America’s only female cruise ship captain will lead US cruise industry back to sea

Captain Kate McCue, the master of Celebrity Cruises‘ ship Celebrity Edge, is the only American female cruise ship captain, and is set to lead the US cruise industry back into operation next year when her ship becomes the first to resume cruises.

Captain McCue will be in command of Celebrity Edge when she sails from Port Everglades on June 26th, making her ship the first to resume cruises from any US port since the pandemic began in March last year.

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“Today’s news has my heart overflowing with gratitude for all those who made our comeback a reality,” Captain McCue posted on Instagram after announcing the news of Celebrity Edge’s imminent resumption of cruises.

Captain McCue was appointed captain in the Celebrity fleet back in 2015, after spending 15 years rising through the ranks of the navigation bridge staff.

Although she initially wanted to be a cruise director when she first came across cruise ships, Captain McCue ultimately went into the male-dominated realm of the bridge, and found a home away from home with Celebrity Cruises and its progressive efforts to bring gender equality to the industry.

In 2015, Captain McCue was the only American female captain in the world, and among just 3% of the cruise line’s bridge staff that were female fleetwide. That average had increased significantly over the years to 22% today (and 30% aboard Celebrity Edge).

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president of Celebrity Cruises since 2014, has been responsible for much of this change in the line’s corporate culture, although her efforts to support female empowerment extend beyond the cruise industry.

As the first female American to ever be appointed to captain a cruise ship, Captain McCue has been widely celebrated as a pioneering role model, but has also faced her fair share of sexism and misogyny, which she takes great pleasure crushing via her huge popular Instagram account.

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When asked by an online troll, “How can you be a captain? Your only a woman”, Captain McCue went viral with a withering response she shared on TikTok and Instagram.

Celebrity Edge was this week given the green light by the CDC to be the first ship back in the water, having met all new standards for providing a healthy cruise experience for its guests and crew.

She will sail 7-night cruises to the Caribbean, alternating between Eastern and Western itineraries that are now on sale.

The announcement of Celebrity Edge’s imminent cruise resumption brings to 8 the total number of cruise ships that Celebrity Cruises plans to bring back into service in 2021.

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