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Meet Three Women Navigating the Cruise Industry

August 8, 2023

According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) women make up just 29% of the global maritime industry workforce. Although maritime has traditionally been a male-dominated industry, the Port of Seattle and its partners are committed to making Washington’s oldest industry more welcoming and inclusive. And with many workers approaching retirement age, there are more opportunities than ever for women and minorities to find a career in maritime.

The Port has a high representation of women working in maritime roles and a history of elevating women to key maritime leadership positions. Over the years, the Port's Maritime Division has been led by several female executives including Linda Styrk (the first woman in this position), Lindsey Pulsifer, and Stephanie Jones Stebbins (the current Managing Director).

The cruise industry is particularly committed to elevating women to pivotal roles. According to Cruise Line International Association (CLIA):

  • 57% of women in maritime are employed by the cruise industry
  • Nearly 40% of senior leadership roles at cruise companies are held by women
  • 50% percent of women in the cruise sector hold mid-level positions or higher
  • 94% of women seafarers work in the cruise industry

Princess Cruises (part of the Carnival Corporation family) shared stories about a few women on their team: 

Daphne Flores, Guest Services Manager
Majestic Princess

Working on board a cruise ship means there is never a dull moment for Daphne Flores.decorative

“Working on board is certainly different than on land but I wouldn’t change it for anything. There is never a boring day!  I am curious by nature and working on board provides a unique opportunity to learn about diverse cultures, meet new people, and visit new places.”

Working her way up to Guest Services Manager, Daphne has spent the last eight years providing exceptional service to Princess guests. Daphne currently manages a team responsible for creating lasting memories and surprising, delighting, and valuing guests with consistently excellent service. Additionally, she manages all financial matters related to the onboard cash account.

Daphne is a native of Mexico who lives in the small town of Penjamo, five hours away from Mexico City. She earned her bachelor’s degree in hotel management with a dual certification in culinary arts. She gained valuable experience working for one of the world’s largest hotel chains before heading out to sea with Princess. 

She said being a female leader on board is a truly amazing experience.

“I have been always very proud to be Mexican, a woman, and a guest services teammate, and to be part of this fascinating industry means to me that all dreams can come true with dedication, perseverance, and teamwork.”

Her advice for young women seeking a career in the maritime industry is simple.

“Never give up on your dreams, stay humble, and never stop learning. A career in the cruise industry is so rewarding and every day is an opportunity to learn something new.”

Bee Allen, Human Resources Director
Discovery Princess


When Bee Allen joined Princess Cruises in 2016 after working a traditional 9 to 5 job, it opened up a new and exciting world!

“It was my first time at sea,” she said. “I like to use those experiences in my current role as I can understand what newly hired teammates are going through,” Bee said.

Bee is currently Human Resources Director aboard Seattle-based Discovery Princess, helping teammates navigate life on board, supporting their growth opportunities both personally and professionally, and providing them with fun and interesting activities to reconnect and unwind both on board and ashore.

She began her Princess career as a Human Resources Manager and was promoted to her current position in 2019.  Bee works with people from more than 60 different countries to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere that feels like a “home away from home.”  She reports directly to the Captain and directs a team of two assisting 1,350 teammates on the ship. 

“No two days are ever the same and that keeps you fresh and always looking for new opportunities and solutions,” she noted.

She splits her time between Brighton, a seaside town in the United Kingdom, and Central London where she spends time with her family who originate from Jamaica.

“It’s quite obvious that the sea is an important part of my life and combined with my desire to help others, my role as a HR Director is the perfect fit for me,” she said.

Bee said working in the cruise industry has opened her eyes to the kinds of opportunities available on ships.

“Before I came to ships, I only thought there were roles from an entertainment point of view and never thought there were human resources, medical, or other functions onboard. It’s so great to see women from a range of cultural backgrounds and in so many diverse roles.”

Charlene Soriano, Human Resources Manager
Crown Princess

Charlene Soriano is a people person and loves interacting with colleagues from all departments. decorative

“It is very rewarding helping our teammates achieve their goals especially as it relates to career growth,” she said. Each ship has a training and development facility with instructor-led and self-study classes in various disciplines.

As HR manager, Charlene supports the ship’s more than 1,000 crew members helping them navigate shipboard life, overseeing training and development, and organizing activities for teammates both aboard the ship and in the company’s beautiful destinations worldwide.

Princess was Charlene’s first seagoing job after working as a preschool teacher in her native Philippines where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and studied early childhood development and human resources management.

 “Although youth staff and HR are obviously vastly different roles, each requires a friendly disposition, keen attention to detail, and a commitment to serving others.”

Regarding her role as a female leader, she said “I am so proud of my fellow female mariners because it takes strong character to overcome challenges in a unique environment with so many sacrifices made away from home.”

Charlene’s priority has been making sure her children have a bright future. Her son was two years old when she started in the cruise industry and he is now 22 and graduating from college this summer.

As for advice for other women wanting to start a career in the maritime industry, she said: “I would like to tell all the other women out there who dream of working in the cruise industry to have solid goals, be strong, and persevere regardless of the circumstances. Once you make it onboard, you’ll need to focus on the tasks at hand, have passion for your job, and I’m sure you’ll be successful!”

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