Celebrity To Set Sail With First-Ever All-Female Bridge & Officer Team

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

While progress has been made, the reality is that only 2% of the world’s mariners are women. Celebrity Cruises is working to change that.

The brand that made headlines by hiring the first American female cruise ship Captain – Kate McCue -- and again by announcing that 22% of its bridge teams are made up of women, is now preparing for another historic milestone: the first-ever sailing with an entirely female bridge and officer team.

This sailing will take place on International Women’s Day – 8MAR 2020 – aboard Celebrity Edge. Captain McCue will be at the helm and will be accompanied by 26 other women to create an all-female bridge and officer leadership team.

“We are all passionate about closing the gender gap,” said Celebrity President & CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo.

“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, led by Patrik Dahlgren and Brian Abel – who take this challenge to heart and have made it possible. 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.”

Senior Vice President of Global Marine Operations for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Patrik Dahlgren, who has spearheaded Celebrity’s bridge diversification efforts under the leadership of Lutoff-Perlo, added: “Since 2015, we have raised the percentage of qualified women on our navigational bridges from 3% to 22%. 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.”

“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.”

The all-women bridge and leadership team for this historic sailing of Celebrity Edge represents 17 different countries, including:

  • Captain Kate McCue – USA
  • 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, who was the first West African woman to ever work on the bridge of a cruise ship when hired in 2017 – Cameroon
  • Second Officer Ioana Tzovara – Greece
  • Third Officer Esperanza Romero – Spain
  • Third Officer Cassandra May Mead – New Zealand
  • Apprentice Officer Gifty Adu Gyami – Ghana

As part of this one-of-a-kind sailing, Celebrity is curating unique specialty programming, including evening gallery exhibitions and art auctions featuring female artists, celebrating the female form; collaborating on an exclusive design with luxury jewelry designer Reout Kallati; hosting special events, such as a cinema series featuring iconic and impactful female directors, leads and inspirational narratives; and other dedicated onboard programming, including Women of the World-themed trivia challenges, Fearless Female Officers vs. Guests Pool Volleyball tournament, and a Q&A panel with the ship’s female leadership team.

To learn more about the International Women’s Day 2020 sailing and meet the leading ladies coming together on board, click here.

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.