Disney to Inspire Future Female Leaders in Cruise Industry

Author: Olivia Sharpe

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And they’re using a new iconic female mascot, Captain Minnie Mouse, to do it

Disney Cruise Line has announced that it will be launching a collection of new initiatives in the hopes of inspiring the next generation of female leaders in the maritime industry.

The series of initiatives include the debut of Captain Minnie Mouse, new youth programs and the funding of scholarships, all of which have been designed to empower girls and young women to pursue careers in the cruise industry and chart a course for success.

Minnie Mouse has long been an iconic female figure, delighting and inspiring children across the world and in her new official role as Captain Minnie Mouse, Disney Cruise Line aims to spread the message of exploring new horizons, both by land and by sea. Dressed in a new uniform with smart white trousers or skirt and a bold red jacket emblazoned with captain’s insignia, she will make the rounds on all Disney ships starting in April.

First Mate Minnie on Disney Wonder
First Mate Minnie who greet guests onboard the ship. Credit: Matt Stroshane

Later this year, Captain Minnie Mouse will appear in an all-new youth activity where young captain hopefuls practice STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills in a fun maritime-themed activity on board. Children will hone their STEM and problem-solving abilities – skills that play an important role in the maritime industry – in a series of engaging, hands-on activities.

As well as on board, she will also be visiting children in some of Disney Cruise Line’s homeports and ports of call. Children will have an opportunity to meet Captain Minnie Mouse and be inspired by her “can do” qualities. As part of these local community visits, Captain Minnie Mouse will also be joined by a female Disney Cruise Line officer or crew member to highlight their professional roles in the maritime industry and raise awareness about career choices for women aboard a cruise ship.

Finally, this year Disney Cruise Line will sponsor four scholarships at the LJM Maritime Academy in the Bahamas for female cadets who aspire to be ship captains and shipboard leaders. The scholarships, one for each of the ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, will include tuition to the three-year program. The scholarships will include two years of study at the academy and one year of service aboard a Disney ship.

There has been a growing rise in the role of women in the maritime sector, but there is still a massive underrepresentation, with just 1-2% of the world’s seafarers being women, according to a report given by the UK Chamber of Shipping in 2018. In terms of where they work at sea, just 26% are to be found on cruise ships, while the other 68% work on ferries.

Through its new program, Jeff Vahle, president of Disney Cruise Line, is confident that young women will feel inspired and emboldened.

“Our Disney characters have a unique ability to inspire and connect with children, and we know Captain Minnie will encourage young girls around the world to consider a career in the maritime industry,” he comments. “We are excited to work with LJM Maritime Academy to offer scholarships for young women who are pursuing their passions and following their dreams in our industry.”