Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo has announced that Captain Kate McCue, the first American female cruise ship captain, will take the helm of the cruise line’s new ship, the Celebrity Beyond.
According to a press release, the captain will “usher in a new era for the new-luxury brand,” sailing a ship brought to life by British designer Kelly Hoppen, American designer Nate Berkus, Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud, and featuring wellness experiences and products from Goop CEO and founder Gwyneth Paltrow, the brand’s well-being advisor.
For McCue, the seed to be a captain was planted following a cruise she took with her family as a 12-year-old. She told her father that she wanted to be a cruise director when she grew up. His advice to her was that she could do anything she wanted, including captaining the ship.
Since then, McCue has been a “pioneer and trailblazer,” breaking the gender barrier in 2015 when Lutoff-Perlo named her to be the first – and still only – American female to captain a major cruise ship, the Celebrity Summit. She moved to the Celebrity Equinox before being appointed to helm the Celebrity Edge in September 2019.
On March 8, 2020, McCue further cemented her place in the history books when she captained the sailing on the Celebrity Edge that comprised a cruise ship’s first-ever all-female bridge and officer team. She also led the Celebrity fleet back into operation when, on June 26, 2021, the Celebrity Edge became the first cruise ship to sail with guests from a U.S. port in more than a year due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
“This is a day that I’ve been waiting for since we made the first cut of steel on our beautiful Celebrity Beyond. Captain Kate has transcended what it means to be a captain as a voice and example of inclusivity, diversity, and change,” said Lutoff-Perlo. “She constantly thinks about how she can go above and beyond, mirroring the exceptional design and imagination of the ship she will captain. I’m beyond excited to see her take our guests to locations that will open their eyes to the beauty of the world around them and experience travel on a new-luxury ship without comparison.”
Since becoming a captain, McCue has inspired many people “from all walks of life to follow their dreams,” Celebrity wrote in a press release. McCue has also become a social media celebrity, amassing nearly 3.5 million followers across TikTok, Instagram and YouTube by humanizing the profile of captain and sharing behind-the-scenes looks at seafaring life.
“To be the ‘take out’ captain for a new vessel is an honor for any captain and it is an absolute dream come true for me. I always say that if you see it, you can be it and I hope that Celebrity Beyond sails as an inspiration for all to see past convention in pursuit of any goal in life,” said McCue. “I’m forever grateful to Lisa for entrusting this labor of love to me to captain. The thoughtfulness and imagination she put into this ship are only matched by her forward-thinking to move the industry beyond what it is now and see what it should be.”
The Celebrity Beyond will not only hold the title of the largest ship in the fleet, but the distinction as the brand’s “most luxurious vessel,” Celebrity said. The ship’s maiden voyage will depart on April 27, 2022, from Southampton, England, for a 10-night Western Europe cruise visiting Bordeaux, France; Lisbon, Portugal; and Seville, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona, Spain.
She will then offer a variety of Mediterranean journeys including nine-night Italian Riviera and France itineraries and 10-night Greek Isles itineraries through early October when she then heads to the Caribbean.