When my partner Jo Kling and I launched Landry & Kling in 1982, we were hard-pressed to find many female cruise industry leaders in senior positions. There were no women in cruise line C-Suites, and the idea of a female in the coveted captain’s seat was inconceivable. [Right: Jo Kling and I at our Miami office in 1988]
Maritime Trivia: According to sailor’s lore, there was a time when women weren’t welcomed aboard ships – in fact, they were considered bad luck.
My, have mari-times changed!
The tide has changed, and today there are many women at the helm. Jo and I would like to acknowledge these cruise industry leaders who smashed through glass ceilings. These intrepid women ascended up the cruise industry’s male-dominated ranks to positions of power & prestige – aboard and ashore. We couldn’t possibly list them all, but here are just a few of the movers & shakers who have changed the face of cruising.
[Pictured Above: Last summer I accompanied our client’s full-ship charter of Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner in Alaska. When I realized how many of the ship’s senior officers and management were women (including the Captain), the whole team took a meeting-break for the cover photo. To my left: Chief Housekeeper Ana Liza Balucan, Destination Manager Sam Thompson, Captain Serena Melani,Cruise Director Margaret Scoggins, 2nd Officer Sladana Grbic, Erica Lewis Charter Manager RSSC Headquarters.]
Women at the Helm: On the Bridge
Captain Inger Klein Thorhauge – After leaving her home in the remote Faroe Islands, Ms. Thorhauge worked her way up the ranks to become Captain of Cunard’s Queen Victoria oceanliner in 2010.
Captain Margrith Ettlin – This Swiss native joined Silversea Cruises in 2013 to helm the 132-guest expedition ship, Silver Explorer
Captain Serena Melani – Ms. Melani also made history as the first Italian female cruise ship Captain when she took over the command of the luxury ship Seven Seas Mariner in 2016.
Captain Belinda Bennet – Hailing from the United Kingdom, Ms. Bennet was promoted as Windstar’s first female captain in 2016.
Women at the Helm: In the C-Suite
Christine Duffy, President, Carnival Cruise Line
After four years serving as president and CEO of CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association), Christine Duffy broke another barrier in 2015 when she became the first-ever female president of Carnival Cruise Line. Now at the helm of the world’s largest cruise line, she oversees 25 ships and tens of thousands of employees.
Jan Swartz, President, Princess Cruises
After more than 15 years working for Princess Cruises, Jan Swartz was appointed President of the world’s third largest cruise line in 2013. She is now Group President of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia.