Seabourn President Dies of Heart Attack

Ana Figueroa Deborah L. Natansohn, the president and chief operating officer of Seabourn Cruise Line, passed away on October 24 in Fort Lauderdale after suffering a heart attack two days earlier. Natansohn, 53, was a pioneer in the cruise industry, as well as at Seabourn, where she held the post of p

By: Ana Figueroa

Deborah L. Natansohn, the president and chief operating officer of Seabourn Cruise Line, passed away on October 24 in Fort Lauderdale after suffering a heart attack two days earlier.

Natansohn, 53, was a pioneer in the cruise industry, as well as at Seabourn, where she held the post of president since July 2004. Sadly, Natansohn’s death comes on the heels of one of her proudest announcements-the signing of a letter of intent to build two new ships for the luxury line’s fleet. Set for delivery in 2009 and 2010, the two 32,000-ton ships will hold 225 suites, more than doubling Seabourn’s total capacity.

Natansohn began making news long before her tenure at Seabourn, however. In 1998, she became the first woman to serve as president of a cruise line in the United States, when she took over the helm of Orient Lines. She also served in positions at Pearl Cruises and Cunard Line, where she oversaw the successful launch of the Queen Mary 2.

Natansohn began her career as a journalist, and was an editor at Travel Trade magazine. She also served as marketing director for Travellers International and Arthur Frommer International.

She was quite active with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), serving on both the marketing and executive committees. And, her professional activities earned her numerous awards, including a Glass Ceiling Award by the Jewish Museum of Florida.

Natansohn held 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, and a member of the International Women's Forum.

A native of New York, Natansohn is survived by her parents, brother, two sisters, a niece and nephew.

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