With a long history of championing diversity and inclusion, Celebrity Cruises set a new benchmark in the cruise industry, announcing that one-third of its bridge officers are now female, in an industry where less than 2% of mariners are women. As a display of its commitment to equality, advancement and the accomplishments of women, the brand is changing its global “X” logo to “XX” on its social media channels in honor of the female chromosome for International Women’s Day. Celebrating all those who identify as female, this symbolic display supports this year’s #BreakTheBias international theme.
The “XX” logo was also projected onto Celebrity BeyondSM, the company’s highly anticipated luxury flagship under final construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France in preparation for its April 2022 debut and set to be helmed by female captain Kate McCue. When Captain Kate maneuvers Celebrity Beyond from the shipyard, she will become the first female Captain to start up a mega cruise ship and the first female Captain to “take out” a ship from Chantiers de l’Atlantique in its 160-year shipbuilding history.
Having a penchant for rising above the industry norms, Celebrity has made maritime history for its progressive thinking and barrier-breaking initiatives. In 2015, President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, a catalyst for change in the 200-year-old industry, appointed Captain Kate McCue as the first – and still only – American female captain, starting an intentional effort by the brand to attract more women to the industry and into leadership roles across its fleet.
The cruise line further captured the world’s attention on International Women’s Day 2020, when the first all-female bridge and officer team led by Captain Kate departed on a history-making sailing on board the award-winning Celebrity Edge. Made up of 26 women representing 16 different countries, the all-female bridge and leadership team reunited virtually on International Women’s Day 2021, one year after their glass ceiling-shattering achievement, to reflect on the historic sailing and discuss the challenging year that followed amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Then, on June 26, 2021, Captain Kate led the Celebrity fleet – and the industry – back into operation when Celebrity Edge became the first cruise ship to sail with guests from a U.S. port in more than a year due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
“Looking back at how far we’ve come in six years is quite extraordinary, and speaks volumes to the leadership and shared vision of the talented men and women I work with every day,” said Celebrity Cruises president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo. “Now, we have incredible women from 19 countries and at all levels of maritime leadership to encourage girls to consider this awe-inspiring industry that opens up the world with the transformative power of travel. We are so proud to pioneer this path and keep at this work so everyone who dreams of a career on board a cruise ship – whether they identify as male or female – encounters a new standard across the seven seas.”
“Being a part of this movement, and standing beside my fellow officers both male and female, is definitely an accomplishment I’m extremely proud of. One of my greatest joys is to be able to pay it forward both by example and with opportunities for well-deserving individuals who previously may not have had chances to get their foot in the door,” said Captain Kate McCue. “I truly believe that if you can sea it, you can be it.”
When Captain Kate takes the helm of Celebrity Beyond this spring, she will be surrounded by an accomplished nine-person Bridge team, including four female officers: Chief Officer Rachel Arnold (UK); Second Officer Dionysia Giapappa (Greece); Third Officer Gifty Adu Gyamfi (Ghana); and Third Officer Antonina Kolodziejczyk (Poland).
Reference: Celebrity Cruises