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Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Unveiling the Godmothers of Celebrity Cruise Ship Ascent: Captain Sandy Yawn and Michelle Dunham

In a momentous announcement that has set the maritime world abuzz, Celebrity Cruises® has proudly unveiled the dynamic duo who will serve as the Godmothers of their upcoming ship, Celebrity Ascent. Captain Sandy Yawn, renowned for her captivating appearances on Bravo TV's hit series, Below Deck, and her sister Michelle Dunham, an inspiring advocate for children with autism, have been selected to co-officiate as the ship's godmothers. This exciting revelation adds a fresh chapter to the legacy of Celebrity Cruises, known for its luxurious voyages that redefine sea travel. We give a detailed explanation of the tradition of naming Godmothers for sailing vessels at the end of this post!

Two Remarkable Journeys Converge: Captain Sandy Yawn and Michelle Dunham

Captain Sandy Yawn, a name synonymous with resilience, strength, and leadership, brings an incredible narrative to the role of co-Godmother. Her journey has been a testament to overcoming adversity, from surviving a life-threatening accident, battling cancer, to triumphing over addiction before finding her calling in the yacht industry. Her unwavering integrity and courage have not only earned her a sterling reputation but also the esteemed Distinguished Crew Award from the International Superyacht Society in 2006. Beyond her maritime accomplishments, Captain Sandy is a best-selling author and motivational speaker, a passionate advocate for ocean conservation, and a devoted contributor to philanthropic causes.

Captain Sandy's counterpart, Michelle Dunham, shines as the co-founder of the Jacksonville School for Autism (JSA), a beacon of hope and transformation for children with autism spectrum disorders. Established in 2005, JSA has become a nurturing environment for holistic child development and tailored programs, fostering engagement both within families and the community. Michelle's journey is driven by her commitment to inclusivity, as she endeavors to create a world where every child has the opportunity to flourish. The relocation of JSA to a sprawling campus in 2020, complete with a vocational gardening program, embodies the holistic approach to learning that Michelle champions.

Setting Sail into a Bright Future: Celebrity Ascent and Its Godmothers

Celebrity Ascent, the much-anticipated vessel, will call South Florida home for the 2023-2024 Caribbean season. Departing from Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, this stunning ship promises to transport guests to the most sought-after Caribbean destinations, including the Bahamas, Grand Cayman, Puerto Rico, and the British Virgin Islands. Following this exciting chapter, Celebrity Ascent will venture across the Atlantic to explore the enchanting Mediterranean, gracing ports in Greece, Italy, Turkey, Spain, and France.

Captain Sandy Yawn and Michelle Dunham join a prestigious lineage of accomplished and inspirational women who have held the distinguished role of Godmother for Celebrity Cruises' ships. Among the luminaries are Simone Biles, the celebrated Olympic medalist, Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, and Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel laureate and activist.

A Spiritual Blessing: The Role of the Godmother

The tradition of the Godmother is a venerable one, symbolizing the spiritual embodiment of a vessel. She encapsulates the essence of inspiration, protection, and positive influence for all who traverse the ship's decks. The official naming ceremony on December 1, 2023, will see both Captain Sandy Yawn and Michelle Dunham bestow their blessings upon Celebrity Ascent, anointing it with good fortune and safeguarding all who sail under its flag.

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A Journey of Empowerment and Compassion

Laura Hodges Bethge, President of Celebrity Cruises, expressed profound honor at having Captain Sandy Yawn and Michelle Dunham as co-Godmothers, stating, "They are both inspirational women who have dedicated their lives to making a positive impact in the world." She commended Captain Sandy's resilience and leadership and acknowledged Michelle's unwavering advocacy for children with autism.

As Captain Sandy Yawn remarked, "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."

Michelle Dunham echoed this sentiment, asserting, "Together, we aspire to elevate lives, create boundless possibilities, and set sail towards a brighter, more inclusive future."

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A Voyage of Transformation and Inspiration

The union of Captain Sandy Yawn and Michelle Dunham as co-Godmothers of Celebrity Ascent marks a convergence of strength, resilience, and advocacy. Their roles transcend tradition, embodying empowerment, and compassion. As the ship embarks on its voyages, it carries with it the indomitable spirit of its Godmothers, igniting a journey of transformation and inspiration for all who embark upon its decks.

The Sacred Role of a Cruise Ship Godmother: Blessing and Safeguarding Voyages

One of the most enduring and cherished maritime traditions is the appointment of a cruise ship godmother. This title holds a special place in the hearts of sailors and passengers alike, embodying a symbolic role that goes beyond mere tradition. The cruise ship godmother is not just a figurehead; she is the spiritual guardian, protector, and inspirer of the vessel and all who sail upon it.

A Symbol of Blessing and Prosperity

The role of a cruise ship godmother is often likened to that of a fairy godmother from beloved fairy tales, bestowing blessings and good fortune upon the ship and its passengers. In a formal christening ceremony, the godmother blesses the ship, marking its official entry into service. This ritual symbolizes the hope for safe journeys, smooth voyages, and prosperous travels for all who embark on the ship.

Inspirational Leadership and Guidance

Beyond the traditional blessings, a cruise ship godmother embodies the spirit of leadership, inspiration, and guidance. She serves as a role model for the crew, passengers, and the maritime community as a whole. Her journey, achievements, and values become a source of inspiration, encouraging all those associated with the ship to aspire to greatness.

A Guardian of Tradition

The cruise ship godmother also becomes a guardian of maritime traditions, helping to preserve the rich history and culture of seafaring. By taking on this role, she connects the past, present, and future of the ship, its crew, and its passengers. Her presence at key events and milestones reinforces the sense of continuity and legacy, reminding everyone of the enduring nature of maritime endeavors.

Embodying the Ship's Essence

A cruise ship godmother is chosen for her qualities that align with the ship's identity, values, and purpose. She represents the essence of the vessel, reflecting its mission and character. In the case of Celebrity Ascent, Captain Sandy Yawn and Michelle Dunham epitomize the resilience, compassion, and empowerment that Celebrity Cruises seeks to convey through its voyages.

An Eternal Connection

The bond between a cruise ship and its godmother is not fleeting; it's a lifelong connection. The godmother remains intricately tied to the ship, its journeys, and its legacy. Her involvement continues beyond the christening ceremony, as she often participates in special events, anniversaries, and celebrations throughout the ship's lifespan.

A Living Legacy

Ultimately, the role of a cruise ship godmother transcends ceremonial duties; it becomes a living legacy. Through her blessings, guidance, and inspiration, the godmother infuses the ship with an intangible essence that resonates with every passenger who steps aboard. As a spiritual beacon, the godmother's influence endures, guiding the ship through every wave, enriching the lives of all who sail, and ensuring that the vessel's story is one of prosperity, courage, and unwavering strength.

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