The women running the Pacific Pearl superliner say they are rapidly changing an industry dominated by men.
Captain Sarah Breton has been appointed Australasia’s first female cruise-ship skipper, one of only three women with such a role on major cruise ships anywhere in the world.
She is joined by three other senior female officers – hotel manager Jane Herron, cruise director Zoltina-J Medwick-Daley and administration and revenue director Martina Damonte.
They left Auckland yesterday as the senior officers on a 32-night South Pacific cruise.
After a brief handover period, Captain Breton will officially take the ship’s helm on July 12.
She said she was ready to accept the challenge after previously spending two years with the ship.
“I was on this ship when it was the Ocean Village for two years so I’m coming back on tour in a different guise, which is exciting.
“Growing up near the water, I always loved boats and the ocean, so it really does fulfil a lifelong ambition of mine to be a captain.”
Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises Australia, says the new captain has earned her position.
“It takes time to build up the necessary experience so rising to this position takes many years – there are no shortcuts.”
Ms Herron, who has been in the industry for 23 years, said it was great that four senior female officers could be found on one cruise ship.
“I’ve always said I’m a woman in a man’s world. Now it’s kind of become more of a woman’s world it’s amazing.
“Travelling to different ports every day and meeting so many people from around the world …
“Every morning you wake up and maybe you’re in a different country.
“You never know what you’re going to expect from one day to the next – there are no mundane days.”
Ms Medwick-Daley was proud to be part of the rare group.
“It’s always been a boys’ club and to an extent it still is,” she says.
“So when you have this many women in senior ranks on the ship, it really is a big coup for women in general and all over the world.
“It’s not a man’s world any more and this proves it.”
The 63,500-tonne Pacific Pearl was relaunched in Auckland in December after a $100 million renovation.