All-Female Bridge And Leadership Team Sets Sail
For the first time in maritime history, an all-female bridge and onboard leadership team set sail on Sunday, commemorating International Women's Day.
Celebrity Edge sailed out of Port Everglades on a seven-day Caribbean cruise led by Captain Kate McCue, the first American female cruise ship captain. Onboard were 26 other female crew representing 16 different countries.
Captain Cheryl Phipps, currently a Port Everglades Pilot and one of only a few female pilots in the country, conned the ship out to sea.
Around the world, about two percent of the world's mariners are women. Celebrity Cruises has increased the number of women on its bridge teams from three percent to nearly 25 percent over the last few years.
"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 19 years later I became a Captain," said 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."
"To 'man the bridge' with 100 percent 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."
On board for the voyage are trailblazing women in other fields including Madeline Stuart, the first Supermodel with Down syndrome; Kellee Edwards, the first black woman to host a national adventure travel show; child prodigy artist Autumn de Forest; international jewelry designer Reout Kallati; and world-renowned fashion designer Mary Frances.
The seven-night sailing will celebrate other female achievements through a variety of events including panel discussions, gallery exhibitions featuring female artists, excursions to women-led businesses in the ports the ship visits and a cinema series showcasing female directors, actors and inspirational narratives.