First American Woman to Captain a Cruise Ship Delivers Master Class on How to Shut Down Sexist Trolls

Kate McCue became the first American female captain on a mega cruise ship in 2015.

All-female team on Celebrity Cruises for Intl Womens Day
Photo: Scott Baker/Courtesy of Celebrity Cruise

Mega-ship Captain Kate McCue taught a quick grammar lesson on Tik-Tok for after a follower questioned her position simply because she's a woman.

"How can you be a captain? Your only a woman," a social media user wrote to McCue, 42, who became the first American female captain of a mega-ship in 2015.

“I think it’s about high time that I address this," she said in her TikTok earlier this week and proceeded to shut down the shamer in a comeback disguised as a teaching moment.

“In this day and age, I’m shocked that someone still doesn’t know the difference between ‘you’re’ and ‘your," she started.

She continued to break down the grammar even further, explaining that “you’re” is a contraction, used to say “you are” “as in "you are sexist” whereas “your” refers to “something possessive, it belongs to you, like ‘your ignorance.’”

The Celebrity Cruises captain finished the video by settling into her captain’s chair and reminding commenters where she could be found.

McCue often posts to her hundreds of thousands of followers, showing them her daily life as a captain aboard a Celebrity Cruises ship.

Although McCue was the first American woman to captain a cruise ship, she is not the first woman in the world to do so. Captain Karin Stahre-Janson, from Sweden, became the first female cruise ship captain in the world in 2007, also manning a Celebrity Cruises ship. The world’s first black woman cruise ship captain, Belinda Bennet, took the helm of a Windstar Cruises ship in 2016.

Of the more than 300 passenger cruise ships around the world, only nine are captained by women, according to the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA).

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. When in a new city, she's usually out to discover under-the-radar art, culture, and secondhand stores. No matter her location, you can find her on Twitter, on Instagram or at

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