First female cruise ship captain to sail in Australasian waters
P&O Cruises today welcomes the first female cruise ship captain to sail in Australasian waters. Monday, 27.Jun.2011, 10:14 (GMT+3)
Captain Sarah Breton
P&O Cruises today welcomes the first female cruise ship captain to sail in Australasian waters.
Captain Sarah Breton, 46, boards Pacific Pearl in Auckland today for a 32-night South Pacific cruise. Beginning with a handover from Captain Andy Willard, she officially takes the helm of the ship on 12 July.
Capt Bretonâs arrival means the crew on this cruise includes the biggest group of female senior officers on any cruise ship in this region, a sign of changing times for women in shipping.
The impressive line-up of female officers includes Jane Herron, Hotel Director, Zoltina-J Medwick-Daley, Cruise Director and Martina Damonte, Administration and Revenue Director.
Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia which operates P&O Cruises Australia, met with Capt Breton in Sydney on Friday.
"Itâs taken a long time but weâre really proud that P&O is again leading the way by bringing the first female captain to this region,â Ms Sherry said.
âWe are delighted to have Sarah as captain of Pacific Pearl and to see her joining such a large contingent of female officers on this cruise.
âShe is an outstanding officer and one of only three female captains on major cruise ships anywhere in the world.â
Capt Breton said many women set out on shipping careers but the long periods at sea also led to a high rate of attrition as they grew older and wanted to spend more time with family onshore.
"It takes time to build up the necessary experience so rising to this position takes many years â there are no shortcuts,â she said.
âThe responsibility as captain is huge, but itâs the same responsibility whether you are a man or a woman and the reaction to my captainâs appointment last year has been terrific.â
Capt Breton began her maritime career as a cadet on a freighter and has also served on ships including Pacific Princess (the original Love Boat), Grand Princess Pacific Princess and Artemis in roles including navigator and first officer.
âGrowing up near the water I always loved boats and the ocean, so it really does fulfill a lifelong ambition of mine to be a captain with P&O Cruises,â she said.
Capt Breton has been sailing with her family since she was born and her earliest memory of a P&O ship was on a school cruise, at the age of 11, visiting Bergen, Oslo and Copenhagen on the Uganda.
Captain Breton lives on the Essex Coast and when on leave spends her time with family, in her garden, sailing - whenever the weather permits - and watching Six Nations rugby and Formula One motor racing.