Celebrity Cruises has announced that the first American female cruise ship captain, Kate McCue, will take the helm of Celebrity Beyond, the company’s third ship in its industry-transforming Edge Series debuting in 2022.
The decorated captain will usher in a new era for the new-luxury brand, sailing a ship brought to life by a dream team of modern lifestyle icons including multi-award-winning British designer Kelly Hoppen, celebrated American designer Nate Berkus, the culinary gifts of Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud, and featuring wellness experiences and products from Goop CEO and founder Gwyneth Paltrow (Celebrity’s wellbeing advisor).
For McCue, the seed to be a captain was planted following a cruise she took with her family when she was 12 years old.
McCue has been a pioneer and trailblazer in the cruise industry, breaking the gender barrier in 2015 when Celebrity CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo named her to be the first – and still the only – American female to captain a major cruise ship, Celebrity Summit.
She then moved aboard Celebrity Equinox before being appointed to helm Celebrity Edge in September 2019.
On 8 March 2020, McCue further cemented her place in the history books when she captained the history-making, barrier-breaking sailing on Celebrity Edge that comprised a cruise ship’s first-ever all-female bridge and officer team.
McCue also led the Celebrity fleet back into operation when, on 26 June 2021, Celebrity Edge became the first cruise ship to sail with guests from a US port in more than a year due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
The endearing and charismatic McCue has also become a social media celebrity, amassing nearly 3.5 million followers across Tik Tok, Instagram and YouTube by humanising the profile of captain and sharing behind the scenes looks at seafaring life.
“This is a day that I’ve been waiting for since we made the first cut of steel on our beautiful Celebrity Beyond,” Lutoff-Perlo said.
“Captain Kate has transcended what it means to be a captain as a voice and example of inclusivity, diversity and change. 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.”
Commenting on her new role, McCue said: “To be the ‘take out’ captain for a new vessel is an honour 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.
“I’m forever grateful to Lisa for entrusting this labour of love to me to captain. The thoughtfulness and imagination she put into this ship is only matched by her forward-thinking to move the industry beyond what it is now and see what it should be.”
Celebrity Beyond will not only hold the title of the largest ship in the cruise line’s fleet, but the distinction as the brand’s most luxurious vessel.
Her maiden voyage will depart on 27 April 2022 from Southampton, England, for a 10-night Western Europe cruise visiting France, Portugal and Spain.