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Meetings & Events of Celebrity Cruises; and Jan Swartz, President of Princess Cruises – a forum that Duffy called “essential.” “In the roles that we have in our companies, we are role models,” she continued. “And I think the way we behave, the way that we interact with people both men and women, and I think, for me, particularly shipboard—where we still have so much work to do to embrace diversity and inclusion—we are not talking about [it], but actually doing it…and I think that’s really sending a great message to all of us.” Lutoff-Perlo said she saw the opportunity to “significantly increase the balance of our gender” after becoming the leader of her multi-billion-dollar cruise brand, but quickly ran into headwinds. Despite the numerous positions and ships, she told there just is not a large percentage of women in the necessary fields, and even those that are often do not consider the cruise industry – but through active recruitment and more proactivity, they have gone from five to over 20 percent of women on the bridge. “We have a lot of work to do to create opportunities for women, particularly on the dock and technical side,” agreed Swartz. She then shared an anecdote about Kerry Ann Wright, who decided to “reach for the Sky” after first boarding the ship as a spa therapist before deciding she would rather drive the ship – and who is now fully certified and serving as Second Officer on Sky Princess. “It gives me great pride that we are creating those opportunities for people to pursue their dreams.” Outside of the pride, the panel agreed with Duffy that there is also responsibility in a business sense to “…engineer the diversity that you want around the table to make sure that as we make decisions about ships, talents, investments and what guests want that we really have both genders well represented.” “It’s good for our business; it’s good for the morale of our crew; it’s good for the experience of our guests; it helps our big business be stronger,” said Lutoff-Perlo. “Our guests love it,” she continued, sharing a story about ringing the New York Stock Exchange bell on International Women’s Day and joining both Edge and Reflection in Grand Cayman. “The best part of that day was how engaged our 26 SECOND QUARTER 2019 | TRAVEL & CRUISE

guests were and how important this was to our guests…the majority of the feedback that I get, believe it or not, is from men, fathers and grandfathers, who look at Captain Kate, who look at us sitting on the stage, who look at all the senior executives in our company, and they say this gives their daughters and their granddaughters hope.”


All also agreed with Swartz that this does not only apply to genders, but “diversity in all forms and flavors.” “And that’s why it’s so important for us in leadership roles to have an intention around engineering for diversity when we look to do selections,” she continued. “I find on our senior leadership team, we’ve got a mix of Brits and Americans and peo-


ple who grew up in rain versus sunshine – and all think very differently about business challenges and opportunities…I think it really is the message is about diversity and inclusion as a means of unlocking tremendous business value.”

“This is a business imperative,” echoed Duffy. “You do need diversity,” which she also told needs to extend past simply “inviting people to dance” into inclusion, which is “inviting them to get up on the dance floor with you” – or not just filling the seats around the table, but listening to their voices and input. It is also good for business because consumers want to engage with brands that share their values, told LutoffPerlo, continuing that this is another benefit of the environmental efforts by both Celebrity and the entire industry, which has led the way in numerous initiatives – from pioneering technologies with advanced air quality systems and low-emission Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to sustainable sourcing, elimination of single-use plastics, restoration of coral reefs, and other policies and practices that regularly exceed standards while fostering a safe, secure, healthy and sustainable cruise ship environment. Diversity and inclusion were also perfectly encapsulated by the group’s discussion of crewmembers. Swartz informed Princess’ crewmembers come from over 80 countries around the world, “…so our ships sail as mini United Nations carrying guests from all around the world.” She then reminded, “Happy crew equals happy guests,” and discussed initiatives like Ocean Medallion to empower crewmembers to do their jobs better and easier, helping provide both more fulfillment and a better guest experience – which the entire panel agreed is a crucial aspect of cruising. “I think that’s what makes cruising so unique in the travel industry,” said Duffy. “When was the last time you stayed at a resort and at the end of your stay, you hug and exchange numbers with the waiter? “For them, serving others and creating and delivering a memorable great vacation experience, getting to know a family each and every week, brings them joy,” she continued and pointed to not just the global presence of crewmembers, but also a multi-generational one. “There’s a lot of word of mouth, generations of families that have worked on our ships.” This should come as no surprise, as shipboard employment offers what Swartz called “a fantastic way to earn a living and a fantastic way to see the world – we think

Profile for Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association

Travel & Cruise 2nd Quarter 2019