Celebrity Cruises is to operate its first cruise with an all-female bridge and officer team to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March.
The first US female cruise ship captain Kate McCue will be at the helm when Celebrity Edge departs from Fort Lauderdale on 8 March on a seven-night eastern Caribbean itinerary.
The rest of the 26-strong female bridge and officer team on Celebrity Edge includes three British crew members – first officer Rachel Arnold, cruise director Sue Denning and guest relations director Julie Sherrington.
Celebrity’s chief executive Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said: “We are all passionate about closing the gender gap. Over the past few years, we have worked hard to diversify the crew onboard 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.”
Celebrity’s #BRIDGEthegap initiative has helped to increase the number of female officers on its ships over the past few years – with 22% of the line’s bridge teams now comprising women.
Senior vice-president of global marine operations Patrik Dahlgren, who has led the diversification drive, 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.”