Captain Kate McCue of Celebrity Beyond is a female role model in the cruise industry, as well as an Instagram star with 334,000 followers.
During the first passenger voyage of the new ship with her at the helm, I asked in a press conference if she ever wished she didn’t have the pressure of those two responsibilities and could just be allowed to be a captain.
This is what she told me: ‘When I first took over as captain on Celebrity Summit [in 2015] it was a new company for me, I was coming from Royal Caribbean into Celebrity, new ship, new people I was working with and a new position – I hadn’t been captain before.
‘Initially the spotlight that came with being a female captain was a bit overwhelming, something I didn’t expect, so I asked if I could step away from that spotlight and just focus on my job because I wanted to be a good captain.
‘What I found was the questions I was getting asked in interviews while I was in the spotlight were the same our guests and our crew were coming up to me on a daily basis. So I realised I had a platform that I could use to the best of my ability to normalise what a woman in this position does but also give a background to life at sea because as much as I love The Love Boat it’s not an actual depiction of what happens on board a ship – as much as I would love to be – so it’s a great opportunity for me to put that out there, but it’s also my own digital photo album, it’s my own digital blog.
‘For example, the time we were in lockdown over the last two years all of the experiences we had that I know we will never have again, very unique opportunities, it was a way to remember those, a way to remember our crew who were on board and also keep a connection with our guests who couldn’t come on the ship, so for me it’s a really nice hobby, I enjoy it and if it does become overwhelming I know when to separate. You’ll see on our really big days I don’t post very much because I leave my phone in the office and I’m just a captain.’
During the press conference, Captain Kate gave an emotional tribute to Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises.
She said: ‘Last year during the pandemic I was on board for 317 days – normally captains do three months on, three months off. The reason why the crew came back afterwards is because of this lady right here [pointing to Lisa Lutoff-Perlo]. This woman was the calm in the storm, she was the reason that there was this trickle effect of certainty and hope.’
As the meeting ended, Captain Kate posed for pictures with another female captain, Sandy Yawn, who stars in the TV series Below Deck.