Capt. Kate McCue to command Celebrity Cruises’ newest, largest and most luxurious ship

Written by Nick Blenkey
Captain Kate McCue

Captain Kate McCue

Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo today announced that Capt. 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, set for delivery from shipbuilder Chantiers de l’Atlantique in spring 2022.

McCue is a California Maritime Academy graduate whose path to becoming a captain came following a cruise the then-12-year-old 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, she has been a pioneer and trailblazer, working her way up through a number of less high-profile maritime industry jobs before becoming the first American woman to captain a major cruise ship in 2015 when Lutoff-Perlo named her to command the Celebrity Summit. She moved to Celebrity Equinox before being appointed to captain the Celebrity Edge in September 2019. On March 8, 2020, McCue captained a barrier-breaking sailing on Celebrity Edge with the cruise industry’s first-ever all-female bridge and officer team.

McCue 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.

“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 taking on the mantle of captain, McCue has inspired others to shoot for the stars and encouraged people from all walks of life to follow their dreams. She 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,” said McCue. “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 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.”

The 3,260 passengers (double occupancy) Celebrity Beyond will not only hold the title of the largest ship in the Celebrity fleet, but is also billed as the brand’s most luxurious vessel.

Celebrity Beyond stands at 17 decks high and at 327 meters long is 21 meters longer than her predecessors Celebrity Edge (2018) and Celebrity Apex (2020).

Captain Kate McCue sees her new command nearing completion at Chantiers de l”Atlantigue

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