From Brother Captains To Godmother Sisters: It's A Family Affair on the Upcoming Celebrity Ascent

Posted on 10/30/2023

From Brother Captains To Godmother Sisters: It's A Family Affair on the Upcoming Celebrity Ascentism Below Deck's Captain Sandy Yawn and Her Sister Michelle Dunham Announced as the ships Godmothers, Miami

Celebrity Cruises®, the award-winning premium cruise line pioneering resort travel at sea, is thrilled to unveil the Godmothers for Celebrity Ascent, launching this November. Today, Celebrity Cruises announces that Captain Sandy Yawn, best known for her appearance on Bravo TV’s hit series, Below Deck, alongside her sister Michelle Dunham, founder of the Jacksonville School for Autism (JSA), have been selected as co-Godmothers of the upcoming ship. 

The sisters will now join the industry’s first brother Captains, Dimitrios and Tasos Kafetzis, who were announced earlier this year as the chosen duo to jointly take helm of the new vessel. Captain Sandy and Michelle will now join an illustrious group of admired, purposeful and inspirational women who hold the role of Godmother for a Celebrity Cruises ship. Godmothers of the previous Edge® Series ships include Simone Biles, 19-time World Champion and seven-time Olympic Medalist who christened the most recent ship, Celebrity Beyond, in 2022; Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of international nonprofit Girls Who Code who named Celebrity Apex in 2021; and Malala Yousafzai, Nobel laureate and activist, who introduced the revolutionary ship class when Edge launched in 2018. 

"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,” says Laura Hodges Bethge, Celebrity Cruises’ President. “Captain Sandy’s life story is one of resilience, leadership and strength, as a pioneer in the maritime industry and as an inspirational role model for young women. Her sister Michelle is a tireless advocate for children with autism and shows us what is possible when you follow your vision for a better world. Both women live by Celebrity’s values, and we have no doubt they are the perfect choices for Ascent.” One of the most time-honored traditions at sea, the Godmother is the spiritual embodiment of a vessel - she is the woman who inspires, protects and positively impacts the lives of everyone who sails onboard. 

During Ascent’s official naming ceremony on December 1, 2023, both sisters will bless and christen the ship, bringing good luck and protection for the crew and all passengers onboard. About Captain Sandy Yawn: Captain Sandy is the embodiment of resilience, surviving a life-threatening accident, cancer and struggles with addiction before launching her career in the yacht industry. Her unwavering integrity and courage have earned her an outstanding reputation, and her remarkable leadership and bravery during a catastrophic fire and pirate threat off the coast of Yemen, led to her receiving the prestigious Distinguished Crew Award from the International Superyacht Society in 2006. 

As a best-selling author and motivational speaker, she is passionate about sharing her life stories to inspire others in overcoming obstacles and pursuing their dreams. Beyond her successful yachting career, she actively contributes to philanthropy, ocean advocacy, and children's education, showcasing her commitment to creating a positive impact on society. “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,” says Captain Sandy Yawn. “This role serves as a reminder that 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. I am so honored that my sister and I can share this distinction. She has always been my biggest inspiration in her selfless pursuit to help my nephew and other families impacted by autism.”

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