This summer, Celebrity Cruises will score a first for the cruise industry when Captain Kate McCue takes the helm of the 91,000-ton, 965-foot Celebrity Summit, becoming the first American female to command a megaton cruise ship. At 37, the San Francisco native has 15 years of leadership experience in the maritime industry behind her—and has managed ship logistics for both worldwide itineraries and transatlantic crossings.
Ahead of McCue assuming command of the Celebrity Summit, the 2,158-pax ship will undergo a series of upgrades in March 2016. As part of a $16 million refresh plan—which also includes renovations to the Celebrity Infinity, completed in October 2015—the ship will receive a new outdoor venue, a redesign of its luxury suites, and a new specialty restaurant. The new Rooftop Terrace venue will be on the 12th deck of the ship, featuring modular furniture, a metal garden-style design, several cabanas and a large outdoor film screen with stereo surround sound for group gatherings. The new outdoor space is inspired by the success of the Lawn Club, debuted on Celebrity’s Solstice class ships, which features a spacious lawn on the top deck with real growing grass.
“These unique spaces add to all of the other wonderful venues we have for our meeting and incentive groups,” says Lisa Vogt, associate VP, corporate incentives & charter sales for Celebrity Cruises. “On our Solstice Class ships, we’ve utilized the Lawn Club for wine and jazz under the stars, and other private events. And the Rooftop Terrace provides another unique outdoor venue for private receptions, especially appealing in the evenings with the outdoor screen and chic furnishings.”
A variety of curated food offerings will also be available for purchase in the new space, presented in unique serving vessels inspired by the destinations. The two ships will also have their culinary offering bolstered by the addition of the Tuscan Grille, a popular Mediterranean-inspired steakhouse that debuted on its Solstice Class ships. The restaurant will feature fresh pasta made in-house, an Italian cocktail menu, and new courses such as crispy crab arancini with lemon pepper aioli; and swordfish with Castelvetrano olives, fennel and white wine.
Also new at Celebrity is the 18 shows in 18 months program, an array of exclusively created performances that will feature elements of drama, dance, comedy and musical theater. Created in partnership with some of the top names in entertainment, the program includes shows such as iMagic—available on the Celebrity Summit—which gives a fresh interpretation of stage illusion using technology such as holograms, lasers and iPads. Celebrity is also offering a series of engaging entertainment experiences on every ship, such as Side Show, an interactive vintage circus theme that encourages group participation.
Celebrity has consistently demonstrated a commitment to advancing the role of women in maritime leadership, and the appointment of McCue follows that of Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, who became President and CEO of the company in December 2014. “Of all the great moments throughout my career, this is at the top of my list,” says Lutoff-Perlo. “I am proud of the way our team continues to transform the way people think about Celebrity, and about cruising in general.”
Maintaining its momentum into 2018 and beyond, Celebrity has commissioned two new 2,900-guest ships under the project name EDGE. The 984 feet long vessels will be designed to deliver small ship itineraries with large ship amenities, and to bring groups even closer to the destinations they visit. The new ships also represent a significant leap forward in environmentally friendly ship design, incorporating extensive sustainable materials and new technologies to drive fuel efficiency.