Celebrity’s new cruise ship combines favorite features of her Edge-class sisters with some twists of her own. At the helm as co-captains are two brothers.

Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Ascent was christened on December 1 at Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale by co-godmothers Captain Sandy Yawn and her sister, Michelle Dunham, founder of the Jacksonville School of Autism (JSA).

And making it even more of a family affair, the new cruise ship has two co-captains – Dimitrios and Tasos Kafetzis – the cruise industry’s first brother captains.  

The Celebrity Ascent’s maiden voyage included stops at Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

More about the New Ship’s Godmothers

Captain Sandy Yawn is best known for her appearance on Bravo TV’s hit series “Below Deck.” Captain Sandy is truly resilient, having survived a life-threatening accident and cancer before launching her career in the yacht industry. She’s a best-selling author and speaker. 

Michelle Dunham co-founded the Jacksonville School of Autism with her husband Mark. She developed the model for JSA to give her son Nicholas the best way to learn. Established in 2005, the not-for-profit school is a full-service, K-through-12 educational center for students and for young adults with autism spectrum disorders.

The Celebrity Ascent’s co-captains are brothers.

The Celebrity Ascent’s co-captains are brothers.

The New Celebrity Cruise Ship’s Co-Captains 

Captain Dimitrios Kafetzis has spent his entire maritime career at Celebrity Cruises. He started as an apprentice officer on the line’s first ship, the Horizon, in 1990. Since then, he’s sailed on every ship class in Celebrity’s fleet and was appointed captain of the Celebrity Apex.

Captain Tasos grew up watching his older brother Dimitrios successfully grow his career in the cruise industry and realized he wanted to follow in his footsteps. After graduating from the Merchant Marine College, he joined Celebrity Cruises in 1998 and has also been involved in the debuts of various ships. He served as captain of the Celebrity Edge, launched in 2018, the first ship in the Edge series.

The brothers will alternate their time on the Celebrity Ascent in a three-month, on-and-off rotation.

More About Celebrity Cruises’ Newest Ship

The Celebrity Ascent is the fourth ship in the line’s Edge class. After the transformative Celebrity Edge was launched in 2018, she was followed by the Celebrity Apex and Celebrity Beyond. The Celebrity Ascent is slightly bigger than the Celebrity Beyond. Based on double occupancy, the Celebrity Ascent accommodates 3,260 guests and is 1,073 feet long and 140,600 gross register tons.

Rooftop Garden

Rooftop Garden

Favorites Features Returning on the New Celebrity Ship

The new Celebrity Ascent incorporates features found on her sister ships. These include: 

  • The Rooftop Garden –  the ultimate outdoor haven where guests can enjoy movies, music, infinity float pools and alfresco dining at the Rooftop Garden Grill. 
  • The Theatre – this takes entertainment to a new level with  state-of-the-art technology and experiential imaginative performances.
  • The Sunset Bar designed by Nate Berkus – international beach club ambiance meets the fresh breezes.
  • The Magic Carpet® – the world’s first cantilevered lounge and gathering space at sea is located on the edge of the ship and lets guests enjoy a new way to dine, drink and socialize.
  • Pickleball at Sea – Celebrity Ascent has complimentary open courts with panoramic views. Guests can purchase branded merchandise including paddle- and-ball sets and active wear.
  • The Grand Plaza and Martini Bar – stunning area with an interactive chandelier and jaw-dropping Flash, Flair and Fusion bartender shows.
  • Resort Deck – this sprawling area features a main pool with cabanas, two-story hot tubs and The Solarium, an adults-only spa-inspired retreat with a pool, hot tub and loungers.
  • The Spa – holistic wellness takes the stage here, with 120 destination- inspired treatments. The SEA Thermal Suite features eight distinctive therapeutic experiences. 
  • Inventive Culinary Experiences – the three-story Eden Bar and Restaurant features floor-to-ceiling views while Le Petit Chef Dinner provides a fully immersive and animated dining experience.
Blu, the clean-cuisine restaurant for AquaClass guests

Blu, the clean-cuisine restaurant for AquaClass guests

New Dining and Beverage Experiences on the Ascent

The Celebrity Ascent also has some new dining and beverage experiences for guests to enjoy. These include:

  • A plant-based tasting menu at Eden Restaurant
  • All new animation and menu to match at Le Petit Chef Dinner 
  • Redesigned Le Voyage by Daniel Boulud restaurant – After first featuring it on the Celebrity Beyond, Celebrity has continued its partnership with renowned chef Daniel Boulud, introducing his second restaurant at sea.
  • Revitalized main dining experience – featuring four complimentary main dining options, each with a signature menu and rotating nightly dishes. The Cosmopolitan Restaurant has been redesigned, inspired by the culture of Champagne.
  • Outdoor Terrace at Blu – This clean-cuisine restaurant for AquaClass guests features an outdoor terrace seating 24 persons seating and is available for al fresco brunches and lunches.
  • More martinis at the Martini Bar – The Martini Bar features brand new creations and has an expanded menu that includes passion fruit and lychee martinis.
  • Bourbon offerings and tastings – Expanding existing whiskey tastings, Craft Social now offers high-end bourbons and new tasting seminars.
The Theatre offers lavish new productions.

The Theatre offers lavish new productions.

New Entertainment on the Celebrity Cruise Ship

Guests on the Celebrity Ascent can enjoy new entertainment: 

  • New production shows – The Celebrity Ascent has three new production shows in The Theatre – “Awaken,” “Residency” and “Bridges.”
  • There are new interactive digital experiences and shows in The Club, along with an immersive new show in the Eden Bar and Restaurant that features world-class vocalists, dancers, musicians and specialty artists.
  • Nightly entertainment – As the sun sets, the Resort Deck transitions into being the ultimate nightlife experience, where guests can enjoy open-air celebrations with live music and a DJ creating a pulsating dance floor.

In addition, the Celebrity Ascent features an all-new gaming floor in the Casino, complete with a new layout. And the Art Gallery has been redesigned, allowing guests to better experience beautiful art pieces and take part in auctions.

Where is the Celebrity Ascent Sailing?

Through the middle of April 2024, the Celebrity Ascent will be doing alternating week-long cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. She will offer Mediterranean itineraries in the summer.

More Thoughts on This New Cruise Ship

I had the opportunity to be on the Celebrity Ascent’s special pre-christening and naming cruise from November 29 to December 1. Edge favorites combine well with new dining venues, entertainment and interactive experiences. 

The Celebrity Ascent truly is a wonderful option to consider when thinking about organizing your next group cruise.

For more cruise information, you can subscribe to Leisure Group Travel for FREE and get more Cruise Information from other articles on our site and our Cruise Guide.

By Cindy Bertram