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Jo Rzymowska: ‘Together we are stronger’

Jo Rzymowska, VP and MD EMEA, Celebrity Cruises with Cruise Britain's outgoing chair, James Stangroom at Trinity House, London
The message from Celebrity Cruises VP and MD, EMEA Jo Rzymowska to Cruise Britain members yesterday was ‘together we are stronger,’ as she expressed optimism in spite of recent industry challenges, and urged commitment on sustainability and on tackling gender inequality.

‘We have come a long way in the last 20 months and I put it down to the three Cs: collaboration, commitment and coordination,’ she said. 'The great news is that lines are still investing and ship yards are still building because the demand is there and is predicted to increase.’

Introduced by outgoing Cruise Britain chair and Bristol Cruise Terminal commercial manager James Stangroom at Cruise Britain’s winter event at London’s Trinity House, the VP and MD went on to advise association members during the keynote address, ‘All indications are that demand for travel will return, maybe not immediately, but we are heading steadily towards a normalised return.’


‘Turning to the future, our major focus is - and always has been - the environment, and how we lead the charge to operate sustainably,’ said Rzymowska. ‘We [Celebity] continue to invest in our ports and infrastructure globally; most recently we won a tender to operate in Ravenna, establishing an avenue to improve ports to enable calls of our latest and most environmentally-friendly ships.’

She described shore power as ‘a priority,’ adding, ‘we are working to introduce it throughout our network of ports globally.

‘Our new ships are all OPS enabled and we continue to retrofit our ships with the equipment required. But we also need to ensure that the energy we use at berth is cleaner than that produced on our ships, that the destination can support the delivery in a viable manner.’

The industry veteran went on to describe Celebrity’s ‘holistic approach’ to destinations, which involves assessing the impact of cruise ships on local communities.

Royal Caribbean International will introduce Icon in 2023 - the first of three ships to be powered by LNG alongside shore power connection; Silversea’s hybrid-powered ship will launch 2023, marking a 40% reduction in emissions.


Drawing attention to the subject of gender inequality within the cruise industry, Rzymowska asserted, ‘Environment is non-negotiable, but alongside that is the drive for greater inclusivity… Maritime is male-dominated and to change the mindset of those working within the industry will require a huge cultural shift.’

She went on to explain that, ‘We are seeing a positive change, but it is slow.’ 

Those promoting gender diversity within their top executive teams are 21% more likely to have above average profitability, according to Rzymowska. ‘We should all be driving the change, shaping the marine industry and making it a more hospitable place for women to work, creating a culture and environment that is accessible to all of us, irrespective of gender,’ she emphasised. 

Celebrity has grown its female bridge team from 3% to 28% in five years; pre-pandemic in 2020, Celebrity Edge sailed with an all-female leadership crew. 

UK cruise market

In evidence of Celebrity’s committment to the UK cruise market, Rzymowska highlighted the launch of Celebrity Beyond in Southampton in April next year: ‘We are relishing the opportunity of showcasing our latest billion dollar ship for the very first time, in our back yard – and bringing together the world media, trade and consumers right here in the UK.’

She added, ‘The cruise sector is a critical component of our economy, generating £10b per year and supporting more than 88,000 UK jobs.’ 

Celebrity has had a ship homeporting out of Southampton since 2010. 

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