Celebrity Cruises are planning a historic sailing for International Women’s Day on March 8 next year, continuing to close the gender gap at sea.

Commanded by Capt. Kate McCue, Celebrity Edge will carry an unprecedented all-female bridge team and women officers across many areas.

The twenty-seven female crew-members who will take part come from seventeen countries and cover roles from captain, staff captain and chief officer to hotel director, cruise director and third engineer.

Celebrity Cruises has long associated its brand with supporting equality. President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo says: “We are all passionate about closing the gender gap. Over the last few years, we have worked hard to diversify the crew on board and bring more women than ever into our industry.”

In 2019, twenty-two per cent of the company’s bridge teams are women. Celebrity annually celebrates International Women’s Day across its fleet and in 2020 the aim is to go all out with this first-in-history cruise.

“We have enough women in every department across our fleet that we thought so why limit it to the bridge?” Ms Lutoff-Perlo said.

“We had this idea, and one week later it was done. I was astonished. It wasn’t difficult at all.”

Captain Kate McCue

Kate McCue, the first female American captain, has made big waves since her appointment several years ago. Her high profile in the news media and on social media shines a light on opportunities for women at sea.

“Not only is word out but Celebrity is setting the standard and hoping other companies get on board,” Captain McCue said.

From 3% to 22% in five years

“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,” Ms Lutoff-Perlo said.

Members of the all-women crew

“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 on board.

“Recruiting is one thing, and another is creating a culture that is nurturing and motivating so people want to stay,” she added.