Celebrity Cruises has announced that the upcoming Celebrity Ascent will have not one, but two ceremonial godmothers, sisters Sandy Yawn and Michelle Dunham. Both women offer inspiration and purpose to the vessels through their own dedication to others, and they join the brother co-captains of the new Edge-class vessel.
Co-Godmothers Announced for Celebrity Ascent
Two inspirational women will hold the honor of godmother for the upcoming Celebrity Ascent – Captain Sandy Yawn of Bravo TV’s series ‘Below Deck’ and her sister, Michelle Dunham, founder of the Jacksonville School for Autism.
The sisters will join the industry’s first brother co-Captains, Dimitrios and Tasos Kafetzis, who were announced in April 2023 as selected to jointly take helm of the new 141,420-gross ton vessel.
“We are honored to have Captain Sandy and her sister Michelle join the legacy of Celebrity’s Godmothers, as they are both inspirational women who have dedicated their lives to making a positive impact in the world,” said Laura Hodges Bethge, Celebrity Cruises’ President. “Both women live by Celebrity’s values, and we have no doubt they are the perfect choices for Ascent.”
The sisters will join the ship’s christening ceremony in late November, ahead of the Celebrity Ascent‘s official debut in December 2023.
During the ceremony, the women will assume their roles and name the ship in a time-honored tradition, joining the other ceremonial godmothers of the Edge-class ships, including Olympic medalist and world champion gymnast Simone Biles (Celebrity Beyond); founder and CEO of Girls Who Code Reshma Saujani (Celebrity Apex), and Nobel laureate and activist Malala Yousafzai (Celebrity Edge).
Captain Sandy Yawn
Captain Sandy Yawn is a best-selling author, motivational speaker, and triple survivor of cancer, addiction, and a life-threatening accident who has never let such obstacles deter her.
“As I embark on this remarkable journey as a co-godmother of the Celebrity Ascent, I am deeply honored to represent not only the spirit of leadership but also the strength of women empowerment,” said Yawn. “Women can steer their destinies with grace and determination, commanding the seas of possibility and inspiring others to follow their own paths with courage and conviction.”
Captain Sandy is best known for her role on the reality show “Below Deck” that showcases life aboard luxury superyachts. She received the prestigious Distinguished Crew Award from the International Superyacht Society in 2006 in recognition of her leadership and bravery during a fire and pirate threat off the coast of Yemen.
Michelle Dunham is the co-founder of the Jacksonville School for Autism, established in 2005. The not-for-profit private school focuses on individualized programs for students and young adults with autism spectrum disorders, promoting independence and quality of life for each individual in an inclusive environment.
“It fills my heart with immense pride to stand as co-godmother of the Celebrity Ascent, alongside my sister,” said Dunham. “As we embark on this journey, much like Celebrity Cruise’s commitment to delivering exceptional vacations and enriching lives, we embrace the same spirit of compassion and positive change.”
Today, the Jacksonville School for Autism welcomes its many students on an expansive campus that includes a vocational gardening program.
Sailing Celebrity Ascent
After the new ship is christened, her official maiden voyage will be a 7-night Eastern Caribbean sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on December 3, 2023, visiting St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and the Dominican Republic. This follows a pair of short preview sailings in late November, before the official maiden voyage.
Celebrity Ascent will then homeport from Port Everglades and offer 7-night roundtrip Caribbean, Bahamas, and Mexico sailings. Her varied itineraries will call on such popular ports as Cozumel, Grand Cayman, San Juan, Nassau, and more.
In May 2024, the new ship will move to the Mediterranean for the summer season, before returning to Fort Lauderdale in November 2024.
On each sailing, the fourth sister ship of the innovative Edge class can welcome 3,260 guests aboard at double occupancy. She offers 32 restaurants, bars, and lounges, along with the open-air Rooftop Garden, cantilevered pools, Infinite Veranda staterooms, and much, much more for guests to truly take their cruise vacations to the edge.