Crystal Cruises executive Helen Panagos has died after a long illness.

Panagos, 55, died last Thursday at home surrounded by her family, a Crystal statement said. Most recently she had been vice president, destination experiences for Crystal River Cruises and Crystal Air Cruises, a role she had held since 2015.

Heken Panagos
Heken Panagos

Panagos joined Crystal after a 30-year career in the industry that began at Celebrity Cruises, where her uncle, Vasilios Kapetanakos, was one of the founders.

For a long stretch, Panagos worked at Seabourn/Cunard, where she was part of the launch team for the Queen Mary 2 in 2004.

"Helen was a shining star in the travel industry and in the lives of those who knew her. I was privileged to work alongside her for many years, but she was more than a colleague, she was a dear friend and member of the Crystal family," said Carmen Roig, senior vice president of marketing and sales at Crystal.

Immediately before working at Crystal, Panagos was director of global product development at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., where she worked on destination development for all three of RCCL's brands.

"We lost a wonderful colleague and a treasured friend," said Crystal president Tom Wolber, who mentioned her smile, her energy and her optimism as qualities he will remember. "Helen made an impact on all of us, and we were blessed to have had her in our lives. She will be truly missed."

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