Celebrity Cruises Names First-Ever American Female Cruise Ship Captain

Photo: Yankeesman312/Creative Commons
Celebrity Summit file photo. Photo: Yankeesman312/Creative Commons

For the first time in the cruise industry history, an American female ship captain will take the helm of a giant cruise ship.

Celebrity Cruises named Kate McCue as the cruise industry's first American female captain. Photo: PRNewsFoto/Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity Cruises named Kate McCue as the cruise industry’s first American female captain. Photo: PRNewsFoto/Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises said Monday that San Francisco native Kate McCue will command the Celebrity Summit, a 91,000 ton, 965-foot ship sailing between the U.S. east coast and Bermuda. As Captain, she will be responsible for the safe navigation of the ship and the onboard experience of its 2,158 guests and 952 crew members.

Celebrity, which operates a fleet of 10 ships, says they appointed McCue to the position of Captain based on her 15 years of experience and leadership in the maritime industry. During her tenure with the company, McCue has managed ship logistics while sailing worldwide itineraries, including Europe, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and along the Panama Canal. Captain McCue has also served in leadership roles while sailing several transatlantic and repositioning cruises, and played a notable role in the revitalization of Celebrity Cruises’ business in Singapore.

Kate McCue’s appointment follows that of Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, who was named President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises in December 2014.

“From the first time I met Kate, I looked forward to this moment, when I could extend my congratulations to her for being such a dynamic and highly respected leader who will continue to pave the way for women in the maritime industry,” said Lutoff-Perlo. “Of all the great moments throughout my career, this is at the top of my list. I am both honored that Kate accepted this position, and proud of the way our team continues to transform the way people think about Celebrity, and about cruising in general.”

Captain McCue, now 37, graduated from California State University’s California Maritime Academy and began her career as a cadet and deck officer, then working through a series of successively more responsible positions to her most recent role as Master Mariner with Royal Caribbean International. McCue has earned numerous certifications in a variety of areas pertaining to leadership navigation, ship management and security.

“Becoming the first female American captain of a cruise ship has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember,” says McCue. “The honor is amplified by being the first at a company like Celebrity Cruises. The cruise industry is ever-evolving, from the ships and the itineraries, to our guests’ expectations for vacation experiences. Celebrity has a history of delivering on each of these and I am thrilled to be a part of it. I look forward to working with an amazing team and the exceptional leadership who bring the Celebrity Cruises vision to life every day.”

McCue will begin her new role on Celebrity Summit in August of 2015.