Capt. Kate McCue will soon be at the helm of the Celebrity Edge, a state-of-the-art luxury cruise ship designed for women, by women. However, this isn’t the first time the captain has made waves in the maritime industry. In 2015, McCue became the first woman to captain a cruise ship. Getting to command the 122,000-ton, 1,041-foot Celebrity Equinox ship was no small feat — it took her 19 years to earn the title.
In spite of her newfound Instagram fame (thanks in no small part to her sphynx cat named Bug Naked), the history-making captain still gets mistaken as “the captain’s wife.”
“This is Captain Kate, but you can call me Captain because it took me 19 years to earn this title,” McCue typically announces on the loud speaker as people board the ships she helms, according to the New York Times. “People don’t have a tendency to call men captains by their first name.”
Now McCue will be embarking on a new journey — one that’s working toward fighting for gender equality in the maritime field.
McCue’s new assignment, the Celebrity Edge, is the brainchild of Celebrity Cruises’ president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo — the first and only female CEO of a publicly traded cruise line. The groundbreaking CEO is known for being a vocal advocate and champion for diversity and women in the workplace.
“We were a cruise line that really cared. We were a cruise line that had a purpose bigger than just offering vacations,” Lutoff-Perlo told Forbes. “And we were a cruise line that was all about gender equality.”
That’s why in her first move for the Edge, she got MCcue on board to captain the innovative ship. The cruise will have an unprecedented three female captains, with women making up 37 percent of the guest-facing crew. The new female crew members includes Nicholine Tifuh Azirh, the first woman from Ghana to work on the bridge of a cruise ship.
Beyond breaking barriers for women in the maritime industry, the Edge itself is changing the game for luxury cruise lines. The Edge boasts being the most technologically advanced ship to date, designed using a 3D virtual reality lab. However, the ship’s luxury touches can be attributed to female designers — the interior design was done by Kelly Hoppen and Patricia Urquiola — and it features fragrances from Jo Malone, as well as clothing and jewelry designs by Melissa Odabash and designer Kallati.
And if that weren’t enough, the final crowning of the Edge as the ultimate ship for women was its blessing and naming by “godmother” Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist and youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
“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” Yousafzai, co-founder of the Malala Fund, said at the Dec. 4 naming ceremony. “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.”
All aboard the Celebrity Edge, because this women-driven cruise ship is rocking the boat in the best possible way.
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