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Cunard appoints its first woman Captain

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captainolsenDanish-born Inger Klein Olsen made history December 1 when she assumed command of Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria, becoming Cunard’s first woman Captain.

Captain Olsen’s first task in her new role was to take the ship, without passengers, to the Blohm + Voss Elbe 17 dry dock in Hamburg for its planned refit. Next Wednesday, December 15, she will be on the bridge as the ship sets sail with a full complement of guests.

Forty-three-year-old Captain Olsen was raised in the Faroe Islands and joined Cunard in 1997 as First Officer on board Caronia. In 2001 she transferred to the Seabourn fleet, which at that time was part of Cunard. She sailed on Seabourn Sun and Seabourn Spirit before being promoted to the rank of Staff Captain on Seabourn Pride in 2003.

Following some years with other companies within the Carnival Corporation group, Captain Olsen returned to Cunard in August this year as Deputy Captain of Queen Victoria.

“While we are far from being the first shipping company to have a female captain, it is nonetheless noteworthy when such a long-established British institution as Cunard makes a break with its captaincy tradition,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard.

Captain Olsen will helm Queen Victoria during the ship’s first Americas season, commencing from New York to Los Angeles on January 13. During the first 17-day voyage, the ship will call on Ft. Lauderdale and Bonaire, transit the Panama Canal, and visit three ports in Mexico – Huatulco, Acapulco and Manzanillo – before arriving into Los Angeles on 30 January. Captain Olsen will take her leave on 13 February.

Queen Victoria’s Americas season continues until March 18 and features several transits through the Panama Canal, four calls to Los Angeles, two roundtrip voyages from Los Angeles to Hawaii, and one Getaway voyage to Mexico.

Captain Olsen lives in Denmark.

December 9, 2010

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