My Nguyen, Director Interior Design & Operations, Holland America Group and Seabourn

In honour of International Women’s Day we’ve collected ten of the most inspiring quotes from the biggest names in cruise – who happen to be women. From insights into what makes a great leader, to tips for companies hoping to break into cruise, read on for some amazing wisdom:


Inclusion is an important point. As a leader make sure you include your team in what you know and your experience. It’s not a cake – we’re not going to run out of it just because we share it.
Petra Ryberg, Head of Design, P&O Australia

It’s very important that you create a culture that allows people to learn and grow and you become more successful together.

Dee Cooper, Senior Vice President of Design, Virgin Voyages

A good leader is someone that has a vision, and someone that supports a team and has a 30,000 foot view. It’s our role as a leader to make sure that our team or the people we work with have the things they need to be successful.

My Nguyen, Director Interior Design & Operations, Holland America Group and Seabourn


Everyone is talking about sustainability. In expedition cruises actually, half the challenge is not to get material everywhere. So, you really have to have something which is easily maintainable, maybe through local supply.
Stefanie Jentz, Senior Project Manager, In-house Design, Hapag Lloyd Cruise

The younger generation that will be the next passengers on board the ships will definitely ask about the carbon footprint. Is this something that’s good for me or for the planet? If they have the possibility of choosing, they will definitely choose the cruise line that has less impact on the planet.
Anne Mari Gullikstad, CEO, YSA Design

Behind the design

From a design aesthetic point of view it’s trying to bring it into the holiday mode. It’s not an urban hotel, it’s not something that’s static. People are here on holiday and they want to have an experience they don’t get every day. It’s trying to elevate that experience and do that through a multitude of design tools. Whether that’s the furniture, the upholstery fabrics, the decorative lighting.

Alison Clixby, Director Hotel Design & Projects, Carnival UK

I think we also have to re-evaluate the meaning of luxury. I don’t think that passengers think champagne is the most luxurious any more. We also have to look at the destination that the cruise is going and to maybe have cruise that has more education on board, something that has more meaning. To find another way to look at the meaningful spaces.

Helena Sawelin, partner, senior interior designer & project director, Tillberg Design of Sweden

Intuitiveness is the key word for how design can play a huge role in cruise ship design. Because ideally we don’t want a ton of signage. You’re dealing with different demographics, different nationalities, different languages and you want to have flexibility. When the design supports intuitively, the people know how to orientate themselves, that’s when design works at its best.

Jutta Sellin, project manager & people flow consultant, KONE Corporation

Tips for new-to-cruise

For everybody who wants to get into the industry – do a cruise and experience yourself what do you require when you are on board. Really experience, be there, see what people are looking for, what guests are looking for.

Daniela Herget, Director Newbuild Interior Outfitting | Quark Expeditions

Durability is very important. It’s very important when you come to a client to prove that you have a knowledge of what is the durability, what is the life cycle of the project. What kind of quality standards or building standards support that. Flexibility is another key because the cruise industry is a mobile industry.

Angelica Bapty, Hotel Superintendent | Genting Hong Kong Ltd

Interested in meeting many of these amazing women in cruise interiors face-to-face? Then join us at Cruise Ship Interiors Expo America, 8-9 June 2021 at the Miami Beach Convention Center!