Windstar Cruises Hires First Black Female Captain

Windstar Cruises Hires First Black Female Captain
Captain Belinda Bennett Windstar Cruises
Captain Belinda Bennett Windstar Cruises

Windstar Cruises Hires First Black Female Captain – Belinda Bennett is the world’s first black female cruise ship captain. Bennett has worked for the small ship line Windstar Cruises for 14 years and sails the MSY Wind Star through the Caribbean in winter and Europe in summer. She recently won the U.K.’s prestigious Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service.

Bennett is originally from a small island called St. Helena (see video below), which is in the South Atlantic Ocean between South America and South Africa.

Bennett states, “Growing up on a small island, from the age that I could walk I was in the water. I loved the ocean. It used to be that the only way off the island was by ship. So when I was 17, I took a job on the RMS St. Helena, the ship that supported the island.

Antibes France
Antibes France

When I was training as a cadet, I sailed with chief officers who made me work harder than the other guys.

During your cadetship you’re starting out as a sailor, so you do every job that they do. I had a chief officer, unfortunately, who made me work later than the sailors, so they would knock off for the day, and I would be left outside continuing to work until it got dark. It really was a make-or-break-you time, and me being me, I refused to be broken.”

Bennett recalls trying to get her big break in the cruise industry, “I remember being sat down by an agent in Antibes and being told that finding a job in the yachting industry would be very hard because of three things:

  1. I had a higher education than most captains at the time;
  2. I was a woman;
  3. I was black.
Antibes France
Antibes France

Antibes is a resort town between Cannes and Nice on the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur). It’s known for its old town enclosed by 16th-century ramparts with the star-shaped Fort Carré. This overlooks luxury yachts moored at the Port Vauban marina.

I came to Windstar as a second officer. Eventually, I went to chief officer. And then in January 2016, I was made captain of the MSY Wind Star, a four-masted sailing ship with 148 guests and 101 crew.

I like to think that I’m a role model for other women. When I first came to sea, there were only five of us in a class of seventy-something. Over 20 years later, out of the five of us, I’m the only one still at sea. I do like to encourage women to come to sea.”

About Windstar Cruises’ Wind Star

Windstar Cruises operates a six-ship fleet of small sailing and all-suite ships visiting approximately 270 ports in 2018 sailing throughout Europe, the Caribbean, Costa Rica and the Panama Canal, Asia, Alaska, Canada and New England, and cruising year-round in Tahiti. Windstar’s fleet is the market leader in small ship cruising with a total of 1,242 passenger berths calling on off-the-beaten-path and popular ports in over 60 countries. The boutique cruise line carries fewer than 310 passengers on its small ships and takes travelers on cruises that are 180 degrees from ordinary.

They are known for their immersive and authentic experiences,  unique, port-intensive itineraries,  exceptional award-winning service, and innovative culinary program as the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation. Windstar Cruises is a part of Xanterra Travel Collection, known for “Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint.”

Wind Star is a sleek, 4-masted sailing ship accommodating 148 guests. With four decks and a gross tonnage of 5,307, Wind Star feels like your own private small ship, features wide open, teak decks—quite unusual for small ships. Guests will find hidden nooks for private moments giving them a feeling of being on their own private veranda.

All staterooms have ocean views, queen beds, flat-screen TV with DVD player, and Bose SoundDock speakers for Apple iPods.

Saint Helena Island
Saint Helena Island

Saint Helena Island

Saint Helena is a volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean, 2,500 miles east of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Saint Helena measures about 16 by 8 kilometres (10 by 5 mi) and has a population of 4,534 (2016 census). It is one of the most remote islands in the world, and was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese in 1502.

Saint Helena is Britain’s second-oldest overseas territory after Bermuda. It was an important stopover for ships sailing to Europe from Asia and South Africa for centuries.

Under the provisions of the 1833 India Act, control of Saint Helena passed from the East India Company to the British Crown, and it became a crown colony

In 1989, Prince Andrew launched the replacement RMS St Helena to serve the island; the vessel was specially built for the Cardiff–Cape Town route and featured a mixed cargo/passenger layout.

In 2002, the British Overseas Territories Act 2002 granted full British citizenship to the islanders, and renamed the dependent territories (including Saint Helena) the British Overseas Territories. In 2009, Saint Helena and its two territories received equal status under a new constitution, and the British Overseas Territory was renamed Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

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Video:Beautiful St Helena Island

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