Celebrity Cruises has announced that that the Celebrity Edge will feature an all-female leadership team for a March 8, 2020 departure, marking International Women’s Day.
Celebrity Captain Kate McCue will be at the helm of the 2018-launched ship for the week-long sailing from Port Everglades. Port calls include San Juan, Tortola and St. Maarten.
Celebrity is curating unique speciality programming, including evening gallery exhibitions and art auctions featuring female artists, celebrating the female form; collaborating on an exclusive design with luxury jewellery 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 inspiring female leadership team.
Additional speciality programming is still to be announced, including a moderated discussion panel with current confirmed special guests including artist and child prodigy Autumn de Forest and fashion designer Mary Frances; unique networking opportunities and more, all with the goal of inspiring a new generation of young girls and women to continue pushing boundaries and breaking barriers, according to a company statement.
“We are all passionate about closing the gender gap,” said Celebrity Cruises President and 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 the 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 on board.”
Senior Vice President of Global Marine Operations for Royal Caribbean Cruises 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.”
Among the officers are Captain McCue, First Officer Rachel Arnold and Second Officer Nicholine Tifuh Azirh.
Celebrity Edge March 8, 2020, Sailing Leadership Team
• 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
The Celebrity Edge was officially christened during a Tuesday ceremony pierside in Port Everglades by godmother Malala Yousafzai.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Yousafzai was joined by all on board to “bless this ship and all those who sail upon her.”
The naming event brought together more than 3,000 guests, employees, crew members and students to commemorate the debut of Celebrity’s first new ship in six years and first new ship series in more than a decade.
“We are honoured that Malala agreed to be the godmother of this ship, a role that reflects centuries of maritime traditions,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, Celebrity’s parent company. “We are especially proud because Malala’s example of relentless persistence and achievement is an inspiration to our crew, who have all worked so hard and made real sacrifices to build better lives for themselves and their families.”
Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, added: “I am so very proud to have Malala Yousafzai as the godmother of Celebrity Edge. Malala embodies our commitment to opening the world through education and gender equality. Seeing her aboard our ship sends a powerful message to our crew who represent over 70 diverse nationalities, and our guests who we sail all over the world. The ceremony today was both touching and symbolic of what Celebrity Cruises stands for. I am grateful to Malala, her family and Malala Fund for embracing today’s events and look forward to continuing our work together around the world.”
“I’m fighting to ensure millions of girls stuck in situations of poverty or war that they didn’t create can learn what they need to choose a future for themselves. But to continue making progress for girls’ education, we need support from leaders in every sector. I am so grateful to Celebrity Cruises for their generous support and investment in the potential of girls everywhere,” said Malala Yousafzai, co-founder of Malala Fund.
Photo: From left: Richard D. Fain, Malala Yousafzai, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo and Capt. Costas Nestoroudis, christen Celebrity Edge at the ship’s Naming Ceremony.