Cunard breaks tradition

British cruise line Cunard has broke with a tradition for the first time in its history, by naming its first female captain, Inger Klein Olsen, who will captain Queen Victoria.

Cunard named Captain Olsen on December 1 and her first duty at the helm with passengers on board will be this Wednesday December 15, when Queen Victoria sets sail after her scheduled drydock in Hamburg. She was promoted from the role of Deputy Captain, which she began in August this year.

“While we are far from being the first shipping company to have a female captain, it is nonetheless noteworthy when such a long-established British institution as Cunard makes a break with its captaincy tradition,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard. “But as Mark Twain drily observed, ‘the folks at Cunard wouldn’t appoint Noah himself as captain until he had worked his way up through the ranks.’”

Captain Olsen began her career with Cunard in 1997 as Caronia’s First Officer and has also worked on The Yachts of Seabourn’s ships when that company was part of Cunard.

This year was also a milestone for P&O Cruises UK, which named Sarah Breton its first female captain – of Artemis – in April.