Propelled by People Our Stories

Berta Vargas

First Officer, Freedom of the Seas  

Photography by Steve McCurry

Born and raised in Panama, Berta Vargas always had a desire to see the world and meet people from all over.  Curious and tenacious by nature, she knew in high school that she wanted to take a unique path in life. For her, that meant pursuing a career with unique challenges and opportunities. During her senior year, she decided to pursue a maritime career. 

“I dreamed of one day working on one of the biggest cruise ships in the world and now I’m doing that with Royal Caribbean,” she said. “Since we have routes all over the world, you get to experience things beyond the imagination.” 

Berta started her career with Royal Caribbean Group (RCG) as second officer in 2012 and was one of few female Watchkeeping Officers.  

Berta has developed her leadership skills at RCG through company-sponsored programs and stays up-to-date on the latest technology and trends in the maritime industry with hands-on training on state-of-the-art simulators. 

“Royal Caribbean is always looking for ways to help personnel improve,” she said. 

Of the many milestone moments she can recall throughout her career, she is most thankful to have been a part of the Newbuild Team on Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas. “It was a rare opportunity to see the ship from the very beginning and all the things I learned in school come to life in front of me,” she said. “It was a huge step forward in my career.” 

Symphony of the Seas’ float out was one of the most emotional days in her career, pressure-testing every aspect of the hard work alongside colleagues from other departments and teams. The successful float out filled her with relief, excitement and pride. Thanks to the dedication of the entire team, thousands of guests would soon get to embark on their own exciting journeys onboard.