Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Oct. 31, 2006

DEBORAH NATANSOHN, 53, the president of Seabourn Cruise Lines and the sales and marketing executive behind the launch of the Queen Mary 2, died last week, two days after suffering a heart attack. Natansohn had been appointed Seabourn president in 2004; previously, she was senior vice president of sales and marketing for Cunard Line. She was the first woman to be appointed president of a U.S. cruise line when she took the top job at Orient Lines in 1998.

CARNIVAL CORP. chief Micky Arison said that he and his colleagues were "shocked and saddened" by Natansohn's death. "A highlight of her career was leading the sales and marketing effort for the incredibly successful launch of the Queen Mary 2. And at Seabourn, Debbie's excellent managerial skills led to a strengthened brand that resulted in us placing a half a billion dollar order for two ships."

OTHERS RECALLED NATANSOHN in interviews and messages as an innovative executive who had a fun-loving, generous personality:

" "Debbie was a great lady, probably one of the smartest and most articulate people in the cruise industry," said Regent president Mark Conroy. "She was a major player with the changes that took place in CLIA and was really the person who controlled the successful launch of the QM2."

" "She was poignant, funny, whatever she needed to be," said Bill Smith, Crystal's senior vice president of marketing and sales. "It's just a shame that this industry doesn't have more Debbies in it. There's a big hole there."

" "She was fabulous. She's a great presenter ... she's so articulate and clear and funny," said Vicki Freed, Carnival's senior vice president of sales and marketing. "Micky and Howard [Frank, Carnival Corp. COO] had complete faith in her."

" Natansohn was also one of the South Florida executives who gathered once a month to play hearts. "A true competitor, she was one of the very best," said Art Sbarsky, a former cruise line exec who is part of the group. Sbarsky last week was cruising on the QM2. "Everywhere I look, there's a piece of Deb's legacy," he wrote by e-mail. "Especially the Veuve Cliquot room, her favorite champagne."

THE GOVERNMENT OF HONG KONG said it will build a second cruise terminal at the southern tip of the former Kai Tak Airport runway. The terminal and tourism-related facilities will be built alongside tourism-related facilities such as hotels, shopping malls and conference facilities. The government of Hong Kong is taking bids for the project, which is expect to completed in 2012 at an estimated cost of $307.7 million.

NEIL PALOMBA was appointed COO of MSC Cruises USA, and will be responsible for managing day-to-day operations of the Fort Lauderdale-based North American sales and marketing arm of MSC Cruises, with a focus on organizing the U.S. operations to promote profitable growth, according to the line. Palomba began his career with MSC at sea as a night steward and was most recently charged with overseeing the building of the Lirica and the Opera. He also took delivery of the Armonia when the line acquired it in 2004 from Festival Cruises.

Cruise E-Letter Editor:

Johanna Jainchill

Phone: (201) 902-7940

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].


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