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  • Writer's pictureJason Leppert

Women of the Seas: Cruise Travel Gets in Touch with Its Feminine Side

There once was a time when women were deemed bad luck at sea, but now they are leading a new charge in cruise travel, as high up as line presidents and ship captains, proving the opposite is, in fact, true.

Just on my last cruise aboard Fathom’s Adonia to Cuba, I was extraordinarily impressed by the prowess of Sarah Breton, who was made the first female captain for P&O Cruises back in 2010. Some captains are infrequently seen or heard beyond their usual PA announcements, but Breton was often out and about, greeting guests with a convivial demeanor. “Particularly the women passengers often comment on how proud they are to have a female captain,” Breton said. I also witnessed her extended leadership and friendship as she professionally engaged with crew members beyond the officers staff in casual conversation. 

Elsewhere in the Carnival Corporation, Inger Klein Thorhauge was also made a captain in 2010 as master of Cunard Line‘s Queen Victoria. “The opportunities for women in the industry are the same as they are for men,” said Thorhauge. “As long as you work hard and are dedicated, anyone can achieve anything.”

The female touch is even found in the engine department on Carnival Cruise Line where Francesca Dandriccio serves as a 3rd engineer and was recently recognized as the company’s Leader of the Year, nominated by her male bosses for her capable interaction with guests snd crew as well as her “brilliant technical abilities.” Hotel operations also benefit thanks to the tenacity of Terri Cybuliak, hotel general manager on Princess Cruises‘ Golden Princess. “I was constantly looking for new challenges and obstacles to overcome in order to prove my abilities,” she said.

Female leadership runs strong across the board at Carnival where Christine Duffy – formerly president and CEO of CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) – is now president of Carnival Cruise Line. She reflected, “There haven’t been a lot of women in these roles and today you look at Carnival Corporation and there are … As women we do tend to have a different way of engaging. Studies have shown we tend to be more empathetic, more in touch with the human side.”

In fact, two other Carnival brands are led by women too. Jan Swartz is president of P

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