First all-female bridge and leadership team sets sail

First all-female bridge and leadership team sets sail
Celebrity Edge departed Port Everglades on International Women’s Day (Image: Celebrity Cruises)

The first all-female bridge and onboard leadership team has set sail onboard Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Edge, which departed from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on International Women’s Day.

The team comprises 26 women from 16 different countries and is led by Kate McCue, the first American female cruise ship captain. The ship was led out to sea by pilot boat captain Cheryl Phillips, one of only a few female pilot boat captains in the US.

“I fell in love with cruise ships at age 12 when my family took its first cruise vacation,” said McCue. “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 19 years later I became a captain. 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.”

Currently, only 2% of the world’ mariners are women. In response to this imbalance, Celebrity Cruises has increased the number of women on its bridge teams from 3% to nearly 25% over the past few years.

“To ‘man the bridge’ with 100% women and to fill every leadership role onboard with women is truly significant,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of 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.”

Among the guests onboard the ship are Madeline Scott, an Australian model with down syndrome, artist Autumn de Forest and Kelee Edwards, the first black woman to host a national travel show. The seven-night sailing will celebrate female achievements through a programme of events that includes panel discussions, gallery exhibitions and excursions to women-led businesses in the ports the ship visits.

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Alex Smith
By Alex Smith
09 March 2020

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