Deborah L. Natansohn, the president and
chief operating officer of Seabourn Cruise Line, passed away on October 24
at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with her family at her
side. Natansohn, 53, had been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack
on Sunday, October 22.
Natansohn was appointed president of Seabourn Cruise Line in July of
2004, and guided Seabourn to the most successful period in its history.
That success recently led to the signing of a letter of intent for the
company to build two new ships.
Natansohn came to Seabourn from Cunard Line, which she had joined in
November 2000, as senior vice president of sales and marketing, responsible
for marketing and sales programs throughout the Americas and for the
unprecedented success of the launch of the Queen Mary 2.
A well-known travel industry veteran, Natansohn became the first female
cruise line president in the United States when she was named president of
Orient Lines in 1998. She also served as vice president of marketing for
Ocean Cruise Lines and Pearl Cruises, and as executive vice president at
Orient Lines from 1992 until she became the line’s president.
She began her career as a journalist and was an editor with Travel
Trade magazine. She spent five years in London as director of marketing for
Travellers International, and for the tour company Arthur Frommer
International. In addition, Natansohn had chaired the marketing committee
and served on the executive committee for the industry organization Cruise
Lines International Association (CLIA). In 2004, a nationwide poll of
professional travel agents voted her Travel Trade’s Travel Executive of the
In 2006, Natansohn was honored with a Glass Ceiling Award by the Jewish
Museum of Florida, and was named one of Florida’s top 50 women business
leaders by The Center for Leadership at Florida International University.
A native New Yorker, Natansohn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in
English Literature and Journalism from the State University of New York,
Albany, and had participated in the executive education program at Harvard
Business School. She was the president of The Commonwealth Institute, South
Florida, a peer counseling group for executive women, a member of the
International Women’s Forum, and was a participant in the Miami Dade School
District’s Executive PASS program, which matches local chief executives
with public school principals to further the success of their schools.