Belinda Bennett Is The First Black Woman Cruise Ship Captain
By DeAnna Taylor
Let’s get into this Black girl magic!
Over the last few years, there’s been a must needed call for diversity in the cruising industry. While we don’t typically see many Black women heading ships, they are there.
Belinda Bennett is from a small island called St. Helena. The island sits between South America and South Africa. She got her start at the age of 17 on a small ship that was the means for people on her island to get to other islands.
Her climb to the top wasn’t easy though. During her training as a cadet, her chief officers made her journey difficult by making her do more than other cadets. However, this didn’t stop her.
Belinda made her way into the yachting industry, but she realized that wasn’t where she was meant to be. She eventually made her way to the ship she has worked on for the last 14 years, The MSY Wind Star. She started as a second officer in 2005, then went on to become chief officer. In 2016, Belinda became captain of the ship that sails through the Caribbean in winter and Europe in summer.
“I had goals in life, which I’ve succeeded at, and I’m a very strong woman. Being a woman, you have to work extra hard to prove yourself — even more than a man. Some men might not like that, but that’s the way it is. I’m driven. I wanted to be captain, and so, I am,” Belinda told Forbes.
Worldwide, the proportion of female officers is only 5.4%. So, when it comes to inspiring her female staffers, Belinda has this to say: “When you put your mind to something, and you really want something, you will work for it. And if you really really want it, no matter what obstacles come in your way, you can overcome those obstacles.”
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.