For the first time in the industry’s history, an all-female bridge and officer team set sail
on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2020 courtesy of Celebrity Cruises which is calling it a “barrier-breaking, history-making” initiative.
The award-winning Celebrity Edge sailed out of Port Everglades and at the helm is Captain Kate McCue, the first American female cruise ship Captain, along with 26 female officers from Guest Relations to Cruise Director and Third Engineer. Also joining this monumental sailing is Celebrity President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo.
Pilot Boat Captain Cheryl Phipps, one of only a few female pilot boat captains in the country, led the ship out to sea.
“I fell in love with cruise ships at age 12 when my family took its first cruise vacation. At the end of the trip, I asked my Dad if he thought I could be a cruise director someday and he replied that I could drive the ship, if I wanted to. Five years later, I enrolled at the California Maritime Academy and nineteen years later I became a Captain,” said Captain Kate McCue. “I firmly believe that you have to see it, to be it. My hope is that today we inspire a new generation of young girls and women to chart their own course of pushing boundaries and breaking barriers to be whatever it is they want to be.”
While progress has been made, the reality is that only 2% of the world’s mariners are women. Celebrity Cruises is leading the industry into a more diverse future with their bold initiatives to #BRIDGEthegap.
“To ‘man the bridge’ with 100% women and to fill every leadership role on board with women is truly significant. I am so proud of these accomplished women, who worked tirelessly to be the best person for the job in a traditionally male-dominated industry and I am honored to work alongside them,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Advancing gender equality in our industry takes a purposeful and focused commitment because it is not easy. This is such meaningful progress and we’re just getting started.”
In addition, the Celebrity Edge was lit up with purple lights to celebrate International Women’s Day and women everywhere.
As part of the historical sailing, there are also several trailblazing women in other fields, including the first Supermodel with down syndrome, Madeline Stuart; the first black woman to host a national adventure travel show, Kellee Edwards; international jewelry designer Reout Kallati and more. The voyage will also include panel discussions, gallery exhibitions featuring female artists, excursions to women-led businesses in the ports visited and more.
“Excitement does not even begin to describe how I’m feeling about working alongside these incredible, barrier-breaking women on Celebrity Edge for this truly historic sailing,” added Captain McCue. “I am inspired every day by the amazing women we have working throughout this organization – both on land and at sea. They’re proof that there’s power in diversity.”
This is a special moment in the cruise industry. Hopefully, this will inspire more companies to embrace inclusion and diversity.
This post was written by cruise industry expert, Shannon Mckee, founder of Access Cruise Inc. Access Cruise Inc is a Miami based cruise marketing and sales consulting group, specializing in product and business development within the cruise industry.