Sea Cloud Cruises appoints Canadian woman as captain

Capt. Kathryn Whittaker Capt. Kathryn Whittaker

Sea Cloud Cruises promoted Kathryn Whittaker to captain of Sea Cloud II. A Canadian, she is the first female captain in the Sea Cloud Cruises fleet, which fields two sailing ships, the 64-passenger Sea Cloud and 94-passenger Sea Cloud II.

Unlike many captains, Whittaker doesn't come from a seafaring family, and her voyage didn't start at an early age in a maritime academy. While at university in Toronto she took time off from school to work on touring boats in Toronto Harbor for three years, then made her way to Sea Cloud as a deck hand in 1996. This first position on a sailing ship sealed her fate and began her journey toward securing her captain’s license.

Hands-on experience aboard sail-training ships

Whittaker did most of her training privately and achieved her certifications by passing the required exams through various Canadian maritime schools. Her hands-on experience was achieved on various sail-training ships, including five years as captain of Bytown Brigantine’s STV Fair Jeanne and small passenger sailing vessels in the British Virgin Islands, where she held various positions including chef, first mate and training captain. She then served as chief officer for two years with Canadian Sailing Expeditions.

Prior to being promoted last month to captain, Whittaker served as chief officer for six years. As chief officer aboard Sea Cloud II she was responsible for the ship’s maintenance and overall ship security. As captain, she will now head every department, and commands the mostly male nautical and technical officers.

'Growing up as the only girl with four older brothers prepared me well to work in this field. I had to prove myself on this ship and have over the years gained the respect of the crew,' Whittaker said.

'When the opportunity arose for our crewing manager to promote Whittaker—who conveys dedication and love for her job—to captain, the decision was easy,' said Daniel Schäfer, managing director of Sea Cloud Cruises. He added: 'In a very male-dominated industry, we are thrilled to have a very qualified woman for the highest position on a ship.'

Whittaker grew up in St. Thomas, Ontario, and when not at sea, she calls Ottawa home.

Another Canadian woman captain

Another Canadian woman, Maryse Camirand of Croisières M/S Jacques-Cartier, is a licensed captain who also teaches at the Maritime Institute of Québec (Institut Maritime du Québec), however her husband serves as the master of the 66-passenger Jacques-Cartier.

Posted 11 April 2018

© Copyright 2018 Seatrade UBM (UK) Ltd. Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Seatrade UBM (UK) Ltd.

Anne Kalosh

US editor of Seatrade Cruise Review and Seatrade Cruise News


Cruise Med logo  

Hidden gems - what does it take to make a destination?

As demand for cruising soars, destination overcrowding has become an issue that the industry needs to overcome to sustain growth.

Join us at Seatrade Cruise Med as our panel of speakers examine what it takes to create a new destination worthy of cruise line calls.

Find out more >



Cruise Med logo  

Making cruise welcome - what's the key?

As sustainablity and overcrowing issues continue to prove a challenge, making cruise welcome in local communities can be a difficult bridge to cross. And finding the key to change public perception isn't always easy.

Join the discussion at Seatrade Cruise Med as we delve deeper into the importance of balancing economic impact with destination sustainability.

Find out more >



Cruise Med logo  

Be a part of the Mediterranean's most critical conversation

Led by a powerful network of key industry influencers, the State of the Industry session at Seatrade Cruise Med provides a unique opportunity to discuss current trends; explore future challenges and delve deeper into the outlook for the Mediterranean and its adjoining seas.

If you play a part in sustaining cruise tourism in the Mediterranean, then you need to be here – this is the region’s most critical cruise conversation.

Meet the speakers and find out more >