vehicles. We believe this has opportunities to expand even further, creating experiences our consumers are looking for.”
Built in partnership with virtual event platform architects Surreal Events, Celebrity’s Wonderverse comes complete with mini games and activities, entertainment and secret surprises known as “easter eggs”.