Celebrity Cruises Plans First All-Female Bridge Team

Celebrity Edge (file image)

By The Maritime Executive 11-19-2019 03:40:03

Celebrity Cruises has announced a cruise industry first: a special one-time sailing with an entirely female bridge team. On International Women's Day - March 8, 2020 - the cruise ship Celebrity Edge will head to sea under the command of the first American female cruise ship master, Capt. Kate McCue. 26 other female mariners and professionals will take up the ship's deck officer and operations management roles.

“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.”

Capt. McCue's historic billet includes mariners and professionals from 17 nations, including:

Staff Captain Maria Gotor – Spain
Hotel Director Niina Hautaniemi – Finland
Guest Relations Director Julie Sherrington – United Kingdom
F&B Director Byliana Velikova – Bulgaria
Senior Doctor Jennifer Bernardo – Philippines
Cruise Director Sue Denning – United Kingdom
Safety Officer Ionela Burduja – Romania
Associate Hotel Director Milana Dortangs – Netherlands
Revenue and Marketing Director Sarah Guinot – France
HR Manager Angel George – USA
Financial Controller Teresa de Guzman – Philippines
Chief Housekeeper Lyudmyla Miroshnychenko – Ukraine
Safety Investigation Officer Alexandra Villarreal – USA
Environmental Officer Maria Karoutsou – Greece
Chief Security Officer Mor Segev – Israel
Chief Officer Maria Koliou – Greece
Chief Officer Maria Agius – Malta
Doctor Sumaya Guffar – South Africa
First Officer Rachel Arnold – United Kingdom
First Officer Despoina Tsairi – Greece
Third Engineer Anna Avgoustaki – Greece
Second Officer Nicholine Tifuh Azirh - Cameroon
Second Officer Ioana Tzovara – Greece
Third Officer Esperanza Romero – Spain
Third Officer Cassandra May Mead – New Zealand
Apprentice Officer Gifty Adu Gyami – Ghana

“Over the last few years, we have worked hard to diversify the crew on board and bring more women than ever into our industry. None of this could have been possible without the leadership and shared vision of the extraordinary men and women I work with every day," said Celebrity president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo. "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.”

As part of this sailing, Celebrity is adding specialty topical programming, including gallery exhibitions and art auctions featuring female artists; a cinema series featuring female directors, leads and inspirational narratives; and other dedicated events, like Women of the World-themed trivia challenges, a "Female Officers vs. Guests Pool Volleyball" tournament, and a Q&A panel with the ship’s female leadership team.

“Since 2015, we have raised the percentage of qualified women on our navigational bridges from three to 22 percent,"  said Royal Carribean Cruises Ltd. SVP of marine operations Patrik Dahlgren, who has spearheaded Celebrity’s bridge diversification efforts. "Now, we hope this all-time industry-high will continue to grow; we just need more women to raise their hands for careers at sea, especially in engineering."