Sea, meet she.
Putting an empowering new spin on the term “maiden voyage,” Celebrity Cruises is setting sail on International Women’s Day, March 8, with a ship featuring an all-woman bridge and hotel officer team for the first time.
Captain Kate McCue, the first female American cruise captain, and 26 other female cruise professionals hailing from 17 countries — a crew that’s been dubbed “Ocean’s 27” — will sail the Celebrity Edge ship on a 7-day trip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and back, with stops in Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands and St. Maarten.
“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,” McCue said in a press statement. “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.”
In the spirit of female empowerment, the cruise will offer specialty programming the celebrates women, from a showcase of female artists and designers; a cinema series dedicated to female directors and strong female leads; panels with artist Autumn de Forest and fashion designer Mary Frances; themed trivia games and more. McCue’s “Fearless Female Officers” will also face off against guests in a round of pool volleyball and take part in a Q&A panel.
Celebrity’s female president and CEO, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, will also join the trip. Under Lutoff-Perlo’s leadership, the cruise line has formed a #BRIDGEthegap initiative aimed at better representing women in the industry, from hiring McCue to bringing the percentage of women on navigational bridges from 3 to 22 percent since 2015. According to Celebrity Cruises, just 2 percent of mariners are women.
“We are all passionate about closing the gender gap,” Lutoff-Perlo said in a statement. “Over the last few years, we have worked hard to diversify the crew on board and bring more women than ever into our industry ... We are fortunate to have many incredible, experienced and beyond-qualified women who have worked tirelessly to achieve these positions. And we also celebrate the many men who continue to support them and help champion having more women crew onboard.”
The all-female leadership team onboard includes Second Officer Nicholine Tifuh Azirh of Cameroon, who in 2017 became the first West African woman to work on the bridge of a cruise ship.
But while the history-making cruise is helmed by women, with programming inspired by International Women’s Day, men are more than welcome to get their sea legs too. Bookings are open to all.
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