In Memorium: Deborah Natansohn

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#1
Ewing, NJ
18,997 Posts
Joined Jan 2000
The tragic news today that Deborah Natansohn, Seabourn’s president and chief operating officer, saddens a lot of us for many reasons. Primary among them? Debbie was a passenger’s president – during her time at the helm of Seabourn, and before that when she served as the first woman ever to lead a cruise line while at Orient Lines – she made a point to meet guests onboard, wherever she was. She was also the mastermind behind the marketing launch of Queen Mary 2 (she served with Cunard as their senior sales and marketing executive) and is responsible for its memorable advertisements. She was also an incredibly revolutionary and evolutionary presence in the industry, a leader and achiever.

Learn more about Natansohn in our news item

Her most recent accomplishment – which occurred just last week – was the signing of a letter of intent with a shipyard to build two new ships. She was passionate about the need to innovate and grow while also remaining true to Seabourn standards and the new ships insure that Debbie’s legacy will continue for years and years.

Have you met Debbie? Do you have an anecdote to share? A memory? Feel free to join in here.
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Laura
Sr. Manager Community
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When your values are clear, your decisions are easy -Roy Disney-
#2
Boca Raton, Florida
3,171 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Laura, thanks for this thread.

I had the pleasure of meeting Deborah while Martha and I were aboard the Legend in April to visit Captain GA. I found Deborah to be extremely warm and personable and was looking forward to sailing with her on the President's Cruise in 2007. I am very sad to hear of her sudden and tragic passing. God bless her and her family.
#3
Chicago, IL, USA
824 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
Deborah and I exchanged a few emails around the time of the pirate attacks. Her emails were professional yet personable.

I'm sorry for her family's and Seabourn's loss.
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Craig

QE2 - Transatlantic (1995) ...........****.....QE2 - Transatlantic (2001) ...........****
Seabourn Sun - CPT-LPA (2002) .........***.....RSSC Mariner - Baltics (2002) ........****
Seabourn Spirit - Asia (2002) ......******.....RSSC Voyager - Canada/NE (2003)..... *****
QM2 - Maiden Voyage (2004) ..........*****.....Silver Shadow - Alaska (2004)....... *****
Silver Wind - S. America (2004).... ******+....Silver Cloud - Middle East (2005).. ******+
Seabourn Legend - Panama Canal (2005) .***.....Silver Shadow - Asia (2006)........ ******
Silver Cloud - India/Asia (2006)... ******.....Silver Shadow - Transatlantic (2007)******+
Silver Cloud - East Africa (2007) ...***** ... Silver Wind - Transatlantic (2008)..******+
QE2 - Last Transatlantic (2008)......*****.....Silver Wind - SEZ-MAA (2009)........******
Silver Whisper - Black Sea (2009) ...*****.. ..Silver Wind - Athens - Pt Said (2009)(T***....
Silver Spirit - Maiden... (2009)..... ****.. ..Silver Spirit - Mdn T/Atlantic (2010).****+

Silver Spirit - SCL-ACA.. (2010) .....****+.. .Silver Whisper -Rio-Cape Town (2012)******+
Silver Spirit - T/A ......(2013) .....****.....Crystal Serenity - Dover-C'hagen(2014)****
Seabourn Odyssey - Bali - SIN (2014). ****
.....Silver Wind - Mediterranean (2014)..******+
Silver Cloud - Funchal-FLL (2014)....*****
#4
St. Petersburg, Fl USA
5,425 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
How extremely sad......
Debbie was so nice when I had an issue with a booking quite awhile back. She didn't hesitate to call me herself, and take care of it. What a classy woman. She will be missed by all...
My prayers are with her family..

Host Dan
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Host Dan

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#5
1,342 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
Deborah broke the glass ceiling in the cruise industry when she became the first woman to be President of a cruise line. She was a mentor and a role model to many women in the cruise/travel industry. She was an amazing person and I think why she was so successful is that she always related to her guests on whatever cruise line she worked for. She was like that with the people who worked for her too. The crew on the triplets loved her.

I think some of her proudest moments were of course the launching of the QM2 in Southhampton, meeting Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace and maybe the proudest, announcing last week two new builds for Seabourn.

She will be missed by many, many people. Our thoughts and prayers are with her parents, siblings and nieces and nephew. God bless you Debbie.

I always sign my posts with Bon Voyage and that is what I wish you now Debbie.
#6
San Francisco, CA
1,148 Posts
Joined Dec 2000
A great loss for the Seabourn family. My prayers and best wishes to Debbie's colleagues at Blue Lagoon, and to her parents, sisters and brother. She will be missed.

Denyse
#7
2,515 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
The last couple of days have been so very hard for those of us who were fortunate enough to know Debbie.

Debbie was not only an exceptional head for Seabourn, she was a warm, caring and very personable human being. She made you feel good and always, no matter what, as though you really were important to her...and you were.

Oh, yes, and Debbie was fun! She could make you laugh. I will alway remember that.

A calm sea. A slight breeze. The sun setting. Peace.
#8
West Texas
6,054 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
Perhaps she is not a star, but an opening in the Heaven
where the love of our lost Debbie pours through
She shines upon us....to let us know....that she is happy
and will be with all of us forever.
Debbie's light will shine on and on and on.

We are not prepared for this loss....but God is always prepared to help us through this loss.
Debbie was a joy to all who knew her.
Sincere sympathy to her parents and family and her beloved Seabourn family.
Martha B.
#9
CA, USA
13,713 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Even though I never met Deborah I felt her presence both on Seabourn and on the QM2 and therefore will feel her loss. I know we all will.
#10
Long Island, NY, USA
3,779 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
I never had the opportunity of meeting Debbie Natansohn but I know how well-liked and respected she was in the cruise industry and was saddened and shocked to hear this awful news.

My deepest condolences to her friends and family.
#11
Boca Raton, FL
18,795 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
I was very saddened to hear of Ms. Natansohn's passing. While I never had the pleasure of meeting Deborah, I have read some wonderful stories of her accomplishments. Deborah will be greatly missed.

My sincere condolonces to her immediate family, her friends, and her family at Seabourn.
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#12
Santa Rosa CA USA
741 Posts
Joined Mar 2000
During our first Marco Polo sailing we had some unresolved cabin problems. Deborah was Manager of Customer Services at Orient Lines at the time; she addressed our concerns and handled them in a personal as well as professional way. I followed her career from Orient through Cunard to Seabourn where I think she found her niche--she related so well on a person to person basis and the whole Seabourn ambiance was just "right" for her. CEOs are generally not perceived as people persons. Deborah was very people (guest) oriented and her size nines will be terribly difficult to fill.

Good bye my friend. Your imprint on cruising will not be forgotten.

Winnie
#13
4 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
I share in the views expressed by everyone to this tragedy.

My family and I had the pleasure of sailing with Deborah and some family members for the later part of Christmas 2004 on the Legend, where she joined mid-cruise in St. Maarten.

There is no doubt as to her impact on the Cruise Industry, all positive.

To her family, friends and all those who grew through the experience of meeting and knowing her we join in sending our warmest wishes and condolences.

Love and Light,
Dan
#14
Flagstaff, Arizona
885 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
I did not know Debbie, but reading about her brought a tear to my eye and belated respect to her accomplishments. I'll say Kaddish for her.

Mrs Muir
#15
London
475 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
I had exchanged a few very friendly emails with Debbie but met her only once when she came on board the Legend for a few hours in April while I was in transit. She was having lunch in the dining room with her family who had come on with her but she still found time to meet me and have a few words. I was very much hoping to to have an opportunity to get to know her better but that cannot now be.

My deepest sympathy goes to her family - I wish them long lives - and to her whole Seabourn family.

Norm
#16
West Texas
6,054 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
Laura,
We are all heart sick today.....and grieving over the loss of our good friend and President/CEO of Seabourn. I wanted to share this with you and with our CC family~~~
Deborah was a "hands on," detailed executive and carried out duties that would often surprise me~~~
She read our Seabourn Cruise Critic board often....and would e-mail me commenting on different matters/subjects we were discussing. She was the most energetic being I have ever known~~~where did she find the time?
Would it be possible for those of us who would like to particpate, stop tomorrow (Thursday) at 2:15 p.m. for a collective minute of a "Thanksgiving" prayer for Deborah?
Debbie's services will be in Ft. Lauderdale tomorrow at 2:15

Martita B.
#17
86,446 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
While I never had the opportunity to meet Deborah, I always enjoyed reading the communications that we received from her. Clearly, she provided wonderful leadership for the Seabourn cruise line, and was focused on each passenger.

Laura, thank you for initiating this thread as your post and all of the others are indicative of the family atmosphere that one finds on these boards.

Last year we had a very unexpected loss of a family member at a relatively young age. It has taught us to live life to its fullest and to never put off what you can do today to tomorrow.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Deborah and to those that she was close to.

Martha, I for one will participate in a 2:15 PM "Thanksgiving" prayer for Deborah.

Keith
#18
66 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Deborah, I certainly admire and respect what she did to preserve and expand a cruise line that my wife and I feel is the best in the industry. I think it only fitting that one of the new twins be named something that reflects her influence and her passing. I would respecfully submit

"Seabourn Memory"
#19
Phila. Pa. Margate Nj
733 Posts
Joined May 2005
My wife Judy and I have never met Deborah, but we have always felt she was looking over all her triplets every day of the year. It was her passion. She has always demanded respect and she alway gave it back as well. Just talking to her immediate group of co-workers she was respect by all. She will be a great loss both to Seabourn as well as the cruise industry. What a shame she will not see her new ships from down here. But I am sure she will see them from above.

Judy and Steve
#20
Pembroke Pines FL, USA
359 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
Debbie did indeed love a good laugh. Some friends have shared a couple that I thought you'd like to hear.

Debbie and her friends had a monthly Hearts card game that was sort of like our onboard team trivia--fun but SERIOUS fun! Debbie really liked to win...one of her friends' son, 16, also had developed a competitive streak, and one night when he joined the game he came out on top. Debbie, walked over to the lady and whispered in her ear, "You know I really love him, but next time LEAVE THE KID AT HOME!" Then they had a good laugh.

Alan Wilson, who edits the e-newsletter Cruise News daily, today pondered why it is that we would lose someone so promising at so young an age. His slightly irreverent conclusion is that probably God wanted to start a cruise line and needed to import the talent. He also surmised that Debbie may be cackling right now, thinking of how the rest of the earthly cruise line executives are sweating who she might tap for her team..