A woman at the helm – meet Lisa Lutoff-Perlo

Here at MeetMeOnBoard we’ve been watching the career of Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo. LGBTQ cruise travelers should take note of her accomplishments in a male-dominated industry.

Lisa was appointed President and CEO of Celebrity in 2014, the only woman at the helm of a Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD brand. She is an advocate for diversity, education and opportunities for young women and others in and beyond the cruise industry.

When she speaks about becoming CEO Lisa explains that she was surprised when her phone started to ring with speaking engagement offers. It was as if being a woman at the top of a cruise line made her some kind of unicorn. She began to see that she could use her “superpowers for good” in order to give back both inside and outside the organization and industry.

Accomplishments at Celebrity Cruises

Lutoff-Perlo appointed Nathaly Albán to the helm of Celebrity Xploration as the first Ecuadorian woman to the rank of Ship’s Captain. She also brought on board the the first American Woman as Ship’s Captain of any cruise ship. MMOB members should take a look at Kate McCue’s active and interesting social media accounts. As of this writing, Celebrity now has four female Captains.

Nicholine Tifuh Azirh (L) with Lisa Lutoff-Perlo (R) Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

One touching story involves a time when Lutoff-Perlo was meeting students from the Mandela Washington Fellowship at Florida International University. There she encountered Nicholine Tifuh Azirh, from Ghana, who shared her story.  As an African female, despite her academic record of earning two degrees and a teaching position, she encountered difficulties finding work in the maritime industry.

“After hearing Nicholine’s story, I met with our SVP of Global Marine Operations, Patrik Dahlgren, to see what we needed to do in order to give her, and others, the opportunities they’ve earned,” said Lutoff-Perlo. “Nicholine isn’t just a new-hire, she symbolizes hope for women around the world who dream of working in a very male-dominated industry. She’s the face of our industry-leading partnership, and she is an incredible example of Celebrity’s commitment to opening up the world.”

Celebrity doesn’t reach out just to women. The line supports an organization called Best Buddies International, which serves people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). Celebrity has hired people with IDD and is committed to hiring more so that all people can fulfill their potential and not be held back.

Celebrity Edge

We learned on the inaugural voyage for the new Celebrity Edge that both Lutoff-Perlo and Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean Ltd Chairman and CEO, were the moving forces behind this revolutionary ship.

Their synergistic relationship was evident, and launching a ship with such refreshingly-different features was obviously a tall order. Happily, the result is stunning. Another ship in the Edge class, Apex, is due in 2020, with Beyond launching in 2021.

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai (L) with Lisa Lutoff-Perlo (R) Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Perhaps the most telling event we witnessed was the Edge inaugural ceremony itself. Malala Yousafzai from Afghanistan, now 21 years old and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, is a tireless champion for the education of young women and was named the ship’s godmother. Her choice alone speaks volumes about the leadership of Lisa Lutoff-Perlo.

If you want more information about Edge or Celebrity Cruises, contact our MeetMeOnBoard Cruise Travel Expert Adam Martindale. Our group will be sailing on Edge February 9, 2020 and we’d love to have you on board!