Celebrity Cruises’ president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo announced Captain Kate McCue, the first American female cruise ship captain, will take the helm of Celebrity Beyond, the company’s third ship in its Edge Series debuting in spring 2022.

The decorated captain will head the new-luxury brand, sailing a ship featuring lifestyle icons including multi-award-winning British designer Kelly Hoppen CBE; American designer Nate Berkus; Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud; and wellness experiences and products from goop CEO and founder Gwyneth Paltrow, the brand’s Well-Being Advisor.

For Captain Kate, the seed to be a captain was planted following a cruise the then-12-year-old McCue took with her family. 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 that time Captain Kate 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—Celebrity Summit. She moved to 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 history-making, barrier-breaking sailing on Celebrity Edge that comprised a cruise ship’s first-ever all-female bridge and officer team.

Captain Kate also led the Celebrity fleet—and the industry—back into operation when, on June 26, 2021, 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.

celebrity beyond
Views of Celebrity Beyond. (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises.)

“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, in a press statement. “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.”

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 Captain Kate McCue, in a press statement. “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 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 fleet, but also the brand’s most luxurious vessel.

Celebrity Beyond stands at 17 decks high and 69 ft. longer than her predecessors Celebrity Edge (2018) and Celebrity Apex (2020). Every element of Celebrity Beyond’s look and feel has been carefully curated with newly imagined spaces and expanded versions of the brand’s signature spaces, including:

  • The Retreat, an exclusive area for suite guests, now featuring a 2-story sundeck
  • Transformational accommodations, from modern 2-story villas with plunge pools to staterooms with infinite verandas
  • An expanded Rooftop Garden and resort deck featuring cantilevered float pools
  • A multi-level, multi-terraced Sunset Bar that defines the ship’s aft
  • A first-ever Daniel Boulud fine-dining restaurant at sea called Le Voyage
  • A redesigned Grand Plaza spanning three decks
  • And, the Magic Carpet, soaring cantilevered above the sea, offering guests uninterrupted vistas while sipping cocktails or having dinner.

Celebrity Beyond’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 9-night Italian Riviera and France itineraries and 10-night Greek Islesitineraries through early October, when she then heads to the Caribbean. Voyages are on sale now.

For more information, visit celebritycruises.com/cruise-ships/celebrity-beyond.