Melani, 42, is among a handful of women to serve as captains in the cruise industry. She began commanding Seven Seas Mariner Feb. 21 on a 12-night South America voyage from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro.
Melani has 'vast experience and leadership abilities,' said Jason Montague, president and chief operating officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. 'Her promotion to captain is well-earned,' he added, 'and I know she will perform admirably in guiding Seven Seas Mariner as she sails from the Caribbean to Alaska.'
A native of Italy's Tuscany region, Melani became enamored with the sea at a young age. After nautical school, she attained her first shipboard position in 1998, serving on a roll-on/roll-off vessel carrying cars and general cargo. Later, after four years working on oil tankers and gas carriers, she made a career switch to the cruise industry.
'On cruise ships, you travel to more exotic places and get to meet so many interesting people,' Melani said, adding that her favorite cruise destination is West Africa.
While excited to be commanding a ship for the first time, the new captain downplayed the significance of her gender: 'Yes, I am a female in a traditional male environment. But when you are on board, you are part of a team. Regardless of your gender, you have a job to do. And you must do it well.'