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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
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
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.