An all-female bridge and onboard leadership team set sail from Florida this week aboard a 300m cruise ship to commemorate International Women’s Day.
Led by Captain Kate McCue, America’s first female cruise ship captain, and with 26 other female officers from 16 different countries onboard, the cruise liner Celebrity Edge sailed out of Port Everglades to begin a seven-day Caribbean voyage.
Captain Cheryl Phipps, one of only a few female pilots in the US, conned the ship out to sea.
Currently, only two per cent of the world’s mariners are women, and Celebrity Cruises, which owns Celebrity Edge, says it is prioritizing ways to help the industry create a more diverse workforce.
It has, over the past few years, increased the number of women working on bridge teams from 3% to more than 25%.
“I fell in love with cruise ships at age 12 when my family took its first cruise vacation,” says Captain Kate McCue.
“Five years later, I enrolled at the California Maritime Academy and nineteen years later I became a Captain.
“I hope this voyage will inspire a new generation of young girls and women to chart their own course of pushing boundaries and breaking barriers.
“To ‘man the bridge’ with 100% women and to fill every leadership role on board with women is truly significant.”
The historic 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 putting female directors, actors and narratives centre stage.